NFL Betting is Like Investing

With the recent problems with the stock market, this article may not be appealing to some people, but this concept is an important approach that goes mostly unnoticed. Many handicappers make statements comparing betting to investing, but they never discuss exactly what they mean by it. However, this article will explain a few of the ways that you can take a stock analysis approach and use it to successfully handicap games.

When approaching the odds, it is important to look at some fundamental things with each potential selection, similar to the way a stock would be analyzed. People tend to only look at last week’s games when deciding on what teams to bet on. The same can be said about how people decide on what stock to purchase or sell. A company can have good earnings and strong management, yet a recent piece of bad news causes the investing public to over-react and sell the stock when they should be holding or buying more shares. The betting public also loves to fade teams that lost the week before and bet on teams that won in their last game.

However, this approach is one of the worst ways to approach betting on football. Let’s look at last Sunday’s NFL card to prove my theory. Arizona had lost the two previous weeks to Washington and the New York Jets. In the most recent loss, New York jumped out to a huge halftime lead, and Brett Favre threw for six touchdowns, the most in his NFL career. Meanwhile, Buffalo started the season undefeated and were coming off of a blowout win over St. Louis on the road. As a result of recent performance, Arizona was only favored by 1 point at home to Buffalo last week. In addition, the media was questioning just how bad the Cardinals are, and they wondering saying that Buffalo is easily one of the top teams in the AFC. However, Arizona has been a very good home team over the last few years, while Buffalo was making another trip out west after playing a road game at St. Louis the week before. In addition, Arizona has a very good veteran quarterback, playmakers on offense, and a physical defense. They were just caught in a bad situation of playing two straight road games on the East Coast. They also got to face a Buffalo team facing their second straight road game across the country. Consequently, the Cardinals came out and got a 41-17 blowout win over the Bills.

The previous example proves what the most successful long-term strategy is when making winning picks. Just like the stock market, you must buy low and sell high. However, it is not enough just to pick teams that played bad in the previous week or go against teams coming off of a good game. The key is to find quality teams that are coming off of some poor showings and also in a position to bounce back in games that they have the more favorable situation. Another key is to find teams that are coming off of some good looking wins, which now have to go on the road against teams desperate for a win. A third angle to take is to fade teams that are big favorites in let down spots. The games from last Sunday that prove my theory are Cincinnati/Dallas, San Diego/Miami, Kansas City/Carolina, and Buffalo/Arizona.

The most important factor when using the buy low/sell high theory to analyze the quality of each team, similar to the way a stock would be analyzed. There are some stocks, despite dropping significantly, should not be bought regardless of how low they go. Similarly, the same can be said when betting the NFL. The Detroit Lions are by far the worst team in the league this season. It appears that they have given up on the season, evident by their horrendous second half performance against Chicago. The Lions are a shaky wager for the rest of the season, regardless of the size of the spread. Conversely, savvy bettors look for teams that have any of the following characteristics when trying to find value: a good running game, quality quarterback play, dominating defense, a team returning home after a road loss, and quality teams facing big favorites.

Using some of these stock analysis approaches can lead to a tremendous amount of success when wagering on the NFL. It is critical to look at which teams are overvalued or undervalued, especially when situational angles give even more support to a given selection.

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