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NFL Weather – NFL Handicapping Tips

Weather Dependent NFL Betting

While it’s important to get a handle on every factor affecting your bet, there’s no angle square NFL bettors overvalue more than weather. This is especially true when the season starts getting long in the tooth as snow, freezing rain, and high winds start changing the way the game is played on the field.

Don’t get me wrong – weather does matter – it’s just you shouldn’t overreact and rush to the window every time a flurry might fall on Ben Roethlisberger’s helmet. Oddsmakers and sharps are both expecting you to overreact so they can take advantage of the public money that inevitably moves the line or total in one direction or another for no good reason.

Make sure to handicap the game the same way you normally would. Don’t automatically take the under or bet on the “cold weather team” just because there’s a chance of snow, especially if you notice the number is already on the move.

Get an actual weather forecast from a local news station or a meteorologist. Suzy Kolber and Sal Paolantonio aren’t your regular Brick Tamland; the mainstream sports media often plays up cold weather to create a narrative prior to kickoff. Tune in to Channel 6 for an unbiased view of the weather unless you live in Wisconsin, where the weather report will most definitely focus on the Packers game.

Don’t overestimate the effect winter weather has on the offensive side of the football while completely ignoring what it means for the defense. Public bettors often make this error, forgetting it’s the defense that has to react to the offense. Defenses that have the most trouble in winter weather are units that like to confuse the offense by blitzing often and running multiple quasi-zone formations. Those teams live and die by their ability to adjust on the fly to what the offense is doing.

NFL betting in the Bodog Sportsbook.

That having been said, it’s still about what the offense can do. A common misconception is NFL teams have no choice but to pound the run in inclement winter weather, so a good running game is the key to making money for bettors. While that’s true if you’re looking at an outright blizzard, teams with offensive balance have better success in winter weather because of their ability to keep the defense honest.

Defensive strategy during cold weather is to take something away from the offense, preferably the run. Teams that go either way are more dangerous because they disallow the defense from focusing on either the run or the pass. This is basic stuff, but it’s even more of a factor when players are losing their footing and the wind is blowing passes down left and right.

Balance on offense isn’t the only thing on which to hang your hat. You have to couple that approach with a team that is actually profitable. Teams fitting the mold (balanced and profitable) this season are the New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Redskins: All figure to be solid plays when Mother Nature rears its winter head.

Looking at stadiums most affected by cold weather, there are no hard and fast trends that deliver a magic bullet. That’s because the role of the oddsmaker isn’t to accurately reflect the differences between opponents in the spread or total, it’s to accurately assess public perception of those differences. If squares think bad weather means the game is going under, that’s where the number is headed.

You could fund an entire college research department figuring out the cold weather trends in NFL stadiums. Taking a small extrapolation of games played in December or later in Green Bay, Cleveland, and Buffalo since 2005, nothing jumps out except the over trend. The Packers, Browns, and Bills are a combined 17-6 O/U during those circumstances over the time period, meaning there’s at least some benefit to avoid pounding the under at all costs when cold weather strikes.


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