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Don't Over-Emphasize Wins and Losses

NFL Betting Tip: Don't Over-Emphasize Wins and Losses

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Perception is reality. That can be costly to betting men when trying to gauge the strength or weakness of NFL squads. We can’t watch all the games, so that limits our scope right off the bat. When we start placing too much credence in wins or losses, we even limit our vision further. The tendency is to remember the most graphic--whether it be good or bad. In doing so, we often emerge with a misplaced analysis.

This is not a phenomenon restricted to football wagering. We do this in all aspects of life. If we reflect on our own experiences, we usually think of the more positive or negative experiences. You might reflect on a wild weekend in Vegas. Or the time you botched a best man wedding toast. You won’t think of times you went to the mall or the time you saw a woodchuck in the field.

The point is that if we go off of a team’s best or worse form, we will almost always be led astray. No team is as good as they appear when they are at their best. Along the same lines, a team is never as flat as they look on their worst games. There are exceptions. Some teams can sometimes maintain a fever pitch or remain in the dumps for prolonged periods of time. But for the most part, it doesn’t work that way.

Maybe when you were on the scene trying to meet women, there were a few nights where you were exceptionally charming and nights when you were downright awkward. Characterizing you off of those extreme examples would be misleading because most of the time--you were just somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Think about what happens in a high-visibility game, like a Sunday or Monday night contest, where a team either wins or loses lopsidedly. The game was isolated, meaning the public wasn’t divided watching a bunch of other games. So even though this high-visibility game is in effect just another game, it gets more heavily-weighted in the media and the minds of the betting public.

Then a funny thing happens and this is where the pros pounce. The public perception gets a little out-of-whack. The team that looked great gets overvalued. The public memory of them dominating is strong, so it reflects in the point-spread. Meanwhile, a team that got ripped apart is under-valued. The whole NFL betting world saw them take a royal beating. The media is down on them. The team has the lingering dog-poo on the shoe effect and people aren’t eager to hop on the bandwagon at this point.

If we operate under the assumption that a team is never as good/bad as they look in their best/worst game, we can capitalize off of this. If the public and media is hyperbolic in their praise or criticism of a team, that leaves a little crease in the line that we can potentially take upfield. There comes a very precise moment in an NFL season for all teams where they are receiving too much or not enough credit as it pertains to the point-spread. In most instances, it will be a result of misguided analysis--a result of placing too much emphasis on big wins or losses. It’s also tied to the very human tendency to regard our own inner-narrative as something special. We put more stock in what we see specifically. You see a team on Monday night and think that makes up for all the games you didn’t see.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of teams we don’t see play very often. You might see them play twice and draw some conclusions that aren’t correct. It’s important to recognize when our scope of vision is limited and then try to broaden our understanding of what’s really going on. You very well might see a game and see a team perform in a manner which is consistent with how that team normally plays. We still need to exercise caution and not get carried away with analysis that might be misleading.

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