The time is right for those who start the sports wagering cycle in College and Pro Football, or those also interested in late season baseball with the playoffs fast approaching. One thing I would bring light to is shopping your lines and getting serious about line value not only in football, but baseball as well. Handicapping the line is the first thing I do in my process of handicapping a game, especially in football.
As I look at the rotation sheets in football, I see a ton of “Fall Numbers". Those lines would be ( 3,6,7,10,14 point spreads), or a number that the score is likely to fall on. There is no value in fall numbers unless you expect an underdog to win outright getting 3 points, as oddsmakers are quick to post these fall numbers early in the season to minimize risk on their end. You will also notice a ton of 4.5 or 5.5 spreads in the NFL, which are considered bad numbers to lay, as many game ARE likely to land on a fall number this upcoming weekend in pro football.
You can avoid some of these fall number traps by shopping your lines. Most books will adjust their own lines according to their action at their own book, as they want to have as close to 50/50 action on both sides of a side play or totals play. By shopping around either early or late, you take take advantage of an extra 1/2 point here and there. Just having 1 outlet is going to cost an average player 8-10 units a year, I assure you. Most offshore books posted on legitimate gaming portals are 110% on the up and up, and have anywhere from 15% to 30% sign-up bonus's in place, so it is well worth the time to invest in having at least 2 if not 3 to 4 outlets to shop a line around. In baseball , on any given day, you can find a favorite laying -133 at one book and -145 at another, and if you are on that favorite, why lay an extra 12-cents on the dollar when you do not have to? It is no different than driving down the street and finding gas at $3.50 a gallon and looking two blocks ahead and seeing it at $3.19 a gallon, where are you going to purchase your gas at?
You may also find that books will offer “early bird" juice, which means you get better than 11 to 10 odds. I see if you play games by Friday night in some cases I have seen, you can lay -105 on a side play in football, or -107 for all NFL games, so take advantage of these options as well. The marketplace for sportsbooks is highly competitive, just as it is in handicapping, but making the right choices and leaving your options open, makes you money at the end of the day, and I consider it sound advice to have every possible edge against the books this fall football season.
Tony George is a documented member of The Professional Handicappers League.
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