Take, for example, the case of a certain football team. This team might be the most highly skilled, well-coached, and well-led team in the league, all of which makes their opponent’s victory all the more likely. Their opponent has toiled in anonymity for years and the odds makers haven’t given them a chance to shine. How can you raise your chances of winning? You must first learn what the odds makers are doing and then turn these pieces of information into a profitable financial benefit.
Bookmakers keep the sports book open at all times, and never close it for the sake of fairness. They are required to watch every bit of racing that is taking place at every track in the country. On their computer screens, they are watching every trick the players do. They are analyzing every move the competitor makes and they are making mental notes of any emotion experienced by a player. Learning these notes allows them to place bets according to the likelihood of victory.
Let’s say a quarterback is having a great day. The odds makers know this fact, and they’ll put a smaller amount on this team to win, compared to betting on a more highly skilled, better coached team. If you would like to know what to do with this information, you’d better start by studying the history of every team in the league. The players’ performances are still the same: some teams are good and some teams are very good; however, the coaching staff and the publicoration of the team lead to changes in the team’s makeup. Players that are highly skilled may be undervalued, while managers and coaches thatENJOYKeeping their team together may be overvalued. After studying the past performances of each team, then the current play of the teams, and the odds placed by the bookies on each game, I’ll often have a better idea of what the outcome will be. If the play of the team changes dramatically (from an injury orchant) I’ll know that the team is more likely to win at home than elsewhere.
If they’ll lose to a lower-class team, then I’ll know they are far more likely to lose their game at home.
Home field advantage
Many people fail to realize that almost all NFL teams play better at home than on the road. With few exceptions (for example, the Steelers and Seahawks are the only two teams that play exclusively at home — and the Steelers are the only team that won Super Bowls in both the playoffs and regular season), most NFL teams do better at home than on the road.
In the 2001 season, the year of the Rams, the Rams started their season 5-1 SU at home and 0-5 SU on the road. In the 2002 season, the year of the Bears, the Bears started their season 4-1 SU at home and 1-4 SU on the road. The 2003 season started with the Ravens at home and 0-5 SU, 1-4 ATS at the same time. In the 2004 season, the season that saw the Patriots rise to the top of the NFL’s draft ladder, the Ravens were on a 12-4 SU home tear while the Patriots were just 1-8 SU and 3-9 ATS on the road.
Baltimore had won six in a row before getting into the playoffs. They played the Jets in the playoffs for the first time and ended up 14-2. In the draft that followed the Ravens’ incredible season, the Patriots selected Steve McNair and the Jets did not have a chance. McNair has now led the Jets to three Super Bowl titles (and is 2-1 in his efforts this year).
As recently as the 2004 season, the Patriots were 18-2 SU at home and yet not a single one of their road games had been joined by a touchdown. This season, the Pats are 12-3 SU at home, notching five against the spread. They opened 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs, then went on to lose 35-3 at Atlanta and 14-2 at Baltimore. Think about that for a minute. In the last 14 years, the Pats are an incredible 26-2 SU and 32-5 ATS at home in the playoffs. They’ve won in Phoenix,San Diego and Kansas City this year (and lost to the Chiefs in Baltimore).
What’s going on in the NFC? The Predictions Are…the Patriots will again be the dominant force in the AFC, leading the way to the Super Bowl from the No. 1 seed. The Colts and the Packers are still the dominant teams in the NFC, but the fighting will be very tough at times. The Eagles are interesting ‘under’ the radar’ right now, but they’ll likely be a very good ‘over’ the next few weeks. The Ravens are playoff bound, but don’t expect them to mercy fold Saturday against a playoff bound Cowboys team.