Betting the NFL Post-Season is Not Easy to Hook

Tom Brady

You just can't predict plays like the 'Tuck Rule' when wagering the NFL post-season.

Whenever I go fishing with my father, it’s inevitable that in some part of the day on the water I will hear any number of cliches, one-liners and lucky fisherman’s stories. Many of these I’ve heard of course but still get a kick out of them. The one I always look forward to most actually applies to a lot of things in life, but I have found that it really applies to the world of betting and gambling.

Typically on a day where the fish aren’t biting and the minnows are having a better go of it than the fishermen, my Dad’s favorite line comes out. “I guess this is why it’s called ‘fishing’ and not catching,” he’d say. What fun would that be? To know that you are going to catch fish every single time you set out for open water?

Betting on sports and especially the NFL Playoffs now-a-days is pretty much the same thing. If we won every time we placed a bet, it would be called ‘winning’ and not ‘gambling’ right?

Since the days of free agency and the salary cap though, it has become much tougher in my opinion to correctly wager on NFL Playoff games. There is so much more parity now and teams are certainly more balanced in terms of personnel than ever before which makes the competition on the field that much more intense and competitive.

Gone are the days of automatically laying money on dynastic teams like the Steelers, 49ers and Cowboys where any time they played in the post-season they generally be a gimme in the win department. Look at Super Bowls in the last several years. New England was favored to beat the New York Giants twice and failed. The Steelers were favored to beat the Packers and failed. Speaking of the Steelers, how many times did Bill Cowher enter a playoff game as a favorite only to come up short and for the gambling public as well?

Matt Ryan

Home-field isn't what it once was and Matt Ryan knows that better than anyone.

In recent years, home-field advantage as much jack squat in terms of advancing to the Super Bowl. Green Bay has had it and failed. Atlanta has had it (and has it again) and has failed. San Francisco had it and failed too. So what does it mean for this week in the NFL Playoffs if you are thinking of dropping a dime on a game or two?

Last week in the Wild-Card round things went pretty much as planned with home teams winning three of the four contests and the only road win being Seattle against a gimpy Robert Griffin III. This week you should know that the Divisional Round games are notorious for classic games and for classic moments. Does the ‘tuck rule’ remind you of what I’m talking about? While no one can predict how challenges and turnovers will affect a game, one always has to take into account such factors.

Another thing that scares me this week are those point spreads in Denver and in New England. Giving 10 points to both Baltimore and Houston is tough to swallow. Keep in mind with the Pats that a couple of years ago they put a whipping on the Jets and a few weeks later hosted them in the playoffs where they were heavy favorites. The Jets shocked the Pats and now the Texans come in off a very similar circumstance.

Out in Denver, the Broncos recently went to Baltimore and crushed the Ravens in their own park. Now they host them and are giving that big 10-point cushion. Do you have to factor in emotion? Does any guy on the Ravens’ roster want to make a play that could lose Ray Lewis his final game? These are often the ‘extra’ factors we have to consider when betting the NFL Playoffs these days.

Unlike fishing where you can throw back some that are too small or not the right type, you can’t throw any back in the NFL. Bait the hook wisely and consider all factors when betting the games this weekend.

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