As the regular season has come to a close, millions of sports fans currently have one thing on their minds: the NFL playoffs. From Michael Vicks’ brilliant return to the surprising Kansas City Chiefs to even the 7-9 Seahawks squeaking in to the show, there is no shortage of exciting storylines. More importantly for the sports bettor, this thrilling time of year means that there will be a huge surge in action. So what can you do to best increase your chances of winning with your NFL football betting? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
First, don’t rely too heavily on regular season meetings between the two teams. While this may be tempting, it is only a sample size of one game, and it could have been affected by a variety of factors, including injuries, weather and even dumb luck. Very often, a team changes its character significantly throughout the season, so the squad that lines up for the postseason is much different than the one that took the field in Week 4.
Also, while it’s more important than regular season results, you shouldn’t get too caught up with team and individual performances in Weeks 16 and 17. Sure, for many teams, sluggish performances leading up to the playoffs can spell trouble, but this is far too inexact of a science to trust completely. It may be the case that the team was resting some of their key players in order to give backups more reps, or experimenting with new strategies for possible use in the playoff game. Many players have the ability to shake off a recent poor performance and use it to motivate themselves even more.
Instead of obsessing over regular season results and Week 16 and 17 results, there is a much more effective strategy for predicting games in the playoffs: doing some research on past years’ playoffs for trends that you can actually trust. Examine things like how many times the favorites have covered the point spread over the past 5-10 years and how the numbers change for over a touchdown favorites versus smaller favorites. You can also study the point spread bets over time and see if the majority of games have gone over or under the posted totals. Once you have done this, compare your findings to the current lines being offered and see if you can find a significant advantage. Remember that the posted lines are affected by previous action, so you can capitalize on the wagers of less informed bettors who are simply taking their favorite team regardless of the odds.
Finally, it may be tempting to take proposition bets, such as which quarterback will throw for the most yards or other minor statistical events, but beware: these usually carry a much higher house edge than traditional football point spread bets. If you want your best chance to win, you usually should not stray from the spread.
With these strategies in mind, you won’t only enjoy the NFL playoffs; you’ll have a great chance to win some big money too!