How to Handicap Wildcard Weekend in NFL

Kelso's Advanced Sports Betting: How to Handicap Wildcard Weekend in NFL

Coursework here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping can be tricky when I'm trying to provide guidance for a relatively small sampling of games. I have to protect my personal opinions for my paying clients. But, I also want YOU to make smart decisions if you're in the early stages of learning how to be a handicapper who makes good money betting sports in Las Vegas.

So, I'm not going to talk much specifically about this weekend's games today. Instead, I'm going to talk generally about keys you should be looking at.

You regulars know I always start out with PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS to determine which individuals are most likely to sway game results...and then THE MOTIVATION FACTOR to find edges that can cause surprise results. Because you're so well-versed in those...we can just move on. You should know all the key players on these high profile NFL teams by now. And, I shouldn't have to tell you who's playing with revenge, or other possible motivational advantages this weekend.

GAME CONDITIONS
January football often brings unique playing conditions that can greatly influence what happens on the field. Some teams are ideally suited to great weather or domes. They fall apart if they're playing outdoors in the cold or wind, or are stuck on torn up grass surfaces that slow down their speedsters. Other teams are basically B or B- teams in normal conditions, but suddenly turn into A-plus steamrollers in conditions where defense and the running game are favored.

It's not enough this weekend to know the strengths and motivational factors for each of the eight participating entries. You must imagine and anticipate how those will manifest themselves (or not) in the game conditions at each site. Be sure you know the weather forecast for each host city. Be sure you've considered turf conditions if that's likely to be an issue.

This isn't September or October. You're handicapping football as it's played in high pressure situations in JANUARY.

CURRENT FORM
A big mistake that a lot of these kid quants make is that they use numbers from the full regular season to make their decisions. Sorry...teams who were sluggish in September but have played great down the stretch are likely to keep playing great. The numbers from earlier results just don't matter that much.

I advise you to look at stat results from the past month or two months rather than the full season. Try to make a best assessment for how THIS team is playing RIGHT NOW with THESE PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS.

Won-Lost Record over a recent sampling
Stats over a recent sampling
Adjusted for strength of schedule for that sampling

What is Brian Hoyer likely to do for Houston in a home playoff game against Kansas City? Find numbers that answer that question. Is A.J. McCarron showing a growth curve as he gets the hang of running the Cincinnati offense? Study his game log. Is Seattle really peaking at the right time as they head to Minnesota Sunday? Can Green Bay get its offense going against a defense like Washington's? You'd better not be picking the Packers unless you're sure they're going to lift their level of play from recent form. Topics we've been discussing recently in our coursework will really come into play this weekend.

DOES THE TOTAL OFFER MORE VALUE THAN EITHER TEAM SIDE?
Too many bettors forget about totals, or try to force themselves to find a team side in every game because they want to have a team to root for. You're trying to make money here, not set up an entertaining day of TV viewing. You know what's dumb...putting too much money on a "lean" on a team side, while missing the indicators that might have launched a 50-unit, 100-unit, or 200-unit play on a total.

Play out each game in your head to see if you can find vulnerable totals. Is there a matchup this weekend that could blow up into a shootout? Is there one that's likely to turn into a wrestling match that sees both teams run clock and settle for field goal attempts? Didn't you just watch a lot of college bowl games where the market missed the total by a mile in one direction or another? You don't think that's going to happen at least once this weekend?

KELSO STURGEON'S best bets in the NFL Wildcard games can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card on game day. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office during normal business hours at 1-800-755-2255. Be sure you check on combination packages that take you through the Super Bowl and March Madness. 

The next time we're together, we'll talk about that much anticipated Alabama-Clemson game for the National Championship of college football. Look for that Sunday here at this website since it's a Monday night game. The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work. Let's go win some football games!

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