We are still several months away from the start of the NFL season, and there is a whole lot of quality sporting action between now and then. For a huge number of sports bettors, though, the NFL is the only thing that really matters. If the players aren’t currently dancing with other stars then they are in the weight room and on the practice field getting ready for next season. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be doing the same. Don’t worry – you don’t have to break a sweat to get ready. Here are five things you can do to get ready to be at your best and most profitable when the season starts for real, though:
Catch up on player movement – It’s easy to keep track of the high profile players and their new addresses. Football is the ultimate team sport, though, so it’s more than just the stars that impact how a team will perform. Now is a great time to study the depth chart of teams and how they have changed since last we saw them. The rosters aren’t cast in stone yet, obviously, but studying now can give you a good sense of which teams have truly improved and which still have work to do. The media will spend lots of time between now and then talking about the same thing, but they will focus on the stars and rarely delve into what really matters. You’ll have an edge on the public if you work hard to form your own opinion.
Do your reading – There are hundreds of websites devoted to handicapping, dozens of forums filled with good information, and a small library of worthwhile football books as well. The more you read and learn, the better you will be as a handicapper. You won’t agree with everything you read, and you might not even change what you do, but you’ll learn to avoid mistakes or do things differently. Instead of rading a John Grisham on the beach, read something that will make you some money down the line.
Improve your record-keeping – Most bettors don’t keep very good records. They probably know if they win or lose, but they can’t necessarily tell you how they do it. Spending the time setting up a better, more comprehensive record-keeping system is perhaps the biggest single thing you can do to help you make more money. If you closely track your bets you can find the leaks – the bets that you consistently make that aren’t profitable. You probably have bad habits that you aren’t even aware of – maybe you play the over more than you should, or you think that the Bears are better than they are. You can only fix the problems when you first identify them. Spend some time making friends with Excel this summer.
Plunge into the stats – You probably spend a lot of time looking at stats during the season, but there are also a lot of stats that you probably ignore. You should spend the time now getting familiar with some stats that you don’t use in your handicapping now. Look at individual boxscores, find a stat that sticks out as being particularly good or bad, and see how the game turned out. Then look at other games to see if the same stat had the same impact. If you do start to see a trend then you can look deeper. If not then move on to the next one. You might just find another way to find and edge in a game or two over the season.
Get to know the rookies – New players are on their way, and many of them will be making a serious impact. The media has been talking about them since long before the draft. They certainly don’t plunge very deep into reality when they do it, though. If you want to really form valuable opinions about the new players you need to ignore all that you have heard and form your own ideas. Read articles from the local papers in the towns the player’s schools were located in. Look for scouting reports from real draft analysis sites that do their own research. Go to Youtube and find highlights packages to see the players first hand. Maybe you’ll spot something that you really like about a player, or something you really don’t. There is no such thing as too much knowledge.