How To Effectively Handicap NFL Futures

5 tips to get you on the winning track.

The National Football League season truly never ends. From the NFL Draft to free agency, training camps and preseason, regular season, the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl, the NFL is always rolling. In order to become an effective handicapper and guarantee that you increase your bottom line, you need to always be on top of the latest news and notes. This is particularly true when it comes to making money by betting on future results. Here is a look at the best approach to effectively handicap NFL futures.

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Tracking Free Agency

As soon as the new league year gets underway, it’s important to begin tracking where the most talented free agents in the league decide to go. Whether it’s a team on the rise that adds a couple of key pieces to help transform them in to a playoff contender or a team that contended the prior year losing a couple of key talents, it’s important to keep tabs on all 32 rosters as they change throughout the offseason. Nobody is going to miss it when a top quarterback switches teams. What about that depth running back that excels as a receiver out of the backfield and fills a key team need? How much stock do you put in to a quality pass rusher that already joins a decent defense that put a premium on getting after the quarterback when adding to their roster? By tracking free agency, you will have a good idea of how teams are changing prior to a new season.

Following The Draft

In addition to free agency, teams can address major team needs in the draft. Unlike some other major sports, the top football prospects in every draft are ready to step in immediately and contribute. Quarterbacks tend to take a little longer to be ready to start in the NFL. However, there are offensive linemen, running backs, tight ends, defensive ends, linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties that could perform at an elite level as soon as they step on to an NFL field. Tracking free agency and the draft will put you a step ahead of the competition when it comes to handicapping NFL futures.

Momentum From Year To Year

Another important aspect of tracking smart money wagers for NFL futures is having a good understanding of how momentum can impact a team’s performance from one year to the next. How many teams that reach the Super Bowl end up making it back the next season? The New England Patriots have changed the game in the NFL over the last two decades as perennial championship contenders. However, for the other 31 NFL teams it has been very difficult to navigate through the playoffs in the first place, never mind getting back there once they do. The Philadelphia Eagles are the perfect example of this. One year after upsetting the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, the Eagles failed to make the playoffs altogether in the NFC. In addition to monitoring the actual roster changes, it’s important to have an idea of what to expect in terms of overall momentum from one year to the next when tracking NFL futures bets.

Preseason Results Matter

While the majority of casual football fans won’t pay too much attention to exhibition games, the reality is that preseason football can provide some key details that can help when it comes to establishing team performance projections for the upcoming regular season. Of course, not all preseason games are treated the same by NFL teams. The first and second weeks of preseason don’t matter nearly as much as the third week in terms of actual rehearsal for the regular season. Additionally, some coaches put more of an emphasis on getting some wins under their belt in exhibition play to establish some confidence and momentum heading in to the regular season while others tend to focus more on the process of grooming young talent and roster position battles. You can easily look up the preseason records for head coaches on a number of different sites in order to get a good idea of which coaches put more of an emphasis on overall results during the exhibition season. If a coach that wants to win in the preseason doesn’t get the results they want, that could be a negative sign. On the flip side, if a coach that doesn’t place as much emphasis on results manages to go 4-0 in the preseason that could be a pretty good indicator that his team has some positive momentum and upside heading in to the regular season. After a long offseason, the preseason is our first real opportunity to take a look at the players on the field. It’s important not to miss that excellent chance to familiarize yourself with the 32 rosters and gain some insight in what to expect for the coming season.

Patience Is A Virtue

The final rule to keep in mind when handicapping NFL futures is that patience can be very important. You don’t want to be too careful, but you don’t want to be too careless either. It’s important to find a balance between jumping on favorable early lines and waiting until lines improve or you get a better idea of what to expect throughout the preseason. For example, do you jump on the Kansas City Chiefs to win more than 10.5 games early because you think they are a lock to reach 11 wins. Or do you wait a little longer and monitor both the NFL futures line and the team progression leading up to the regular season? If you wait, the team total could rise to 11.0 wins. However, if you place the bet and then Patrick Mahomes suffers a serious injury in the preseason then you could be in trouble. It’s impossible to predict the future. However, by doing your homework and following the guidelines that we have laid out for you in this column, you should gain an edge when it comes to handicapping NFL futures and improving your bottom line betting on football in general throughout the entire year.


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