Week 4 NFL Bettor’s Guide [2021]

Here we go! Week 4 picks are in, see below.  We are examining more closely our biases, having had years in this system, with a consistent winning record, in efforts to strike a greater balance in a few key areas.

      • Picking Favorites – this goes back a long way, and I am putting more pressure on myself to ‘seek out winning dogs’ each week, even where it feels risky.
      • Picking Overs – for example, our total points predicted in all 3 weeks to-date has been 60-100 points above the total actual points scored.

Third straight week making a 7* play; let’s see if we can keep the winning streak going.

More People are Playing – Great, But Who is Actually Winning?

More people are gambling on Sports in America, with NFL Football easily being the most popular bet, than ever before, spurred on by recent legalization of gambling in several states.  New Jersey just became the new capital of Sports betting in the United States, overtaking Las Vegas – see this NY Times article for more details on that.  The state has been gunning for this title a long time, and finally having overcome regulatory obstacles, sports gambling has become legal in the State as of 2018.  That didn’t take very long, did it?  As other major market states watch closely, the revenue opportunities are there for governments – the ultimate bookies or gangsters, whichever term you prefer – to take their cuts.  And we all know how well the bookies are making out.  Lastly, don’t forget that the NFL and its monstrous media partners all have clear cut stake in various gaming operations and multi-billion dollar advertisers like Draft Kings who flood every possible media channel to reach new users on a daily basis.

So who is paying the bill for all of this advertising, tax revenue and gaming profits?  Well, it’s obviously you…and all of the other ‘players’ who are paying to play, for the chance to win, for entertainment, we might say to justify this guilty pleasure of a habit at best, and financial wellness threatening addiction at worst.

How many people out there do you think are able to ‘beat the system’ and win, over the long haul – not just “having a great week” or possibly a good winning season.  I don’t know the real number, but I’m sure that the bookies do – and it’s almost certainly less than 5% “Winners”.  There are Pros of course – I’m one of them – who know how to play, systematically, and win consistently.  However, in spite of a lot of promises and hype, none have been able to organize and train the masses well enough to increase the collective winning percentage of casual gamblers.  That is because it takes great discipline to play; either that, or turn your funds over to someone else that can do it better – a kind of gambling hedge fund strategy, something that we are working on at NFL Portfolio.  Because I personally experience and understand the thrill that goes along with making your own picks, we also offer systems and tools that allow you to take our research and technology back ‘home’, to create and hone your own – hopefully not haphazard – process for making picks.

Bottom line is this.  I don’t want you to Pay to Play any longer; I want you to Play to Win.  The House will survive, governments will still get their cut, and the NFL will continue to thrive as a mega-billion dollar industry.  In the meantime, we can increase our odds and winning percentages by some fraction that levels the playing field a bit.

When you’re ready to take it to the next level and start (seriously) Playing to Win, start by putting NFL Portfolio to work for you.

What does a Diversified (NFL) Portfolio Look Like?

Some say it’s all about the bottom line results, and while I agree, how you get there matters.  Why?  Because we are looking for repeatable, winning strategies, not sporadic or one-time victories.  Case in point.  If you invest $100,000 with me, and I return to you $200,000 in 4 months, doubling your money, you would likely be quite happy.  Would you give me the money again next time there is an opportunity?  What if you learned that I took your funds and put it all, in one shot, on one game – say the Super Bowl – for the win.  Would you still give me the funds again next time around?  As an alternative, what if I told you that your winnings came through a diversified, multi-week allocation into over 600 “micro” plays, of relatively equal levels.

Here are several types of Diversification that the NFL Portfolio system employs, all of which spread and mitigate risk, while providing the opportunity for true prognostication skills to show through:

  1. 3 Different Play Types – Lines, Totals and Teasers are all consistently utilized.
  2. All Games – There are 267 games in an NFL season, and they all must be picked.  This gives us not only a huge number of investment opportunities (ie. games) but also spreads those opps over 21 weeks (17 of which, the regular season, are really meaty).
  3. Balancing Out Biases – It is proven fact that these opposite forces are equal over the long haul.  Therefore, consistent biases towards one or the other set us up for failure.  We watch our tendencies and encourage movement towards balanced picking between – Favorite/Underdog, Home/Away, and Over/Under.
  4. Inter-Week Adjustments are opportunities to rebalance the Portfolio based on different start times for the games, for which a typical week has 5 (Thursday Night Football, Sunday “early games”, Sunday “late games”, Sunday Night Football and the famed Monday Night Football).

None of these forms of diversification necessarily guarantee winning weeks.  In fact, we accept the reality that not all weeks can be winners.  It is over the long haul of a 21 week season that true skill shows its worth.  And with 7 straight seasons under our belt, this system has proven itself with a 55% Winning Percentage on 4,352 plays (2,347 – 1,903 – 102 in terms of W-L-T).  If that is not statistically significant, in this business, there is not much that is.

Does Fantasy Football Help or Hurt Overall Football Knowledge and Portfolio Prognostication?

I’m experimenting with it this season, as I decided to finally give in and “play” fantasy football, after banning it for the past 10+ years.  I’m just going with one fantasy team, and I have to admit, I did enjoy the draft process.  I mean, just take a look  at my draft board!

So how does a Cowboys fan who drafted Zeke Elliott with the first pick predict a low-scoring loss by Dallas during a pivotal divisional match-up on the road in Philly?  Well, it’s much easier said than done.  But the correct answer is – by being objective and putting his commitment to accuracy over his desire to win for fantasy bragging rights and emotional attachment to “his” team.  It’s funny because my betting record when picking for or against the Cowboys to cover is worse than my normal record for all other teams.  Just that shows an emotional bias, as well as a knowledge bias – the fact that I know the team and players so well puts a magnifying glass on them, the way we do with our own kids, that makes it very hard to be objective when evaluating their games.  I’m working on turning that “inside knowledge” into a positive.

When it comes to Fantasy Football, the question is – does the focus on individual player ability and performance empower or distract one’s assessment of teams and game dynamics?  This past weekend, I just experienced my first week of dealing with the multitude of emotions, thoughts and points of attention between Thursday Night Football and the two Monday Night Football games, not to mention, 13 Sunday games, over 3 time slots.  It was quite exhausting, to tell you the truth!  It reminds me of why a part of me is generally happy when the regular season, and even Super Bowl, concludes, so that I can have all that time and mental space back.

I plan to continue experimenting throughout the season, but essentially, my bed is somewhat made with all three factors in play, and in this order of energetic importance – 1) NFL Portfolio handicapping, 2) Fantasy Football, and 3) Dallas Cowboys fandom.  It goes from what I control most, and that has the greatest tangible outcome in my real life, and what I control the least.  The Cowboys winning another Super Bowl doesn’t change the quality of my life, in spite of the temporary pleasure that it would bring.  Whereas, continuing to be successful and extending my winning streak to 8-0 on an NFL Season level, with double digit returns annually, means something and continues to prove that “the system” really works.  And in my early analysis, I do feel that attention to player skills and statistics is a helpful indicator of teams’ abilities to score points and play defense.  Let’s see how that plays out over the course of the season, one in which I can hopefully manage my energy and attention well enough to get through 21 weeks, and to sustain my priorities, both in Football and in Life!