National attention is squarely on the Sunday and Monday night games in the NFL which means more public betting, more scrutiny, more action and more hype. Look at it as an opportunity for sharp NFL picks to cash.
Don't Believe the Hype
I have a friend who watches every pregame show imaginable. He listens to the former jocks, head coaches and NFL pundits like he is suckling at the spiritual teat of the Dali Lama. But the funny thing about these talking heads is they never put their money where their mouths are. Hell most of these guys are told to pick the games straight up as though the NFL odds don't even exist. You can thank Roger Goodell for that directive.
These slickly produced shows with the dramatic background music and authoritative, baritone narrator give the viewer plenty of sizzle but no steak. I don't need to know that the star wide-receiver has a brother in a wheel chair that he thinks of every time he takes the field. However, what I would absolutely love to know is that the same All-Pro wideout was out until 4:30 AM on game day with a scantily clad 25-year-old hottie who is actually a 16-year-old high school cheerleader with a flair for deception and heavy make-up according to her father who had already spoken to Mr. All-Pro's attorney. No, this story will never go public because a settlement is in the works to keep this unseemly and sordid episode out of the papers for all parties concerned. But had some intrepid journalist with his ear to the ground broken the story and revealed that the aforementioned superstar was as distracted and panicked as his wife was livid and vengeful then this could be a real piece of handicapping information I could use.
Use the time you would normally spend listening to a jaggle of jocks (jaggle is my word for several jocks or former jocks convened in the same location, kind of like school of fish or pride of lions) researching betting trends, injury reports, matchups, mismatches and common opponents. Do your homework because the networks won't do it for you.
Where is the Public Action?
When there is only one game left on Sunday or the only game on the slate Monday night you can bet that this game will be swamped with public money. I am talking about the squares, the guys who are in barrooms right this very moment talking about how DeMarco Murray is going to definitely put the Cowboys over the top this season or how Shady McCoy is going to bounce back in Philadelphia or that New Orleans has the best tight end in the business in Jimmy Graham. They're idiots not because they don't carefully follow the NFL offseason but because they pretend to do just that and get exposed the moment they open their mouths. These are the same people betting on these high profile games gentlemen and yes their money moves lines. We must be better than that and understand why the line has moved and is this yet another example of the public betting the favorite because, well, they're the favorites?
Scrutinize the game before you even glance at the line. Do your research and then determine not what you believe the line should be but what you believe the final score to be. I cannot stress enough the difference between setting a betting line and predicting by how much one team will beat another. If you are an NFL odds maker then your job is to set a number that will attract both sides. If you believe the public will swarm over a favorite then it is your job to make that favorite less appetizing to bet by raising the line thereby attracting action on the underdog.
However, betting the game is a different kettle of fish. The number you come up with has nothing do with creating a solid number that will see equal wagering on either side but a learned opinion on the actual outcome of the game. If you believe the Packers will defeat the Panthers in Carolina by four points and the NFL odds are Green Bay -7 then it looks to me like the Panthers are a pretty good bet. Do your homework, avoid playing square NFL picks and don't believe the hype!