What is a Trap Game?

Trap game is a common betting term but what is a trap game? Learning the characteristics can help you identify a game trap and more importantly, learn how to avoid a trap game while handicapping sports

Trap Game

Trap games do exist in sports betting, but identifying them is a real challenge

Can You Win a Trap Game?

A trap game involves a team that might be overlooking their opponent. Let’s say that the Chargers have already clinched a playoff spot before the last week of the season. The Chargers could be playing a team that has been out of the playoffs for some time. This could be seen as a game trap for multiple reasons. It could be injury, rest, looking forward, etc. That’s why it is important to watch all factors involving a team, not just looking at the potential winnings.

You can win a trap games but you need to be able to handicap the matchup based on player personnel, coaches, trends, systems, injuries, etc, and then start to determine how much weight, if any, is being factored into the situation by oddsmakers.

Don’t assume that a bad line in a trap game is a mistake from the oddsmaker

Sometimes a lopsided line from the book will be your first indicator that a trap games situation exists, but it’s important to remember that whatever you or the rest of the betting public think you know about this set up, the oddsmaker is most certainly aware of.


Do Trap Games Exist

Trap games exist, 100-percent, and there are three major factors to look for when trying to identify potential trap games.

  • Good Team, Bad Team: This one is pretty self explanatory. If  we have a team on a three-game win streak (KC Chiefs), facing a team with multiple recent losses (Lions), it might seem like easy money to take the Chiefs. If you’re able to recognize the good-team, bad-team, good-team order on a team’s schedule, that middle game could be your opportunity to capitalize on the underdog.
  • The Hangover Game: This can occur when a favored team is coming off a tough, physical game. Let’s say the Ravens play the Steelers late Sunday night. Tough, sloppy division rivalry but Lamar takes the Ravens to a win. Next week Baltimore plays at the 3-7 Titans on an early 1:00 PM Sunday kickoff. This could be seen as a “hangover” spot because the Ravens would be physically and mentally taxed from the Steelers game.
  • Off Field Distractions: This one is not as common as the other two but can still factor into a game. It can also  branch off in several ways ranging from contract disputes  a recent injury, or lack of performance causing the favored team to underperform . Friction between the head coach and locker room, and bad chemistry, can also lead to  poor play.

The “trap game” is one of those theories that is hard to prove with data, but if you talk to experienced sports bettors,   few would deny its existence. The most difficult aspect of trap games is that they’re often unrecognizable until after the game . In fact, even the oddsmakers can slip up from time to time. When you’re evaluating your next betting matchup, ask yourself if the game checks any of the boxes in this article. If it does, you might consider fading, passing, or at minimum reducing your exposure.  

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How to Avoid a Trap Game

At the end of the day trap games occur when you make the mental mistake of looking past an opponent. Luckily this can easily be fixed through effort and discipline.

To consistently avoid trap games you must learn to respect all the other teams you may play in a year. So long as you respect each team you play you will find you will not be looking past some opponents over others. As they say in football betting, any given Sunday.

Figuring out how to avoid a trap game takes an emotional and analytical assessment of the situation. In-depth knowledge of the team, league and sport are essential but you want to watch out for the blinders that fans of a certain team often don. just as much as it doesAt the end of the day, all teams in professional leagues are of an elite talent level, but some can get caught on the pedestal, ready to fall.