While a great many of us are big fans of the bowl season, the NFL Playoffs are the payoff of watching a full season of football. As opposed to the bowls, the NFL postseason is where everything is on the line. You win, you advance, you lose, you start your offseason vacation.
The professional football postseason is also much different, just like it is in other sports and if you are a seasoned football bettor or just began this season betting NFL football, you have to realize this.
Where should you begin? It starts by understanding what the sportsbooks betting NFL odds are and how to approach them.
Believe What the Oddsmakers Are Telling You
There are two elements to understand right from the start. You will hear or read “the markets are efficient”. That’s fancy-talk by a wanna-be stock market person for how the oddsmakers are setting the right numbers. You will also hear or see somewhere the line on a playoff game “the line is way off”. It’s not.
Those setting the lines will have two to six games per week over the next three weeks to make numbers for as opposed to 16 contests and dealing with college football and all the other sports. Though the outcome of a side or total might end up incorrect, that doesn’t mean how the numbers developed were wrong. Let’s move ahead.
Start With the Matchups
With the side and total assumed accurate, it’s time to find what matchups advantages a team might have. Does a team have a top 5 rushing attack and, though their opponent is at least average in yards allowed, they surrender 4.5 yards a carry? That becomes key information.
Another example of something to consider is a club that is known more for passing than running and facing an opponent that gives up yards, yet is among the very best in yards per point allowed.
Why this is important is that a team can move the ball down the field, but once they hit the opposing squad’s 30-yard line, everything stops. If a team is moving the ball but kicking field goals, that could have a big impact on the eventual outcome and the total lower than anticipated.
Seek Winning Situational Information
Though not to be blindly bet, specifically for NFL picks, there are trends or betting situations that make a lot of sense to consider.
For example, Wild Card Round totals are 35-16 to the under, when played outdoors, the last 18 years (Ties not counted).
A big part of this is the number of cold-weather games played and coaches taking a more conservative approach in looking to avoid turnovers. Last year was the exception at 3-1-1 to the over, but we have to consider the stadiums were not full in 2021 which should have helped the offenses.
First-time quarterbacks are “Play Against” or “fade” material when matched against a counterpart who has experience. The reasons speak for themselves, having nerves and either being too aggressive or hesitant. And in the last 18 years, these inexperienced signal-callers are 14-30-1 versus the spread.
Always Be on the Look for Prop Bets
Prop bets should not be relegated to the Super Bowl, as there are opportunities throughout the postseason prior to this.
Starting with the wild card games and through the conference championships, if you don’t know when the top online sportsbooks release their props, find out! The reasoning is simple, if the books make a mistake, it will be exposed early. Thus, having the ability to grab the best number possible gives you a likely edge.
Most oddsmakers will take a player’s average from the regular season and align a number relatively close to that depending on the opponent.
Yet, as we have seen every year in the postseason, play-callers and quarterbacks will ride the hot hand. If a running back has gotten hot in the postseason and his team is facing a pedestrian run defense, he could be a good wager for the over on rush yards or an over on a team’s rushing yards.
The same could hold true for a quarterback or a tight end who are really connected. Or finding receivers or running backs that have fallen out of favor in the offense, making them potential picks on the under.
There are ways to make money in the postseason if you are smart and attack them. And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting!