Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week 4 Picks

PROGnosis: Green Bay -2

PROGnosis: Indianapolis-8

PROGnosis: Atlanta -3

PROGnosis: Atlanta/Minnesota under 46.5

PROGnosis: New Orleans -3

PROGnosis: New England/Kansas City under 46.5

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 4 First Pick

N.Y. Giants at Washington

Line: Washington -3.5
Total: 46

Giants have a new offense that isn’t clicking yet. The defense seems to be getting better. Kirk Cousins appears to be a very good QB for the offense in Washington. Goodbye RG3. The Giants took both games last season. Both the games were in second half of the season, when the Giants were playing their best ball and while Washington was collapsing. Washington is the better team right now.

PROGnosis: Washington -3.5

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 3 is a Winner!

I had a winning week, but nothing to get too excited about. My 4-3 record showed a profit of .7 units.

Home favorites have not had a winning week yet. Home dogs are losing for the season as well. Overall home teams are 20-28 ATS. Favorites finally had a winning week, going 9-7 ATS. For the season the record is 22-26 ATS.

Week 3 saw 7 unders and 9 games going over the total. So far this season there have been 28 unders and 20 overs.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 3 Final Picks

I’ve already released Seattle -5 as a Best Bet this week. I’m adding 6 other picks. My goal this season is to win as many units as I can by making picks on every game I see an advantage on. In the past I’ve tried limiting the amount of games I played on, but I’m throwing away the limitations this season and going where the facts lead me, no matter the number of plays.

PROGnosis: San Diego +2.5

PROGnosis: Houston pick ‘em

PROGnosis: New Orleans -10.5

PROGnosis: Green Bay +2.5

PROGnosis: Indianapolis -7

PROGnosis: San Francisco -3

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 3 Pick

Denver at Seattle

Line: Seattle -5
Total: 48.5

Seattle is the team that matches up the best against Denver in all the NFL. Last season's Super Bowl was no fluke as Denver had no answers for anything that Seattle did. While Peyton Manning is still the smartest quarterback and the hardest working, he's lost a little zip on the ball. Against the fastest secondary in football that spells trouble for him.

I'm hearing how this is a revenge game for the Broncos, that Manning has had 8 months to figure out Seattle's defense and that this time it'll be different. Wanting revenge and being able to take it are two totally different things. I love the fact that Seattle lost last week on the road. Coming home, where they've been unstoppable for almost 2 years is just going to add fuel to the fire.

PROGnosis: Seattle -5

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reality sets in

I landed with a thud going 0-3 this week. You’ll find no excuses here. I'm not going into panic mode. Unfortunately having losing weeks is part of the game. I just hate putting up a goose egg.  I’ll make note of what happened and throw it into the mix next week. I’m sitting at 4-5 this season, -1.5 units.

Home favorites lost for the second week in a row, going 5-6 ATS.  Ten games went under this week while 6 went over. Early numbers tell me that the majority of games will go over in week 3.

I’ll put this information to good work next week.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 2 Picks

I have a total of 3 Best Bets this week. Go with 1 unit on each. I released the Denver -13.5 pick early as I expected this line to rise over the course of the week. Instead it’s gone down. Normally lines tend to rise as the week goes on, so this is unusual. Even though you can find it at the better line of Denver-12 right now, I have to count the game at the line it was when I released it.  

Prognosis: Denver -13.5

Prognosis: Green Bay -8

Prognosis: Atlanta/Cincinnati over 49


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 2 Best Bet Alert!

Kansas City at Denver

Line: Denver -13.5
Total: 51

My first pick of week 2 is Denver -13.5. This line is going to rise and later in the week, when it hits 14 or 14.5, much of the value will be gone. Get it now!

The Broncos built a big lead last week and then let it get close by the end of the game with some sloppy play. When you’re 3 touchdowns ahead in the fourth quarter that can happen. However, the coaching staff won’t let that happen again, especially against a hated divisional rival. Manning appears to have not missed a beat and he should put up big numbers against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs made the Titans offense look good last week, much better than they are. Is it possible they can make the Broncos offense look otherworldly? More probable than possible I’d say.

While I don’t love giving 13.5, there’s a lot of value here.

PROGnosis: Denver -13.5

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Times Are a Changing

Football handicapping is an ever changing field. It takes experience to put all the puzzle pieces in place. One of the hardest things to learn is what works one season probably won’t the next.  Some of this is because of the way different coaches approach the game. Some decades the running game was king, in others the passing game. In the 70s just the Dallas Cowboys used the shotgun formation regularly. Today all teams use it, some more than others. Rules change and make it easier to pass, or harder to generate a pass rush. To illustrate this I’m going to look at the 2012 season and compare a few things to the 2013 season. Before the 2013 season the NFL made several rule changes. I predicted then that the rule changes would increase scoring and cautioned people to look for more games going over the total than under. Did the rule changes have any tangible effects? Decidedly yes.
Football games can be bet against the spread, ATS, and also against the total. The total is the total points scored for both teams. When the total is bet it doesn’t matter who wins the game or by how much. Only the total points scored matter.

2012 saw 129 games going under the total and 123 going over. After the rule changes, 2013 saw 119 games go under the total and 132 go over. That’s a fairly small swing. One thing that really stands out is the number of games with a total of 38 or less. In 2012, 17 games had the total set at 38 points or less. In 2013, 0. As in zero. ZERO. Just for reference, 2011 saw 33 games with a total of 38 or lower. The zero number in 2013 is frankly a bit shocking to me, that’s unheard of. I doubt we’ll see that again this season. It does show however that the odds makers set the overall totals higher because of more scoring. How much did the new rules increase scoring? It increased 1.2 points a game in 2013, or 2.6%. Scoring has been on the rise since 2005, increasing 7 of the 8 years. In 2005 the average total in a game was 41.2 points. In 2013 it was 46.8, increasing 5.6 points a game in 8 years. The scoring trend is up and we’re really seeing it in the totals.

Does this mean we can blindly call for games to go over the total this season? No, or course not. Case in point, in 2012 if we would have bet all games with a total of 40.5 to 42.5 under, we would have been 24-12, an excellent record. However, betting the same parameters in 2013 we would have gone 25-38, a terrible record. This is what I meant by what works one season probably won’t the next.  This is where my experience and knowledge come into play. Armed with the knowledge of the rule change that would increase scoring, coupled with the 7 year trend of increasing scores, which allowed me to correctly predict the totals moving towards more overs last season, I avoided betting the unders in situations like that. If the situation showed games more likely to go over, I would have given it much more weight.

I’ll end this with a trend I’ll be looking at this season. Over the last two seasons when the total of the game has been 54 or higher, the over bet has been the play. In 2012 it went 6-2 and in 2013 it went 10-4, for a two year record of 16-6. That might mean something when coupled with other factors. Or it might not. Fully half of the 10-4 record betting the overs from last season was because of the great year that Manning had in Denver. The Broncos were 5-2 going over the total when the total was 54 or higher. The truth is, I’d expect to see the trend reverse itself this season.  Why? Because the Broncos won’t score as much but the betting public will force the totals higher on the Broncos games, making them a bargain for under bets. Am I calling for blindly betting every game of theirs under? No. But I’ll look for good spots to exploit this situation.

Solid Week 1

The first week got a little crazy, but I managed to negotiate my way through it to start the season winning right out of the box. I went 4-2 on Best Bets for the week, showing a 1.8 unit profit.  I’d take 1.8 units ahead every week and be very happy with it.

In the NFL home favorites had a terrible week going 4-9 ATS. Home dogs went 2-1 ATS, which made the home teams overall 6-10 ATS. The favorites went 5-11 ATS for the week as the dogs howled. Finally, there were 11 unders and 5 overs this week.
I’ll be posting my thoughts all week and releasing Best Bets as I get them so be sure and check back all week long!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 1 picks

My first pick of the season was a winner! A good start, but I also have a few more picks to finish strong with.

Before I get into my picks I want to be clear what I’m aiming at for this season. I’m looking to press every advantage I can find and bet on every game I see as a winner. Some weeks I’ll have lots of picks. I realize that most gamblers only want to see a few Best Bets. I understand that. However the fewer amount of picks the less potential for profit. I’m looking to maximize the amount of units won this season, which translates into more money in my pocket. (Refer to my article on Win Percentage in my blog from Monday September 1, 2014.)

If you have a bankroll, I recommend that you calculate what 2% of it is and bet that on every pick I give out for the whole season. This is how I manage my bankroll. If you don’t have a bankroll, I strongly urge you to start one. If you don’t want to have one, you’re just looking to win some money, then find a bet amount that you’re comfortable with and bet that amount on every pick I give out this season. Do not vary your bet size! (Refer to my article on Bet Sizing in my blog from Monday, August 18, 2014.) I’ll let you know if and when to make a change.

Below are the Best Bets for the rest of week 1.

PROGnosis: Minnesota/St Louis UNDER 43
PROGnosis: Philadelphia -10.5
PROGnosis: Chicago -7
PROGnosis: Denver -7.5
PROGnosis: Detroit -6

Your Bankroll is Our Business!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Let's Kick This Off!

Green Bay at Seattle

Line: Seattle- 5.5
Total: 47

I’m not one to always have a bet on national games. How can one of the best bet of the week always be a national game? That being said, sometimes it is.

Seattle is a better team than last season. They’ve made some improvements, have a healthy Percy Harvin to start the season and a quarterback who is just starting to come into his own.  Throw in a great home field advantage and the electric atmosphere of the first game of the season on national TV and they should cover in this spot.

Green Bay has to go with a backup center which can only hurt the offense. Aaron Rodgers is going to struggle a bit in this game. He’ll get his licks in for sure, but long drives are going to be hard to come by.

PROGnosis: Seattle -5.5

I'll be releasing more picks later this week so check back!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Win Percentage

What percentage of bets should a handicapper expect to win during an NFL season? When I first started out 18 years ago on, I asked friends and family that question. The answers I got most typically were around 70-75%. Even to this day when I ask people, that’s about the response I get. That’s way too high, of course. In fact, 60% is too high, which surprises most people. 60% is very hard to achieve on a regular basis. In all my years of handicapping, I’ve hit over 60% twice. The truth is, if a handicapper is winning at a rate of 60%, he’s probably not winning enough. That may sound confusing, but I should be able to clear it up by the end of this article.

 There are two ways to judge how someone is doing with their picks. The first is win percentage, and the second is how many units they’re ahead. Units are used as a measure and not money because people have different bet sizes and it’s difficult to compare directly with different amounts of money in play. When calculating units won, add 1 unit for every pick won and subtract 1.1 for every losing pick.

Let’s look at two gamblers and see how they did. The first person goes 4-2 has a fantastic win percentage of 66.7%. Another person goes 7-4, which is a 63.6% winning rate. A very good winning percentage, but not as good as the first one.  Of course, the fact that the second person won almost 50% more units gets lost in the shuffle.  4-2 wins 1.8 units versus 7-4 which wins 2.6 units.

With that in mind, which of the two gamblers above did better? It depends on how you look at it. The first had a higher win rate. The second won more units. It may not be that the first person was better at picking winners. It might be that the second person bet on every game he thought he could win.

The breakeven point on betting in the NFL is 52.38% (You have to win 11 games for every 10 you lose. 11 divided by 21 equals 52.38 %.) If you’re presented with two games to bet on, one that wins at a rate of 60% and another that wins at a rate of 55%, how should you bet? If you’re trying to play it safe, minimize your risks, and have the best chance of winning, you’d go with the 60% bet. However, the best play to win money is to bet on both games. While we’d all like to have a 60% chance of winning all our bets, those situations don’t come around all the time. To really make money in NFL betting, you need to bet every game you have an advantage on. Any game above say 54% makes you money in the long run, and if winning money is the goal, you should be taking advantage of every winning situation you can find.

So what’s the answer to what should a handicapper’s win rate be? It depends on the amount of bets. If he’s making just one bet, he has to hit 100% to make money. If he’s making 200 bets, 56% makes him a nice profit. As a general rule, the more bets you make, the lower your win rate. But if you make enough bets, you will win money. The more bets that are made means the handicapper is using every advantage he has, even those plays that might only win at a rate of 55%. It still wins units, but it hurts the win rate. My goal is to win as many units a possible, not get a high percentage of wins. Those are 2 very different things.

My goal this season is to see how many units I can win. Towards this end I’ll be taking every play that I see an advantage on. In the past I’ve tried to limit my bets to around 3 a week, about 50 per season, in order to keep a high win percentage.  This season isn’t about achieving the best winning percentage, it’s about winning the most units. Units won translates into money in our pockets.

 Your Bankroll is Our Business.