NFL Handicapping & NFL Handicappers
In sports, there has always been a tendency to guess the final results as accurately as possible. This is what keeps the sports betting industry alive, but there are some bettors whose commitment to this purpose is basically a career.
These sports connoisseurs are known as handicappers, and their primary task is to handicap the sportsbooks and turn the odds in the bettors’ favor.
Just like any other sport, football has also attracted a fair number of handicappers. The NFL is considered to be one of the top leagues in sports, and their season attracts the attention of fans all over the world.
However, these people have a number of considerations in their attempts to improve bettors’ chances of winning. Read on about the types of handicapping and handicappers, and boost your success rate by learning the key factors they use in their assessment.
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Introduction to Handicapping
The practice of handicapping can be easily displayed by drawing a parallel between the two most common types of sports bettors. On the one side, there are those impulsive sports enthusiasts solely interested in the thrill of placing a bet. These bettors do not perform calculations and act based on their intuition or simply team preference. The other type is the one any bettor should strive towards if they want to turn a profit from this hobby on the long run. Those are the handicappers, sports bettors which meticulously store information about all the elements of a team and a game. All the factors influencing the outcome are useful in the hands of such sports bettors.
When it comes to the NFL specifically, handicappers have quite a lot of workload to deal with. This is mainly due to the fact that there are a limited number of games per season and each game needs to be analyzed in detail. Which details or more precisely aspects are taken in consideration during the process of handicapping can basically determine the type.
For one, there are those handicappers who are dedicated to the stats and numbers. This type of handicapping allows experts to create their power rankings and later compare them with the sprotsbooks’ odds in order to note the most profitable discrepancy. They construct a success rate for each individual team and in a match against a known opponent, leaving to stones unturned until they can basically predict the players’ moves based on previous games. Other handicappers mainly deal with the psychological aspects involved – the thrill of a win and the motivational force of a losing game are main factors which influence these handicappers’ picks. A third form of handicapping bases all its assumptions and predictions on long-term patterns and trends. These handicappers believe that teams tend to follow certain patterns when dealing with player movement, coach changes and overall status.
Apart from these three, there is a fourth type of handicapping that combines them into a single winning strategy. They make their picks by taking into account numerical data, psychological effects and overlaying behavioral patterns. While it might be a bit more demanding than the previous ones, it is also known to bring better results and payouts which make the effort worthwhile.
Key Factors in NFL Handicapping
As previously mentioned, the last type of handicapping technique takes many factors into account when creating their picks for the week. While some may be obvious considerations for NFL bettors, there are other aspects of the game that are often overlooked. These are the ones that give handicappers the extra edge and help them come up with the surest wins of the NFL season.
Offense & Defense Performance
Just like the quarterback tends to get the most points in popularity out of the entire group of players, the offensive moves of the whole team tend to attract much more attention than defense.
Naturally, the effect produced by sudden attacks and last-minute scores is much more thrilling than simply keeping the opponents off your side of the field. Still, the defense is worth taking into account – the number of tackles and interceptions is just as valuable information as the final score.
Playing Games on Home Field vs. Away
This factor is one of the more obvious ones, as it is widely used by handicappers in all sports, not just the NFL. Still, you should not disregard it just because it is straightforward – on the contrary, it means you will get valuable info without too much investigation.
The home field advantage has been repeatedly proven by games all throughout the NFL season. Most handicappers attribute this to the support from the audience and the overall atmosphere, as well as the familiarity of the field.
Other than that, the home advantage is particularly important when it comes to playing against a team from the opposite end of the US. The matter of travelling, changing time zones and maintaining top physical preparedness can take their toll on the team’s performance, which is why handicappers largely depend on this ‘obvious’ factor of home advantage.
As ridiculous as it may seem, the team’s spirit and general disposition regarding an upcoming game is an important influence on the outcome.
The NFL may cause commotion on a nation-wide scale, but each team’s perception before a coming game is key to getting closer to the accurate result. This factor depends on previous performances in the season, earlier that week or even in relation to that specific team.
If your chosen team has been winning the past few games, you can count on their elation upon entering the field, while a string of several losses can severely impact their morale.
An exception to the rule used by leading handicappers is to know the history between the team matches. Even if one of them have suffered a losing streak, or have been defeated by the opponent in the previous years, you should bear in mind that there is rarely something as motivating as retribution.
Weather Forecasts & Injury Affliction
The open field for the NFL is inevitably dependant on the weather forecast. Naturally, should a storm occur, the match will be rescheduled, but a greater impact is achieved by those weather changes that only prevent a regular sunny day and have an impact on the players’ mood and performance.
While the weather can be overcome with a good pep talk, some medical assistance is mandatory when handling injuries. The top handicappers pay special attention to every player injury, especially if it is somehow related to the opposing team, and take it into account. These unwelcomed occurrences allow them to make better deductions than more volatile factors such as the weather forecast.
The Coaching Staff
NFL team trainings require a separate coaching staff managed by their head coach and corresponding coordinators. These people also play a part in the final outcome of each game, especially when there is a change in tactics or a recent addition to the team.
A shift in this aspect causes the greatest impact on the season outcome, as a change in the leading coaching positions can end up being positive or negative. If the team performed well under the authority of their previous coach, you might expect them to experience a few ties or losses in the following matches as a sign of rebellion or simply due to lack of time to adjust.
Otherwise, teams stuck in a losing streak could use the extra boost of having a fresh new face to lead them towards their next game and end up in the top three teams by the end of the season.
Top NFL Handicappers
While the above mentioned points may be useful guidelines on the long run, bettors who need some immediate assistance in their NFL picks are better off with professional help. There are just as many considerations when choosing a reliable NFL handicapper as there are factors if you decide to try handling the matter on your own.
For one, you need to make sure that the handicapper has a sufficient success rate that would provide some guarantee for your money’s worth. After all, it is not good business to pay for your picks only to see the games turn in the completely opposite direction. A good handicapper draws the line at 52% success rate for its picks, with a regular betting line of -110. Anything above this is likely to bring you profit. This leads to the other important consideration – transparency. A handicapper who isn’t honest about his stats cannot be trusted. Inform yourself on likely scams (like an 80% success rate, which is extremely difficult if not impossible) and demand full disclosure from your handicapper. The same is recommended regarding their technique of making picks – supporting arguments to back their picks are always a good sign that you are dealing with a professional.