You will be hard pushed to find a more mathematical sport than NFL. From all the glitz and glam of the Superbowl to the competitive nature of a wide receiver’s touchdown celebration, those who do not know the sport will miss the fact that American Football is all about numbers. We may hear Jose Mourinho talking about soccer being a results based game, but Gridiron is essentially just that.
As the NFL season is short compared to many sports, it is essential to remain on top of the ball so to speak. Monitoring the NFL’s power rankings is a good place to start. This is a table of all the teams ranking them by a combination of results and points scored/allowed.
NFL teams are grouped in to 2 conferences – the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference) – these are of equal stature and league status. Below this, teams are grouped in regional divisions, which are as follows:
AFC East New England, Buffalo, N.Y. Jets, Miami
AFC North Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
AFC South Jacksonville, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Houston
AFC West Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego
NFC East Philadelphia, Dallas, N.Y. Giants, Washington
NFC North Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota
NFC South Carolina, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta
NFC West Arizona, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis
Divisional winners and wildcard teams (those with the best win/loss records) enter the play-offs. A conference winner is then decided and the winners of these conference games face each other in the Superbowl to decide the NFL’s best team – or as the Americans put it – the World Champions.
In NFL matches, there are key numbers to look out for. The most important is 3, followed by 7 and, in decreasing order of frequency, 4, 6, 10, and 1. More games are won by exactly 3 points than any other number, the last-second field goal being the primary reason. With the 2-point conversion, 1 has become a more important key number, since teams will attempt it when success will give them a 1-point win and failure, a 1-point loss. Confused? Visit the NFL’s official site to find out more about rules and regulations – there are hundreds!
NFL football odds factor in such considerations as weather, field condition, injuries and scheduling - and can be used to identify under/over betting opportunities, which is, in Europe, the most common form of NFL betting. Also, remember the number 37. More totals have landed on this number over the years than on any other. Finding 2 lines that straddle 37 is something to keep an eye out for. Also, if the line keeps moving in one direction, you are generally advised to bet the other side.
My advice is to play the NFL fantasy league. This will give you a true hands-on, cost-free learning experience of who is performing, what you have to look for and where you can catch a bookie out – remember, bookmakers will not have the same level of NFL trading expertise as they do soccer and racing. For all you non-believers out there, American Football presents an excellent betting proposition.
Note: US citizens cannot bet on American Football events or participate in any online gambling other than some specific excepted sports following recent legislation passed in September 2006. Please do not bet online if you are in the USA or a US Citizen.