Don’t Fall for Short-Term Trends

Normally our focus here in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping is on things you can do to make yourself a smarter investor. Today, we’re going to talk about something NOT to do.

If you’ve been paying attention to sports betting media, or even mainstream media the past few days, you’ve heard a lot of raving about short term trends. Home underdogs had a great day in the NFL Sunday, including outright wins by Cleveland and Buffalo. Favorites are on an amazing run in the Major League Baseball Playoffs so far. Baseball underdogs didn’t cash until Milwaukee and Atlanta both cashed Sunday at plus odds. Even when the Yankees won game two in Boston, they closed as market favorites.

That stuff sounds interesting. But, IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. It’s not like the next NFL home underdog to take the field is in better shape to cover because the last few did. An ace pitcher for Team X isn’t a sure thing to shine just because other ace pitchers have been sharp so far. If you bet based on “imagined” momentum that couldn’t possibly have any real word applications, you’re going to get your butt handed to you in this field.

Remember this. Media guys would go broke very quickly if they had to make their livings as sports bettors. I’ve lived out here in Las Vegas longer than many of you have been alive. If you’re a relatively young student and new to sports betting, I’ve been a pro handicapper for longer than your father was alive! I know what works and what doesn’t. Sports books are not afraid of pundits…or former players…or former coaches…or former sportswriters. Those guys aren’t banned from betting because they’re too smart. They’d be welcomed if they had the guts to show up and back their bad opinions with money.

So if you hear some sort of betting “angle” or “trend” in the recently expanding sports betting media (much more prominent now on the internet than it’s been, and on sports cable channels), don’t fall into the trap of thinking you should bet that way. Too many people try to invent DUMB shortcuts to winning. Do the work! I trust all of you regular students have already learned the benefits of that.

Look, if a home underdog covers a spread or springs an upset, you can almost always trace that to one or more of the following:

*PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS who were positioned to have a good game against the opposing defense.

*The MOTIVATION FACTOR, which could either signal a peak effort from the host, or a flat performance from the visitor.

Tennessee lost outright as a home underdog at Buffalo this past Sunday. Was that because there was a plus-sign (+) by Buffalo’s name on an electric board in Vegas or Atlantic City? Or, was it because Tennessee was coming off an overtime thriller the prior week, that was on the heels of a brutal defensive war that saw the Titans upset divisional rival Jacksonville? The Titans couldn’t overcome a flat schedule spot.

Denver closed as a slight home favorite over the Jets. This after a brutal early schedule that drained their tanks. That was also a short week after a Monday Night divisional heartbreaker against Kansas City.

What if factors like those AREN’T in play for the next road favorite? What if the next road favorite is fresh, ready, and has motivation for one reason or another. Should you bet the home underdog THEN just because home underdogs are on a hot run lately? Of course not.

Focus on the fundamentals. Those will give you a fighting chance.

Homework for today? I noticed this past Sunday that a lot of offenses posted very high rushing totals. We’ve talked a lot about the passing game this season, particularly with all the rules changes helping offenses. We’re now starting to see smart offensive coordinators rushing up the middle through spread out defenses. About half the league topped 100 rushing yards Sunday. About two-thirds this past weekend will have topped 90.

Today, scan rosters and boxscores to isolate the most likely “impact” running backs across the league right now. Those guys really haven’t been on our PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS lists in the NFL for a few years because of how the game has evolved. I think this year’s rules changes are going to have an overlooked impact on freeing up the running game. YOU need to be on top of that development.

Today, or this week, I want you to create a “supplemental” listing of PLAYMAKERS at the running back position. Moving forward, have that list handy when you’re evaluating the rush defense of opponents. You’re going to find some great bets you would have been missing otherwise.

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Don’t forget to ask about combination packages that include Major League Baseball. We haven’t even reached the league championship battles yet. Those are best-of-seven, leading to what’s likely to be a memorable World Series no matter who qualifies.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance. I hope you take today’s lesson to heart. Being a successful sports bettor is a mix of doing the right things, and NOT doing the wrong things. This isn’t roulette or craps, worrying about what’s hot or what’s cold. Nobody beats those games anyway. See you at the end of the week for more coursework.