There is no sport in North America that comes even remotely close in popularity to the NFL. Not even close. That means that there is far more relatively uninformed betting money bet on the NFL than in any other sport. The more public action there is on a football game, the more concerned astute sports bettors need to be about the impact that action can have on how betting lines are set and how they move. Heavy public action on one side of a game can create tremendous value for NFL bettors who like the team the public doesn’t, but can destroy any value if you are looking to bet on the same side that the public is. The good news is that the public is often predictable, so there are situations in which you can be confident that the public action will be heavy and very one-sided. Here are seven such situations:
When it is perceived to be a massive mismatch – The public is almost certain to overreact in a situation in which one football team is perceived to be massively better than their opponent. If a team that is undefeated or close to it is playing a team that has won few games and looked generally lousy then the action will be massively one-sided. The public will almost always assume that the good NFL team is better than it is, and that the bad team is worse than it is.
When a very public team meets one that very much isn’t – There are some teams that the public loves to bet on. Those are the teams that are iconic, the ones that consistently win their division and shine in the NFL playoffs, and the ones with the biggest stars. They will bet on those teams pretty much no matter what. There are other teams that are far less attractive to bettors – those that play in small markets, those with a long history of poor performance, and those that haven’t had a star quarterback or other high profile player for a long time. When a public football team meets an unpopular team then the action will be very one-sided in most cases regardless of how the teams actually match up. Ths can be used by savvy NFL handicappers.
When a quarterback is injured – The public loves nothing more than quarterbacks, so they significantly overestimate the impact of those players in a lot of cases. When a quarterback is injured, then, the public will typically assume the worst – especially if it is a big name quarterback with a lower profile backup. Quite often, though, the impact of the injury really isn’t as significant as perceived. The backup quarterback often has one big thing going for him – the other team isn’t familiar with him and likely had started to prepare to play the starter.
When a coach is fired – The public almost always assumes the worst after a NFL coach is fired mid-season. They assume that the team is in chaos, and that things are going to continue to go as badly as they have been. Quite often, though, a team can enjoy a short term improvement after a change because of relief that the coach is gone, or because the new coach is able to motivate the players in new ways or correct issues that were major problems.
After a scandal hits the news – The public loves scandals – that’s why tabloids are so popular. When a scandal hits a football team – an arrest, a drug suspension, and so on – the public is likely to have a strong negative reaction towards the team. These scandals can have a big impact on a team, but often not as much of one as the public will expect.
When a player is going for a big personal record – The public loves records, so when a NFL player is about to set a big personal record – like the most passing yards or touchdowns in a season, or the most rushing yards – the media coverage will be intense. Whenever there is heavy media coverage the betting money will follow. The more impressive the record and the higher profile the player the more intense and one-sided the action is likely to be. Be sure to use that to your advantage when betting.
When a team can set a historical mark – The same goes for big team records as for individual records. For example, when a football team has a real shot at going undefeated the public action will get heavier and heavier with every successive win – especially if they are winning by scoring a lot of points and are winning by wide margins. On the other hand, the public will be more actively opposed to a NFL team the longer their losing streak stretches. Consider all of these factors when placing your sports bets.