Thursday NFL today; I got several emails asking me who I’d pick for the sake of action or “beer money” as some put it. Drinking does a good job of removing the edge if you know what I mean. Anyways, these questions get me thinking about big marquee games like the Super Bowl in NFL and how to bet them. Let’s get back to basics and the tough reality of Super Bowl betting and other marquee games like today’s Broncos vs. Chiefs Thursday night game.
SUPER BOWL BETTING:
There is no question that the Patriots have dominated this game for the past 10 years or so under coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady going an astounding 192-62-0 (+8.71 ppg, 75.6%) SU. In the 2014 Super Bowl, over 65% of the public was betting the Favorite: none other than the New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks. It is one thing for the Patriots to win in marquee playoff games; it is quite another for them to dominate it, as they have going 21-8-0 (+6.00 ppg, 72.4$%) SU since 2001 (Brady / Belichick era) . Last year, New England beat Seattle 28-24, and the game before that they crushed the Colts 45-7. Before that they were averaging 26.2 ppg in the playoffs and winning by roughly 6 points a game.
But, with this said, one must still approach this game as he would any other, handicapping the game step by step. Here is the same Super Bowl betting checklist most professional bettors will use as they look at the game:
1. Ask yourself which team the bookmakers need. The line will always be tilted in favor of this team. This means the Seahawks could be the play on this point alone — if that is as far as a handicapper wished to go. Over 65% of the action coming in on the Pats, hence the books need the Seahawks to win and they’ll do what it takes to increase the odds of the Seahawks covering while not passing up an opportunity to cash in with a Seahawk’s win.
2. What is the big-game experience of these two teams? There is something about a classic event in a game such as this that gives a big edge to the team with proven big-game experience. Experienced teams seem to handle the pressure better and are more apt to be able to play the kind of game that got them here.
3. What about injuries to key people? One must assume that everybody is banged up a bit at this point of the season. After all, each of these teams played at least four preseason games, 16 regular season games and two playoff contests. That’s a 22-game schedule and the human body simply is not made to do that. But pay attention to the skill positions, since that is where a player in pain can hurt you the most.
4. In analyzing the injury factor, remember that a team will lose its effectiveness in direct relationship to how many players are really hurt or questionable for the game: A team with one injured player probably can survive; a team with two key people hurt is a bit suspect; and one with three people out is in big trouble.
5. How has the coach performed in big games in the past? Top coaches figure out ways to win big games. The game plan Bill Belichick beat Seattle with in 2014 is a textbook lesson in destroying the strength of the other team. Belichick knew Seattle was so explosive defensively that he could never win in the trenches with the limited talent he had on that side of the ball. Thus he designed a game plan that simply kept the ball in Tom Brady’s hands — and it gave him a 28- 24 squeak by win which killed the books and sharps who were all over Seattle (including myself). Really though, the game came down to luck and it was a big ‘shit happens’ thing for the guys who made the right call: the Seahawks who led 24-14 going into the 4th quarter.
6. Which team seems to be better right now? Look at both teams closely and try to make some objective judgment on which is playing the better football. It will mean something in this game.
7. If the line makes it difficult to make a decision as to which side to play, then look for other ways to bet the game. Maybe an over or under is the play?
8. If you like the underdog to win outright, bet the money line on the game. Instead of getting even-money for your bet, you can get the odds, which should be somewhere be-tween 3-1 and 4-1 on the ‘dog. In these tight spread games, the ATS results correlate very closely with the SU results so it is more about picking the winner in most NFL games close to the smaller handles (3, 7).
9. When you look at the talent of each team, determine whether the underdog can win the game if it plays its best football. Forget about the jinx and just match the underdog up with the favorite and ask yourself if this team could win it outright, if it plays its game.
10. Take a look at all other betting gimmicks offered on the game. You will see lines made on which team will have the most rushing yards, the most passing yards, the most interceptions, etc.,. Many times one can make an intelligent and objective judgment on these little things. Other gimmicks, such as who will score first, or who will kick the first field goal, are Sucker bets unless you’re getting significant plus odds because it literally comes down to a coin flip that vast majority of the time.
We know it is difficult to bet against the Favorited mega elite team in the Super Bowl, but if you think the Seahawks/’Dog plus the points is the play, take a stand. The dog seems jinxed, but that will die, and it just might be this year. One thing is for certain: if you take the dog you have two chances to win, i.e. outright or by covering. If you bet the favorite, you only one chance to win, and that is by covering.
Final note: These are just some thoughts on how you might make a small “beer money” wager; however, in the long haul, marquee games are best avoided completely. That includes, the playoffs in any sport, Monday, Thursday, Friday night Football, Weekend games in B2b sports (ie. NBA, MLB), big name school rivalry matchups, etc. etc.. The best bets are usually obscure games that no one is interested in and being right in marquee games is more of an ego thing that doesn’t really get you anywhere in the long run.
Computer Generated Sports Picks