There can literally be thousands of NFL betting strategies to follow (or most likely, not follow). Some may be worthy, but most of the time you’ll just read them from a random betting site trying to sell you something.
I have a few NFL betting strategies that I use in my everyday philosophy for handicapping the National Football League. I’ve used some for years and others have been added over the years. Over time though, some will become obsolete and you’ll just have to move on.
In other words, they all won’t be the same forever. Some will always be there, while others will slowly go away because there is no +EV (expect value) to be gained from them anymore.
In my opinion, NFL betting strategies are much different than NFL betting trends. Trends are made to be broken and you can find just about any trend that will go along with your data or go against your data…so that’s why I don’t put a whole lot into them.
These certainly aren’t the end all be all, but many of them are used and implemented by professional handicappers. So without further ado, let’s check out my NFL betting strategies.
Don’t Bet Into Bad Numbers (know the key numbers)
This is absolutely crucial information and will never change. Studying the lines and line movement is a very important aspect to betting the NFL.
Take if from someone that’s learned the hard way by not paying attention to the numbers. Know where the smart money is being bet and get on that side. Know when to layoff a game because there just isn’t any value anymore.
In other words, lines that look very enticing are set that way for a reason. Trust me, the oddsmakers and sportsbooks know what they’re doing. You want to be on the same side as the sportsbooks. Now you won’t win them all, but over time, I guarantee you’ll come out ahead.
Although not really along the lines of NFL betting strategies, it’s a must that you have multiple sportsbook accounts so you’re able to get the best number/line possible. Getting the best line possible can turn losses into pushes and pushes into wins. This will save you and make you a lot of money in the long run.
Always Take Advantage Of Value (positive EV)
By value, we mean when the lines don’t match up with your lines. If you’re able to get an extra 1/2 point, then you have to take advantage of it.
The oddsmakers and sportsbooks set the line because they want an equal amount of action on each team (at least in a perfect world). They’re not trying to predict the spread in the final score.
Because the line is set this way, you may find value with either an underdog or a favorite. It happens every week in the NFL and the sharp sports bettors know how to capitalize on it.
Popular teams and hot teams don’t provide value. There is a public bias towards them and you have to know when to take advantage of the value. Typically, the lines are inflated when these types of teams play, so you’ll normally want to bet against many of them or just lay off the game entirely.
Focus In On Teams That Are Playing Much Better Or Much Worse Than Expected Early On In The Season
This is exactly what we mean by value. If a team isn’t playing up to expectations or vice versa, then there could be value to be taken advantage of.
Good teams that got off to a bad start because of tough scheduling could very well be undervalued. You want to bet on teams that are better than the public and oddsmakers’ perception and go against teams that worse than the same perception. Observation is key when it comes to solid NFL betting strategies.
Don’t Be Afraid To Bet On Bad Teams
Huh? A novice bettor will think this is one of those NFL betting strategies that make no sense. But trust me, it makes perfect sense and it’ll make you a winner.
Now don’t just randomly bet on bad teams. Put in the research and you’ll be surprised how much value can be found in spreads with bad teams involved.
Remember, the public loves to bet the favorite so Vegas is more than happy to inflate the line in their (the sportsbooks) favor. We always want to be on the same side as the casino’s. They have much more information than the general public, plus it’s pretty obvious they’re very successful.
Bet Against Road Favorites Of More Than 7 Points
This should probably be classified as a trend, but I considerate it one of the more profitable NFL betting strategies. Road favorites of more than 7 points have only covered the spread about 38% of the time since 1997 (Full Disclosure: over time a trend like this will fade away).
This is an incredible number and just another reason to focus on underdogs as we’ll talk more about below. Can you see a common trend starting to form here on our NFL betting strategies page (underdogs are good to bet on).
Bet On Underdogs
There you go, I finally just came out and said it. Underdogs should be one of the first things you look at when handicapping the weekends games.
I’ve probably already pounded this into the ground enough, but public perception is reality and the public loves to bet on the favorite. Go against the tide of the public (like the sportsbooks do) and I guarantee you’ll be a successful handicapper.
Bet The Moneyline On Underdogs
If you’ve done your research and feel strongly on an underdog, then by all means don’t be afraid to bet the moneyline on them. This is especially true of underdogs at 2.5 or less.
Underdogs win all of the time. Since you’ll be getting much better odds at betting the underdog on the moneyline, you can win less than 50% of your games and still show a profit.
Bet The Moneyline On Favorites Too
Just when you thought all of my NFL betting strategies were for underdogs, I go and throw you a loop. A win is a win, it doesn’t matter how good or how bad it looks.
If you feel the spread is right on, however you’re very confident in the favorite winning, then the moneyline may be the way to go. Now you’re obviously going to pay some extra juice, but like I said, a win is a win.
Believe me when I say this because the pro’s know the same thing: there can be great value in betting the moneyline on favorites. You’re betting on the NFL to make money, not to look pretty and get the biggest payout. So don’t be afraid to take the moneyline on a favorite.
Buy The Half Point If It’s Justified
A half point can make a world of difference when it comes to NFL key numbers. At certain key numbers, you may have +EV (expected value) if you are to buy off of them or on to them.
If you’re unable to find the number your wanting at one of your sportsbook accounts, then it may be in your best interest to buy the half point or even a point. This absolutely does not mean you should by the hook (half point) every time. Rather, purchasing the hook at certain key numbers has proven to be a positive EV.
Don’t Put More Than You Should Into Trends
If you’ve read any of my other essay’s, not just on NFL betting strategies, you know that I don’t put a whole lot into trends.
You can find a trend for anything, just look hard enough (trust me, you really can find a trend for anything…it’s almost ridiculous who comes up with them.)
If you’re looking for a trend to go with your research then you can find one. If you’re looking for a trend to contradict your research, then you can find one. There can be certain trends worth noting, but they must have meaning and substance behind them.
Bet On The Favorite Early
(both in the season and during the week)
Later in the season and the week, value is difficult to be found with good teams. Often times, taking favorites is the better choice earlier in the season because oddsmakers are still trying to get a feel.
It’s also important to bet favorites early in the week as well. Even though the favorite may be the best bet, the public loves laying the points and will drive the line up during the week. So if you wait until the last minute to place the bet, their might not be any value left causing you to lay off.
Obviously, this won’t be true all of the time and betting on the favorite late in the year can also be good bet. Towards the end of the year, oddsmakers have a hard time making the line large enough for a good team playing one that has basically given up. You just have to put in the time and research to know the difference.
Bet The Underdog Late
(both in the season and during the week)
This NFL betting strategy obviously coincides with the previous one. The longer you wait to bet on an underdog during the week (most of the time), the better the line you will get. Again, this is because the public will be betting up the favorite.
Along those same lines, most bookmakers will adjust their spreads upward the deeper into the year for the better teams. The same can even be said for teams fighting for a playoff birth as well. With that taken into account, these teams can be favored by more points than they really should be, thus creating great value bets for the team they’re playing against(the underdog).
Lines Will Become Much More
Sharp Later Into The Season
Of all the NFL betting strategies listed here, we’re definitely not breaking any news with this one. It should be apparent that the more games played, the sharper the lines will become (especially when we get to the playoffs and Super Bowl).
Value gets harder and harder to come by later on in the season, but if you follow a couple of the previous NFL betting strategies, then they should be able to help you out with this. It just comes down to studying the games, the teams, and the lines.
I personally don’t bet many teasers, but if you do, this is one of those NFL betting strategies I highly recommend you take a look at. It’s called a Wong teaser and I first learned about it in article by T.O. Whenham of Docs Sports.
It’s a six point teaser designed to move across two key numbers – the three and the seven. Basically your looking for favorites of -7.5 to -8.5, so you can tease them down to -1.5 to -2.5, crossing over four very important key numbers (3, 4, 6, and 7).
It’s the exact opposite for an underdog. You’re wanting underdogs of +1.5 to +2.5, so can you tease them up to +7.5 to +8.5, again moving over four very important key numbers. Because you’re able to cross over these numbers, you’re able to gain an advantage.
The Wong teaser has proven to be profitable over the long run, but that does not guarantee future results. As with all of these NFL betting strategies though, more time and research should always be applied (never blindly bet a strategy or system).
Well that wraps up some of my best NFL betting strategies. I personally incorporate all of these into my football betting philosophy and suggest you do the same (at least with a few of them).
It’s good to put a pen to paper (computer) and list the NFL betting strategies that you will follow so you can always look back on them when handicapping games. As I said before, over time some will be added, changed, or taken off all together.
Just take the time to do it and I will guarantee you’ll become much better at handicapping the National Football League.