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Sports Betting Trends

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/18/2007

I like match-ups and situational handicapping. This includes such things as strengths against weaknesses, bad lines, homecoming and revenge spots. I'm not big into betting trends. Trends can be dangerous. Some novice sports bettors think, “This team has lost 3 straight against the number, that means they're more likely to cover this game.â€쳌 Well, you had better have more reasons on your side to back a team than just something like that.

For instance, the Denver Broncos have a reputation as a terrific home team, with fiery fans and the high altitude, thin air can play havoc on opposing teams. Yet, the Broncos are 1-12 against the spread their last 13 home games! That’s a trend, but it doesn’t mean that will continue. And prior to that, they were a team that covered at home for a while. If you continued to bet that trend last season, you might be riding a 1-12 ATS losing streak right now!

I recall a game last season when Fresno State went into the Hawaii game as a home dog. Fresno hadn't covered since late in the 2005 season. Anyone who looked at trends might think that Fresno HAS to cover this game, as they are due for a cover. Well that kind of simplistic thinking doesn't cut it in the competitive world of sports handicapping.

For the record, Fresno got bombed, 68-37 as a +3 home dog. That made them 0-6 against the spread. It didn’t get any better as they finished the 2006 season 1-10-1 ATS. If you think, “All right, so maybe the next game they will cover, right? Now they are REALLY due!â€쳌 The due factor doesn’t work.

I would suggest focusing more on match-ups and such things as home/road play, and current play, rather than to look at a trend. That’s one thing I focused on when the Patriots played at the Cowboys. The one Dallas weakness is in the secondary and the Pats came to town with a devastating passing attack with Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and Randy Moss. Dallas got some points, but they problems in the secondary were obvious as Tom Brady shredded them. That’s more important than finding some trend that says, “Dallas is 15-5 ATS in national TV gamesâ€쳌 or “8-4 as a home dog.â€쳌

Cold, hard facts, to me, are more important than any wagering trend or the “overdue factor.â€쳌 That's the catch for trend bettors: WHEN will this trend happen? It's impossible to say based solely on the overdue trend factor. Successful sports handicapping encompasses so many factors. It's much wiser to look at as many factors as possible, such as home field, weather, playing surface, coaching, strength versus weaknesses and revenge spots. Winning ATS is about sifting through all the pieces and finding several edges in a game, not just one angle.

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