Inside the Lines

Photo courtesy of Danny Inglewood

Photo courtesy of Danny Inglewood

Planning your NFL playbook.

In the NFL, quality quarterbacks are a hot commodity, and this off-season proved it once again. Longtime Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos, creating a ripple effect that led to the trade of Tim Tebow to the New York Jets and the draft of Andrew Luck by the Colts at number one overall. The Washington Redskins also drafted a quarterback with their number two pick, selecting talented Robert Griffin III out of Baylor University.

“It’s definitely a pass-happy, offensive league,” admits Todd Fuhrman, race and sports analyst for Caesars Entertainment. “But in football, it takes more than one player to get you over the hump. A quarterback may change jerseys, but the left tackle is probably as valuable as any position in football, along with a cover corner.”

Fuhrman’s advice: Study the entire roster and look at each team’s schedule, especially if you’re planning to bet football futures.

Future Bets: Go Long The sports books create what they call future bets, setting lines in advance of the season on how many wins each team is expected to have and odds on the team’s chance to win a championship. People can then wager on whether a team’s win total will be over or under the projected number or bet a team to win a conference or championship title.

A good rule of thumb when making these wagers, Fuhrman says, is to study a team’s schedule. “You want to find a team that has a great opportunity to make it into the playoffs. Once you get into that twelve-team tournament, everybody’s got a shot to win it.”

Forget Last Week Having the memory of an elephant does not help when it comes to game-day wagering. “You’re always going to be left with a lasting impression of what you saw the week before,” explains Fuhrman. “But it’s important to keep in mind that a team is never as good, or as bad, as they just played. Don’t overreact to one week’s results. Try to look at a team for their full body of work.”

Schedule Shake-Up This year, the NFL is adding a Thursday night game to the schedule and Fuhrman says, for some teams, having two games in five days could affect play. “It will be a little bit of a challenge. I think you’ll find opportunities to bet against teams that are traveling [during] that short week. Last year, road teams struggled in that role quite a bit.”

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