How to handicap weather when betting football odds

Jul 27, 2017 |
How to handicap weather when betting football odds
The white stuff can wreak havoc with your NFL bets, but only if it’s substantial and occurring during the game. A light dusting of snow is cleared rather quickly, with heaters inside and around the field keeping it from accumulating.
Photo By - USA Today Images
The white stuff can wreak havoc with your NFL bets, but only if it’s substantial and occurring during the game. A light dusting of snow is cleared rather quickly, with heaters inside and around the field keeping it from accumulating.
Photo By - USA Today Images

With football season played in the fall and winter, the drastic change in temperatures and climate over the four-month schedule can leave pro and college football teams battling the element as well as each other.

It is always important to know the game-time forecast for any football event you’re betting on and understand how those weather conditions can affect the betting odds and the overall outcome. Here are some tips and tactics when it comes to handicapping the weather for the football betting odds:

Rain

Wet weather is not as big a factor as you would think for football betting. Modern outdoor fields are either artificial turf or have a solid drainage system in place to keep the grass surface from turning into muck. However, some fields in both college and NFL football are notorious for their slick surfaces, especially once temperatures drop and grass doesn’t grow back as fast.

Rain can make handling the football a little tougher, with the slick pigskin more prone to fumbles and dropped passes. But officials are constantly swapping out wet footballs for dry ones on almost every snap, so a wet ball is not too much of an issue for players.

Wind

Of all the elements, wind is the most important to understand when betting football odds. A strong wind can make it impossible to pass the ball deep or kick, leaving teams to either shorten up their playbook, change their special teams strategy, go for it on fourth down or try a 2-point conversion.

Football bettors should know how a strong wind will impact particular teams. An offense that relies on deep strikes may not be able to utilize that in gusty conditions, while a team that leans more on the run or shorter passes isn’t as thrown off by the wind.

In extreme wind conditions, coaches may opt to bypass punting or kicking a field goal and go for it on fourth down as well as attempt a 2-point conversion rather than a standard extra point. Total bettors will want to take into account how the wind will impact scoring, given those examples above.

Snow

The white stuff can wreak havoc with your NFL bets, but only if it’s substantial and occurring during the game. A light dusting of snow is cleared rather quickly, with heaters inside and around the field keeping it from accumulating.

However, in the case of heavy snow, the visibility is low for both sides – offense and defense – and the field can become rather slippery. Having a snow-slicked surface gives the advantage to the offense, primarily the ball carrier. They know which way they are going and when they’re cutting, which can make it tough for the defense to keep up and make tackle.

And, much like rain, snow can make the football a little tougher to handle with increased fumbles in those snowy games. But, as mentioned, dry balls are regularly rotated in on each snap so hanging on to the football in winter weather isn’t as much of an issue as you would think.

Cold

Come December and the NFL playoffs in January, a number of host cities play their games in sub-zero temperatures. While the cold makes for some uncomfortable playing conditions, it doesn’t have a big impact on performance. Sidelines are fitted with heaters and players are sporting the best in cold-gear under their uniforms.

Where you do see a betting edge with the cold is when teams from warm climates or those used to playing indoors find themselves braving the chilly weather when the mercury drops. Teams that are accustomed to the cold may react more favorably in these types of conditions.

Heat

Heat is more of a weather factor found in college football during the opening month of the season. With most hot-weather pro teams playing inside domes with controlled environments, college games are often taking place in open air stadiums and the temperatures can soar in late August and September.

Much like handicapping the cold, the heat doesn’t have a direct influence on performance, but football bettors may find an edge in the odds when teams from colder climates find themselves on the road cooking in extreme heat. Players can wear down faster and cramp up, making player depth a larger factor if first-team talent is taken off the field more often.


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