Over the last few years I have developed a system of how to handicap NFL games each week. I find it very fascinating and enjoy doing the research as much as I like watching a full slate of games on a Sunday. There’s something really rewarding to handicap a game and being right so I want to share some of the steps I take each week during the NFL regular season.
Before the season starts I create power ratings for all 32 NFL teams. I use a few different numbers from sharp bettors and combine those numbers with my opinion on each team. Each week (hopefully on Tuesday) I’ll release my updated power ratings during the NFL season on Facebook and Twitter. I hope my numbers can be a starting point or guide for people who plan on picking games against the spread.
I already have completed my Week 1 NFL work, which is mostly based on win total opinions I have on each team. So the schedule I will go through is what I’ll start doing late afternoon after the first wave of Week 1 games are complete.
Sunday and Monday: Since it’s impossible to watch every game, I’ll read box scores and see if the final score matches with the stats. I’ll look at yards and first downs but I’ll pay closer attention to yards per play and turnovers. For the most part turnovers are random especially fumbles so this is usually the best stat to find outlier performances.
I’ll begin conservatively updating my power ratings as games go final up until late on Monday night. I don’t want to drastically change my ratings so I don’t fall into the trap of overreacting to one game.
Tuesday: I’ll finalize my power ratings and start creating my own point spreads for the next week’s games. I’ll go into more details about how I create my spreads when the season begins.
Along with creating a point spread, I’ll look at what line was when they were released in April and any other lookahead lines. I’ll compare those numbers to the actual line and try to find line value opportunities.
After that I will look at different scheduling factors that could impact the odds and utilize several theories I have learned through the years. Again, I’ll explain more about that when the season begins.
Wednesday-Friday: Hopefully by Wednesday I’m able to isolate a couple games that I like. Whether I like five games or none, I’ll spend these days paying attention to information and keeping track of injuries. I’ll read or listen to people I respect and try to get as many opinions as possible on each NFL game. This can help me feel better about a team I like or sway me off a side completely.
Saturday: Saturday’s are for college football in the fall and the NFL market doesn’t move much. Take the day off and come back refreshed for Sunday morning.
Sunday: This is the day to get up early to look and see where lines moves. It’s fun to watch how much a point spread or over/under can move hours before kickoff. I don’t want to start second guessing my work from earlier in the week but I think it’s vital to see where the lines are moving and where they close. People say sports betting is like the stock market and it’s evident on Sunday mornings in the fall when the trading really ramps up.
These are the basic steps I have used the last three years in the NFL. I will share my process and give the basic information you need during the season to handicap games on your own.