There are all sorts of tools and methods to handicapping games. One of the most popular ways is to use power rankings. But although power rankings are popular, they aren’t necessarily a great way to decide on a winner. Keep reading for the best way to use power ranking when handicapping possible picks so you can continue betting against the NFL odds.
Betting Advice Using Power Rankings to Handicap Your Picks
1. Don’t forget that power rankings are a birds-eye-view
This is the most important thing to remember. Power rankings use past performance to create a list of teams ranked from first to last.
Those past performances may have nothing to do with the upcoming game, the one that you’re handicapping. So, for example, if a power ranking shows the Tampa Bay Buccaneers third and the Los Angeles Rams sixth, does that mean the Bucs are a lock to cover the spread if the Bucs play the Rams?
No, it doesn’t. What rankings are designed to do is take a birds-eye-view of what’s happening in a sports league. That’s it.
2. Realize that not all power rankings are the same
Some rankers are biased whether they know it or not. Others base their rankings exclusively on record. Still others base their power rankings on which teams performed well versus top competition.
If you wish to use power rankings in your handicapping, make sure to know the ranker’s biases. Here’s an example.
A different power ranker might have flipped the pair because 1 of Green Bay’s losses happened with Aaron Rodgers on the bench. The thinking behind the switch could have been Green Bay would have a 10-2 record if Rodgers had played.
3. If it comes down to power rankings or actual stats, weigh actual stats more
Because power rankings are a birds-eye-view, they’re limited in how much specific information they can provide. Power rankers don’t think of the teams upcoming game.
They only think of what happened in the past. Power rankings are very subjective. So when you use power rankings to handicap specific games, don’t weigh rankings more than stats or trends.
4. Consider power rankings more heavily when making future bets like who will win the Super Bowl
The one thing power rankings are very good at helping with is deciding on which teams to back to win future bets. As an example, we can study rankings to come up with Super Bowl overlays.
When we handicap for the future, we require a birds-eye-view. We want to get an overall picture. We can go back to the ESPN rankings for our example.
Arizona ranks first. Green Bay ranks second. The two favorites on MyBookie are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The third choice are the New England Patriots. Check out Super Bowl 56 odds for all five.
Of the five, the two top power ranked teams offer the best odds. That doesn’t mean Green Bay and Arizona are automatic plays.
We must still handicap both teams to determine who we like to win the Super Bowl. But the power rankings tell us something important, that Green Bay and Zona may be overlays.
Using power rankings to find future overlay bets makes more sense than using power rankings on a daily basis. So consider power rankings a useful tool for handicapping futures and a mediocre tool to handicap individual games.