Sports Betting 101
Basics by Sport
Insider Betting Tips for the NFL
by Dave Schwab
When it comes to betting on sports, the NFL is the King of the Hill as far as the sheer amount of action the games generate. Sportsbooks are well aware of this fact and they are more than happy to take your money over the course of a 17-week regular season and a month-long postseason run to the Super Bowl.
While even the best NFL handicappers are hard-pressed to win much more than 60 percent of the games they release picks for, following a few insider betting tips will go a long way to keeping your betting bankroll in the black.
Shop Your Betting Lines
It would be hard to calculate just how much money has been won or lost with a half-point swing in a NFL betting line one way or the other, but it would be safe to say it is somewhere in the billions. This can apply to both the point spread for a game as well as the total line.
A professional NFL bettor will set his own line when making a pick and then shop it around to get the best value for his bet. Nothing says that you cannot have multiple accounts at different sportsbooks. Shopping those books to find a half point that is in your favor is well worth the hassle of juggling more than one account.
Set-up a Betting System
The phrase “bet with your head, not over it” applies especially well to NFL games. Sundays in the fall can provide a frenzy of excitement when betting on the games, but you will quickly blow through your bankroll if you do not have some sort of betting system in place to monitor and track your bets.
You should always place a confidence value on every NFL game you bet. Just because you lost $500 on the early games, does not mean you should try and double-down to erase the loss with a $500 on your next pick. Grade each pick with a set unit play that accurately measures your confidence in cashing-in and then stick to the plan. You always have to remember that betting and winning on football is a marathon, not a sprint. Hot and cold streaks come and go; you have to be willing to stay true to your betting system at all times.
Keep Accurate Betting Records
From your first NFL bet on opening day until any bets you place for the Super Bowl, you should always know exactly where you stand with your overall betting bankroll. You should also keep records on your winning percentage in terms of each bet you place.
You may find yourself leaning too heavily on betting the favorites and the “over” on the total line, which mirrors the general pattern of the betting public. Sportsbooks are well aware that the public has a tendency to bet this way and they constantly gear their betting odds accordingly. This in turn tends to generate more value for underdogs and “under” plays on the total line, especially for high-profile games.
Betting on the NFL is as much a subconscious decision as a conscious one and each game must be evaluated on its own merits. Accurate record keeping is the best way to track and measure your individual betting patterns in direct relation to your overall success.
Study the Matchups
While many bettors would call themselves avid NFL fans, how many actually take the time to break down the games from a betting standpoint. Too many times bettors will make their picks on what they want to happen and not necessarily on all the facts, stats and betting trends that surround each and every NFL matchup.
Injuries are a key part of the game, but avoid the temptation to overstate their importance. Unless it is a team’s starting quarterback, there is probably a reliable backup waiting in the wings to take someone’s place. There is no such thing as a lock and “any given Sunday” does apply to the NFL. The more you know about the particulars of any NFL game, the better you will be at predicting its outcome.