November 2013

Football picksNovember 27, 2013

NFL Handicapping Tips: Don’t Be Fooled by a Team’s RecordWins and losses are all that matter, right? While this is undeniably true, there is one problem with falling in love with a team’s win-loss record when doing your handicapping: teams change and unbalanced schedules mean that it is difficult to compare two teams with different records. Say, for instance, a team started out playing a very weak schedule. They pile up a bunch of wins, but can you really take a lot from those wins? Is that undefeated team necessarily better than the one-loss team that has played the league’s hardest schedule? You have to be very careful not to fall in love with a team’s record.

In addition, teams go through changes all of the time. NFL Teams can suffer injuries, and there might even be internal strife that causes a team to struggle. More than that, young players can develop, or teams could make lineup changes that have an impact on their success. You should recognize that a team’s record gives a good indication of what they have done, but it does not give a great picture of what they might do in the future. As long as you keep this in mind, you will have a great chance to win as the season gets deeper.

This is not to say that a record means nothing when you’re making your NFL picks. How a team has played in the past does give you some idea of what it will do in the future. The key for NFL handicappers is to take into account all of the factors that might influence a team going forward. If you can do this, then you can safely use a team’s record as a contributing factor that is not the end-all in your handicapping.


Hockey picksNovember 27, 2013

NFL Handicapping Tips: What Wins in the PlayoffsPlayoff football looks, for all intent and purposes, just like regular season football. The rules are the same, and the teams look the same, too. It seems, though, that a different kind of football is required by teams who want to win when the playoffs roll around. Teams who win are generally those who protect the ball, play solid defense, and convert on third downs. This is something that has shown itself to be true over the last few years, so if you are going to make NFL picks, you need to keep this stuff in mind.

When you’re doing your NFL playoff handicapping, you might also want to consider the impact of home field advantage. During the course of the year, home field matters, but it matters more in the playoffs. This is because when playoff time comes, the fans will be revved up. Stadiums will be full, and noise will become a major factor. If you fail to take these things into account, you run the serious risk of missing your playoff picks.

You should also think about the importance of good, experienced quarterbacks around playoff time. When it is third and short at midfield in the playoffs, a good QB can guide his team to all-important first downs. A poor quarterback will struggle in this scenario. With that in mind, you can sometimes find value with your playoff NFL football picks by doing with steady QBs. The added bonus here is that these quarterbacks are the same guys who will take care of the football, leading to fewer turnovers and a much better chance at winning big games.


Football picksNovember 27, 2013

NFL Handicapping: The Late Season Injury BluesAs you make late season NFL picks, be very wary of what happens to teams late in the year. Late season games might seem just like games early in the season. After all, the teams look the same and the lines are similar, right? Beneath the surface, though, injury issues are lurking that could threaten to sink your NFL picks altogether. You need to be worried about more than just the guys who are listed on the injury report. In addition, you should worry about the people who you don’t even know are injured.

Lots of times, guys will be playing through bumps and bruises. They will lace them up over a sprained ankle or a set of injured ribs. You should do your best to find out when these issues will be present. Late in the year, injuries begin to pile up, and teams will lose some of their effectiveness. Often times, both teams will have injury issues. This will produce a net zero effect on the game, so it is not something that you have to worry about when handicapping. If there is a game with an especially banged up team against a team that has stayed mostly healthy, take note.

You will want to pay particularly close attention to those situations where teams have injuries at the quarterback position. In today’s NFL, teams can get by with losing defensive linemen or skilled position players. After all, the Carolina Panthers recently beat the Miami Dolphins even with their best pass rusher missing the game. When QBs are struggling with injury, the entire offense can slow down. Look for opportunities to bet against ailing quarterbacks. Choosing to suit up despite an injury is not a virtue in the NFL. Instead, it is something that can hold a team back and give you a chance to make a winning bet.



Basketball picksNovember 21, 2013

College Basketball Handicapping: Previewing the Big TenThe Big Ten conference looks like it should be either the best or second-best league in the nation this year. The ACC, with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, looks like a strong competitor, as well. When looking at the Big Ten, there are some things that we know and some things that are still waiting to be sorted out. People looking to make bets on this league will need to have a working knowledge of the teams and their strengths heading into the season.

Michigan State is the class of the league and perhaps the class of the country. They are experienced, long, athletic, and they can shoot well. This is the kind of team that will have a good shot at winning a national championship if they can stay healthy and continue progressing. This team will also bludgeon people in the Big Ten. They have the guns to run away from teams in league games, so they might be able to cover numbers.

Below Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan will fight it out for the next few spots. Wisconsin figures to be its usually steady self, while Ohio State and Michigan arguably have higher ceilings. Michigan in particular is an interesting case. The Wolverines have tremendous talent all over the floor. They’re long enough to challenge people full-court, and they have shooters that can make opponents pay for spending too much time defending Michigan’s strong frontcourt players.



Basketball picksNovember 21, 2013

College Basketball Betting: On Early Season TournamentsOne of the fun things about college basketball handicapping is that it starts so early. If you love to bet basketball, then you are in a lot of luck. There are tons of tournaments that will make November feel like the heart of college hoops seasons. When making college basketball picks, you should understand these early season tournaments and how to get the most out of them. They are much different from normal situations in a few critical ways.

Early season tournaments provide an excellent opportunity to load up on undervalued commodities. Later in the year, things will be tighter, and it will become much harder to find the kinds of lines that you need in order to win. Don’t be afraid to play those teams early that are flying under the radar. The average bettor will be putting his or her money on teams with big names, so you can make good money if you are willing to go the other way.

Another important aspect of early season tournaments has to do with fatigue. The fatigue factor is massively important when teams are playing lots of games in a few days. On top of that, it is the early part of the year, so most teams will not have built up stamina yet. You may want to go with those teams that have long benches. Early in the season, these teams with depth will have a huge advantage over teams that utilize a much shorter bench.



Basketball picksNovember 21, 2013

College Basketball Handicapping: Adjusting to Rule ChangesAny person making college basketball picks this year will need to keep up with rule changes that figure to have a massive impact on the outcome of many games. There is one rule in particular that is going to impact totals and sides in a big way. In today’s college basketball environment, it is much more difficult to play defense than ever before. Refs are calling fouls on hand checks that would not have been fouls one year ago. This will impact the games in two different ways.

First, it remains clear that these new calls are going to lengthen games. Overs are going to hit much more often than they ever have before. Any person watching college basketball early in the year knows that games have been running well over two hours. This is because of all of the stoppages, so if you are going to try and make money betting totals, keep this important fact in mind.

In addition, the new rules will have a huge impact on sides. Teams that can shoot free throws will have a huge advantage over those who do not. For example, Wisconsin scored 100 points for the first time in almost two decades early this season. Any team that can consistently hit free throws will be walking away with much more success in the wake of these changes. This will help these games get out of hand more quickly, so you might have more success taking favorites when you make your college basketball picks this year.


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