Smaller pair are tough to play especially out of position.
You have to build a player profile on your opponent.
Is he loose aggressive, is he loose passive, a nit bitch, a rock, tight aggressive, tight passive, a beginner, a novice, etc etc. Nit bitches, they don't bluff a lot. Loose aggressive, have to go on board texture, position etc. Just takes experience. Passive players rarely take the bet bet bet line.
give you an example
Last night in a $2 tournament on the final table bubble.
I've got 66 on the button. A fair tight aggressive player raises preflop 2.5x. We both have more than 120bbs. Flop comes out Jxx rainbow. Now, I put him on AK preflop. he fires a cbet on the flop. I call. turn is another brick. He continues and fires a 3/4 pot size bet. I become worried but it seems strange that he did not set himself up for a pot size river shove. River comes out and it's a Q. He could have AQ KQ QJ QT. There are lots of hands with jacks and queens in it. He could also have AK Ax hands that paired and i'm beat. He ships it relatively quickly. So after going into the tank, I just decided to hero him. I just said show it to me buddy. I didn't like the call but, already about 40% of my stack in the middle. He showed up with AK.
Sick hero call. I kept hearing in my head doyle brunson, antonio estafandari, and jcarver saying "it's hard to make a pair"
I did close my eyes after getting the mouse over the call button and just said, ok, let me see your hand.
I would've looked like a fool if he had rivered a set a queens.
Generally, I like to peel a flop just to see what happens.
Sometimes you can min raise and fold to a shove
Everything is dependent on player, position, hand range.
Like Tony says "You've got haaart son. You have to have committment"
and my favorite "I'm qualifed, I have a pear"