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The Fatman Speaks
Football Handicapping - 2001 Style
by Ernie Kaufman

Finally, after a seven-month drought of non-combative sports, football is back! I love it! I not only love football, but obviously I really enjoy betting on football games more than any other type of wagering. So here comes the statement that many people will scoff at: “Football, especially the pro game, has become the easiest sport to beat.”

There are many reasons why this is so, but let’s just touch on a few.

1. You get the entire week to analyze and handicap your games; other sports can come at you seven days a week.
2. More people bet on football than any of the other major sports; thus we have a much higher percentage of unsophisticated bettors plunking down their money on the pigskin action. Such people will tend to go with the public team most of the time, thus, driving the point spread up by many points over and beyond what it should be. Therefore, the astute handicapper will find a lot of value by going against the public.
3. There are literally hundreds of time tested systems and betting trends available, most of which can give us an edge on many of the games to be played.
4. There are enough games televised each season to allow the football handicapper to get a good sense of a team’s quality.

Okay, so now on to the good stuff. What can we look for in establishing a betting strategy in the coming football season?

First, lets go to 10 proven betting trends in college and pro football.

1. Bet on any pro football team that is going for its fourth straight win (straight up), and its fourth straight win (by the points) at home. Results: 91 wins and 47 losses in the past 29 years.
2. Bet on any Monday Night Football home team underdog. Results: 110 wins and 56 losses since the inception of the Monday night games.
3. Bet on any Monday Night Football home team favorite if they are laying 5 or more points. Results: 57 wins and 39 losses since the 1984 season.
4. Bet against last year’s Super Bowl winner in game #2 through game #5 of the season. Results: 65 wins and 43 losses in the past 29 years.
5. Bet against any pro football team that is attempting to cover the point spread for the second straight game as a road favorite. Results: 72 wins and 35 losses in the past 26 years.
6. Bet against any pro football team in its third consecutive road game. Results: 91 wins and 58 losses in the past 25 years.
7. Bet on any pro football team that is an intra-division home team underdog or “Pick Em,” or laying no more than one point. Results: 529 wins and 401 losses in the past 27 years.
8. In the playoffs, bet against the Wild Card teams when they are going against division winners. Results: 53 wins and 37 losses since the inception of the Wild Card format.
9. In college football, bet on any inter-conference home team underdogs. Results: 183 wins and 141 losses since 1985.
10. Bet on any college football team that is getting thirty (30) or more points. Results: 226 wins and 142 losses in the last 18 years.

Enough with the systems! On to the even better stuff: betting propositions for the coming football season.

In the year 2001 I will wager on the Washington Redskins to win the NFC and the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC. I know, I know, many of you are in disagreement with these selections. If that’s the case, simple solution, don’t bet!

And, here are some more goodies to wager on for the 2001 season.

TOTAL WINS AND LOSSES FOR PRO FOOTBALL TEAMS
Play over the total win number:
• Washington Redskins
• San Diego Chargers
• New England Patriots

Play under the total win number:
• New Orleans Saints
• Detroit Lions
• New York Giants
• Philadelphia Eagles
• Pittsburgh Steelers
• Miami Dolphins

Now, if nothing else, all this should keep you quite busy this fall. Best of luck and enjoy!

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