NFL Betting Tips

I’ve been a self-supporting NFL bettor for more than 15 years now, and during this time I’ve learned a whole lot about how to make money wagering on the NFL. On this site, you’ll find various different strategy pages that give you the inside scoop into my personal process for betting types like moneyline bets, bets against the spread, total score over/under bets, and others.

But making money with NFL betting isn’t just about winning wagers. I’ve seen it time and time again that bettors who have real talent in picking games and betting on the NFL still can’t cut it as an NFL bettor.

This is because it takes more than NFL knowledge and betting experience to turn gambling from a casual hobby into a full-time profession. You have to be smarter and more disciplined than the rest of the betting public if you hope to make more money than they do.

Finding the right betting site is crucial to taking your NFL betting to the next level. Fortunately, we’ve put together a list and added it here in case you want to hop right in. Otherwise, continue reading below.

Our List of the Best NFL Betting Sites for 2020

Visit Site

Rating 4/5


up to €122

  • Great live sports betting
  • Many banking options
  • Variety of live dealer games
Visit Site

Rating 4/5


up to $200

  • Massive amount of markets
  • Pioneer in Esports betting
  • Statistics on site to help bettors
Visit Site

Rating 4/5


up to $250

  • Solid menu of promotions
  • Easy banking process
  • Sharp-looking site

If you’re ready to take your sports betting game to the next level, follow the tips you see below. These are the tried and true NFL betting tips that I’ve learned the hard way over a decade and a half of NFL betting, and they are exactly what you need to go from a casual bettor to a veteran NFL bettor.

The tips fall into two categories: Managing Your Money, and Managing Yourself.

Managing Your Money

The first category of tips that you’ll need to bring your NFL betting to the next level concerns the way that you manage your money overall. Much in the same way that a business can sink if it’s financially mismanaged – even if it sells a great product or offers a great service – mismanaging your gambling capital can sink your NFL betting career.

Here are the five top NFL betting tips that I’ve learned in my career as a gambler concerning the way that you should manage your money.

Look for an Edge

One of the biggest traps that new professional bettors fall into is the urge to bet on every single game.

Perhaps you started out as just a casual bettor, placing one or two wagers over the course of an NFL season, and then you decide to take things much more seriously, you read a book or two, and all of the sudden you have a mountainous surfeit of betting knowledge and expertise that you just can’t wait to unleash every opportunity you get.

But as you progress as an NFL bettor, you quickly realize that the margins in NFL betting are razor-thin. It’s not like, say, slot machines – there’s certainly enough of a margin to reliably make money in NFL betting. But you definitely can’t bet on every single game and expect to turn a profit.

The thing that you have to remember is this: Just because you have the ability to place a wager on every single game doesn’t mean that you should. There is always a way to delude yourself into believing that a game holds value. You’ll say to yourself, But what if I throw this game into a teaser…Or what if I just do a prop bet…

But once again, finding a logical way to put money on a game is not the same thing as having an edge. When you have an edge – an angle that you believe gives you really great value – you’ll know. As you progress as a sports bettor, you’ll come to understand the difference between what it feels like to trick yourself into making a betting decision that you didn’t really believe in vs. what it feels like to really, truly believe that you have an edge in a particular matchup.

Bet for Value

Once you begin to understand when you have an edge and when you don’t, the next step is to determine whether that edge is even profitable to wager on. Being correct about what the outcome of a wager is going to be certainly feels good, but the reward of being right isn’t always worth the risk of being wrong.

To give a simple example, if the worst team in the league is playing the best team in the league on the best team’s home field, (and it isn’t a meaningless game), it stands to reason that the best team is going to win. But even though you correctly “predicted” this obvious outcome, the rest of the betting public probably did too, so the odds likely offer very minimal payout.

At the same time, there could be another game going on that very same week where the outcome isn’t nearly as certain, but the odds hold a much higher potential payout. In fact, you might not even feel certain that the outcome you wager on is going to happen. Sometimes, you have to wager on the value rather than on the outcome.

Practically speaking, the question that you need to ask yourself in order to develop this skill of betting for value is the following: If I win the wager, is the payout worth it to me? If the answer is yes, go ahead and bet. If not, rethink your strategy.

As with all of these NFL betting tips, time and experience will help you find a good balance on how much you are willing to risk for how much potential reward.

Bankroll Management

Bankroll is a very important term in NFL betting (and any other kind of gambling). Your bankroll defines the amount of money that you have allotted to yourself for placing wagers.

Think about it like a casino. The wisest casino-goers only bring cash to the casino, and more specifically only the amount of cash that they wouldn’t mind losing if things didn’t turn out well. That way, if the unlucky gambler runs out of cash, they have no choice but to stop betting. Their bankroll has run out, and they don’t allow themselves to go back on the decision they made earlier for how much to spend.

This is the same way that you need to treat your NFL betting. Set aside a specific amount of money that you are willing to lose – the amount of money that you would be totally comfortable lighting on fire, or flushing down the toilet – and make sure never to spend more than that amount.

The biggest, most important thing that setting a bankroll ahead of time does for your betting decision-making is it ensures that you never spend more than a certain percentage of your total bankroll on one wager. This is a great way to combat that erroneous belief that can creep into our minds that after a losing bet, we need to recoup our losses by wagering more on the next bet.

If you’ve successfully managed your bankroll, you won’t ever want to spend more than a certain small percentage of it (say, 5%) on an individual bet, because then you’ll run out of bets you can make!

Shop for Lines

As you get better at finding value in NFL bets, you become more able to pick out when a line offers good odds and when you need to stay away. At the same time, as you get better at managing your bankroll, you come to understand how valuable every single wager is, so you become less and less inclined to waste a precious opportunity to bet on a line that offers unfavorable odds.

This is where the process of shopping around comes into play. Much like gas stations, sportsbooks will often hover very close to the same line and the same odds, for two reasons. One, because they’re all utilizing a similar decision-making calculus with a similar goal; and two, because they all look around at each other and consistently try to set a fair market value for each individual wager.

This delicate market-driven balance is often undercut ever so slightly by certain sportsbooks, whether intentionally or unintentionally (also like gas stations). Some sportsbooks will occasionally offer lines or odds that differ significantly from the rest of the pack, and there can be value opportunities in that.

Pro bettors habitually shop around for the best line between different sportsbooks, saying things like Well…I would take that team at 7.5, but not at 7, so I’m going to bet here instead of there.

Pro bettors also pay close attention to when lines and odds first open – an “early bird gets the worm” situation. Sportsbooks have various mechanisms to correct lines when it becomes clear that they’ve made a mistake, so you need to make sure that you understand when and how lines will change so that you can pounce on a good value bet before the value is gone.

Think Like an Investor

I knew a sports bettor once who “wised up” and quit the business after decades of quite successful betting. When I asked him why he quit, he told me that he was just trying to limit his risk. He said, “I gamble enough on the stock market, I don’t need to gamble on sports too.

The point is that there are many, many similarities between formal investing and NFL betting. In fact, one could even say that betting is an investment. You are making a complex decision about where to invest your money, trying to balance the risk of the investment with the promise of the reward.

Thinking like an investor helps orient you, and keeps you from falling into a lot of the traps that novice sports bettors often fall into.

For example, investors know that the average rate of return from a growth market mutual fund (in the long-term) is between 8-12%. But what most bettors don’t realize is that the betting odds equivalent to an 8-12% rate of return work out to between -800 and -1250. The point is that you don’t need to get incredible odds to do just as well as your 401(k) does.

So don’t get suckered into believing that if you’re not getting a 300% profit on every wager you’re “not doing it right.” This is just plain wrong. No investor would expect to make a 300% profit in the long run, and neither should you. The difference between the professional sports bettor and the casual bettor is that the pro is in it for the long haul, so they start thinking about things like an investor would.

Managing Yourself

The tips above can go a long way towards helping you understand the deeper money-management principles that you need in order to be a successful NFL bettor. However, what you’ll find as you go along in your NFL betting career is that even with the most sound financial philosophy, you will still get in the way.

Often times in sports betting, you are your own worst enemy.

The NFL betting tips below will help you understand the ways in which you can (and will) mess everything up. Once you start understanding your own flaws and failings as a sports bettor – the ways in which all human beings constantly mess up in this area – you begin to learn how to set up systems that will work around your own shortcomings, and ensure that you are able to continue turning a profit as an NFL bettor.

Don’t Be a Fan

Most of the NFL bettors that I know (myself included) got into the business because they love the game of football. Perhaps they were already spending hours of their workday on the NFL, so they just decided Hey, why not just make my workday about the NFL? It’s rare that a sports bettor will join the business purely as a business or financial decision, with no personal stake in the goings-on of the league.

By the same token, if you love the NFL, it stands to reason that you will almost definitely have a specific team that you root for. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a true NFL fan that wasn’t also a fan of an individual team.

So now you probably think you know what I’m going to say: You think I’m going to say Don’t bet on your favorite teams, because you can’t be objective if you’re a fan. Not exactly.

It’s certainly true that you can’t be objective with your own team, so you certainly do need to set up systems that double-check whether you’re being influenced by your fandom. However, it’s also true that you probably know more about your favorite team than you do about any other team, because you follow your favorite team more closely than any other team.

This insider knowledge can actually help you make good decisions, even while your lack of objectivity and frequently-misplaced optimism can hinder you. So here’s the pro tip: Go ahead and wager on your favorite NFL teams, just make sure you don’t do it more often or with more money than you do for any other team.

Don’t Drink and Wager

This one seems obvious, but my experience has shown me that a surprising number of people fall prey to this trap and see it sink their sports betting career.

In my opinion, the reason why so many people bet on sports while impaired is because for many sports bettors, betting on the NFL starts out as a casual hobby, which they generally enjoy on the weekends while waiting to watch football, hanging out with friends and enjoying some libations.

It’s obvious that alcohol impairs your decision-making, but the less obvious pro NFL betting tip here is that to be a professional bettor, you have to start treating sports betting like a profession. You have to be “profession-al.” None of the NFL players, coaches, administrators, announcers, or sportscasters show up drunk to work, so neither should NFL bettors.

In the same way that you follow rules at work – for what to wear, how to act, etc. – set up rules for yourself specific to your betting, and make sure that you don’t break those rules. If you are starting to get impulsive and toe the line, examine yourself and make sure you’re not slipping into problem gambling habits.

And as far as alcohol? It’s simple: Place your wagers while sober, and then drink as much as you want while you watch to see if they pay out.

Take Your Time

For whatever reason, sports betting lends itself very easily to compulsion. Not only is gambling addiction a serious problem, and a very easy trap to fall into, but even on the day-to-day level there is something compulsive about the act of gambling itself. It’s quite a rush, and that excitement can knock you off balance the same way that being a fan of a team or drinking alcohol can knock you off balance.

The best way that I’ve found in my 15+ years as an NFL bettor to mitigate the compulsive nature of gambling is simply to take my time. My personal NFL Betting Strategy involves three stages that are each played out at a different part of the week, and one of these stages (the last stage) explicitly requires me to get all the way up to the point where I’ve completely made my decision, and then sleep on it.

You should never feel like you’re on the fence about whether to place a wager. Even in situations where you don’t know whether your bet will win, you should at least feel 100% confident that it was a good value bet, and that you wanted to place the bet.

The way you’ll know that you’ve been taking your time is by monitoring your feelings of regret or embarrassment. Let’s say you start watching a game with friends that you wagered on, and you you’re your friends what you believe is going to happen. Now, let’s say that you were totally wrong.

The way to know that you took your time is if you say, Well, I was wrong, but I don’t feel bad about it, because I trusted my gut and I went through my full decision-making process. On the other hand, if you feel that deep sense of embarrassment because you just plain missed something, or you rushed your process, that’s when you know that you fell prey to the compulsive nature of gambling.

Trust Your Gut

When you know that you’ve taken your time and kept yourself from rushing your decision-making process, it allows you to trust that this decision-making process was honest – that it wasn’t influenced by the many biases and fallacies that gamblers often fall into.

But it’s important to note that this trust doesn’t just happen overnight. When you start out your career as a sports bettor, it’s very common to doubt yourself, particularly if you go through a period of time during which your bets aren’t paying out.

The important thing to remember in this instance is don’t panic. Trust the process. Professional sports bettors go through slumps – I can certainly vouch for that.

One thing that professional sports bettors don’t do is they don’t pay other people to do their work for them. Even if you’re going through a slump, the answer is not to pay some tout for his “100% foolproof betting system,” or his “epic NFL insider information” that’s guaranteed to turn you into a winner overnight.

There are no shortcuts to developing trust with yourself. It takes time and dedicated effort to get to a place where you understand NFL betting and you understand yourself well enough to quiet the brain chatter and simply to make the best decision possible. There is a lot of information-gathering in sports betting, but there is also a key aspect of intuition, so learn to trust your gut.

Learn from Your Mistakes

In order to go through the process of learning to trust your gut and to make profitable betting decisions in the long run, it’s essential that you learn from your mistakes. There’s simply no way to get better as an NFL bettor if you’re not willing to figure out where you went wrong.

Think about every single sports betting decision that you make not only as an investment of your bankroll, but also as an investment in your sports betting education. Win or lose the wager, the only way that it could turn out to be a waste is if the outcome didn’t improve your understanding of NFL betting or your understanding of yourself.

For this reason, don’t be afraid to be wrong! When you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, you become incredibly comfortable with being wrong. Even the smartest professionals in the NFL aren’t correct much more than 50% of the time – this is what makes NFL football so special. If we all knew what was going to happen, there would be no reason to watch.

The best-case scenario for a sports bettor is that you’re wrong slightly less than 50% of the time, and even better — that you understand when you are going to be right and when you are going to be wrong. An intuitive knowledge of when to stay away from a particular betting situation is just as valuable as an intuitive knowledge of when to jump in.

But once again, the only way to gain this knowledge and expertise is the ability to be comfortable making mistakes, to learn from your mistakes, and to grow as a sports bettor because of your mistakes.

Factors that Affect NFL Bets

One of the best NFL football betting tips I can give you is that you have to put the time in to be successful. You can’t just drop in every Sunday without paying attention to what’s been going on with teams since their last game. That would likely mean you miss out on some key factors that can affect the outcome of the game and your wagers.


The NFL is known for the physicality of the games, which causes a lot of injuries along the way. Each team deals with injuries throughout the season and they can have a major impact on how those teams perform. You need to follow injury reports to see who might have to miss a game you’re betting or who might be playing but not quite at full strength.

Coaching Changes

Coaching changes come into play as major betting factors early in the season as the new coaches put their stamp, for good or bad, on the teams they’re coaching. But there are occasionally coaching changes within an NFL season that can impact how a team might approach an opponent. You should be aware of how that kind of thing can change the outlook of an upcoming game.

Player Personnel Changes

These can be based on the injuries that we mentioned above. But occasionally personnel changes can happen in a more organic manner, such as the decision by a team to switch quarterbacks if the former starter is struggling. In some cases, lineup switches can provide a major spark to a team, which would obviously make a difference in your betting selections.


It’s always a good idea to take a peek at the weather report for any NFL game that you’re thinking of betting. Bad weather can impact over/under bets because of the possibility that offenses will struggle in adverse conditions. But it can also make a difference in point spread and moneyline bets as well, as in the case of a team with a good running game being able to deal with a snowy, windy afternoon when it’s difficult to pass the ball.

Choosing Your NFL Betting Strategy

I’d suggest that you use a trial and error approach to finding what particular NFL betting tips you follow. In other words, what’s the way that you prefer to handicap each game? The best bettors for American football games tend to find an approach and stick with it on a consistent basis rather than constantly changing it up.

When you find an approach with which you feel comfortable, don’t get discouraged if you hit a rough patch. It could be that it’s just an anomaly caused by a small sample size that will right itself once you bet on more games. Here are some of the ways that you can approach your NFL handicapping.

Watching the Action

This strategy requires that you watch as much NFL football as possible to get a feel for all the teams. If you watch enough football, you’ll discover each team’s strengths and weaknesses and you’ll be able to discern how two teams match up against one another. Doing this and following the league news each week for injuries and the like is probably the most common way for bettors to approach the NFL, and it can be very effective.

Following the Stats

There are some bettors who like to avoid reading too much into what they see on the field because that can be skewed by subjective interpretation. But if you focus on the numbers, you’ll be dealing with nothing but the cold, hard facts of what happened on the field. The key is knowing which numbers make the biggest difference when it comes to comparing two teams.

Tracking the Trends

If you use this method, you go beyond the stats attached to the game action and instead focus on betting trends for the teams involved. For example, if you see that a team has failed to cover the spread four games in a row at home, you might go against them in their next game at home. Always look for betting trends that seem like they’ve been sustained long enough that you’re not just dealing with a statistical fluke.

Combining All of the Above

Perhaps the most effective of all NFL gambling tips is one that tells you to follow your own path when it comes to devising a betting strategy. Don’t just believe some so-called “expert” who tells you that they have a foolproof method, or else you might get burned. Instead, use the preceding methods to come up with a handicapping method that’s truly your own and gives you confidence every time you wager.

NFL Live Betting Tips

Live betting on NFL games has opened up a ton of opportunities for customers at online gambling sites. You can keep wagering on the action from kickoff all the way through the final play. While live betting does give you more chances to win, it also requires you to come up with solid strategies for it, such as the ones below.

Know When to Strike

You’ll be deluged with live betting possibilities throughout the action of an NFL game. It takes a great deal of discipline to not get too carried away. Instead, you should only be looking for the live bets that present excellent chances at value.

Watch the Action Closely

It goes without saying that you should be actively watching any NFL game that you’re live betting. But you have to learn to find the key factors that could affect the bets you’re being offered. Look in particular at matchups on the field where one team is dominating another and you could find an area you can exploit.

Don’t Give It Back

If you win a few live wagers, resist the urge to “let it ride” with even more wagers. Remember that your betting luck can always turn against you at a moment’s notice. Take your profits and walk away, perhaps using it to bet on another game that you’ll have time to research instead of trying to keep it going with bets coming at you on the fly.

Resources for NFL Betting Beginners

For most of this page, I’ve given tips for those who already have at least a decent feel for the NFL and how betting works. But I also know that there are some folks out there who are just starting out on their betting journey with American football. Here are some tips and resources to get you started.

NFL Betting Strategy

We touched on betting strategy and some techniques that you can use above. But for those who want a more in-depth look, I suggest that you check out this page on NFL betting strategy You can go really deep into expert tactics for betting on the NFL.

NFL Handicapping

I think it’s a good idea to look into handicapping techniques as well if you want to successfully bet on the NFL. You should be able to diagnose any game and quickly tell if there’s value there. This page on NFL handicapping is a great place to start.

Avoiding Mistakes

You have to know what you’re doing when it comes to NFL betting. But you also need to know what to avoid. The link details the most common NFL betting mistakes

Summary: NFL Betting Tips

In the end, developing NFL betting into a profitable long-term career takes time, dedication, and concerted effort. Like any other career, it’s not something that happens overnight. NFL betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme, nor is it just a natural talent that some people are born with. No: It’s a skill, that you develop over time.

In my 15+ years as a professional NFL bettor, I have learned a lot of lessons about how to manage money and about how to manage myself. The NFL betting tips I present above give a brief summary of some of these lessons, including the following:

  • Managing Your Money:
    • Margins in NFL betting are razor-thin, so don’t expect to place a wager on every single game. Instead, wager only on those situations in which you know you have an edge.
    • Just because you can correctly guess the outcome of a bet doesn’t mean that it is worth the wager. Find those wagers where the balance of risk and reward offers good value.
    • Like a casino trip, set aside a specific amount of capital to use for NFL betting and don’t let yourself go above it. This helps you subdivide your capital into chunks.
    • Professional bettors don’t just place wagers with one sportsbook. Instead, they shop around for the best lines and odds at the best NFL betting sites, like finding the lowest gas price.
    • Sports betting is an investment, so make sure you don’t lose your head fixating on crazy profit margins that you would never expect to earn in traditional forms of investing.
  • Managing Yourself:
    • It’s true that you can’t be objective about your favorite teams, but being a fan is also an advantage. Just make sure not to bet more money or more often on “your teams.”
    • Treat sports betting like a profession, and be “profession-al.” Don’t wager while impaired by alcohol; set up rules and habits like you would at any job, and don’t break these rules.
    • Make sure you don’t allow yourself to become compulsive with your betting. You’ll know you’ve taken your time when you don’t regret the wrong decisions you’ve made.
    • Even if you go through a slump, don’t panic. Professional sports bettors go through slumps, but over time they develop a thick skin and an ability to trust their gut even in a slump.
    • The biggest, most important thing you need in order to improve as a bettor is an ability to learn from your mistakes. Win or lose, every wager is a learning opportunity.

My hope is that by reading and internalizing these tips, you’ll be well on your way to developing skills as an NFL bettor. I can tell you from more than a decade-and-a-half of experience that there are few better ways to make money while having fun and doing what you love, so I hope that my experience can help you take your sports betting game to the next level.

Jim Beviglia
Get in touch with Jim
About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.