NFL Betting: Algorithms, Trends, And Game Simulators

Ross Benjamin

Monday, August 15, 2016 7:03 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 7:03 PM UTC

Our football handicapping professional discusses betting algorithms, and provides his opinions on game simulators. Join us in reading this intriguing article filled with fact filled information to aid you with your football picks.

Describing Sports Handicapping Algorithms
An algorithm is defined as a set of steps followed to solve a mathematical problem, or complete a computer process. That seems like a byzantine way of approaching things from the perspective of a vast majority of sports bettors. Nevertheless, I’m going to do my best to simplify the terminology, and attempt to make it easier to understand.

Let’s hypothetically assume you have a sports handicapping software program in your possession. An NFL database is what we’ll use for discussion purposes. My own personal NFL program contains every game played, and its results, dating all the way back to 1980. There are also a plethora of queries (questions) I can ask, and subsequently, the program will spit out all past results based on what my specific inquiries were.

Let’s use a specific example. How does NFL home underdogs do following a bye week? Consequently, my software returned an answer of 6-15 ATS (28.6%) since 2011. Looking back at defining the world algorithm. A set of steps is your queries. Specifically, in this instance, how a home underdog does following a bye week. Completing a computer process equates to the result of 6-15 ATS. A lot of you will recognize this as a betting angle.

Here’s another example that can potentially be useful when making your NFL picks this season. Since 1980, how does an NFL non-division home underdog with a winning percentage of .500 or more do when playing on Mondays (query)? My software indicates, they’ve gone an extremely profitable 24-7 ATS (77.4%) and won 22 of those 31 games straight up. Now I’m going to reset the NFL betting odds, and query, what if those teams were an underdog of 2.5 or more. The result I received was an improved 20-4 ATS (83.3%), and 18-6 (75%) straight up over that same course of time. That constitutes an extremely strong betting algorithm. My favorite old adage in this regard, “numbers don’t lie and liars don’t figure”.


Comparing Betting Algorithms and Betting Trends
Readers often times misconstrue a betting algorithm for a team trend. There’s a distinct difference between the two. A trend involves a specific team in an exact situation. The Buffalo Bills are 7-2 ATS as a home underdog since 2013 is a prime example of a team trend. We are asking about one specific team in a precise set of conditions. Remember, we live in a day and age where NFL free agency is rampant, and team rosters go through a lot more change on annual basis compared to that of 20 years ago. As a result, team trends carry far less weight than they previously did.

Conversely, betting algorithms entail all teams in a specific set of circumstances. Team rosters change from year to year. However, betting patterns and tendencies can be uncovered when an explicit conditions take place. Subsequently, these results come from a much broader scope and don’t lose their value with age. Contrarily, they’re considered even more robust when successful over an extended period of time.


Don’t Marry a Lone Facet of Handicapping
Admittedly, I do spend a great deal of time searching for prosperous football betting algorithms on a weekly basis. Nonetheless, that’s not the only dynamic I use when making my NFL picks. Rather, it’s a fundamental supporting factor that must be complimented by other pertinent handicapping components.


Game Simulators
There are several handicapping web sites out there that make computer based prognostications and include an exact score for both teams. Let me say this, there are some that are far more accurate than others, but they’re few and far between. Nonetheless, it’s never that easy, especially when you omit the human brain out of the equation. My findings when researching these handicapping products weren’t favorable. There are far too many miscellaneous elements which aren’t taken into account, resulting in a lack of consistency, and I deem to be unreliable. Things like emotion, revenge, injuries, weather and line movements aren’t, and can’t be recognized by these simplistic game simulations. If for anything else, you owe it to yourself to have a more comprehensive approach when wagering your hard earned money.

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