The Weather Conditions as a Factor
The matter of placing wagers on the NFL requires bettors to be extremely attentive of all kinds of factors that can influence the final outcome. Oddsmakers have the same obligation, as they are also aiming to predict the outcome and set the betting lines in favor of their respective sportsbook.
Still, you need to be aware of the fact that NFL games are subject to numerous influences, and it is often hard to distinguish which of these are worth considering.
Most bettors, especially novices, tend to focus on the obvious factors when deciding which bets to make.
Score statistics, player injuries and sportsbooks’ odds are important, but bettors can get fooled by the general opinion of the public and end up making the obvious choices. More experienced sports bettors may not be as easily misled, but they are just as likely to disregard certain underlying factors. In this regard, the weather conditions stand out as a potential influence that doesn’t seem to get the much needed attention.
Some may argue that the weather cannot be as important as a key player injury, but assume a team who has had no significant filed experience in the snow is sent to play in such conditions. The change alone is enough to affect their moods, and the extra effort in physical activity only adds up to the final outcome. Learn more about the stadium constructions, forecasts and proper strategies you can employ in such situations in order to get the most out of every bet.
NFL Stadiums & Their Constructions
In the National Football League, each of the 32 teams participating in the season has their own home stadium. The only difference is in their construction, as some are domes and others have retractable roofs, while the remaining portion are fully open, exposed to whatever weather might come their way.
The dome stadiums are completely closed, meaning there is absolutely no outside influence during gameplay. Those with retractable roofs are just as protected, even though there is a possibility of some unexpected change in the sky that could cause some delay or difficulties.
Out of all NFL teams, only 4 have closed domes – the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions. The same number of teams stadiums with retractable roofs – the Dallas Cowboys (shown), Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. Some might claim that these teams get an unfair advantage when playing home games, but they are also much less likely to accommodate to outdoor conditions when playing away. After all, the Cardinals are expected to have much more trouble adapting to snow than Green Bay Packers.
Always consider the venue where the game is taking place when you are making a decision about the wagers you would like to make. As you will see, even lack of actual weather conditions can influence the end result.
Types of Weather
Each type of weather has a different effect on the players’ performance, which is why it is best to account for all possible case scenarios. Learning about them will give you the required edge in order to beat the odds at the sportsbooks.
- Hot vs. Cold – It is obvious that the drastic distinction between hot weather and freezing cold temperatures are bound to affect the result. On the one hand, too much sun can prevent players from seeing the ball clearly and lead to mistakes in passes. The extra heat only makes things worse, as players coming from colder areas need to be prepared for the added effort it is going to take them.
The same applies in the opposite case scenario, considering a team originally from a hot location has to play on a stadium covered in snow. Experts claim that this shift from hot to cold is even worse, as the cold prevents muscles from contracting and working optimally.
However, you also need to be aware of the fact that today’s stadiums are much better equipped than those back when the NFL was founded. Nowadays, there are all kinds of vents and heated cords on the stadium surface that serve to ameliorate the situation.
- Extreme Storms – This can be seen as just a subtype of the first weather condition, but is still a crucial factor in your betting decisions. Harsh rain, snow and sleet, just like boiling heat can incapacitate players and basically determine the final outcome of the game. However, modern forecasting techniques tend to predict such conditions and reschedule the match.
- Wind – Despite common opinion, the aforementioned weather conditions do not have as much influence over NFL games as winds do. The previous examples had an alternative or at least a meliorating option, but windy weather is not as controllable. Statisticians have calculated that the only acceptable speed is 5 to 12 mph, and anything above is an important factor in the game.
The greatest influence of this factor is seen in totals (over/under) bets which depend on the total sum of points scored throughout the game. Considering the power of the wind, scores could reduce drastically, and bettors become more inclined to bet on the under. This is so because wind is bound to have the most influence over the ball’s trajectory.
Players are more resistant to this force of nature, but quarterbacks and kickers will definitely experience troubles in such weather. While this is the logical conclusion, it will not offer good value since everyone else will simply do the same. So, next time there is a strong wind a few hours before the game, think it through carefully and consider each player’s strength and weakness – the only way to make a winning bet is to think ahead about every detail.
- Changing Weather – The only thing worse than bad weather is changing weather. For instance, a game played completely in the open is subject to subsequent rain, sunshine and wind. Some might think that the occasional sunshine is enough for one team to gain advantage, but in fact the constant change in temperature and visibility only makes things worse. Hence, even the biggest snowstorm is sometimes a better option than changing weather.
Weather Factor Strategies
Since there is no way to beat the weather when the game is out on the open, the only thing you can do is to make use of every strategic move possible. Even if it does not have express results, it is still better than letting your bet slip go with the wind.
Earlier, we mentioned that betting totals in uncertain weather conditions will not get you much value because everyone will be betting under. While this may be true, it is still more probable that players will be less inclined to score points over the total. Betting the under will at least give you an opportunity to profit.
Get Weather Forecast Updates
The other option when trying to fight any unpredictable weather conditions is to keep yourself updated about every change. It is advisable to subscribe to a reliable forecaster and receive direct notifications of potential weather changes. This is sure to give you an advantage over the other bettors and even sportsbooks, but it may be a bit tiresome and time-consuming.
Use Your General Handicapping Skills
The weather is only one of the factors that experienced handicappers employ when making their picks for the week. Their job is to predict the unpredictable, as close as possible, and it mainly depends on their success rate. Hence, handicappers try to employ whatever technique they can think off in order to beat the odds and provide their clients with reliable picks and tips. Since the weather is not the most stable factor available, such experts tend to use other factors in their calculations.
If you choose to follow their actions, then your betting calculations will definitely need to include the strengths and weaknesses of each team’s offense, as well as defense. The latter may have already been on your list of factors, but defense is usually disregarded – one more proof that the more detailed the estimation, the better the bet. The teams’ staff also influences field performance, especially when it comes to the coaches and their coordinators. Make sure you don’t get stuck on the weather and pay attention to the coaches – check if there have been any staff changes, investigate the status of their relations amongst themselves and with the players and discover their typical tactics. Apart from this, you could also take into account recent injuries, player replacements and the overall team spirit and motivation – as silly as it sounds, you will definitely need to fit as many constants in your calculations as possible in order to offset the volatility of the weather.