How to bet on NFL
The NFL is becoming increasingly popular with bettors on this side of the Atlantic, thanks in part to regular season games being played on our soil, but also to the dizzying array of stats available and the simplicity and value of the betting markets. If you enjoy good value and a level playing field when it comes to sports betting, the NFL is the place to be.
Handicaps & Spreads
There are three main ways to bet on NFL games: the moneyline, total points, and handicap (spread).
The moneyline market is a simple bet on the game's winner.
The points total market bets on whether the game will score more or less than a certain number of points.
The handicap market is where one team is given a point advantage so that both teams are close to even money, and this is where the majority of the action on NFL betting takes place.
The handicap market is frequently referred to as the 'point spread,' and it is used by everyone from professional bettors to the mainstream media to determine the chances of both teams winning. To compensate for each team's varying strength in the NFL, handicap betting lines level the playing field.
This provides bettors with two benefits: first, you have a bet at close to 2.0 on either side in what can be one-sided matches, and second, it introduces an opinion from the oddsmakers into the market. This is significant because it implies that they can and frequently will make mistakes, which is where you can profit.
The handicap line is set at 3 and favors the New York Giants, who have a minus next to their number. The market rates the Giants as three points better than the Falcons, so the Giants start with a three-point advantage in handicap betting.
If the Giants win by more than 3 points, a bet on the Giants -3.0 wins. A wager on the Atlanta Falcons +3.0 pays out if the Falcons win or lose by no more than two points.
If the Giants win by three points, bets on both sides of the handicap will be pushed and stakes returned because the handicap line was not broken. Handicap lines with a.5 number at the end are very popular because they eliminate the possibility of a push and guarantee that the handicap line will be beaten by one side.
Beat the Spread
There are several factors to consider when betting on handicap or spread lines:
It is critical to predict how many points each team will score in any given game. Weather, injuries, home-field advantage, and other factors can all have an impact on expected points. It is your responsibility to evaluate these variables alongside the handicap lines and determine who you believe will cover their line.
You do not have to wager on every game. Take your time. You may not be able to predict every NFL game, but you will almost certainly see a few games each week where you are confident that one team will cover the spread with a greater than 53% chance.
Place your wager early. One of the simplest ways to profit from the spread is to bet as soon as the handicap lines for the games are released. The NFL handicap lines change frequently in the weeks leading up to games, and the Giants at -3.0 at 1.91 a week before the game could become the Giants -6.0 at 1.91 a few hours before kick-off.
Avoid the Noise
The media's primary responsibility is to hype NFL games and create a buzz that attracts viewers. Don't be fooled by the hype generated by media outlets attempting to sell a story about an upcoming game. A winning NFL bettor will be able to filter out all of the media noise surrounding a game and use the massive amounts of data available to find winning bets.
When betting on the NFL, consider the stats and historical data available. When it comes to individual to team match-ups, Pro Football Reference is a gold mine. NFL players and teams are generally consistent, with the statistically best teams frequently fighting for the championship at the end of the season.
Fading the public is one strategy for betting on the NFL. To 'fade' is to bet against. If the public believes a team will win an upcoming game, the oddsmakers will adjust the odds so that more money is placed on the opposing team.
What the oddsmakers are doing is making the popular pick less appealing, less valuable, and moving it away from the more likely probability of that team winning by a margin. This is great news for bettors, and sharp bettors will keep an eye on these lines and bet on their favorite team when the line is at its highest and the most value is available.
When you place an NFL moneyline bet, you choose which team you believe will win the game outright. Because moneyline betting involves picking one team to win over another, this type of bet is often referred to as a straight-up bet at the sportsbook.
Because there are usually skill and talent differences between the two teams, the odds for the "favorite" are usually higher because there is less risk of them losing the game to the "underdog."
A winning bet of $100 on New England would return $162.50 - your original $100 plus your winnings of $62.50. On the other hand, if you bet the same amount on New York and they win, you'd get $240 - you get your $100 back plus your $140 winnings.
Betting on underdogs, in this case the Jets, is a riskier bet, but the reward is greater. Betting on the Patriots, on the other hand, is less risky, so the reward is lower.
An NFL futures bet is placed on events that may occur before the end of the NFL season. "Which team will win the Super Bowl?" is one of the most popular NFL futures bets available, but these markets are not limited to which team climbs the mountain and wins the championship.
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