The NFL playoffs offer sports bettors some great opportunities to make cash. It’s important to remember that in the NFL, the playoffs NFL are really a second season. Often there is an upset or two as an underperforming regular season team comes alive during the postseason. When considering the playoffs, don’t merely jump to conclusions regarding blowouts, wins, or outcomes. Do your homework and do it well.
What’s the Spread?
One of the dilemmas with the postseason is that bettors have fewer choices and handicappers can easily focus their efforts on a select number of games per week. That means much tighter odds, even from the start. Spreads tend to be smaller, but the wild card matchup can certainly go against this trend. You may not like the spread for certain games. If that’s the case, check out the totals.
Totals Might be Better
Totals may be a little easier to pin down in the NFL playoffs, as you have a very good idea regarding each team’s offensive and defensive capabilities. Check out the totals, look to see if the teams met during the regular season, and analyze the outcome of those contests. Also consider any unusual contributing factors in those regular season games, such as injuries, fluke plays, weather, bad calls, etc. Does the over/under appeal to you?
Home Field Advantage
Is there a decided home field advantage? There usually is in the playoffs. Normally, it’s worth 3 points. If the home team is at -3.5, that means the handicappers see a fairly evenly matched game.
Injuries and Age
How beat up is each team? Will any important players be missing? Don’t just consider the obvious such as quarterback or running back. An important player may be a starting linebacker, offensive lineman, or free safety. If key contributors are missing, how long have they been out and has the team had time to adjust to their absence? How are the replacements performing?
Wild Card Wins
Don’t forget, wild cards can win, and they certainly can cover. Don’t negate a team just because they are a wild card. If your matchup confirms a close game, is there a factor that may give you reason to pick the underdog? You may have the wild card team at +7.5. That may be enough for you to take a team that looks fairly strong against the favorite.
In the second week of the NFL playoffs, you have teams coming off a bye week. That affects clubs in different ways. Some show up rested and motivated to play, while others seem to stumble into the game and under perform. Try to discern the intensity of the team coming off a bye week, and if the visitors who are coming off a victory can score another.
Matchups and Drive
Similar to the NFL regular season, successful handicapping comes from doing the work needed to create accurate matchups. However, you must also remember that drive and motivation, injuries, and a coach’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses are all major factors in the game and in your making picks.
One word of caution: If you don’t like a game, then don’t bet it. Too often sports bettors get to the end of the season and feel that because there are a limited number of games, they must bet on every one. This isn’t the case at all. Make strong, quality bets, rather than weak, quantity wagers.