Using the Football Off-Season Effectively
The football season only runs for a few months out of the year, but those months are not the only time you should be thinking about your betting. Successful football bettors will typically use the periods when no football is being played to plan and prepare for the upcoming season. This helps to put them at an advantage over everyone else.
Planning and preparation are vital if you want to make money from betting on football, so it's important to dedicate some time to these activities. The off-season is the perfect time to do this. You might be wondering if there is much you can actually do when there are no games being played, but let us assure you that there is.
On this page we offer some tips for using the football off-season effectively. Some of these are fairly obvious, some less so. They are all worth considering though, and will put you in good shape for when the season starts.
Your Betting Records
Any serious bettor should keep detailed and accurate records of all the bets they place. If you're not doing this, then you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. It's actually quite easy to do. You just need to set up a relatively simple spreadsheet, and then enter some key information every time you place a wager. You can even just keep some hand-written notes if you prefer.
With records in place, you can then use the football off-season to carry out some useful analysis. The following questions are just some of the ones that you should be trying to answer.
- What was your most successful type of bet?
- What was your least successful type of bet?
- Did you do better backing the underdogs or the favorites?
- Did you back certain teams too often, or not enough?
- What went wrong on your losing bets?
- How was your bankroll management?
Answering these questions will provide some valuable insight into your betting performance. It will enable you to identify any strengths and weaknesses you have, and give you the opportunity to fine-tune your strategies for the forthcoming season. Even if the last season was a profitable one for you, you should still be looking to improve. Analyzing your records can be a great help with this.
Team rosters can change quite significantly from one year to the next, and you need to keep track of all these changes. You'll have a much better chance of handicapping teams successfully if you've studied their rosters for the season and considered the effect of any changes. Here are just a few things to think about.
- Have any teams become weaker overall through the loss of players?
- Have any teams become stronger overall due to new players?
- Have any teams addressed specific weaknesses in their roster?
- How will players who have moved adapt to their new teams?
- What's the potential impact for teams that have had a major turnover of players?
It's important that you don't just look at the big name players who move, as lesser-known players can affect the overall quality of a team too. It's also worth spending some time looking at the rookies. It's not always easy to gauge the impact they might have, but you should at least try to make some informed judgements.
Make sure that you address the depth of each team as well. Have they got good coverage for each position? How will they cope with injuries? Are they likely to be relying on one or two star players?
Assessing the quality of the players on each team probably seems like an obvious thing to do for most bettors. Less obvious, though, is assessing the quality of the coaching staff and the effect that they might have on each team's performance.
There's usually a few teams that change their head coach each year, so it's a good idea to spend some time thinking about how each team will be affected by the new man coming in. For example, is he going to completely change the way they play? This might be a good thing in the long run, but it might take a while for him to get his preferred style of play across to the players. This could result in a slow start to the season for a team.
Maybe a team has brought in a great motivator, who will instantly improve the morale and spirit among the players. This could have a positive effect from the moment the season starts. Maybe a team has brought in a notoriously tough coach. Do they have the type of players who will respond to his methods?
It's not just changes in the head coach you should look out for either. Teams often change other members of the coaching staff too, and you shouldn't underestimate the potential effect this can have. A team with a struggling defense, for example, might see notable improvements if a new defensive coordinator is brought in.
Your Theories & Strategies
The off-season is a great time to test any theories you may have about what makes teams win or lose. You should go over the previous season results and see how often your theories were correct. You can also try to come up with some new theories, and test them to see how accurate they are.
This is a good way to adjust your strategies in time for the upcoming season, or even develop some entirely new ones. It's very unlikely that any of your strategies are absolutely perfect, so you should always be looking to improve in this respect.
The performance of every team across the whole season will be affected to some extent by their schedules. Some teams might have relatively easy schedules, while others might be handed really tough schedules. You'll want to consider this when making betting decisions throughout the season, so it's a very good idea to spend some time studying the schedules during the off-season.
As soon as the schedule is made public, you should start thinking about how it's going to affect certain teams. Take some notes that you can refer back to throughout the season, as this will really help with your predictions. You might want to highlight certain games that you definitely plan to bet on, and even start to form some ideas about the likely results.
Statistics & Trends
There are a ton of statistics and trends that can be useful for betting on football. Very few bettors look at them all in any detail. In fact, most of them just work with a small set of the most readily available stats and look at some of the most obvious trends. This is not necessarily a bad way to approach football betting, as trying to take too many factors into account can just get confusing.
However, it definitely doesn't hurt to spend some time learning about stats that you don't tend to use. You might find that some of them are more useful indicators than the ones you're currently using. The off-season is the ideal time to do this kind of research. You can also try to spot some less obvious trends that might be useful for making future predictions.
Maximizing your potential returns when betting on football is not solely about calling the games correctly. It's about getting maximum value from your bankroll. One way you can do this is by making sure that you're using the right betting sites. Does your preferred site consistently offer the best odds and lines? Or might there be some better options out there? Do you get much in the way of bonuses and rewards?
The off-season is a good opportunity to compare all the different sites and see where the best deals are. Even if you can squeeze out just a little bit more value each season by doing this, it's time well spent. We can help too, as we rank the best sites to use for your football betting. Our recommendations are generally those where you'll find the best deals, so you should start with them.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: November 2015
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