The Three Point Rule in Football Handicapping

NFL sports betting handicapping

Handicapping a sport is loosely defined as applying a method or formula to a sporting event in order to prognosticate the outcome. This outcome may be a straight-up winner or a winner against the spread. There are various formulas available online. Some are pretty complicated while others are fairly simple. Today I want to talk about the three point rule when handicapping a game against the point spread.

In American football, point spreads are assigned based on which team is better and by how much better they are than the opponent. This is done through statistical analysis. One factor that every single handicapper or oddsmaker applies to a game when handicapping is the home field advantage rule. In football that advantage is 3 points. So, if two teams are evenly matched if they play at a neutral location where the spread would be a PICK, then those same teams playing at home would each be -3.

This same simple handicapping rule can actually help you pick games and find out if there is an over or undervaluation. I am going to use three games from this upcoming week as an example.

Before looking at the actual point spread, create your own spread based on hat you know about the teams and if they were playing on a neutral field. Make sure you are aware of any serious injuries. Now, make one team the home team and add a -3 to that home team based on your neutral field handicap. Then flip the home and away teams and apply the same formula.

After you have worked out these numbers that you feel are solid and should attract attention both sides of the line, look at the actual spread. Did you nail it? Chances are you probably did not. Chances off you were off by 1 or 2 points, maybe even more. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong about the game. It simply means you see the matchup differently than the oddsmakers and the public does. If the line is more than 2.5 points different than your guess on either side of the game, then you have your very own handicapped pick.

Real Time Example of some we did today for upcoming games:

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans

Neutral
Texans +3
Jags -3

Texans at Home
Jags PK
Texans PK

Jags at Home (Actual Matchup)
Texans +6
Jags -6 (Actual line is Jags -7)

Verdict: No Pick

As you see from this example above our handicap was off by one point. Not enough to wager that game. Let’s try another:

Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears

Neutral
Bears +3
Vikings -3

Bears at Home
Vikings PK
Bears PK

Vikings at Home (Actual)
Bears +6
Vikings -6 (Actual Vikings -7)

Verdict: No Pick

Neutral:
Cardinals +4.5
Eagles -4.5

Eagles at Home
Cardinals +7.5
Eagles -7.5

Cardinals at Home (Actual)
Eagles -1.5 (Actual Eagles -5)
Cardinals +1.5

As you see the Eagles are probably laying too many points on the road against a decent Arizona team. The big bet here would be to take the Cardinals plus the points. You can bet it any one of our top rated sportsbooks.

Always start with the neutral location line. Make sure you get that number as right as you can in your opinion and the other numbers will fall into place.