Key differences when betting on the NFL playoffs
By Matt Martz
With the NFL regular season in the rear view mirror, it’s time for football fans and handicappers to turn their attention to postseason action. With that, betters need to keep a few important things in mind in order to wager successfully on the NFL playoffs.
While a lot of casual football bettors won’t see any differences from betting on the regular season versus the playoffs, experienced betters will be keeping their eyes on a few key elements and adjusting their NFL handicapping system accordingly.
With that, here are few ways in which the playoffs differ from the regular season from a betting perspective.
First, handicappers need to determine which teams are the most motivated. There is a big difference between a team that might have been expected to makes the playoffs from Week 1, and that of a team that may have skidded into the postseason on a prayer, debunking the critics along the way. That kind of team has a lot to prove, and is usually highly overlooked by the stronger teams, and in turn undervalued by the public and the odd makers. Hence more betting juice.
Second, like with all NFL betting, handicappers need to factor in mismatches. Sure, during the regular football season mismatches are a regular occurrence with predictable outcomes. But in the playoffs these mismatches just don’t happen. Every team is in the playoffs for a reason and no team should ever be considered a bottom feeder. No matter how awful a team’s record might be, handicappers need to treat every NFL playoff team with the respect, and take advantage of a team that may have had to fight hard to make the playoffs, and has already adjusted to the intensity of playoff-like games.
Next, again like the regular season, bettors need to pay attention to nagging injuries, but with this difference. During the regular season players may be sidelined or play with less intensity with little bumps and bruises. However, every player knows how much the playoffs matter, and a nagging injury that may have kept a him on the bench in October, will be played through in January. So, handicappers need not get caught worrying too much about injuries and how they will impact a players performance, or the outcome of a game. Otherwise it can cost them money.
Finally, the public loves the NFL playoffs. Bandwagoners come out of the woodwork to get the chance to huddle around the office water cooler talking about football. This in turn means high betting volumes, as Joe Public wants to be part of the action. With that and less games to pay attention to, the betting action is concentrated, making it nearly impossible to find value or overlooked teams. Nevertheless, lines may not be corrected very quickly, so football handicappers have to be on their toes, jumping on value when they see it.