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The F-T-S of Sports Handicapping

If you don’t know what F-T-S stands for in sports handicapping, then there’s no time like the present to find out. These are the three basic methods used in sports handicapping. Many pick artists will use a combination of these methods. All are useful and each one helps create a solid picture of the game on which you’re betting.

Fundamental sports handicapping is all about matchups. Technical traits focus on trends and situational analysis concentrates on team motivation. Here’s a consideration of how each works and in what ways they can be helpful.

Fundamental handicapping focuses on all sorts of matchups. It’s pretty basic stuff. Let’s say you’re looking at a NFL game and Team A has a dynamic passing game and Team B has a lot of holes in the secondary, then Team A is going to be favored in this area. If B actually puts a solid secondary on the field, then this matchup may favor Team A less or not at all. If Team A has a bad passing game and B an excellent, pick-oriented secondary, then the advantage in the matchup would go to Team B.

This is really the meat and potatoes of sports handicapping. It’s essential that you know how to do this. In order to use fundamental handicapping, you’ll need to know the specific sport entirely, including strategy, skill sets needed, specific players, coaching philosophies and much more.

Technical handicapping considers trends.  These can include how teams have performed against each other, ATS and in recent contests against similar type clubs. There are various trends to consider, including those related to the last 10 games, those where both teams were involved and how clubs have done on the road or at home.

When looking at trends, how a team did the year before is much less important than how they are presently performing and how they have done in the present season. For sports bettors, trends are often difficult to utilize at the start of the season since none have been established.

By the way, don’t confuse trends with momentum. Trends are patterns that occur usually in a group of games, while momentum revolves around shifts of energy and dominance within one specific game. Momentum does not carry over from one game to another. Trends are patterns that are related to a specific series or groupings of games. In order to be a successful sports bettor, it’s important understand and remember this.

Situational handicapping is all about motivation. Even in professional sports, motivation is key. Which team has the most to gain or lose in the upcoming contest, was one club recently embarrassed due to a poor performance and which is the most battered and tired are all a part of motivation. All of these areas are connected to situational handicapping. Weather conditions, travel time and if a team has recently lost or won a close one can all be key.

Some sports handicappers will focus primarily on one of these methods, but the truth is most picks are best served by looking at all three and weighing each one carefully. Sometimes a technical element will be important in your making your final decision and other times a fundamental aspect will come into play and sway your pick. Of course, we’ve all seen times when motivational handicapping is the key to a specific game or series.

Sometimes this particular aspect of sports betting is the toughest one to assess and predict. It can seem to come entirely out of the blue. This is especially true in college sports where the skill levels can be so different between teams and yet that club that plays with inspiration can bet that team that has all of the talent.

The point is you don’t want to negate any of these handicapping techniques. Doing so will give you only a partial picture of the game and can result in your making a bad pick. One of the best ways to determine value in a particular line is to engage in a thorough analysis of the teams that are involved.

In time, you may find that you’re able to create a template or standard method of measuring each team’s potential in a specific sport. If you are able to successfully do this, you still want to leave yourself open to variances and odd facts and figures that may result in your altering your sports betting methodology.

Sports handicapping is evolutionary.  Teams change, leagues change and the sport changes. So whatever you do don’t use last year’s method for this year’s games. Use the F-T-S basics as your foundation and from there explore new ways of analyzing games and making your picks.  Be sure to keep up on any rule changes, the ebb and flow of talent on teams and any new systems or philosophies that may be put in place. A sports bettors ability to gather information and assess it at various levels is the key to making successful picks ATS, when wagering on the moneyline and in betting the over/under.

 

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