The United Football League barely registers on the national sports consciousness. It seems like we don’t need another football league, and certainly not one that features mostly NFL castoffs and has-beens. I understand why fans aren’t flocking to the league in major numbers. For bettors, though, the league provides some real opportunities and potential. I wouldn’t ever suggest that a minor league like the UFL should be a major component of a betting strategy. For sports bettors who are already successful betting the NFL or NCAA, though, the league could provide some very juicy opportunities to make a nice profit. Here are seven reasons why the league should be attractive to sports bettors:
Timing – Starting in 2011 the games will be played on Sunday afternoons starting at the beginning of August. If you are a die-hard football fan then there isn’t a whole lot to bet on in August, and any football is better than no football, so based on timing alone the league s worth a look.
Coaches are mostly familiar – Most of the coaches and management in the league came from the NFL, so football bettors who know that league know the tendencies, preferences, and weaknesses of those coaches well. That makes it a lot easier to get into the heads of the coaching staff and figure out what they are likely to do.
A lot of players are familiar from college or NFL – If you look down the rosters of the UFL you’ll recognize most of the players from their time in college, and many of them from their NFL careers as well. One of the challenges of handicapping a new league is getting to know the players and what they are capable of, but in the UFL that barrier doesn’t exist. If you are a close follower of college football then you can have a particular edge because you can remember what players are capable of when they are given a big opportunity to play. Sports bettors who know the NFL and not college ball may not have gotten a chance to see that player do anything other than ride the bench, so they might not have an accurate assessment of his potential.
Small league – As of 2011 there are only five teams in the league. With a league that small there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t quickly get to intimately know the roster, the coaching staff, and the strengths and weaknesses of each team. Knowledge is power in handicapping, and you can easily attain ample knowledge. On any given week there are only four football teams in action. With just two games to break down you can spend a lot of time on each game and look for factors that you could miss if you had 15 or more games to deal with on the same day. If you are a fan of in-depth handicapping then this league should be attractive.
Light betting volume – The betting volume on these games are very low compared to the NFL or major college games. The lower the betting volume is, the less effort that oddsmakers will put into setting the lines, and the longer it will take for mistakes in the line to be corrected. Light betting volume makes it much easier to find betting value, and successful bettors know that nothing is more important to long term success than value.
Crowds aren’t a major factor – Studies have shown that the biggest factor that contributes to home field advantage is the impact of the crowd on the referees. The attendance for this league isn’t setting the world on fire, and the fans that show up aren’t deeply passionate because the league is new. There is no national attention to add to the scrutiny referees feel as well. The overall lack of attention should have an effect on the strength of the home field advantage. If games are on a more level playing field regardless of location the handicapping them becomes easier.
No major national coverage – None of the major sports outlets are covering the league in any detail. That means that stats, news, and analysis aren’t widely available. That might sound like bad news to casual sports bettors, but to savvy ones it is actually great news. There is always somewhere you can find information if you want to seek it out – football team websites, the league website, local papers, and so on. Most casual bettors won’t bother to seek out that information, so the people who do put that effort in are going to have a solid edge.