In the world of punters, the NFL is king. With NFL now playing games outside of the US, American football has become more prominent and lucrative than ever.
In fact, over $8 billion in bets are placed on just the Super Bowl annually. People who bet on the NFL vary from football seasoned experts to recreational sports punters.
Here’s the kicker,
The majority of punters lose their money when betting on the NFL.
In this article, we’ll go over NFL Betting Strategies you can use to get more out of your bets.
The NFL betting markets are among the sharpest in the world. Pro punters who are football fanatics will easily identify value bets.
Their aim is to find situations where the odds given by a sportsbook aren’t correct and then bet against the line. Due to this sport’s popularity and the massive volume of information available out there, sportsbooks have to keep their lines efficient, or they’d risk significant losses.
What makes NFL Profitable For Punters?
Yes, there is an enormous volume of information out there, which always means that finding out something that others don’t, will be hard.
But, the NFL is also highly unpredictable. Games can go either way, and research can only do so much. With the right intuition, and with the right strategies, punters stand to make a lot of profit.
If you just want to bet on NFL without doing any work, we would urge you to think twice. It is one of the most common mistakes made by punters, old and new.
The National Football League
Along with the Major League Baseball, the National Football League is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America.
The NFL consists of 32 teams. The 32 teams are split up into two: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
The NFL is the highest professional level of American football worldwide. Its season is also quite a lengthy one: the NFL runs for 17 weeks.
All the 32 teams play 16 games, that’s 256 games in total. You can imagine why the NFL is the opportune moment for a punter. A plethora of markets will be available in every match.
Eventually, 6 teams from each conference (AFC & NFC) advance to playoffs, ending in the Super Bowl.
Before we jump to the strategies, we suggest you read up on the basics of how the odds in the NFL works.
The NFL Strategies
Bet Against The Public
We already touched upon this in previous articles. You may know it as contrarian betting, a reverse line movement, or ‘fading the public’.
A contrarian is a punter who attempts to make money by betting against the consensus opinion of the majority. Basically, it is a punter who, because of research, experience, or both, thinks the public is wrong. The majority of recreational punters follow the crowd, betting on the teams which appear to have the highest odds.
A reverse line movement occurs when the public is heavily invested in one team or total, while the sharp, pro punters go the opposite directions.
The line tends to move in response to the massive public betting action. Sharp punters are a minority, so their investment doesn’t better the odds of a team in the same way the investments of the majority do.
The fact is that the odds are controlled by the bookmaker, and the bookmaker gives the best odds to the team the public believes is going to win.
Remember: The online sportsbooks and Vegas NFL betting markets are dominated by the public money that flows into the books.
Finding opportunities where fading the public is a good move is the best weapon a pro punter has, especially when it comes to the larger markets, such as NFL sides, totals, and money lines.
Reverse line movement occurs when the public is heavily invested in side or total, but the sharp bettors have gone the opposite direction. Instead of the line moving in response to the massive public betting action or simply not moving at all – it moves in favour of the sharp action.
Why Does The Public Get It Wrong?
Picture a recreational punter – who makes up the majority of the punting world – who likes football. They watch matches regularly and attend a number of games when their favourites are playing.
The public punter or social gambler typically reacts to the weekly news and action they catch on ESPN or some local sports station.
With the media infusing our lives with a constant stream of news and information, it is easy to get lost in the sea of data. In reaction to this, most punters tend to opt to follow the general consensus or the ‘loudest’ voice.
Because of this, true ‘sharp’ bettors aim to take advantage of what the consensus likes by wagering on the opposite side, also known as ‘fading’ the public. This can be a profitable betting strategy, especially since sportsbooks tend to win more often than not and end up beating the public with the lines they originally set.
Careful, do not fade the public blindly.
If you’re unsure of your bet, think whether it may be a good idea to just opt out of betting the market and find other markets with better value. This is the NFL, the list of markets will be next to endless.
At the most rudimentary level, football matches are a battle between offensive and defensive units.
So one simple way to evaluate the strength of an NFL team is to look at the average offensive yards gained per play and the average defensive yards allowed per play.
The NFL suffers from a large gulf in quality between the best and worst teams.
It is not the only major league with this issue – the Premier League has been dominated by the same 5 – 6 teams and Bayern Munich have dominated the Bundesliga and are expected to win again this year.
The scheduling rule changes in 2002 declared that only two games per year could be based on a team’s record. Due to this, the number of mismatched fixtures has increased. Bad teams now lose more regularly, and the good teams win more often.
One way to evaluate a team is to look at its offensive yards gained per play and the defensive yards allowed per play. The teams that gain more yards than they allow, tend to win more than they lose.
That means that the same pool of teams will compete every year. Because of this, there is a lot of data gathered over the years on factors such as home-field advantage (HFA).
To work out HFA for each team competing in the NFL, subtract the total points scored by visiting teams from the home teams and divide by the total number of games played.
After looking at HFA over the past 20 years, it becomes clear that the HFA, on average, is close to a 3-point mark. This is used on handicaps.
Attack Recreational Sportsbooks
Look at our reviews of bookmakers to find out which bookies cater to recreational punters.
For example, Bovada is the perfect sportsbook for recreational and starting punters.
This means that, while they offer much lower limits on how much you can win, they will have lines that reflect public opinion.
This allows bettors to get better prices on underdogs and unders and will in general offer softer lines that shops that take larger bets. Learning how bookmakers set the odds and identifying recreational bookmakers will make it easier to fade the public successfully.
Focus On Smaller Markets
Sure, profit can be made betting on NFL sides, totals, and money lines, but if you want to really trick the bookmaker and earn a good profit, consider looking at the smaller markets.
The bigger markets tend to get a lot more attention from management due to a lot of bets coming in, and that means sharper lines.
But what about novelties, futures, handicaps, and what about lines that cannot be easily managed, as is the case with in-play betting.
We’ve already discussed handicap betting in detail. If you really want to make a profit through handicaps, it is time to start applying a spread betting strategy.
Instead of just looking at who will win, look at other factors. Look at home field advantage, at the scores made by a team over a span of years, at the weather – think panoramically.
We hope that these NFL Betting strategies help you get more out of your bets.
Now that you know which strategies to keep in mind, you may want to read up on how to bet on the NFL online.
Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said this many centuries ago. We don’t think he had betting in mind, but if you want to be a successful pro punter, keep it in mind.