NFL Betting Traps to Avoid
by Trevor Whenham - 09/04/2008
When it comes to making money betting on football, those who have been successful know that the key isn't making the good plays; it's avoiding the bad mistakes. There are big traps everywhere just waiting for the unsuspecting public to fall into, and to bring their money with them. I'm talking about bad bets that people shouldn't be making. That doesn't mean that they might not pay off. It just means that the risk associated with them isn't nearly covered by the potential reward. Here are four traps that I'll certainly be avoiding:
The Browns - It hurts me to have include this team here because I really want to like them. They had a heck of a run last year, and Braylon Edwards is among a very small handful of the best receivers in the league. I just think that expectations are way out of whack for his team. They are suddenly media darlings, and they play a ridiculous number of high-profile nationally televised games. I think it's just too much, too soon for a team that didn't make the playoffs last year. The public is in love, but it isn't going to be a happy affair. They have a tough schedule with only one or two soft spots. Derek Anderson didn't finish the season on a strong note last year, and he is coming off a 19-interception performance. That will have to get much better. This team will still be solid, but I don't see how they will win as many games as they did last year (10), and that wasn't enough to make the post-season. This team is going to be a disappointment to many, and especially those who commit to them early.
Green Bay Optimism - The Packers are favored to win their home opener against the Vikings. They are heavily favored to go over their posted win total of eight. The books are practically begging you to like this team. I'm not sure that that's a good idea. They were solid last year, but let's get some perspective here. They are starting a quarterback who has never started a game, and who broke his foot in his first real chance to prove himself. The fans are mostly behind him now, but that loyalty, and his confidence, will be tested as soon as he stumbles. And he will - he's essentially a rookie, and he hasn't seen real game action in years. They play a schedule that is pretty relentless outside of their division, and their division, though not as tough as it could be, has lots of trouble lurking. Their running back, though a great story last year, has just one year of performance under his belt. The Packers may be good, but it certainly isn't the certainty the books want you to believe it is.
Rise of the Falcons - Matt Ryan and the Falcons are being cast as the feel good story of the preseason. People seem to know that miracles don't happen overnight, yet the public tide seems to be leaning towards a strong revitalization for this team. They have a new coach and a new public face. Books are inviting optimism - the win total is set low and the over is significantly favored. Take a step back and think about what you are doing before you buy into the hype. Ryan was mostly good last year, but decent college teams were sometimes able to knock him off his game, so imagine what good NFL teams will be able to do. The running game has lots of potential, but none of it is proven. The defense is a bit scary. Three years from now this will be a pretty good team. But not now, no matter what the books are encouraging you to think.
The Raiders Might be Respectable - This is the most perplexing trap out there waiting for people to fall into. For some incomprehensible reason, the win total was set at 6.5 for this team. That's higher than four other teams, and the same as several others. I find it very hard to believe that there are that many teams in the same or worse shape than the Raiders. They have an unproven QB who is virtually a rookie, and who hasn't shown an overwhelming capacity as of yet to adjust to the complexity of the pro game. They have a coach who is a dead man walking and who clearly doesn't have the trust and support of ownership. They have made some of the most head-scratchingly overly expensive personnel moves in recent times They have more holes than a rusty bucket. There are a few bright spots, and a few reasons to be optimistic about the future, but it is a very bad idea to get sucked into believing that this is going to be a good year.