NFL Betting Strategy
You’re in for a real treat today. Our team of NFL betting experts has worked hard to combine the tips and tricks they say are their secrets to beating NFL betting. Below, you’ll find the complete list of these tips. Keep in mind that you aren’t going to instantly become an expert when you get done reading these tips. It’s still going to take research, hard work, and a little personal knowledge to put these strategies to work properly.
We don’t say that to discourage you. We only say that to make sure that you approach these tips with the correct cool and level head. With hard work and these strategies, it won’t be long until you are able to call yourself an NFL betting expert. Make sure that you take the time to fully understand each strategy below. Don’t disregard a point just because you don’t fully understand it. Take the time to reread the section until you have a firm grasp on what the tip is saying and how you can employ it with your future NFL bets.
Focus on Smaller Betting Markets
Here’s a little secret about sportsbooks that will seem like common sense once we spell it out for you. The more action a sportsbook thinks they will take on a bet, the more time they are going to put into setting the correct opening line. This also means that the less action a sportsbook thinks they will take on a bet, the less time and resources they are going to put into nailing that correct opening line.
This does not mean they are going to completely ignore the bets that will have less action, but it does mean they’re going to care less about them being perfect. This means opportunities for sharp bettors to find some lines that aren’t quite right. It means you’ll be able to find more value and opening lines that are just plain wrong.
As you probably know, NFL betting is huge no matter what sportsbook you bet at. But certain bet types are much more popular and take way more action than others. Moneylines, point spreads, and game score totals bets are the most popular forms of NFL bets. Before a sportsbook releases any of these lines, they will put their best people on it and dedicate the most resources to make sure those lines are correct. If there’s a mistake here, it could cost them a lot of money.
But what about some of the less popular bets that usually don’t have a lot of action bet on them? These bets are a great place to look for value. Additionally, because the action is smaller on these bets, the lines will move a lot more than the major lines. This means that even if there isn’t value on the opening line, a few silly bets from recreational bettors could move the line and create a great value opportunity if you’re quick enough to pounce on it before the rest of the sharp bettors do.
What bets are we talking about? Well, here are two great examples. First, totals bets that are not the game score total. These could be defensive or offensive stats for both teams, individual teams, or even individual players. The action will not be big on these bets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize your expertise to get some serious value.
Second, you should look at prop bets. Don’t start hammering every prop bet, though. Some prop bets don’t have a lot of action because they are straight gambling. Things like the coin toss will never be profitable regardless of the betting pool size. But other prop bets that do require skill to predict will create some great opportunities.
Will there be a successful 2-point conversion in a game? This will require you to know a team’s coaching strategy as well as whether or not you expect the team to score multiple touchdowns where they will have an opportunity to go for 2. This is a bet that gets hammered a lot by recreational bettors for fun, but because the betting pool is small, their action will sway the line.
There’s no reason not to bet the major NFL bet types. They should be the basis of your betting strategy especially if you’re betting larger amounts because there will be bet size limits on these smaller bets. But if you’re betting smaller and looking for a place to find some good value, the smaller NFL markets are going to be a big hit for you.
Don’t Underestimate the Bye Week
The NFL is a violent sport that takes a serious toll on even the fittest of athletes. If you think that someone can get banged around as hard as football players do on a weekly basis without it affecting their performance the next week, you should put on some pads and see what the game feels like. What does this have to do with betting?
Well, the NFL season is designed to try and give players rest when they can to keep them in the game. The league doesn’t like to see their stars out of the game because it negatively impacts ticket sales and TV viewer stats. To combat this, they give each team a bye week throughout the season that typically falls during week 5 and week 11.
A few big things happen for a team when they have a bye week. First, everyone gets a chance to get a little healthier. Injuries get some extra days to heal, and each player gets a little rest and relaxation to help clear their minds. Second, instead of only having a week or a few days to prepare for their next game, the teams have two weeks. This means that the coaches and the players have a lot more time to game plan and get their plan of attack straight.
If the other team they are playing does not have a bye week, they’re not going to get those extra two weeks. They aren’t going to get that extra time to heal their bodies. They aren’t going to get a chance to mentally check out for a few days and get their heads straight. Basically, the team without the bye week is going to be at a disadvantage.
Often, this is accounted for in the lines, but sometimes it’s not, and the betting public isn’t always the quickest to remember that it’s there. People have a tendency to bet games with tunnel vision and forget some of the outside factors that play a big role in the outcome of the game. When this happens, lines move incorrectly, and value opportunities start to pop up.
Take into Account Teams with a Short Turnaround
Equally, if not more, important than taking into account the bye week is taking into account teams that have a short turnaround or a longer turnaround. For example, if a team plays on Thursday night football and doesn’t play again until Sunday of the following week, that’s a lot of additional time to rest and plan for the next game. This is also not widely talked about like the bye week, so the value opportunities will most likely be bigger.
On the other side, you have teams that play on Sunday and then have to play again on Thursday night. Only three days rest can take its toll on players’ bodies and their minds. This is something that you have to take into account when you’re making your NFL bets. Yes, most of the time, both teams are going to be taking the quick turnaround. This, however, does not mean that both teams are going to react to it the same or handle it with the same effectiveness.
If a team is more “fragile” than the other team or riding a lot of borderline injuries, they’re going to be hurt more by this. If a team had a tougher game on Sunday than the other, they’re going to be more hurt by this.
You need to be taking all of this into account when you’re making your wagers. Look at what both teams are going through when they have a short or longer turnaround and decide how you think it is going to affect each team. This shouldn’t be the complete basis of your picks, but it should play a significant role in such a physical game.
Recreational Sportsbooks Are Huge
Football betting lines are initially put out by the sportsbook, but after that, they fall into the hands of the betting public. Based on which side of each bet the money comes in on, the sportsbook will adjust the line to try and get even bets on each side of a game. The important thing to remember here is that this attempt to get things even is not done sport-wide. What we mean is that each sportsbook does this individually, not as a collective with everyone offering action on the NFL.
This means that if one sportsbook has a lot of sharp sports bettors, they’re probably going to push the line to where it should be or where it tries to entice betting on the wrong side of the game. This also means that if a sportsbook has more recreational sports bettors, they’re frequently going to push the line to where you can get a lot of value betting on the right side of a game. Basically, if you can find a sportsbook with a lot of terrible sports bettors, you’re going to see a whole lot more value opportunities.
How do you spot an online sportsbook that caters to recreational bettors? Well, there are a few things you can look at. Sadly, you can’t just ask the sportsbook, but they do give a lot of hints that will tell you where they are catering their business. First, if the sportsbook has super-high betting limits, they’re probably catering to experienced sports bettors. We aren’t talking “high” like a few thousand dollars. We mean high like $10k plus on a game.
Second, look for sites that are more popular. Popular sites are going to attract more recreational bettors. If they’re advertising in places where recreational bettors hang out, there’s a good chance that that’s the type of clientele they are trying to attract. Lastly, you can look at the lines. Are you struggling to find value? Are you always finding value at other sites or with other sportsbooks? Do good line opportunities get bet the other way super quickly every single time? If that’s the case, you may be at a book that has been invaded by sharp bettors.
Line Shopping Is Key
Our previous tip is a perfect lead-in to the single most important thing you can do when sports betting any sport – line shopping. Line shopping is the practice of checking multiple sportsbooks to try and find the best line possible on every bet that you want to make. Because each sportsbook handles their lines separately, you’re frequently going to see different lines for the exact same bet.
This means that you can make the exact same bet at two different sportsbooks and get paid a different amount when you win. If it’s a spread bet or a totals bet, you might even end up losing a bet that you actually would have won had you bet with a different sportsbook.
Which sportsbook is going to have the best NFL lines every week? The answer is not one in particular. You see, what you need to do for every bet you are going to make is check several different sportsbooks and try and find the best line possible. You don’t have to make all of your NFL bets at the same book. You can have a book that is your “main betting platform” and then 2-3 others that you use to shop lines at. If you find a better line at one of these other sportsbooks, you would be crazy not to place your bet there.
In the old days when internet sports betting didn’t exist, line shopping was something you just couldn’t feasibly do. But thanks to technology, you can now shop lines at several different sportsbooks in the matter of a few seconds. Take the time and make sure you’re getting the best line and the best potential payout on all of your NFL bets. Failure to do so can only be the result of laziness. Lazy = missed profit when it comes to betting the NFL or any sports betting for that matter.
Coaching Changes Play a Big Role
For some reason, a lot of novice NFL sports bettors forget the role the coaching staff plays in the NFL. If a team takes on a new coach, changes should be expected. You may see a shake-up of who plays, who starts, and most importantly what the general strategy of the team is. This certainly is going to have an effect on the success and failure of a team.
If you’re making beginning-of-the-season futures bets, make sure you take this into account. It can be hard to predict what changes are going to be made, but the news media and the coach’s history should help to give you a general idea of what to expect.
Keep in mind that all of this applies to any coach on the staff, not just the head coach. If a team gets a new defensive coach or QB coach or any coach, expect changes. It’s going to be up to you to decide whether these are going to be positive changes or if they’re going to wreck the homeostasis of the team. By accurately predicting this, you’re going to have a lot of success with NFL bets, especially with futures bets before the season begins.
Team Chemistry Is Real and Really Important
Speaking of the homeostasis of the team, let’s talk about team chemistry. While we often advise you to avoid listening to the news stories that have nothing to do with the actual game, this isn’t entirely true. You do need to keep an idea of how things are going behind the scenes and in the locker room of a team.
Because team chemistry is a real thing. If everyone is fighting and there is a lot of animosity between key players, you can expect that to spill over to the field. It doesn’t matter how much of a professional each player claims to be; it’s harder to play effectively with players you are upset with.
On the other side, teams that have amazing chemistry are going to have more success. You shouldn’t put a ton of weight into this, but you do need to be aware of it. The negative chemistry is going to have a much bigger effect than over-the-top positive chemistry. If you’re on the fence on a bet, this can be a great way to decide whether the value is there or not. Just make sure you don’t let the chemistry of a team carry too much weight. The greatest athletes in the world can hate each other, and they are still the greatest athletes in the world. Their B game together might still be a lot better than anyone else in the league.
Do Not Bet Every Single Game
One of the biggest mistakes that new NFL bettors make is to bet every game. They feel that the best way to get out in front is to take advantage of as many games as possible. This is flawed logic. The secret to getting ahead in betting the NFL is not betting the most games, but it’s betting the most games with value. If you’re betting games that have no value, you’re just setting money on fire.
Sometimes this means you’re only going to be betting a few games a week. You need to be okay with this. While sports betting is fun and entertaining, your reasoning for betting is to make money. Entertainment needs to be a secondary concern if you want to turn a profit betting the NFL.
Don’t Miss Injury Reports
As we’ve already touched on, football is a rough game. Not only are players getting injured during their weekly games, but injuries are also occurring during practice as well. Before you make any NFL bet, you need to check the injury reports. Make sure that you’re not betting what you think is value only to find out that the line was where it was because a key player had been injured.
Remember, key players are not just the major offensive starters. The loss of a lineman or a key defensive player can have a huge impact on the outcome of a game. The betting public is typically slower to react to injuries of non-offensive players (basically anyone outside of a QB, wide receiver, or a running back), so you may be able to snatch up some easy value in those situations.
Don’t be lazy. Take the extra few minutes to protect yourself and protect your bet investment by rechecking the injury reports.
Understand the Playoff Implications of a Game
It’s important when betting on the NFL that you understand the importance or lack of importance of a game to a particular team. The biggest situation where this becomes important is later in the regular season when teams start to clinch spots in the playoffs. When this happens, it’s common to start seeing teams rest their starters after a few quarters or even for entire games. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were counting on a team to cover the spread only to see them bench their starters going into the second half of a game.
You need to know the importance of each game to each team. This does not only include if the team needs to earn a spot in the playoffs but also if it has an effect on home-field advantage. Basically, know how important the game is and how that will affect their roster choices throughout the game. If there are no positive implications for a win, and they’ve already clinched everything, you can probably expect to see the starters pulled at some point during the game. You can look back at the team’s history to see how they handle these situations.
Think of NFL betting like building a house. We’ve given you all of the tools, materials, and the blueprint you need to build a beautiful mansion. Does this mean that you’ll wake up tomorrow and there will be a mansion? Of course not. You’re going to have to take those tools, materials, and the blueprint and put in the hard work to build the house of your dreams.