2020 NFL Betting - How to Handicap the 1st half of the Season

How to Handicap the 1st half of the 2020 NFL Betting Season

Written by on August 27, 2020

On Sep. 10, the NFL embarks on what should be one of the most unique seasons in history. Many National Football League teams will play in empty stadiums. That’s never before happened in the NFL. Because of coronavirus protocols, football handicappers must take precautions during the first half of the season. Check out things to keep in mind while you navigate NFL Week 1 through Week 8 so you can plan ahead your bets against their NFL odds.

Handicap your 1st half of the NFL Season | 2020 Betting Preview

2020 NFL Season – Week 1 to Week 8

  • When: Thursday, Sep. 10 – Monday, Nov. 2

How to Handicap NFL Season Week 1 through Week 8

Back teams with proven quarterbacks

Proven, veteran quarterbacks, should ensure offenses perform at their optimal level. The top quarterbacks are obvious: Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson in Seattle, and the Saints’ Drew Brees and the Buccaneers’ Tom Brady.

Other veteran quarterbacks to consider backing are Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, and Matt Ryan in Atlanta. Those three signal-callers won’t post stats like Mahomes and Lamar, but they will do enough for their teams to win. 

Think “overs”

Defenses react to offenses. Without a true preseason to prepare, many defenses will be in the dark. Offenses always have the upper-hand on defenses due to the nature of football. In the first half of the season, offenses will have an even stronger advantage than they normally do.

Remember, without fans, homefield advantage doesn’t mean as much

Homefield advantage means so much in the National Football League that handicappers know to assign 3 points to the home squad. A team favored by 3 is a 6-point favorite if they’re at home.

That should change this season. Some teams, like the Denver Broncos, will always have a geographical advantage. It’s difficult to breath at Mile High Stadium in Denver. We know this.

But teams that used their home crowd to bolster their chances, squads like the Seahawks, Saints, and Falcons, won’t have that same advantage this season. 

Even NFL squads that are allowing fans, like the Atlanta Falcons, won’t allow full capacity. 

Adjust after Week 1

Make handicapping adjustments after Week 1. Get a feel for which teams properly prepared during the game less preseason. The most prepared teams should do well against spreads for at least the first month of the season.

Eventually, the worst prepared teams figure to catch up. Also, oddsmakers will adjust betting lines. But in that first month, the best prepared teams should prevail.

Injuries remain the single most important factor when handicapping against the spread

Although the coronavirus will force us to change our handicapping, we can’t disregard the most important aspect of football betting, injuries. 

Teams with injured players won’t perform as well as teams with healthy players. It’s that simple. Check the injury list before making any wager. Make this a rule from Week 1 to Week 17. 


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