1. Make sure the coach has a killer instinct. If you're taking a team and giving up 40 points you want to make sure the coach has a mean streak, a take no prisoners attitude. Avoid nice guys who put in the 2nd and 3rd stringers out of mercy.
2. Home vs. Away. Be sure to study the home team very carefully. The home team generally wins against the spread unless there are extenuating circumstances or the visiting team is overwhelmingly dominant. Be sure there are no distractions or recent developments that would sway the advantage.
3. Watch out for media darlings. Vegas has to protect itself against over eager unrealistic bettors that choose their favorite team no matter what. When New York teams are down bet against them. When Notre Dame is down bet against them. When North Carolina is down (basketball) bet against them.
4. Watch the weather. Rain and cold are the great equalizers. Don't take a great passing team in the rain and don't take a speed team in the cold. Also watch for warm weather (or dome) teams going to the Northeast in December or January.
5. Watch for wildcards. The 2 biggest wildcards are emotion and embarrassment. Watch out for teams that got humiliated on the road a year ago. The following year they always want revenge. Also take the home team whenever someone's jersey is getting retired. They win a high percentage of the time.