With the innovation of computer programs to do the analyzing for them, today’s handicappers and sports bettors can search for an angle, trend, or recurring situation at the click of a mouse. Conversely, we “old school” era handicappers originally had to spend many pain-staking hours each day or each week, manually compiling and studying comparisons and past statistics. Over my 35-year handicapping career, I’ve seen and studied about every system, angle, and trend that came down the pike, but have always used them as just one of my many tools for determining winners.
Are trends and systems always reliable enough to lay down your hard earned cash on a wager at the sports book and expect to win? The obvious answer is “no”. Although a valuable tool in handicapping, trends and systems are merely based on recurring results of past performances in given situations. For example, a very popular system that was used by many football bettors over the years, was to always go with the Green Bay Packers at home in the months of December and January.
That play became even stronger if the team they were hosting was from a warm climate region, or played in a domed stadium at home. The reasoning is simple; the weather in Green Bay is extremely cold during the winter months, and often times falls way below zero degrees with the wind chill factor. The Packers were accustomed to practicing and playing in this weather, and it seemed to give them an automatic edge over any team from a warm climate or dome. However, most average bettors fail to realize that the oddsmakers also know this, and have already taken it into account.
Thus, if the Packers were statistically, let’s say a 3 point better team in a given game, the oddsmakers might have the line set at minus 6 ½, knowing that a high majority of bettors are going to automatically take the Pack and lay the number. Other bettors will take a deeper look, and see way beyond just the teams and location, and hopefully take advantage of the plus side of the inflated number, evening out the wagering. Ironically, this Green Bay cold weather theory would not have shown a profit over the last 10 seasons, had one bet on every Packer home game that had fallen into this situation and time frame.
There are literally hundreds of other similar systems pertaining to wagering on football and other major sports. Here is another example of a popular one that is used more in the NFL than in college football. Let’s say that you have a home underdog that plays on a different field surface than their favored visitor. Without isolating or considering any other factors, the home dog is said to generally be a good play in any situation. sbobet
The simple reasoning is that the home team is thought to put forth a better effort for the home crowd fans. In theory, if they have the advantage of the visitor playing on a surface that is unfamiliar to them, the play becomes stronger in the mind of the average bettor. But before you just jump in and bet all of those situations this year, think back to the 2008 season and the Detroit Lions, for example. After going 4-0 in the pre-season, they became the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 in the regular season. They hosted 8 games last year and in 6 of those games, the visiting team was playing on a surface other than what they had on their home field.
Yet, the Lions lost by an average score of 15-37 at home last year and never once got close to covering the spread. They hosted a 16-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but that game didn’t fall under this system, as the Vikings also play in a domed stadium with the same type of surface as the Lions. Bottom line, had one put this “home dog/different turf” system into play on the men in the Motor City last year, the results would have been very costly, losing every wager. For what it’s worth and to their credit, the Lions actually performed better on the road last year, losing by an average score of only 19-28, as opposed to losing by a 22-point average margin at home.
Trends and systems can be a valuable tool, and are used by almost every serious handicapper, as well as by many average sports bettors. However, always remember that trends are based on history and at some point in time, what goes up must come down. Always look at the big picture, consider all other variables, and never make a wagering decision based on just one or two things, whether it is trends or other factors.