With the innovation of computer software to do the analysis for them, today’s handicappers and sports bettors can look for an angle, trend or recurring situation with a click of the mouse. By contrast, we “old school” era forecasters originally had to spend many painful hours each day or each week manually compiling and studying past comparisons and statistics. During my 35 year handicapping career I have seen and studied every system, angle and trend that has come up, but have always used them as one of my many tools to determine winners.
Are trends and systems always reliable enough to deposit your hard-earned money into a bet at the sportsbook and expect to win? The obvious answer is no.” Although they are a valuable tool in handicapping, trends and systems are simply based on recurring results from past performances in given situations. For example, a very popular system that was used by many football bettors over the years Over the years, it was always to go with the Green Bay Packers at home in the months of December and January.
That game became even stronger if the team they were hosting was from a hot 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, often dropping below freezing with the wind chill factor. The Packers were used to practicing and playing in this weather, and it seemed to give them an automatic advantage over any dome or hot-weather team. However, most average punters don’t realize that punters know it too and have already taken it into account.
So, if the Packers were statistically, say, a team 3 points better in a given game, punters could have the line set at minus 6 ½, knowing that a vast majority of punters will automatically take the Pack and place the number. . Other bettors will take a deeper look and see well beyond teams and location, and hopefully take advantage of the positive side of the inflated number, balancing the bets. Ironically, this Green Bay cold weather theory would have shown no profit in the last 10 seasons, had a bet on every Packers home game that had fallen in this situation and time frame.
There are literally hundreds of other similar systems related to betting on football and other major sports. Here’s another example of a popular one that’s used more in the NFL than college football. Let’s say you have a home underdog playing on a different pitch surface than their favorite away player. Without isolating or considering any other factors, it is said that the domestic dog is generally good game in any situation.
The simple reasoning is that the home team is believed to do a better job for the home fans. In theory, if they have the advantage that the visitor is playing on an unfamiliar surface, the game becomes stronger in the mind of the average bettor. But before you jump in and bet on all those situations this year, think about the 2008 season and the Detroit Lions, for example. After going 4-0 in the preseason, 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 away team was playing on a different surface than the one they had on their home field.
However, the Lions lost by an average score of 15-37 at home last year and never came close to closing the gap. They did host a 16-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but that game did not fall under this system, as the Vikings also play in a domed stadium with the same type of surface as the Lions. Bottom line, if one had put this “home dog/different territory” system into play on the men of Motor City last year, the results would have been very costly, losing all bets. 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 just 19-28, rather than losing by an average margin of 22 points at home.
Trends and systems can be a valuable tool and are used by almost all serious handicappers as well as many average sports bettors. However, always remember that trends are based on history and at some point, what goes up must come down. Always look at the big picture, consider all other variables, and never make a betting decision based on just one or two things, be it trends or other factors.