How to Handicap the 1st Half of the 2017 NFL Betting Season

How to Handicap the 1st Half of the 2017 NFL Betting Season

Written by on July 24, 2017

When it comes to handicapping any NFL season, not just the upcoming 2017 campaign, the fact of the matter is that you need to use a far different approach when you handicap the 1st half than you will over the final eight games. In essence, your betting mindset will and should be, a lot different during the first half of the season than the second half as a vast majority of teams start to reveal ‘who they really are’ once the second half gets underway.

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So, what’s an NFL bettors to do when you handicap the 1st half of the season when many teams aren’t showing their ‘true colors?’ Use extra caution, that’s what! Let me explain just how you should handicap the 1st half of the quickly approaching 2017 season and any other season that follows by using a few teams as an example.

A Closer Look At The How to Handicap the 1st Half of the 2017 NFL Betting Season


New England Patriots

The first thing you need to know is that, despite going a blistering 14-2 last season while covering the spread an insane 13 times, the Patriots are not, repeat, not, going to blow all of their opponents off the field in 2017. For instance, the Pats open at home against a dangerous Kansas City team that won a dozen games in 2016 and one that has an excellent defense that finished seventh in points allowed. After that, Tom Brady and company visit Drew Brees and the high-scoring New Orleans Saints, before hosting Hosting and Carolina and then hitting the road to take on Jameis Winston and the blossoming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Truth be told, you had better realize that each of New England’s first five opponents could very well cover the spread, even in losing efforts for their own various reasons. Like the Chiefs, Houston has a powerful defense and Carolina had one prior to last season. In the case of the Saints, they have their own future Hall of Fame quarterback and can put 30 points on the board against anyone. Last but not least, Tampa Bay has a franchise signal-caller in Winston and added to their offense in a big way this offseason.  Use some caution early with the Pats as they could be looking at some unrealistic lines based on their Super Bowl-winning campaign from last season.

Oakland Raiders

Sure, the Oakland Raiders have a stud in young quarterback Derek Carr and an offense that put up an impressive 26.0 points per game to rank seventh overall a year ago. However, Oakland also finished in the bottom third in every meaningful defensive statistical category, so it remains to be seen how they’re going to come out of the gate on that side of the ball in 2017. The Raiders could get in a shootout at Tennessee in Week 1 and they’ll face a very good offense in Washington in Week 3, not to mention a powerful defense when they hit the road to battle AFC West rival Denver in Week 4. Their Week 7 home date against a Chiefs team they lost to twice last season will be no walk in the park and they visit another playoff participant in Miami in Week 9. To put it mildly, the Raiders are no locks to either win – or cover the spread in each of these contests, so use some caution, at least until you see how Oakland performs defensively early on. Handicap the 1st half of the season for Dallas Cowboys games.

Dallas Cowboys

In the cases of the Cowboys, sure they found they have a legitimate franchise signal-caller in Dak Prescott and superstar running back in Ezekiel Elliott, but they also have a defense that needs upgrades at linebacker and in the secondary after finishing 26th against the pass a year ago. Can the Boys get past a New York Giants team that beat them twice last season in Week 1 or will the G-Men be even more prepared for Prescott and Elliott than they were last season? Can the Boys win on the road against a Denver team with a powerful defense and a big amount of motivation heading into 2017? Will they get past an Arizona Cardinals team that finished second in total defense in 2016 and is also desperate to get back into the playoffs after seeing their three-year run end in 2017? Last but not least, will their secondary get toasted by Aaron Rodgers and the Green bay Packers in Week 5? Right now, no one knows how their defense is going to perform, which is why you need to use caution when betting on the Boys early on in 2017.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers went 10-6 to win the NFC North last season and they also reached the NFC Championship game before eventually falling to Atlanta. Still, they finished a dismal 31st against the pass last season and open with two tough dates in 2017 at home against Seattle and on the road at Atlanta. Will Aaron Rodgers and company be able to put enough points on the board against Seattle powerful defense and will they be able to stop Atlanta’s high-powered passing attack in Week 2? Can they pass road tests at Dallas and NFC North rival Minnesota in Weeks 5 and 6 respectively or is another slow start in store for Green Bay after they had to win their final six games a year ago to reach the playoffs? Only time, like a few weeks, will tell. Use caution early on everyone! These four teams. Which were all playoff participants a year ago, are all perfect examples of why you need to have a different mindset when you handicap the 1st half of the season as opposed to the second half. Now happy hunting.
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