Getting Ready for the NFL
by Trevor Whenham - 07/03/2008
Now that everything but baseball is out of the way - the playoffs, the drafts, the races, and the tournaments - the biggest task that faces most NFL betting enthusiasts is to get ready for the NFL season. The NFL is the undisputed king of sports, and it's the only one that most sports bettors care about. Even if you are just a casual NFL bettor there is a lot you can do now that will make you more prepared, and more likely to win, when the season finally gets here. Here are five ideas to get you started:
Get on top of player movement - It's easy to keep on top of the high profile changes of address, but football is about much more than the marquee stars. Chances are pretty good that you haven't followed all of the players that have changed. Instead of getting surprised in the regular season, start getting familiar with who has moved now. It's easy to find a list of transactions on the Internet. I like to look over the list with a couple of goals in mind. First, I want to know who plays where so I'm not making decisions based partly on a player who is no longer with a team. More significantly, I like to make a note of whether the team is better or worse for the signing. Did they significantly upgrade the position, or were they forced to find someone to fill a gap vacated by a star?
Catch up on the rookies - A lot of youngsters are going to play key roles this year - whether by design or out of necessity. If you have time to kill it's a good idea to run through the draft. You want to accomplish a few things. First, you want to refresh yourself on who went where since it has been a few months. You also want to familiarize yourselves with which rookies fit into the top of team's depth charts, and which ones aren't likely to play much, or even to make the team. Finally, you can search for coverage on whether the players have signed with their teams, and how they have been doing in mini-camps so far. It's hard to really know how a rookie will do until you see them in real action, but you can at least get a head start this summer.
Review your records from last season - You do keep good records of all your bets, don't you? If you don't then setting up a good record keeping system (on paper, in a spreadsheet, or whatever else works for you) should be your biggest priority. Assuming you keep stats, you should use this time to go over them to see what you notice. Do you have a team that you consistently favor that eats your money? Do you get suckered into taking the over in low scoring games? Do you have particular success with road underdogs? You almost certainly have habits that you aren't aware of. By recognizing them you will almost certainly improve your bottom line.
Scour the stats - When you are on the beach this summer you can either read some terrible novel that you will instantly forget, or you can read some stats and make yourself some money. You aren't necessarily looking for anything specific. Instead, just test out your theories to see what seems to be relevant and what isn't. Are you a big fan of the long bomb? Look at how teams do in games in which they complete a long pass. Love seeing sacks? Study how a strong pass rush affects the betting outcomes of a team. Be creative - the more you explore your curiosity the familiar you will get with the sport, and the better the chances that you will learn something valuable.
Read some local papers - It used to be really hard to read what the local beat writers and columnists were saying about their teams. Though their insights can sometimes be biased, it's nonetheless valuable to hear what they are saying because they spend times around the team every day. Thanks to the Internet it couldn't be easier to access first hand reports on every team out there. Any time you have some time to kill this summer, track down a paper in an NFL city and have a look around. Between the current articles and the archives you will almost certainly learn something important that you didn't know.