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Sure Ways to Lose

NFL Betting: Sure Ways to Lose in the Long Run

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Unfortunately when betting on the NFL, there are no sure ways to win. There are, however, numerous sure ways you can lose. Success in NFL betting certainly has an awful lot to do with what you're doing right. But in large part, the true measure of a successful bettor is how much they can avoid some of these pitfalls that almost always spell disaster.

Raising Your Bets Amounts

You need to be able to insulate yourself from the rough patches that accompany NFL betting--plain and simple. Let's come to grips with the reality of it. We are going to lose and those setbacks may occur in clusters or consecutive fashion. So we know that right out of the gate. Why fight it?

Accordingly, the bets you place have to represent a small enough portion of your bankroll to where a string of losses doesn't wipe you out completely. We need to be able to give ourselves a fighting chance and just like football, it isn't always about how well you can dish it out, it's about how well you can absorb punishment.

The average betting man raises the amount of how much he bets for a variety of reasons. The spirit is commendable, as it is actually good to have guts in gambling and a pioneering spirit to conquer. It's just that the execution is usually terrible. A bettor will lose a bunch of bets, then raise the level of his wagers in order to recoup losses and get back to even. Or after a winning streak, a bettor will attempt to capitalize on his good fortune by risking more money.

It's imperative to stick to the script, however hard it may be. Keep the bets small and in proportion to your bankroll. Allow your NFL wagering success to manifest over time. If over time, you swell up your bankroll, then raise the bet amounts. Until then, give yourself a fighting chance and don't risk a big chunk of your resources on single wagers.

Why Are You Making This Bet?

Before actually placing a wager, ask yourself why you are making this bet. Then analyze your response, which will likely fall into one of two categories--an informed bet or a bet made more on a whim. If your answer is something that has to do with the match-ups in a game, that's a good sign, If your answer is something like "Oh, the Packers aren't going to lose at home," you may have a problem.

It's easy to fall into a trap of betting based on half-baked thoughts and ideas that are thrown against the wall to see if they stick. We may get a thought in our head and once the seed is planted, it just grows wild in our minds. Then we watch the game and wonder "What the heck was I thinking?" It's at that moment where you realize you fell into a common trap of believing in your sense of feel, as opposed to hard information. Not that you want to rule out all feelings and instincts, as they can help you from time to time, with that little voice within telling you some things the numbers don't take into account. But without actual handicapping, this is a tough sport to win at.

Relying on What You See on Paper

On one hand, we will need to rely on some statistical data. Truth be told, the numbers can sometimes paint a picture. Stats are revealing. Past scores are revealing. But if you handicap NFL football games for any length of time, you will be surprised how often there is a story behind those numbers. In other words, not everything is what it appears to be by doing purely a statistical appraisal.


We tend to take numbers at face value. It's hard to remember every game, so that leaves us with little choice. At the same time, not all is what it seems. For example, we may be impressed with a quarterback for throwing for so many yards, but the opposing team was way ahead and their "D" had softened up a bit. Or a running back had a bunch of yardage, but his team was way up so they fed him the ball to eat up clock and the opposing "D" had let up on the throttle. Maybe a defensive end had three sacks in the first game between division rivals, but the opponent's top tackle was out and now he's back. Look behind the still and see if there is something there that didn't get communicated in the box score.

The same can apply to past scores. A team may have benefitted from some iffy penalties. Or there were a series of bizarre deflections or special teams snafus. We'll look at a score and a lot of times, it is an accurate depiction of what happened. But a lot of times, the score simply doesn't tell the whole story. And if you depend on what you see on paper at face-value, it's possible to led astray.

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