NFL Playoff Betting 101
For those football fans that are anxious as the NFL playoffs are close and want to get a head start on understanding the playoffs, and the different strategies and tips you should know before you place your first playoff bet. If you think the playoffs are just an off-shoot of the regular season, you would be very mistaken. In the end, only 16 teams make it to the playoffs, where they dwindle down to 8 teams, and finally only 4 teams in the conference championship. During this time, the playoffs are a single elimination tournament, where there are no second chances. This makes it completely different than the regular season.
This is why some of these tips can help you prepare for the playoffs and make sure you have all that you need when you place your bets.
Tip #1: Finding the Best Team
When you start out the playoffs, it is always a good thing to look at the teams past performances. This does not mean you should look at years’ worth of data, but rather how well the team and players performed during the regular season. This can include stats like:
- Overall record
- Rushing (defense and offense)
- Passing (defense and offense)
- Field Goal (yards, points)
There are countless other stats that you can take a look at on the teams that make it to the playoffs. This information will not accurately reflect how well or poorly a team will play during the playoffs, but it is a good base to start predicting from.
Tip #2: Coaches and Coaching Staff
This is a very important point when betting on a playoff team. You need to look at the current coach and coaching staff, as they will likely be a big influence on how a team performs during the matches. The pressure and gameplay is totally different when you only have one chance to win and continue to the next stage. This is why the coach is important, as he will be taking all of the game changing decisions. Coaches that have been to the playoffs before have a good idea of what is required to win, so experience is always a plus.
A good example of this is how Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has been known to make some tough decisions, but have ultimately paid off. He has been known to make plays on 4th down, as well as fake punts/field goal kicks in order to advance. There is always risk involved, but it is the coaches and coaching staff that will have to make those hard choices.
Tip #3: Player Experience
The playoffs are second in amount of pressure only to the Super Bowl, and some argue that it can be even more stressful to play in the playoffs than the Super Bowl, on account that there are more teams and possibilities. This is why it is necessary that the players on the team have good experience in stressful situation like this. There could be players that have been in multiple playoffs, or rookies that have dealt with similar pressure during their college years. You can take a look at how well they performed under such circumstances, and start to see how they might perform.
Tip #4: Never Underestimate Underdogs
When looking at the odds on the sportsbooks, never underestimate the underdogs. If a team made it to the playoffs it already means they are a top team in the NFL and deserve a chance to get to the Super Bowl. This is why you must take into account anything and everything about the two teams playing, and not simply look at which team is favored to win. Favorite and underdog only exist because more people hype or bet on one team than the other.
Tip #5: Road vs. Home
When looking at the teams on the road, and if they are being favored, it must be for a particular reason. Looking at past performances, teams that were favored while playing on the road have a higher success than those that were underdogs at home. You must take it with a grain of salt and look at the team on the road. It is good to look at how well the road and home team have played while on the road or at home during the regular season. If a team has gone 4-0 on the road and is being favored, it is possible that they have been able to win on the road for a set of different reasons that could lead them to another road victory during the playoffs.
There are many other possible strategies that rely on statistics and betting systems that are specific for the NFL playoffs, but that is not something an amateur bettor should be worried about. Learning the basics will help you become a more stable bettor. Don’t forget to watch the playoff matches, especially when you are going to bet big on Super Bowl Sunday.