The beauty of betting on sports is that there is a thousand different ways you can do it and make a profit. Every successful bettor will have different approaches and priorities when it comes to spotting winners and making a few bucks. At the root of it, though, there are a few things that, in one form or another, are done by all successful bettors. In the playoffs that is especially true – there are so few games each week that making a profit requires that you are sure to avoid serious mistakes. Here are five fundamentals which, in some form, are a part of the approach of all successful NFL playoff bettors:
Be patient – There is a whole lot of betting action on each game in the playoffs – much more than on each regular season game. Because there are only four football games or less each week the oddsmakers have more time to fine tune the odds before they are set, and they can more carefully adjust the lines to keep them where they need to be. In short, the lines are pretty solid. Any errors that are in them are going to be bet out very quickly, too. Unless you get in on that initial adjustment there really is no reason to bet earlier than you absolutely have to. The longer football handicappers wait, the more information they have and the fewer times they will be left with a bet that seemed good when they made it but is lousy by kickoff. The one notable exception here is if the line is currently on the attractive side of a key number – especially three – and is about to get less attractive. In general, there is no good reason to make a bet before you have a good reason to do so.
Don’t bet every game – If sports bettors are used to picking five or six games in a regular week of NFL action then they could be tempted to bet all four games on each of the first two weekends of the playoffs. That just doesn’t make sense. Remember, if you are betting six games on a normal NFL weekend that means that you aren’t betting on 60 percent of the games that are being played. You only pick the best opportunities to bet on during the season, so it only makes sense to be at least as choosy in the playoffs. There could easily be a day during the playoffs where there are two games and you aren’t betting on either. That might seem like much fun, but as a football handicapper staying on the sidelines is always better than making a questionable bet and losing it.
Don’t get blinded by home field advantage and the like – There are a few things that less experienced football bettors can be blinded by – home field advantage, favorites, and the over, for example. In general, and specifically in the playoffs, those factors aren’t nearly as significant as you would imagine them to be. Over the last four years of wild card games, for example, the home team is just 9-7 ATS. Over the same period favorites have gone 8-8 ATS, and eight of the 16 games have gone over the total. This all means that there are no short cuts to profits. Instead of falling for generalities and faulty assumptions just handicap each football game independently.
Ignore what happened coming into the playoffs – Of course sports bettors shouldn’t ignore everything about what happened. What I’m talking about specifically, though, is how teams finished off their season. You’ll hear a lot of talk heading into the NFL playoffs about the importance of momentum. The truth is, though, that momentum really doesn’t matter that much at all. Over the last four season fully half of the teams that covered their first playoff game failed to cover their last game of the regular season. More significantly, 10 of those 16 teams came into the playoffs off a long ATS slump – all 10 had been unprofitable over at least the last four games of the season, and in some cases it was much longer. The playoffs are very different than the regular season, and teams step their game up when it matters.
Plan your bankroll – Unsuccessful bettors treat the playoffs like just another weekend of games. They obviously aren’t, and should be treated that way. Smart bettors will treat the playoffs like another separate season. That means that they will determine what their bankroll is for the playoffs, what their ideal bet size is based on that bankroll, and what their goals are for the playoffs. That’s the same process football handicappers would go through at the start of any season.