How to Handicap NFL First Half

How to Handicap the First Half of the NFL Betting Season

Handicapping the first half of the NFL season can be very confusing and challenging if it isn’t done the right way. This is largely based on the fact that a set of unique factors comes into play in the NFL betting lines for the first half of the 2017 season. NFL bettors must therefore stay on top of their game if they are to make the most the existing odds. Below are a number of noteworthy online NFL betting tips for handicapping the first half of the NFL season in a productive way.

Dive in the Lines Cautiously 

During the first couple of weeks of the NFL betting season, the general betting public doesn’t usually have a good feel of the true capability of teams. Yes, betting on the NFL preseason can provide a couple of insightful details, and past information and statistics from the previous seasons can equally be important when handicapping the NFL lines. But owing to offseason changes like the draftees, free agent signees and coaching/staffing changes; it’s hard to define how good a team really is. As such, it is highly advisable that you place your wagers cautiously and selectively during the first weeks of the season. It is only after you have a good feel of the season—let’s say after Week 3—that you should go big and bold on your bets.

Think Forward, Not Backward

As earlier mentioned, offseason changes in team personnel is a crucial factor when handicapping the first half of the season. However, rather than only looking at what has happened in the offseason (and placing so much importance on past NFL trends and statistics), your focus should be on how all that information is likely to affect the team in the present. For example, if a starting quarterback is injured for the season, your focus shouldn’t just be on the injury, but on other things like his replacements (the backups) and how they are likely to adapt on the role, along with support from the rest of the team. By doing so, you will give yourself a clear edge over most average bettors, who have the tendency of being tunnel-visioned on the past rather than the present and future.

Know When to Buy Into and/or Fade the Hype

Many players and several teams always enter the new season with a lot of hype surrounding them. However, not all these players and teams usually live up to the hype. This is where smart bettors can separate themselves from the rest. Before buying into any hype, do your own research and assess if there’s merit to the hype. Is it all just a creation of the media? Is it all because fans are obsessed about a particular player/team even when there’s no value? Or is there a genuine reason to trust and buy into the hype? By determining players and teams that are ready to live up to the hype immediately and those that still need time, we can easily make well-informed handicapping decisions when choosing what to bet on in the NFL lines for the first half of the season.

The Value of Studying the NFL Schedule

From strength of opponents, to nature of traveling involved, to rest between games (including the bye week), to time when games are being played (is it at midday, in the afternoon or at primetime?); there are several aspects of scheduling that need to be keenly considered when betting on the first half of the football season. The more effort you put into studying the schedule and how the scheduling issues will impact the NFL betting lines, the more accurate you are likely to be when handicapping for winners in your sportsbooks, be it in SU, ATS or even total (OVER/UNDER) betting.

Differentiating Between Public Money and Smart Money

The public money is not always wrong just in the same way smart money is not always right. But generally speaking, public money is often more wrong compared to smart money, largely because most public bettors love to bang on favorites even when it is ill-advised to do so. As such, you should always be aware of who the public and smart money is on, and then make your own choice (based on your homework). At the end of the day, your ability to handicap the NFL betting boards correctly will be based on differentiation between the public and smart money, and then deciding on who to fade based on your assessment

Staying Updated on Injuries and Suspensions

Many bettors rarely pay sufficient attention to injuries and suspensions that happen when the regular season has started. This is mostly because there are usually several games being played (sometimes at the same time) and many other related activities going on—including new players joining new teams—hence making it difficult to stay on track. Finding a resourceful site that can keep you updated on all the injuries and suspensions in the league—like ESPN’s injuries section—can prove to be a goldmine when handicapping early NFL lines.

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