Handicapper Insider: Betting The NFL Playoffs is Different From Regular Season

The NFL playoffs are coming and you are either looking to enhance a good season of football wagering or trying to make up for some of last minute bad beats.

If you did not already know, the postseason is a different betting animal than the regular season. There are many reasons why and we will cover some of them starting right here.

Oddsmakers Only Make Good Numbers

During the regular season, on occasion, you will find an "off" number on an NFL contest and usually, that is on a total. In the NFL Playoffs, there are NO bad numbers. With so few games to create numbers, oddsmakers are not going to make mistakes. That is not to say the outcomes could be far different from the sportsbooks releases or closing numbers, but that was just how the game played out.

If you see any handicapper promoting - Oddsmakers Error - to sell picks this time of year, be assured that person is a phony.

Statistical Handicapping Requires Balance

The lifeblood of any true person expecting to make money during the NFL Playoffs, they have to be willing to dive deep into the numbers. However, in doing so the individual needs two separate pages open on their computer or two sheets of paper.


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The reason for this is you need to establish two ways of looking at each team, long-term and short-term. The 16-game view provides you insights against every type of competition they faced, both at home and on the road. Mixed in there are facing different offenses and defenses and sometimes winning games when not at their best or losing games that nobody saw coming. This level of team study is "the book" on the team.

Yet, of equal importance in today's NFL is - current form. Here, what we are looking for is how a team is playing going into their next game. In 2008 and 2012, the New York Giants were 9-7 during the regular season, but in each instance, they won the Super Bowl. How they played late in the season of those two years varied, but in each case, there was a spark and a savvy bettor is able to pinpoint the moment and understand when and why it happened and carry that team to finish line and win bets.

Look for strengths and weaknesses of how teams play late in the season. Maybe a team has played great defense all year, but in the last quarter of the season, their pass defense is failing and giving up yards due to injury or other factors. In their playoff game, they are matched up against a hot quarterback as a favorite and lose outright. Look for signals just like this.

You Will Never Go Broke Taking The Home Team

Because every team that makes the playoffs is at least a good squad, the competition level higher, this is why you here all the time about playoff football being different. Yes, the games mean more so the focus is greater than during the regular, but so is the competition, which forces teams to hopefully play at peak level.


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While every one of us can name at least three lost bets on home favorites in the postseason, the fact remains home teams win and cover in the postseason. In every five or six-year window, you will find variances of 54 to 65 win percentages on home teams covering, but if you have patience and diligence to continually support the home teams, you are making money.

Props Can Be Profitable, Only If You Are Doing Your Homework

It started with the Super Bowls when sportsbooks wanted people betting on something other than just the side, total or money line, which some years placed them at a risk too often.

They began introducing a variety of prop bets and the public ate it up. Now, most sportsbooks will have 70 to 100 different prop bets on a playoff game and this is for one reason only, they make money on them.

Most bettors betting props are doing so for fun, so losing $100 to $200 is not big deal to that person. Yet, take that number and multiply it by 200, 300, 500 or 1,500 on even a Wild Card game and profits start adding up for individual sportsbooks.

Word to the wise, DO NOT play props for fun, play them to win! 

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