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Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

What is the first thing a head coach does every spring? The day the NFL schedule is released, he pours over it with vigor. He and his staff use multiple color pens, markers and grease boards. It's his most important day. The schedule is more significant than many factors in terms of determining winners and losers. The single most important thing to remember when analyzing a football team’s schedule is that there are no hard and fast rules. But our "due diligence" begins with the scheduling. Schedule analysis, when done poorly, can force people to make a lot of poor decisions. What might be a horrific circumstance for one team, might not bother another in a major way. Effectively using schedule analysis as a handicapping tool uses some sharp thought and the search for insights. There are certain factors that I look for when going over each team's schedule. You will need a calendar to make many notes. If something about the schedule is obvious then everyone is going to figure it out and it won't give you any betting advantage. You need to look deeper to get that edge.
1) Three consecutive road games:
The first thing I generally want to do is find any team that is playing three (3) games in a row on the road. I then circle that 3rd road game and mark it on my calendar. The travel involved takes it's toll. The luggage, packing, different time zones and being away from home those extra days during a 21 day period is very difficult at best.
2) Cross country trips:
The travel time needs to be analyzed in terms of the team's next game. That is when the hardship arises. However, for West Coast teams traveling to the East Coast, that can prove to be advantageous to the home team as well. I want to make sure I give a few extra looks at this betting opportunity. East Coast teams playing on Sunday or Monday night in the pacific time zone will find the game ending after 11:30 ET and their body may not be in sync.
3) Bye Weeks; going into them and first game back.
This is critical. Some teams do not benefit if they are playing at their highest level, so the game following their bye week may be difficult to perform to an inflated pointspread. On the other hand, teams that are banged up may be able to heal some injuries and come out of their bye week gunning for victories. Additionally, there are situations where coming out of a bye week against a superior team is to their advantage, as the coaching staff has more time to prepare. On the opposite side if a team knows that the first game back is against a cupcake opponent, their practices and mind frame may not be conducive to a pointspread win.
4) Upcoming team's style of play:
How would you like to see your opponent have to play against a strong running team two weeks in a row before your pass-first team gets to play them. The running team D is slowed down and their pass defense hasn't been tested in three weeks. I like that opportunity. As the old saying goes, who you play is less important than when you play them. There are many times every year when a series of games makes a team appear to be a different team than they really are, or it can have a real impact on their ability to perform.
5) After Monday Night or Thursday Night games:
Teams react differently after a big game in front of the nation (and their fellow peers). Some teams letdown the following week. Where the game is played is also a big factor. Does the loser have a home or road game the following week?
In conclusion:
The betting public may start to think that a team is much better than they really are...if they play a string of teams that match up well for them, or if they are playing relatively weaker teams. That can lead to value, if the public then buys into the hype and bets accordingly. Every aspect of scheduling and match-ups play into my handicapping decisions. The public most often bets from what they saw last week on TV, or what they read in the newspaper last Monday morning, without ever considering the importance of analyzing the schedule. That's why the "average Joe" should stick to his day job and hire a professional sports handicapper to pick his point spread winners!
For more of these articles, continue to come back each and everyday to where "Winning is Everything".
Enjoy the Season,
Wayne Allyn Root