1. First and foremost, put in the effort researching NFL games before making picks, or the old wallet will be lighter come season's end. Unless of course you were born lucky, or are really good at rolling dice and throwing darts.
2. Shop around for the best possible lines. Some think that a point or half-point in the NFL doesn't matter, but getting an extra point here and there can make the difference between a winning and losing season. As an aside, some of the best NFL line values can be found in the early weeks. Keeping abreast of what's happening in the off-season and a little viewing of preseason games can help bettors take advantage of Vegas' early season overlays.
3. A bad week now and then is inevitable, so don't let it mess up your head! Brush it off, stick with what has worked in the past, and avoid "trying to get it all back on one game".
4. Laying more than a touchdown in the NFL is generally not a good idea. It may be ok in college football because the difference in talent is often large enough to spot and could warrant giving up double digits, but in the NFL the matchups are rarely that lopsided.
5. Be realistic and selective. What are the odds of picking every NFL game correctly on a given week? Something like zero to none! Look for the SOLID games and listen to the old "gut".
6. Keep your emotions in check and away from the checkbook! If you can't be objective, don't even think about making a play. How many times have bettors sat in front of the tube wearing their favorite team gear, yelling "I put the wad on so-and-so, 'cause their gonna beat the such-and-such out of ......!" And you bought your crystal ball where?
7. Psychological factors by teams that should be considered before making NFL picks include let-downs after a big game, looking ahead to a huge rivalry game, and payback to a team that rubbed it in late in last year's game. And, keep abreast of NFL injuries, suspensions, fights in practice, and weather.
8. Look out for the trap of over-reacting to "blowouts". Quite often after a rout, casual bettors can't wait to jump on the winner and against the loser the following week. Like the movie title suggests....."On any given Sunday". It's a pretty good flick. We recommend it.
9. Pay attention to NFL strength of schedule. This happens every season (in both college and pro). A team could put up terrific numbers for weeks in a row, but against inferior competition. Once they meet up with a better opponent, the line will become inflated due to public appeal based on that team's previous games. Pay as much attention to who a team has played as to how they played.
10. Always include special teams and good defense analysis in your handicapping strategy. Ever been burned by a "run back for a touchdown"? or the teams with lousy timing? The ability to secure good field position, or prevent it, are key factors to consider.