The week between the last preseason football game and the first regular season game of the NFL season is an exciting but challenging time for sports bettors. There is an overwhelming sense of excitement and anticipation as the season nears, and it can seem like it takes for ever for the first meaningful game in eight months to arrive. That last week seems endless, but it can be a very valuable time for football bettors – the last chance to make sure that you are ready to give your best effort in the pursuit of profit. Here are seven things for football handicappers to consider during this week:
Look at final roster cuts – You can tell a lot about where a NFL team is at by who they cut. A lot of times the cuts won’t be particularly surprising. Sometimes, though, there are players who are sent packing that come as a total surprise. It could be a NFL rookie that seemed to have a lot of promise, or a free agent who was just signed months before. It could be an established veteran who was penciled in to start at the beginning of camp. You can’t know exactly what a team was thinking when they made their decisions, but you can draw some pretty powerful insights. What are they feeling particularly strong about? How aggressive are they being? Did they pick their best lineup for now, or do they seem to be building for the future?
Look at how future odds have shifted since the start of the preseason – When future odds are first set by bookmakers there is a whole lot of guesswork involved in making them. By the time the preseason is over there is still some guess work because the teams have yet to play a meaningful game, but there is a whole lot more information to base opinions on than there was before. By comparing the first numbers to what is available now you can see the football teams which have caused the opinions to change significantly in the eyes of bettors and oddsmakers, and which ones have remained basically what they were first anticipated to be. It’s a great way to get a strong sense of where the public is going to be focused and which teams they might neglect. That means you may find value for your NFL betting bankroll.
Evaluate new QB starters based on what you have seen – There is nothing harder than trying to figure out how well a NFL quarterback is going to fare if he has never played in the league or started for his team. The only thing that gives you an exact sense of how ready a player is is actually playing a game. Until then, though, you can get a sense based on some clues from the preseason. How much did they play? Did they show improvement every time they were on the field? Did they look comfortable in the huddle and in the pocket? Does the team seem to have confidence in them?
Evaluate team health – Everyone can see and read an injury report. You can give yourself a nice advantage, though, by looking beyond those reports to get a sense of how healthy teams really are. Which players are nursing training camp injuries? Which players aren’t quite at full strength after offseason injuries? Which players have suspiciously played less than expected? Local newspapers and fan forums can give very valuable insights into which teams might not be as ready as the public will expect. Use this information to make winning NFL picks.
Are you using the best sportsbooks for you? – It might seem like a sportsbook is just a sportsbook, but that’s just not the case. Some books offer better odds than others, and some offer better ones for certain situations than others. Bonuses offered for joining new sportsbooks may also be beneficial for you and your bankroll. This is a great time to evaluate whether you are using the right book or whether you can do better.
Set your goals – I am a huge believer in the power of goal setting for improving your sports betting. This is a perfect time to be setting the goals for the season. Different people will find different goals motivating depending on them. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by setting a profit goal to chase, or a win percentage you would like to hit. Maybe you’ll be motivated by setting a goal number of hours you’ll spend handicapping the NFL each week, or the number of games you will watch and analyze. It doesn’t matter what kind of goals you set as long as you set them and refer to them during the football season to make sure you stay on track.
Is your record keeping ready? – Good sports bettors keep good records of the bets they have made. It is as simple as that. If you have good records then you can look back at what has worked well and what hasn’t. That allows you to focus on your strengths and eliminate the leaks that are damaging your profitability. Record keeping doesn’t have to be complicated – a simple spreadsheet or even an old fashioned notebook can work for you. This is a good time to look at what you are doing and ask yourself how you can do it better. That will go a long way to improving your NFL betting record from last season.