Legendary coach Vince Lombardi’s philosophy was “Freedom within discipline.” While others invented complicated playbooks with dozens of formations, Lombardi’s plays were coded in simple math like “54” and “43.” His Green Bay Packers would run the same plays over and over. But athletes were allowed to think on their feet and adjust during the action to whatever the defense was doing.
Successful NFL betting must be built on a similar approach. Gamblers can each develop their own gambling style based on bankroll, budget, preference, and expertise. But to ignore time-honored maxims of NFL betting is to simply throw money away. Bettors must know and understand every type of wager before choosing the right one, and they must acquire in-depth knowledge of sportsbook strategy before deciding which tactical tenet to follow when placing the next bet.
Scroll through LegitGamblingSites.com’s NFL betting strategy guide for an overview of the types of odds, betting markets, and live wagers offered on the National Football League. We’ll provide background information and a few tips for winning more than you lose with smart bets in every category.
Types of NFL Betting
Bookies have not dreamed up their last fancy new NFL betting market. But many types of NFL betting odds have been around for decades and aren’t going away anytime soon. Enjoy a primer on the basic categories and a few helpful links.
Moneylines in NFL Betting
Moneylines offer a bet on which team will win the game. NFL moneylines are usually expressed in fractions relating to $100. Odds of (+400) promise a payoff of $400 on a winning $100 wager, while a (-300) moneyline means the gambler must wager $300 to potentially win $100.
NFL Point Spreads
Point spreads have been the daily bread of NFL betting since the early 20th century. Betting against the spread (or “ATS”) means picking a team to prevail given points spotted to the underdog. Favorites must win by more than the spread to cash in the bet slip. A bet on the underdog wins if the team wins outright or loses by less than the spread.
NFL Point Totals
Often referred to as the Over/Under or “O/U,” a point total betting market asks the gambler to pick a cumulative point total after 4 quarters that is over or under the total predicted by the sportsbook. If the final score of the game adds up to a sum equal to the O/U line, the wager is a push, and money is returned with no further action.
Proposition Wagers in NFL Betting
Proposition, or “prop” bets on the NFL involve specific statistical feats or other events that could occur during a game.
Props on regular-season NFL games are usually basic and sports-oriented, such as whether a star running back will gain 100 or more yards in 4 quarters.
Thousands of prop bets are offered by casinos on the Super Bowl, however, and bookies tend to use their imaginations when coming up with prop markets for the Greatest Show on Earth. Super Bowl props can be anything from the number of pass attempts by Aaron Rodgers to the type of outfit worn by a pop singer in the halftime show.
A parlay, or “combo” bet, is a single wager that combines 2 or more individual bets. Parlays offer a much higher payoff than typical spread or O/U markets, but all bets in a parlay must have a winning result for the gamble to pay off. If any picks involved in the parlay lose, the bettor loses the entire wager.
NFL Futures Bets
Guide to NFL Handicapping
Successful NFL betting depends on good handicapping. But what is handicapping, exactly?
Handicapping is not the same as making a prediction. No one can accurately predict final scores over the long term. Instead, handicapping is a process of assigning value to a team going into a contest.
If the bettor concludes that a team’s chances of prevailing in a given contest are better than what the moneyline or point spread is factoring in, then a bet on that team carries value. It is more likely to win than to lose. If the team’s chances of winning the game (or winning against a point spread) appear worse than the sportsbook’s odds are allowing, then betting value is with the opposing team.
Click below for a more in-depth look at NFL handicapping.
Other Key Aspects of NFL Handicapping
The game itself may come down to blocking and tackling, but NFL betting strategy is anything but simple. Key factors include line movement, trends, distinguishing playoff handicapping from regular-season analysis, and of course Super Bowl handicapping.
NFL Betting: Line Movement Analysis
Line movement analysis is the technique of understanding why a moneyline, point spread, or point total has moved from the original lines set by the sportsbook.
A moneyline or a point spread will be adjusted if casinos notice heavy betting action focused on one of the two teams squaring off. Sportsbooks prefer balanced action that assures the house of a profit. However, it is important to determine whether lines are moving due to public bias or actual handicapping factors. An injury to a quarterback should cause a line to move in a logical direction, while a rush of bets on the Dallas Cowboys may cause odds to change for no other reason than the popularity of America’s Team.
Angles and Trends in NFL Betting
Analyzing trends is a standard tool of the oddsmaker. For instance, an NFL team might be traveling to play an opponent with a much better record, but historical trends indicate that the former team always plays well at the venue they’re visiting. That would cause the game’s moneyline to be set much tighter than it would normally be.
Angles and trends can be deceiving, however. Stats such as “The Eagles are 5-1 in games played in snow in the Central Time Zone” seem valuable but are ultimately meaningless due to the effects of random chance on a small sample-size of outcomes.
Handicapping the NFL Playoffs vs. the Regular Season
Understanding the differences in handicapping the playoffs vs. the regular season is an important step toward having a winning record in your NFL betting hobby.
For instance, players who suffer mild injuries may ride the bench out of caution in Week 7 or Week 10. But a key performer who is nursing a painful but not prohibitive injury will likely be pressed into duty in a postseason contest.
Handicapping the Super Bowl
If handicapped carefully by the NFL betting enthusiast, the Super Bowl can be a profitable gambling opportunity. Millions of people place wagers on the Super Bowl, and the method of “betting against the public” is never more relevant than in February.
Check out the links below for a more detailed look into NFL betting and handicapping.
Preseason, In-Game, and Halftime Betting
NFL betting on summer preseason games is a vastly different animal than in the autumn and winter. Futures bets may be placed on teams still in training camp, but it’s moneyline and point spread betting in which the difference is stark.
Gambling on an NFL team in the preseason can be infuriating due to star players sitting out, coaches calling “test” plays instead of trying to score, and rookie punters and kickers shanking the football wide of the uprights or out of bounds. However, the preseason can also be a solid betting opportunity for the sports gambler whose knowledge of training camp rosters exceeds his peers.
In-game betting is also known as “live” or “in-play” betting. Many sportsbooks offer NFL betting lines that are adjusted during a Sunday contest. If an underdog scores the first 2 touchdowns of the game, the moneyline which was originally set with their opponent as the strong favorite will likely be “flipped” with the former underdog now the favorite.
Halftime betting gives the bookie and bettor each an opportunity to reconsider the contest for a few minutes before moving forward. A sportsbook may choose to close live betting temporarily while new lines are set with the likely 2nd-half outcome in mind. But the most important halftime adjustments are made in NFL locker rooms.
Take a look at the pages below for more.
Forecasting Lines and Score Prediction
Sportsbooks won’t set odds on an upcoming NFL game until both teams have no in-between contests on their schedule. But the savvy sports bettor doesn’t let a measly Patriots vs. Jets laugher get in the way of handicapping a solid wager. Gamblers can forecast lines by making educated guesses as to what the moneyline and point spread numbers will be when markets open on Monday afternoon.
Long-term weather forecasts can tighten a moneyline and lower the O/U total. When heavy rain or snow is expected to make handling the football, running routes, and even blocking more difficult, expect bookies and professional handicappers to predict a low-scoring game.
Surf to the link below to read more about how forecasting lines and score prediction can help NFL betting enthusiasts beat the sportsbook.
Turnover Chart and Analysis
Turnover charts help handicappers and bettors analyze which NFL franchises, coaching staffs, and rosters are best at protecting the football and forcing opponents to turn it over.
Over time, a plus-turnover ratio will result in excellent season records and playoff wins. The New England Patriots have a sparkling long-term turnover chart – we rest our case!
Click below for a deeper look into using turnover charts to help produce more NFL betting wins.
We’ve only scratched the surface of all of the factors weighed into serious NFL handicapping. It’s a complicated study for even the dedicated and knowledgeable pro football fan.
But remember, sportsbooks don’t have the resources or time to investigate 2-deep roster, statistical trends, and matchups as closely as a determined bettor with a laptop.
Focus on one game at a time and beat the casino’s house bookie with in-depth analysis, common sense…and an understanding of handicapping.