Using the Football Off-Season Effectively
In most cases, football is considered the number one sport when it comes to sports betting in the United States. The Super Bowl typically attracts over $100 million worth of bets at Nevada sportsbooks alone, and millions more at online betting sites. That's just the total for one game. There's plenty more bets being placed on the NFL during the season and on college football as well.
It's not just Americans who bet on the sport either, as football betting is popular all over the world. Our football betting guide contains a wealth of information and advice on this topic and you can find out everything it has to offer on this page.
Although the football season is only 4 to 5 months out of the year, betting on football is actually a year-round commitment. The off-season might be boring for football fans and fantasy football fanatics, but that's not the case for football bettors. In fact, it's the perfect opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season by honing your betting skills, expanding your football knowledge, and analyzing a wealth of data.
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!"
When betting on football, if you don't prepare ahead of time, then you are setting yourself up for failure. To achieve long-term betting success, you must use the off-season to properly handicap the upcoming season.
Expert bettors and top football handicappers don't skip a beat when it comes to the off-season, and neither should you. If you want to make the most out of the football off-season, then check out the following tips to help you prepare for the upcoming NFL season.
Review Last Season's Football Bets
If you are not already doing so, then you must start keeping detailed records of your bets. This is important for analyzing what bets you placed and how successful they were. If you are already keeping a log of your football bets, then the off-season is the perfect time to review them.
When reviewing, try categorizing your bets by more than just wins and losses. This will help you to effectively analyze your betting success and previous strategies. The following recommendations can help you review your past football bets and improve your chances for the upcoming season:
Casual bets are impulsive wagers without any sound strategy. In fact, they're often done just to make a televised game more exciting. These bets won't offer any insight, as they're only based on a hunch and a whim. In fact, it's highly recommended that you eliminate casual betting and focus on serious wagers only. If the goal is to increase your bankroll, then don't throw away money on whims and impulses.
The serious wagers are the ones you want to analyze, because they represent your previous strategies. Now that you have them separated from the casual ones, you can actually start learning about your betting trends, strategies, and success.
One of the best ways to divide up your past football bets is by wager type. For example, separate them by spreads, total lines, moneylines, or parlays. Dividing them into betting types can reveal which type of wager you were the most successful in and which ones you might want to avoid this upcoming season.
This might be a bit trickier for beginners, but for more experienced bettors, there's a method to the timing of placing bets. For example, either hopping on the opening lines or waiting toward the end of the week.
If you notice that waiting toward the end of the week produced more winning bets than the opening lines did, you will definitely want to consider this strategy moving forward. Additionally, you can gain insight into how late-week betting helped you win your bets. For example, developing news throughout the week helped you to pick winners at a higher rate.
Another categorization tip that could help in the review process is dividing up your bets by conferences and divisions. You may come to learn that your knowledge on a specific conference (AFC or NFC) or a specific division translated into winning a higher percentage of your bets.
Some bettors believe they do better late in the football season after they've seen teams play for a few weeks. Some bettors think the opposite, as they believe that early-season lines are great for finding value and success. Dividing up your wagers into time of season could reveal which camp you fall in. It could also reveal that you may need to implement a new strategy or tweak your current one for the time of season you aren't successful in.
Remember, these are just some tips on how to analyze your bets from last season. You can choose to implement these tips or add your own. The important thing is that you take the time to review last season's football bets in order to improve your chances of winning this upcoming season.
Learn New Football Wagering Types
The off-season is a great time to learn more about football wagers that you don't currently bet.
For example, let's say you only bet on spreads and over/unders (totals); the off-season would provide you an ample amount of time to learn about other wagers like teasers, parlays, and moneylines. Expanding the types of football wagers you place could help you win more bets.
Football Team Changes
Every off-season, football teams have a roster turnover, which may include coaching changes. It's important that you stay informed on the latest NFL news and transactions because it will have a significant impact on the upcoming season. Some important changes to monitor are as follows:
After the season ends, every team has to deal with players who are restricted or unrestricted free agents. Depending on the number of free agents, some teams may have to remake the back end of their roster. Additionally, free agency also leads to some key players coming and going. The arrival or departure of a star player could change a franchise's success in the upcoming season.
The draft is an exciting event where college football's top stars take center stage. It's also an exciting time for each NFL team as they draft a potential superstar who may be able to help them win games right away. If that's the case, then you definitely need to pay attention to which teams really helped themselves in the draft.
Another annual off-season occurrence is the firing and hiring of coaches. For some teams, a new coach could be the difference between a winning and losing record. For other teams, a new coach could signal a complete rebuild. Read up on the coaching changes and see which team has the best chances of on-field success under their new coach.
Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game. And these injuries are also prevalent during the off-season. Keep an eye on any breaking news about star players suffering an injury. Depending on the severity of the injury and the player, a team's post-season aspirations could be flushed down the toilet before preseason even begins.
Off-field issues have become a black eye on the NFL. Already this off-season, we've seen some disappointing and bizarre incidents, perhaps none more bizarre than Buffalo Bills' wide receiver Zay Jones, who was arrested for vandalizing a hotel. He was caught naked on camera during the process and became a punchline before the 24-hour news cycle had ended. Incidents that involve arrests, like the Jones matter, could lead to an NFL suspension, depending on the league's investigation. If it's a star player, then that could really hinder a team's success and cost them some wins.
In 2017, Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for 6 games due to off-field issues. Dallas ended up going 3-3 without him and missed out on making the playoffs.
Off-field arrests aren't the only way a player can be suspended. Players can be suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. If they're a repeat offender, then the suspension can be even longer. If this suspended player is a key contributor, then the team could really suffer by losing games.
In 2017, Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended for 10 games. He was a team leader and a defensive stalwart. Not only did the suspension cost Cushing nearly $5 million dollars, but it unofficially cost him his job, as the Texans released Brian during the off-season.
Monitor Off-Season Practices and Workouts
By the end of spring, NFL teams are participating in OTAs. It's the first real glimpse at the players, potential position battles, and early depth charts. Keep an eye on how players and battles are progressing through these OTAs.
From there, teams will head into training camp by late July. This is where rosters are forged and news is plentiful. Monitor the depth charts, unexpected injuries or signings, and any other important nugget of information.
Football Stats: Expand Your Statistical Horizon
This a major step in your off-season preparation. Reviewing last season's stats is vital to learning more about players and teams and spotting trends. Additionally, it's a foundational tool for your betting strategies. Analyzing stats, game reports, and game summaries can help you to learn the following:
- A team's strengths and weaknesses
- How players fared in various conditions and circumstances
- A team's on-field production
- A player's on-field production
- Situational football
All of these stats and many more are easily found online. During the off-season, you should create bookmarks for different NFL stats so that you can access them each week.
Since it's difficult to keep track of all the NFL stats during the season, many bettors and handicappers tend to rely on their favorite statistical categories. This could be anything from turnover margin and PPG to total YPG and points allowed. The off-season is an ideal time for you to learn new NFL stats and see how they can possibly contribute to winning more bets.
For example, home and road records could be a great way to identify the caliber of any team. Typically, road teams are underdogs. So, if you spot a few teams that have continued to have winning road records over the past couple of years, it could be a stat that offers you great value and wins during the upcoming season.
Study the Upcoming Football Schedule
Studying the upcoming football schedule is important for planning or budgeting your bankroll accordingly. It can also help you in the following ways:
Every season, there are some games on the schedule that jump out to NFL experts and experienced bettors as they recognize the likelihood of one team's success is going to be pretty high. For example, dome teams or west coast teams playing on the east coast in December don't usually fare well due to the weather. Other potential examples are:
- Teams playing on a short week
- Teams coming off a Bye Week
- Not having a Bye Week after playing in London
In addition to divisional games, there are conference games that seemingly take place every season. Look for potential head-to-head matchups that could be in your favor. For example, the Jets possibly heading to the Patriots in the beginning of the year could be a big win for New England since the Jets will need time to get better with their new quarterbacks. Another example would be the Browns, who have a ton of new players, taking on the Steelers, who have won 14 out of the last 16 head-to-head meetings. Finding these matchups can help improve your chances of winning.
There are numerous recent and historical trends that can be spotted in the upcoming schedule. For example, if you see the Bengals playing on MNF, bet against them. Cincinnati is 10-23 all-time on MNF. Conversely, the Seahawks are 23-9 on MNF.
Another trend to look at is conference records. Last year, the Patriots, Steelers, Vikings, and Eagles all went 10-2 in their conferences. In fact, the Patriots are 30-6 against AFC opponents over the last 3 seasons. That means New England will likely have a winning AFC record in 2018, so you should be able to spot some potential winning matchups with the Patriots taking on conference foes.
There are many more trends to identify and circle as potential wagers. Bottom line - take the time in the off-season to learn more about schedule and the upcoming matchups.
Check Out New Sportsbooks
If you are only betting with one or two sportsbooks, then you are severely limiting yourself and your potential winnings. There are several top sports betting sites that are reliable, have great bonuses, are easy to deposit with or withdraw your winnings from, and offer juicy lines and odds. Shopping around for sites each and every week of the NFL season can have the following benefits:
- Find the best betting lines
- Find the best odds
- A potential for more prop bets
- Appealing future bets
Let's examine this further.
If you only bet with one sportsbook, then you are at the mercy of their lines and odds. For example, your sportsbook might list the total for the Patriots vs. Bills at 45.5 points. If you shop around, you might find another site listing the total at 46.5 points. Every point matters when betting on football, so this one point could be the difference between winning and losing.
Additionally, your site has the Patriots vs. Bills over at -115, but a competitor site has the over at -105 or even.
This means you risk less money to win the same amount. You might be able to find a site that has the over at +105, which means you will actually win more money just by shopping around.
So, during the off-season, check out some of these top-rated sites and create a few accounts. Most advanced bettors and top handicappers have at least a handful of sports betting accounts to shop for lines each and every week of the NFL season.
As you can see, there's plenty of work to be done during the off-season. There's no time to rest if you want to make money betting on football. Don't make the mistake of taking the spring and summer off. Put in the effort to expand your football knowledge and your sports betting knowledge. Make the most of the off-season so that you can make the most of your bankroll during the regular season.