Thursday, February 02, 2006

NFL Handicapping: Extreme Heat

In the 1995 City to Surf fun run, Australia's premiere foot race, which is a 14 kilometer trek through Hyde Park in Central Sydney to the Pacific Ocean, a 19-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest on the finishing line and later died. 600 people were treated for minor problems and 200 were treated by physiotherapists. Medical centers treated 55 participants, of whom 38 suffered heat exhaustion.

"The people who get into trouble are the highly motivated amateurs who train in the cool of the day and are not prepared for competition"
Dr. Rowley Richards - City to Surf Medical Director

It certainly does not take a doctor to point out the pains of physical activity in extreme heat. I am sure, at some point in time each and every one of us has over-exerted ourselves in the heat, even if that means a frantic sprint to the disappearing ice cream truck. In fact, it is no secret that soccer players are the best conditioned athletes in the world -- because they have to be. Try running for 60 minutes in an open air stadium on the equator, or the deserts of northern Africa. Better yet, try it with full pads and helmet in a pre-season NFL football encounter in Phoenix, Arizona in August. It is no wonder the Arizona Cardinals get three of their first four games of every season on the road.

Following this simple human truth, it would follow in football, just as in marathons or any other sporting event, that better conditioned athletes will fare better in extreme heat than lesser conditioned athletes. While oddsmakers take many factors into account when determining pointspreads, it is fair to say that better teams are better, at least in part, because of superior physical conditioning. The most successful training camp in the 1998 season, in terms of attendance and commitment from the players, was that of the Denver Broncos. Fresh off their 1997 Superbowl win, where physical conditioning was the deciding factor in the pit, as Denver's lightweight but well conditioned O-Line simply dominated Green Bay's large but out-of-shape D-Line, the Broncos went back to the secret well which had given them the extra edge when it mattered most, and it paid off again.

We are not surprised when a stronger and better conditioned athlete dominates in the ring, or in a foot race, so why should we be surprised when better conditioned football players win on the football field, especially when the elements demand a superior effort. In fact, that is exactly the reality in today's NFL, as league parity reduces the gap in talent, it is intangibles, like physical conditioning, which give some teams an edge on some days.

In fact, there were 17 regular season games in the NFL in 1998, where the game time temperature was recorded at 86 degrees or higher. The favorite in those 17 games held a 15-2 record straight up, and a 12-4-1 record ATS. In fact, of the two straight up fav losses, one was Carolina losing as a home favorite to Atlanta in week 1, but of course, it will be a long time before we mistake Carolina for a favorite over the NFC's Superbowl representative again. The other occasion, was a 13-7 loss, Tennessee their Nashville debut at Vanderbilt Stadium in week 2 against The Chargers, which looks to be the only true exception to the rule.

Furthermore, the hotter it got, the more prevalent the phenomenon became. There were six games in 1998 where the temperature hit as high as 90 degrees at game time. They were;

-WEEK 1 - Arizona @ Dallas - 97 degrees
-WEEK 1 - Oakland @ Kansas City - 94 degrees
-WEEK 1 - Pittsburgh @ Baltimore - 91 degrees
-WEEK 3 - Philadelphia @ Arizona - 99 degrees
-WEEK 4 - Denver @ Washington - 90 degrees
-WEEK 6 - Chicago @ Arizona - 91 degrees

Now, there are amazing similarities between all six of the above hotties, besides they all hit 90 degrees or higher at game time. Most assuredly, all six games saw the favorite handle the heat much better than the lesser team of the day and win handily over the underdog. The favorites had a 6-0 ATS mark over the underdogs when the heat was on. In fact, the underdogs in these 6 games had problems catching more than just their breath, as not one of the underdogs in any of these games registered more than 16 points. In fact, combined, the underdogs in these 6 contests scored just 57 points, or, 9.5 per game average. The favorites in these 6 games were able to take advantage of fatigued defenses, as the favorites combined for a whopping 161 points in these 6 games, compared to just 57 allowed.

Another interesting property of heat is its debilitating effects over time. In other words, how would the heat take its toll on a defense as the game wears on? This is a very intriguing question, and one, which could unlock the door to untold opportunities. Consider the results of the following chart, which is a breakdown of scoring by quarter by both the favorite, underdog and cumulative scoring in the six hot games combined.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Why Baseball is Always A Good Bet?

Baseball season is by far the best time of the year to find some of the strongest wagering opportunities available. There are roughly 2,430 games in a single baseball season, compared to 1,189 in the NBA and only 256 in the NFL. So outside of college sports, Baseball season clearly offers the greatest time of year to find the best value plays and cash in big.

With nearly twice the number of games as the NBA and the NFL combined, you can be very selective when picking Baseball winners. However, most sports bettors do not recognize this fact and make the mistake of ignoring the Baseball season completely and passing up the chance at big profits. Don’t make this same error. Take full advantage of this opportunity and always consider baseball as part of your wagering investment plan.

We make research and uncover the strongest Baseball Picks each day using our expert sports analysis. With over a decade of experience handicapping sports, we know what it takes to win in Major League Baseball and always go the extra mile for our clients to bring them top-rated Baseball Picks. It’s this dedication and experience that makes us one of the top sports handicapping services for winning Baseball Picks. Give us a try today.

NFL handicapping: what you need to know to bet on the NFL

Some popular and accepted angles are:

Injury Report

This NFL injury report is published each week and put up on our handicapping site for the weekend games. Check the report each week to find out which key players aren’t going to be available to their team for the upcoming weekend as this obviously can have a huge impact. It’s also a good idea to keep track from week to week or to print out the reports each week to determine who is going on the disabled list and who is coming off. These roster changes can obviously have a huge impact on the wagering and the setting of the lines. Also, don’t just look for star players either because the best value comes from reading between the lines and knowing which guys in the trenches are the most valuable to their respective teams.

Weather Reports

Never underestimate the impact the weather can have on the outcome of a game. This can be especially helpful in late fall and early winter as some of our best total (over / under) plays have been derived from anticipated poor weather which obviously slants the game to a ball control contest with lower scoring. Poor field conditions can also contribute to poor footing for field goal kickers which translates into a few misses which drives the score down. Again, keeping in mind the oddsmakers are also aware of these angles and sometimes adjust too far. Nice weather in December in a city which is usually cold can offer a juicy over play at a relatively low number making for a five star play. As you can see, there is no magic formula you have to put in some time and do some work however the rewards are worth it.

Short Week Angle

A popular angle amongst football pundits is the short week phenomena. This centers around teams that play a big Monday night game coming back to play the following Sunday. Their difficulties seem to be a combination of the hype of the big “Monday nighter” combined with the reduced time for preparation for the following Sunday’s game but these teams tend to struggle. Another thought to the poor performance may have to do with reduced time for minor injuries to heal from the week before. Follow this angle closely and you may find yourself in a position to reap the rewards.

Past History

Although not a huge favorite of us, many a handicapper swear by previous records and all the other juicy stats that go along with this angle. There are many publications that produce pages and pages of statistical information concerning whatever upcoming game you are considering a play on. They offer such things as records between the two teams dating back to the beginning of the league, how a team has faired coming off of a short rest (see above), how two quarterbacks have faired against each other over their career etc. Some of these stats pages even trace accomplishments all the way back to College.

Dome Teams / Grass Teams

A very debatable issue among football handicappers concerns the issue of surface. In the many different stadiums throughout the NFL, you can find a number of different playing surfaces and environments in which teams play. Certain teams get labeled as being able to handle one surface or environment better than the other. An example of this is St. Louis being labeled a dome team over the past few years due to their apparent appreciation for the controlled environment reflected in their positive record. Other notables would be the Green Bay Packers at home, it just seems that teams coming into Greenbay during October – December have trouble with that cold weather while the boys from GB flourish in it. A perfect example of a team that has trouble in the cold would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, notoriously touted as a warm weather team. Our suggestion with this angle is to be extremely careful when evaluating and not getting caught up in the hype of a situation. Make sure your decisions are based on fact and biases are truly biases rather than a particular set of circumstances.

All of the above must be taken with a grain of salt as we are not the first to discover some of these angles and the people that make the odds are also extremely savvy. Be aware of too much adjustment to a line. For example, a line normally favoring a team by 7 is reported to be without their starting quarterback. This may cause a drastic swing in the line sometimes as much as the full 7 points. What you have to determine is if that is too much of a shift in the line. Is the starting quarterback worth a full touchdown in your mind. Make your determination and then make your plays accordingly. Be mindful of too much adjustment to the line and attempt to jump in and capitalize on the other side in these circumstances. This can be magnified in big game situations such as Monday night action or playoff’s as more media attention is focused on this particular game and all the circumstances surrounding it.

A must for any serious football handicapper is to make your own lines and capitalize on perceived errors to the set lines. By making your own lines, you automatically have your best bet of the weekend after comparing your figures to the Vegas set lines. The biggest discrepancy in the lines should be your biggest play of the weekend. Be careful to double check such things as injury report, coaching or personal changes, and weather etc., before jumping right in, as you want to ensure your selection is based on all the facts and ensure the oddsmakers don’t know something you aren’t aware of.

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