How to win your football pool

By Rodney Southern

Winning a football pool is challenging for some people and it is usually due to not knowing the basics of picking football games. In a football pool, there are usually a handful of beginners and a couple of real football fans.

Preparing for Each Week

Every week in NFL football, there are a large number of football pools across America. The first step to winning yours is to know your competition. Picking NFL football games is all about strategy. If you are in a football pool with a bunch of people that do not know what they are doing, you can be a little more brave with upsets. If you are competing against football pickers, then you will want to play it a bit more straight up. For the sake of this article, we are going to assume that you are picking against experienced competition.

When you prepare for each week, you will want to go to ESPN's or the NFL's websites to brush up on the teams. There are usually a number of "no-brainer" picks, and you will want to pick the obvious early in the season. Week one is not the time to pick incredible upsets. If you get far behind, you will have a tough time catching up. Go with the flow at the start of the season, and pick the favorites in general.

After filling in your obvious winners, then go back and look at the games that seem to be evenly matched. These games are what separates the winners from the losers in a football pool. Look at the running game first. If a team is a great running team, and the other team is weak in that area, go with the strong running team. This is very reliable and most of the time it will bear itself out. Go with the strong running teams over pass happy teams.

Another factor to look at with even match ups is the home team. Home team advantage is real and it does make a difference in your success in football pools. If you are totally undecided, then go with the home team. Over the course of a long season, those picks will serve you well.

When you are inclined to pick an upset, which should not be until later in the year, be sure to have a reason. Picking a random upset is not strategy. It is a sure sign that you will lose eventually, regardless of the occasional correct pick.

Later In the Season

Once you reach the final quarter of the season, take a good look at where you stand. If you are in the upper fourth of the league, then you are in a good position to win. If you are in the lower to middle area, then you need to make some moves quickly.

One way to make a move is to go with unpopular, yet intelligent picks. It is late in the season and you have to make up some games. Who is playing good football in the NFL but has a bad record overall? Pick those teams. At least you will have a good chance of winning a few of those.

If you are in the upper quarter, then stay with the strategy you have been playing. At the end of every NFL season, football pool leaders start to make silly picks. It happens every year as they smell the finish line. If you remain steady and go with the same strategy, you will pick up a couple of games at least.

Do the math and see how many games you need to make up to win going into the last three weeks. Plan out which games you are going to take a chance on, and hope for some help. More than likely there will be several games where you and the leaders picked differently, so you should give yourself a chance to win.

Finally, remember that steady, intelligent picks wins every time over haphazard, random picks. The occasional great week of upsets that your competition picks will not bear out over the course of the season. Stay with steady and you too, will win your football office pool!

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