Making Smart NFL Picks on Teams Riding Losing Streaks

Swinging Johnson

Monday, August 17, 2015 6:32 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 6:32 PM UTC

Invariably teams will unexpectedly stumble & we must know whether to play or pass the games during this streak because an outright loss does not necessarily mean an ATS loss when considering the odds.

Losing Yes But Are They Cashing?
The public and the pundits get caught up in losing streaks. They're fun to talk about unless the team in question happens to be your local NFL entry. But even so if making money is more important than which team jersey you like to wear then the only losing streak you should care about are those teams that are losing week in and week out against the spread. Personally, I would rather watch my home team go down in flames if I bet the other side because wagering with your heart is for chumps.

Case in point from the 2014 NFL season. The woeful franchise that calls itself the Cleveland Browns were cellar dwellers once again in the AFC North last season but at least their record (7-9) was not nearly as dreadful as their other most recent season marks. However, despite a five game losing streak to wrap the season their ATS record was 3-2 (60%) which means while the Dawg Pound wept those who grabbed the points that the NFL odds were offering came out ahead of the game. Losing is a relative term.


Signs to Get Down or Step Off
When a team is costing you money you have to resist the temptation to double down the next time they play because after all, it's the due factor. When presented with this specious argument I always counter that nothing unravels the due factor like the suck factor. Let's take a look at a few qualifiers that can assist us in determining whether or not to stay the course or navigate far away from that sinking ship.

- How do they lose? Getting unlucky usually evens itself out and if a team is fundamentally sound but their opponents are connecting with Hail Mary's or poor officiating is haunting them then it is only a matter of time before the team begins to see light at the end of the tunnel.

- Injuries can play a key role and not just the health of the superstars. Oftentimes we can see that the star players are suited up and ready to go but the second-stringers are ailing. If the backups can't go then once the starters need a breather the third-stringers take over and that can have a debilitating effect on the team as a whole. Watch your injury reports and don't just concern yourself with the high profile players (unless you're sorting out your fantasy football roster) but watch the status changes of the less heralded players as well.

- What kind of team are we talking about? If we are focusing on the losing streaks of good or excellent teams then you can be certain that the betting public will continue to ride them in their NFL picks and the NFL odds makers won't be quite so generous in offering attractive lines to garner money on that side. However, if the team in question is a bona fide dog that seems to be doing what the public expects of them then oftentimes we can get a line that is too high because the public is in fade mode.

- Finally how do the players seem to be taking the mounting losses? Are there smiles when there should be scowls on the sidelines and in the locker room? While I don't give much weight to jock-speak as the canned answers to softball questions become as predictable as what genre of music JJ Gold will play in the background of his videos (hint - rhymes with disco) we can glean some insight if a starting running back who gained 22 yards on 13 carries in a 38-3 blowout flashes a toothy grin to the comely young reporter asking about his performance. That's indicative of a player who doesn't care and a coach who has lost control. Fade him... and them.

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