Progress Publishing Co.

 Football Handicapping

 

HOME Craps Home Slots Home Cards Gambling History Monte Carlo
Roulette History Roulette Rules Roulette Systems Baccarat History Baccarat Rules Baccarat Systems
Keno History Keno Rules Keno Play Blackjack History Blackjack Rules Basic Strategy
Expectations Card Counting Efficiency Betting Spread Shoe Penetration New Blackjack
Bingo History Bingo Basics Bingo Rules Bingo Games Bingo Odds Lottery History
Horse Racing History Horse Racing Types Horse Races Horse Racing Betting Handicapping Horse Racing Glossary
Horse Racing Rules Greyhound History Greyhound Betting Greyhound Program Dog Handicapping Greyhound Grading
Greyhound Rules Greyhound Glossary Jai Alai History Jai Alai Rules Jai Alai Betting  Jai Alai Glossary
Football History Football Point Spread Football Handicapping Football Betting Football Rules Football Glossary
Poker History Poker Betting Poker Outs Poker Pot Odds Poker Position Poker Free Card Strategy
Holdem Poker Glossary Hole Card ORDER Links    

 

         cndl_grn4_md_blk.gif (2968 bytes)   BookBlack3D.gif (7788 bytes) cndl_grn4_md_blk.gif (2968 bytes)

Football Handicapping

*******************************************************************

Long term disadvantage in football betting

Football handicapping

The importance of football statistics in football handicapping

Football teams’ offensive and defensive averages

Winning and losing margins

The home team edge and the road record

Football players’ injuries

The experience factor in football handicapping

Weather as a handicapping factor

Offensive and defensive yardage in football handicapping

*******************************************************************

Long term disadvantage in football betting

The actual result of the football match is of secondary importance for the football bettors. They win or lose their hard-earned money when their teams beat of fail to beat the point spread. Who wins and who loses the game is irrelevant for a bettor. For him it’s all about points. The specific point spread offered by the bookies to the football gamblers does not happen by accident. It does not come out of the nowhere. It is the result of the deep analysis of the upcoming match by the professional linemakers who are the best football experts in the country. Their point spread is usually so good it turns every game into an even-money betting proposition with both teams having equal chances of beating the spread. The point spread turns a game of football into a flipping coin guessing game for the bettors with 1:1 true odds. However, since the bookies have to earn their living, the bettors have to lay 11 to 10 odds to the bookies regardless of which team they bet on. The difference between 11 to 10 and the true 1: 1 odds gives a bookie a profit (a “vigorish” or “vig”) and the bettors a long term disadvantage of 4.54%. Small bookies often try to offer 6:5 odds and in that case the football bettors will face an 8.33% disadvantage. In other words, in a long term a football betting is a bad proposition for an average bettor who will be losing his bankroll at the rate of 4.54 cents on every dollar bet.

Football handicapping

Since bookies’ point spread reflects so accurately the relative strength of the teams in the game, it is impossible for a football bettor to beat the spread every game. It is also extremely difficult to show profit in football gambling over a long period of time. A bettor must have a winning percentage more than 52.38% in order to overcome a bookie’s vig and be successful long term. The only way to do it is handicapping. Handicapping is getting an edge by doing a deep analysis of all available information relevant to the performance of the teams. That information includes a statistical data for the past performances of the teams and the latest news related to the football players and coaching staff. Handicapping allows a football bettor to spot the games where a bookie’s spread is a little bit off the mark, which gives a bettor a good chance for winning his bet.

Statistical data in football handicapping

Successful handicapping and betting on football involves the use of statistical data. Statistical data is a great tool of a football handicapper. Even the most basic handicapping must include statistical analysis of the previous teams’ performances. That analysis reveals the certain trends in the way the teams play. The statistics also proves that those trends tend to last for the considerable periods of time. That makes it possible for a football bettor to make statistics-based conclusions regarding what the correct point spreads should be in the upcoming matches. If according to a handicapper’s judgment a bookie’s spread is too big for a favorite team to cover, he’ll bet on the underdog. If a spread is too small for a dog, he’ll bet on the favorite. Statistical analysis of the football handicapping focuses on evaluating such indicators of the teams’ level of play as offensive and defensive averages, winning and losing margins, home play and road play records and others.

Offensive and defensive averages

The best teams obviously score more on average per game. Usually if a football team makes three touchdowns per game it will most likely be in the playoffs. The difference between scoring averages is important handicapping element to consider. If one high scoring team averages 26 points per game and a weaker team gets around 14 points only, then a point spread of only 8 points should be not much of a problem for a stronger team to cover. In this case a football handicapper will be giving points betting on the favorite. However, if a dog was averaging 20 points per game than 8 points spread will be too big for a favorite to beat and a handicapper will take odds betting on the dog.   

The defensive averages are also important handicapping factors. The good defensive team might yield only 13 points per game, while a team with porous defense might lose 25 points regularly. If two teams in the match are close to each other in offensive production than the difference in the defensive averages will determine how realistic a bookie’s spread is.

Winning and losing margins

Winning and losing margins of both football teams in the match can not be overlooked during a handicapping process. Suppose a favorite team beats an opposition by 14 points on average and the underdog loses by 11 points. Then if a bookie’s spread is 15 points it will be obviously too big for a favorite to cover and for the dog to lose by. A handicapping bettor will take odds in this scenario and bet on the dog to beat the spread.

The home team edge and the road record

Statistics shows that an average football team wins about 56% at home. Better teams win up to 70 and 80% at home. However, the edge provided by the home field is small. It is most significant and deserves to be relied upon only when the opponents are closely matched. In those “pick’em (even) matches” a handicapping bettor might bet on the home underdog due to the home field advantage.

A team’s road record is also a factor worth considering while handicapping a next game. About 70% of the National Football League teams have a winning home record, but only about half of them are capable of the winning road record. Usually those football teams, which are successful on the road, end up in the playoffs. They also beat the point spread more often than not. Sometimes a favorite team’s road record makes a point spread too big for it cover and a bet on the underdog will be a good idea.

Football players’ injuries

If one of the starting players is injured it may or may not affect the team’s chances. It’s not easy to evaluate a possible effect of one or even few players’ injuries on the future performance of the football team. First, a handicapping bettor should understand a contribution and correct value of each player on the team. After that a possible defensive and offensive adjustments by the coaching staff to neutralize the loss of a player should be analyzed.  Suppose an 8-point favorite team’s injured quarterback is out of the game and his presence on the field is worth 3 points.  It might be a mistake for a bettor to jump to a conclusion that without the quarterback the spread should drop to 5 points. The coach can make an adjustment and focus the team on defense and offensive control of the ball to give fewer opportunities to an opposite team. The result can still be a more than 8-point victory.

The experience factor in football handicapping

Statistical data proves that the players’ experience is one of the most important handicapping factors. Most of the football teams that make it to the championship playoffs have the players with more than 5 years experience on average. The teams with the most experienced players usually have better season records with the highest winning percentages around 70%.  They also advance farther in the playoffs.

Weather as a handicapping factor

      Weather can certainly affect the level of a team’s play. That happens quite often when the football season advances into the months of November and December. At that time the rain, snow and mud are a part of life in the Midwest. When the football clubs from the warm states come to play in that region they usually don’t do well in the bad weather and the local underdogs often pull upset victories. Evaluation of a possible weather effect on the game should be a part of a handicapping process. A bad weather forecast can put a bookie’s spread into a question giving an edge for a bettor. Also statistics shows that the favorite teams still beat the dogs in the bad weather, but the dogs beat the spreads. Another useful observation is: it is difficult to score more than 3 touchdowns in the bad weather. So, if, for ex. an underdog is given 17 points, then under assumption of one touchdown for the dog, it will be very difficult for a favorite to score 24 points (more than 3 touchdowns) to cover the spread. A football bettor will be wise to take points in that example and bet on the dog.

Offensive and defensive yardage in football handicapping

Many football bettors like to use offensive and defensive yardage statistics in their handicapping. Offensive yardage is an average number of yards per game gained by the football team. Defensive yardage is an average number of yards per game yielded by the team. The handicappers calculate the same averages among all the teams in the league. After that they subtract the individual teams’ averages from the league’ averages to see how good individual teams are relative to the league. The results of those subtractions are called variances. The defensive variance is subtracted from an offensive variance and the result gives a bettor an idea of how good a specific team can be in comparison with an opponent. If for ex. this result for a favorite in match is 15 and for an underdog is 27, a bettor will be wise to bet on the dog without even worrying about the spread. There is a great chance that a dog will pull an upset and simply win the game.

Football betting is not easy. It’s impossible to beat the spread in every game. A football bettor should pick a game to bet on very carefully and use every edge his handicapping can provide him with.

Copyright Progress Publishing Co. 2006

Selected References:

John Scarne  New Complete Guide to Gambling The Gambling Times Guide to Winning Systems
Kelso Sturgeon  Guide to Sports Betting Alice Fleming  Something for Nothing/A History of Gambling
Carl Sifakis  The Encyclopedia of Gambling Alan Wykes   The Complete Illustrated Guide to Gambling
Edwin Silberstang  How to Win Big in Football, Baseball etc. Bert Randolph Sugar  Sports Book of Betting
Diagram Book   Rules of the Game Ralph Hickok  The Encyclopedia of North American Sports History
Dave Ominsky and P.J. Harari  Football Made Simple Charles Fellows   Football Rules Illustrated