Mid-December is the time of the year when sports bettors start turning their attention to football postseason handicapping. College football is at the top of the list with the upcoming bowl season. Yet, it is not to early to start formulating a strategy for betting the NFL playoffs as that postseason picture starts to come into focus.
Postseason College Football Betting
The college bowl season has grown into a 40+-game schedule that covers a span of four weeks from late-December right through the College Football Playoff Championship the second Monday in January. Your betting strategy should be broken down into four sections:
• Early bowl games
• Major bowl games
• Playoff semifinals
• National title game
The early bowl games could offer the best value for cashing winners. The lean should be towards the underdogs, especially when the team getting points is from a Mid Major conference. These are the teams with something to prove to both their fan base and themselves.
Expect the Unexpectable Betting Late Season NFL Games
In more than a few early bowl games, you have teams from a major conference that failed to live up to expectations this season. They expected to be playing on New Year’s Day or, at least, after Christmas. These teams’ motivation to play in a minor bowl will probably below, while the underdogs from the Mid Majors feel like their playing in the Super Bowl.
When it comes to the major bowl games, the favorites gain the edge. These are the best teams in the nation and they still have something to prove. Each game needs to be broken down on its own merits but the best teams with the best coaches usually come out on top.
The two playoff semifinal matchups set up each season’s national title game. Once again, the cream usually rises to the top with this much on the line. If the spread is tight, the lean is towards the favorite. If there is a double-digit spread, then there is value in betting the underdog to cover. These are the top four teams in the country, so there is a reason they are playing in this game.
You could apply this same rationale to the national title game. When the two best teams in the nation clash, you have to rely heavily on your football postseason handicapping skills.
Postseason NFL Betting
Betting the pros in the postseason comes down to a heavier weight on overall talent and less on the emotion that drives the results at the college level. Favorites tend to go chalk in the earlier rounds. Things start to tighten up once you get down to the final four teams in the conference championships.
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An added edge automatically goes to the home team. The goal of most NFL teams is to qualify for the playoffs. The goal for the elite teams in the league is to earn home-field advantage all the way up to the Super Bowl. Sometimes that edge is enhanced by January weather if the games are played outside. A big part of that edge goes to crowd noise as a disrupting factor.
Overall, NFL players love playing in front of the hometown fans as a motivating force. The best NFL teams use that edge to the fullest and will normally do so by covering against the spread while winning the game straight-up.