Staying Ahead of the Masses

NFL Betting: Staying Ahead of the Masses

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

It takes a lot for the general public to change their perception. Accepting reality comes in a time-release format. In NFL football, that is especially true. We cling to our ideas of who the best teams and best players are. And it can take us a long time to internalize the truth. Maybe it’s because acknowledging the passage of time forces us to face our own immortality. Whatever is at the root of it–we can actually profit off it.

Part of being a capable NFL bettor is being able to see the writing on the wall before everyone else does–precisely because we don’t have our heart-strings wrapped up in the equation. We’re looking at it like we’re in a clinic. And if the data shows otherwise, we’re confident enough to stick to our convictions. This goes for both good and bad. A good capper can change his perspective on a team or player on the fly.

After years of doldrums, the 49ers finally put it together in 2011. Week after week, they beat the spread. What happened? People were reluctant to truly acknowledge that this is not the same 49ers team. In our heads, the image of the 49ers over the last decade is very negative. It takes a lot to tear that down. But those who could detect that the 49ers were a different animal early in the season rode that all the way to the bank.

That’s what we should always be trying to do–stay ahead of the masses. Take a look at some of the different big-time teams. People continue to bet these teams as if they are the teams of their former glory years. In our heads, we sometimes have assessments of teams that are written in concrete. The historically good teams stand out more. Subconsciously, bettors are more inclined to put their money on teams that they have heard more about over the years.

Bettors grew up inundated with glorious stories about the Cowboys, Raiders, and Redskins. If you weren’t quick to acknowledge the depressions these teams went through over the past decade or more–it could have cost you serious money. Today, who are the powerhouse teams? The Packers, Patriots, etc. You know who they are. history shows us none of these teams will remain on top for long. Now will we be quick or slow to acknowledge the inevitable drop-off?

The same applies to players. The media has a list of the commonly-recognized stars of the game. It’s a difficult fraternity to get into. Star status is built over a long time in most cases. Again, shrewd bettors must be poised to strike and recognize who the real game-changing players are before everyone else does. If a guy is splashed all over Sportscenter everyday–it’s too late. The signs were there before and you need to strike like a snake to stay ahead of the game.

It may take even longer for a player’s reputation as an individual force to unravel. Years can go by before the public fully realizes a former poster boy is no longer his former self. It’s very understandable. A million times we get told someone is good that it might take a while before we shake that perception.


Watching a lot of games and paying close attention can keep you ahead of the masses. Quarterbacks are the most obvious. Are they not able to make the same throws they used to? Are they getting up slower and slower from hits? Are his legs still under him? It can be subtle, but the difference between the glamor quarterbacks and the other guys is often pretty marginal, so that small difference can be big.

Is a running back not able to hit that other gear anymore? Is a shutdown corner now getting run past from time to time? Is a formerly great offensive lineman suddenly getting outmaneuvered? Is a defensive end getting that first big step less and less? If you’re able to see these things and act on them sooner rather than later, you are taking the right step. You are headed in the right direction–where you are developing your own insights and not just following the herd.