When a new season of football rolls around in the NFL every sports bettor is looking for an edge
to win more of their bets. There will never be any substitute for hard work when it comes to
perfecting your handicapping techniques as every single game that you do decide to bet on has
to be evaluated on its individual merits. However, that does not mean that betting trends and
team tendencies do not play a big role in the overall handicapping process.
Just about every sports betting site that posts game previews for the NFL will also add in the
betting trends for each matchup. The individual betting trends for a particular team should be
taken into context one way, while the past betting trends for head-to- head play need to be taken
into consideration in a whole different fashion.
Starting with the betting trends for an individual team, you should try and focus on the most
current information available. This is tough to do in the beginning of a new season since it has
been months since any team has played a meaningful game. You might be able to derive some
clues from a team’s performance in the first half of its four preseason games such as points
scored and points allowed, but even this is a real stretch for finding anything current. The simple
solutions is to focus most of your energy on last season’s results while heavily discounting the
role that trends actually play in the handicapping process. By the time you get to the halfway
point of the current season you will begin to have some more reliable trends to go by.
When it comes to the betting trends in a head-to- head matchup, the first thing you want to focus
on is the frequency that these two teams have played one another over the past few years. Any
betting trends for interconference matchups between AFC and NFC teams that only play one
another once every four years are basically worthless. At the opposite end of the spectrum are
head-to- head betting trends for divisional matchups where teams play one another twice a
season. These are far more valuable to trying to predict future results since history does tend to
repeat itself from time to time.
There is some level of validity to the concept that one team has the other team’s number in
division play. Say for instance that the Buffalo Bills have failed to cover a spread as an
underdog in its last 15 road games against the New England Patriots. In this case, the
automatic lean goes to New England at home unless the rest of your handicapping efforts paint
a strong picture for a possible upset this time around.
Divisional betting trends tend to go in waves that can change direction at any time. Sooner or
later Buffalo is going to cover a spread on the road against the Patriots so do not get caught
riding that same wave without looking at that matchup on its individual merits the next time they
do meet in New England.
Most trends are presented as ATS or against the spread, but you should always take into
consideration straight-up (SU) trends as well. You could easily come across a situation where
one team has beaten the other team SU on a consistent basis over the past few seasons while
closing as a favorite each time. There could still be a built-in edge with the dominating team in
this matchup given its past success at beating the other team on the field, but not necessarily at
the betting window.