Keeping Good Records

NFL Betting Strategy: Keeping Good Records

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Keeping good records is an oft-repeated piece of advice you will get from anyone who is good at betting on the NFL. It’s not easy. First of all, you’re probably already tired from handicapping. In addition, when you lose, the last thing you want to do is pick up a pen and painstakingly chronicle your defeats.

But laziness or having the blues is no excuse. Keeping good records over the long haul can help you see what you do poorly and what you do well. We spend an awful lot of time analyzing the teams. After keeping records for a while, you will be able to do the same analysis on yourself. That can be a very valuable tool.

There are a lot of different elements to account for when you keep records–some obvious and some not. Naturally, you want to include all the vital information, such as the date, teams, bet amount, and result. You might also include the score of the game and a few key details. That’s all good stuff.

But let’s start including additional information that we can use to help us become better cappers. Include an anecdotal section–a brief space where you can write. And in that space, talk about some critical parts of that game–whether you win or lose the bet. When you win, there are some key elements you can identify that led to you winning.

Even more importantly, you can often identify why a team lost, so include that information. After a big enough sample pool, you can perhaps begin to see some common threads. Maybe you consistently bet on favorites against bad teams. And you notice that the favored team is often not sufficiently “up” for the game. Identify what aspects of the game you overlooked and what you may have overvalued. Or maybe you lose bets by undervaluing certain injuries. Including that info in your record-keeping can be very helpful.


The one downside to record-keeping is that it could cause you to reach false conclusions. So don’t be impatient with the process. It could literally take years to develop a voluminous amount of records worthy enough to draw a worthwhile analysis of what you’re doing. When dealing with merely dozens of results–there could be a lot of random happenstance. After losing 14/18 bets wagering on road favorites, you might think that’s a bad move. But 14/18 is probably just an aberration, rather than any kind of real sign that betting road favorites is a bad move.

A major part of successful NFL betting is how you stand in relation to the closing line. If the price you get is consistently worse than the closing line–you are probably not a winning bettor. In your record-keeping, make sure to account for how you stand in this area. Note what the opening line is, where it closes, and where you fell into the mix. After a while, average out the difference.

If you find yourself getting the bad end of the stick–you need to retool. You might need to learn more about line movement and trends. Or you need to stay better-informed or just have a better feel for how lines move. The importance of getting good value cannot be overstated. A good NFL bettor is constantly trying to secure good value. If you’re leaving money on the table by consistently taking bad odds than what was available at another time, that’s a bad sign.

Look at it like a market. The opening line is a public offering on a stock. Then the people move on the line and depending on the movement, it can either stay the same, which means it was a good line or it will move. The market dictates whether the opening line was sound. Therefore, the closing line is usually the more solid line–the one that has been tested and modified by the market.

In your record-keeping, make sure to account for where your bets stand in this equation. If you can beat the closing line by an average of 5 cents or the spread by an average of a half-point–that alone is worth at least a couple percent in the long run. If you can pick up a couple percent edge in a few different areas, you are well on your way to winning money on NFL football wagering.