Originally posted on GRIDLINE's News & Notes, 06SEP2006

GRIDLINE Presents: 10 Tips to Start the Season

In no particular order ...

1. Remember the "One-Fifth" rule. Historically, the points only come into play one-fifth of the time, about 20%. The favorites beat the spread half of the time and the dogs win outright 30% percent of the time, so if you know your team can't win the game but you think they can cover, keep this in mind.

2. Don't play two-team parlays back-to-back, i.e., don't play a parlay with team A starting at Noon and team B starting at 3. Play team A straight, then if it comes in you can double up on B to get your parlay payout, or you can just go double or nothing. Give yourself the option.

3. Do buy down from 3.5 to 3 points if you are taking the favorite, even if you have to pay as much as 13 to 10. We did the math. We did the retroanalysis. We have seen it in practice. The occurence of pushes when buying down from 3.5 is great enough to offset the added juice. It has something to do with 3 being the most common margin of victory. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to pay to buy up when taking 2.5.

4. In overtime the odds of either team winning is just about 50%, but the team that wins the coin toss wins the game on their first drive over 30% of the time. Also, the game is just as likely to end with a TD than end with a FG.

5. Register your hit. Take steps to remember what went right. Make an effort to watch the highlights, or replay the whole game if you have it on tape. As gamblers, it seems we can't escape the incessant replays when we lose a heartbreaker, but we often forget to reimburse ourselves emotionally when we win. It's not just about money.

6. Most games are decided by poor officiating, bad coaching decisions and/or rotten FG kicking. You can't cap this - you can only hope it evens out. Your skill as a capper is measured by your hit/miss record when both teams approach their potential.

7. We're not saying games are fixed, but if one were to be fixed it would more likely occur in a relatively low-profile game and would favor an underdog home team, where the visitors would still win but they wouldn't cover. Be wary if the spread moves opposite the steam in these situations.

8. A little precipitation won't affect the outcome, but when the wind kicks up to 20 mph it really affects the passing game. And when the wind AND rain combines with a sloppy field then either team has an equal chance of winning. When the weather dominates, take the points.

9. If the underdog is winning straight up at halftime, they are not going to lose to the spread. In other words, if you have the favorite and they are behind at the half, forget it. It's not coming in. Some have come to us with exceptions to this rule but that's all they are. Exceptions. We can rattle off 20 instances to 1.

10. It is ALWAYS a good idea to shop for points, whether it's by checking several outs or by waiting for a line adjustment or by a combination of the two. Having said that, the line movement RARELY comes into play.

... and one more for lagniappe!

Remember that the oddsmakers are off by an average of 10 points, both in the spread and in the total. This is what allows them to offer 6-point teasers.