Every year with about six weeks left in the regular season, ESPN launches its yearly playoff machine. This convenient device enables you to predict how each and every game will turn out for the rest of the NFL year, and sometimes it will even tell you what the upcoming playoffs will look like if all your predictions happen in real life as well. The system was designed by the genius John Paxson, the man behind the infamous “Pax Syndrome.” You’ll find that most people with the slightest knowledge of football fail to understand what he is talking about. The rest of this article will explain what exactly is involved when using the machine, how accurate it can be, and what teams are really good bets at betting on in the postseason.
The first step involves the team record, which is always a very important number to watch. That number is usually referred to as the “wild-card.” In previous decades, teams could only lose one wild-card game and still win the division; it was a fairly large risk for a handicapper to take. However, the advent of the NCAA tournament has changed that; now, a team may lose one wild-card game and still go all the way to the Super Bowl, depending on how their final record is against the other seven teams in their conference.
To get into the wild-card playoffs, you need to win two out of three games; on any given Sunday, there are twenty games going on. If you have an accurate prediction of which team will win two of those games, then you will win twenty times your bet on the right combination. How great is that? Imagine placing your entire bet on a team that starts out 1-2, then loses two in a row, then wins three in a row. That’s the kind of return you can expect from a playoff machine!
Once you’ve figured out the best possible combination for each team, you need to figure out what the super bowl odds are for each scenario. Most playoff machines tell you how many games each team has remaining in its regular season schedule. If the team has an off schedule, it also shows you its chances of winning the remaining games. However, if the team plays at home, it may not have an off schedule next week, but it is only a matter of scheduling a home game next week. If you’re smart, you’ll take advantage of that information from this digital magazine.
If you’re less smart, though, you’ll go ahead and pick the highest probable losing team in the playoffs; then you’ll handicap the rest of your picks without giving much thought to the other possibilities. That’s when you need a good strategy, because you should know what your chances of winning in each scenario are. One approach to this strategy is to assume that the team that finishes second in its division (based on the current records) will win the division in week 17. Then, depending on your playoff machine’s picks, you should do well in your bets on teams like Kansas City and Denver, especially if you’re putting a lot of money on Denver.
Some people, meanwhile, choose to ignore the playoff scenarios until week 16 comes around and they’re already upset. Unfortunately, that’s often when mistakes happen. You might bet early and have a bad loss by a few points or you might decide that your late bets weren’t really worth it in the first place. In those cases, you might end up getting whistled for several picks that don’t really improve your chances of winning.
This year, however, we’re betting big and watching the races very carefully. As I’ve written before, I think the point of using a nfl playoff machine is to learn how to evaluate real data and make educated decisions about your betting options. That’s why we’re examining all the factors this year and not just the past. This past weekend’s thrilling football games reminded me that although the scoring has been changed, the horse races are actually just as close as ever. It seems that human beings aren’t able to figure out a new trend, so it’s always a good idea to go with your gut, even when you’re using a playoff machine.
So what do you think is the best strategy for predicting which teams will win their first two games and which will lose their next two games in the playoffs? Would you rather base your picks on the regular season stats (which are more likely to change) or the latest odds posted by the handicappers (which is more likely to change dramatically)? I’m hoping you’ll help us by answering our question. Who do you think is going to win the first two games of the NFL playoffs, regardless of who the odds say?