Betting on the NFL
The NFL fixture is a short 17 week regular season schedule (each team playing 16 games), but requires plenty of knowledge if you’re going to come out a winner. There is certainly no other sport in the world that analyses statistics, plays and lineups more than the NFL.
The average NFL game is 3 hrs and 12 minutes long, with just 11 minutes of actual game action, where the ball is in play.
With 11 minutes of in game play over 3 plus hours, it’s safe to say that the NFL is a complex game, where many alcoholic beverages are consumed to fill the time.
Below we will list out advice for NFL betting, including NFL bankroll advice so that you’ll be able to make more trips to the bar, with less stress.
The most popular NFL Betting Markets
Most betting sportsbooks offer a huge variety of betting options for NFL, from hugely complicated Multi Bets and Player Prop markets, to simple Head to Head Markets.
Below we will list out the most common markets for NFL betting.
Line Betting (Point Spread) –
‘Line’ or ‘Point Spread’ betting is the most common market option in NFL betting, and offers more value than a straight up Head to Head bet, generally around even money.
The Line is given by the bookmakers, and is their guess as to how much a team will win or lose by in a Head to Head match-up. The bookies will try and pull around 50% worth of bets ($’s) on each side of the Line.
The Line is shown in the markets as either a (+) or (-) symbol, with the favourite given a points handicap that they must overcome for the bet to offer a winning return.
Line bets have odds ranging from $1.90-$1.95 for each team on either side of the Line. (The higher the odds, the less “Juice” (% of takings from each bet) the bookie skims.
An example of an NFL line bet –
Atlanta Falcons__ -8.0 ($1.91) | Dallas Cowboys__+8.0 ($1.92)
In this example, the Atlanta Falcons are favourites, and must win the game by 9+ points for a winning bet, and 8.0 points for a ‘Push’ (money back from most bookmakers).
In the same example, the Dallas Cowboys must either win the game outright, or lose the game by 7 points or less for a winning resulted bet. A loss of 8 points will make it a Push.
Head to Head (Money Line) –
A ‘Head to Head’ or ‘Money Line’ bet requires the punter to simply bet on the team they think will win a game outright.
NFL Head to Head betting is a riskier than a Line Bet, as there is zero margin for error if you bet on an underdog. Likewise, if you bet on the favourite, you will be getting pretty low returns on your investment.
If you do happen to bet on an underdog, there is always value in your bet, with odds generally ranging from $2.00 to around $10.00 for a heavy underdog. Unlike other competitions, the NFL is quite easy to predict when it comes to straight up Head to Head betting.
An example of an NFL Money Line bet –
Atlanta Falcons__$1.54 | Dallas Cowboys__$2.34
Over Under (Total Points Over Under) –
The Total Points Over/Under has the punter place a wager on whether the total number of points in an NFL game (the sum of both team’s points) will go over a number offered by the bookie.
Over Under Total lines will be determined by the defensive and offensive skills of each team, how the teams have matched up previously, and factors such as weather.
An example of a Total Points Over Under Bet –
Total Points Under 45.5__($1.91) | Total Points Under 45.5__ ($1.92)
Futures Bets (Propositions) –
An NFL Futures bet will usually have it’s outcome determined at the end of the either the regular or post season.
Example of NFL Futures bets include the NFL Best Season Record (Finish 1st on ladder, NFL Superbowl Winner and NFL Superbowl MVP Winner.
NFL Betting Systems
There are plenty of ‘Betting Systems’ out there, and some punters wear y them. We aren’t totally convinced, but ride them if you find some success. We’ll leave it up to you to make up your own minds. Perhaps give them a try and see how you fare. Here are some of the more common football betting systems out there.
- Elite Defense & Offense –
Always bet on any team that’s scored 30 or more points in their last two contests while allowing 10 or fewer points in those same games. (Provided the team is playing a non-divisional opponent).
- Road Team Favorites –
Here you’ll be looking to bet on any NFL team that’s an away favorite coming off a bye week. You may not get too many of these so the sample size will be small. Try it out though.
- It’s Cold Out There –
When the temperatures during a game are expected to be below -7 degrees Celsius, always bet the total points over.
- Time Zones –
Always bet against teams from a region using Pacific Standard Time when they travel to play a team in an Eastern Standard Time.
- Monday Night Football Home Dogs –
With this system you’ll need to spot home underdogs playing on the biggest stage in regular season NFL, Monday Night Football. Since 1970, these teams have covered the spread an impressive 60% of the time.
NFL Betting Advice
Before you start throwing your money around,
- Player injuries – Injuries to players can cause an adjustment in the lines, a little less so than in sports such as NHL and NBA however. The loss of a star player such as a quarterback can be the difference between a win or loss, however, and can throw the markets into chaos. Keep an eye on injury reports and you could spot a bargain in the markets.
- Home and road performance – Most teams perform better at home, but there are also teams with good away records. There is often value when two similarly matched teams play, with the travelling team having a strong road record.
- Don’t drink and bet –
We all get excited after a few cold beers, however confidence and commons sense don’t always marry up during this period. Place your bets before you hit the bars, and you’ll be able to better control your spending and make bets with better judgement. See below for NFL bankroll management.
- Steer clear of paid tipping services –
Paid tips services offer to sell you “winning picks” (take that term with a large grain of salt), but many are only in business to rob customers for as much money as possible. Let’s be honest, if they were as good as they say they are, there would be no need for them to spend 2 hours a day uploading picks, they would be successful enough with their own. We loath these guys, and so should you.
- Only bet if you find an edge –
Don’t bet on every NFL game. Instead, only risk your cash when you feel that you have a distinct edge over the line set by the oddsmaker.
- Shop for Lines:
Join the majority of the bookmakers and shop for the best lines each week. Should you find one site that offers better odds or returns on a market than another, be sure to take the bet.
- Bankroll Management:
Before the start of an NFL season, set aside a fixed amount of money to serve as your bankroll. Never go beyond this amount during the NFL season, and never wager more than 5% of your NFL bankroll amount on a single bet (2% to 5% is the ideal range). Read below for more details on NFL bankroll management.
Managing an NFL Bankroll
NFL bankroll management is easy to explain and very difficult to adhere to.
To be blunt, if you are not able to adhere to strict management of a bankroll, you’ll likely end up losing money in the long run. Long term investment is the name of the game, and keeping a level head is key when it comes to NFL betting.
Do not steer from the plan if you lose, win or have too many whiskeys on a Saturday night.
Never chase losses, and never increase the amounts of your units should you have a few good wins.
The most popular method of NFL bankroll management is the “unit” or a “star” system.
What are star and unit systems in Bankroll management?
This bankroll method is where bettors allocate a confidence rating for their bet.
Allocating a ‘star’ or ‘unit’ amount to a bet indicates the confidence you have in that bet. A simple way to do this would be to have 3 different confidence levels.
- i.e 1 star/1 unit, 2 stars/2 units, 3 stars/3 units. (Experienced punters may go up to 4 and 5 star/units)
Following on, each star or unit has a $ value attached to it, the amount of these units will depend on the total amount of your bankroll. For example –
- 1 star/1 unit ($10 bet), 2 stars/2 units ($20 bet), 3 stars/3 units ($30 bet).
Regardless of the confidence that you see in a bet, you must not veer from betting within your bankroll.
The general rule is to never bet more than 2-5% of your total allocated bankroll on a single bet.
Let’s say the NFL season begins and you decide to set aside $1,000 as your NFL betting bankroll.
Total Bankroll = $1,000
1% = $10.00 | 2% = $20.00 | 3% = $30.00
After the first week of the NFL, your Bankroll has gone up to $1,150, now it’s time to adjust –
Total Bankroll = $1,150
1% = $11.50 | 2% = $23.00 | 3% = $34.50
Should your bankroll increase in amount, stick to the plan! If you should lose during the first week, you will also need to adjust your star and unit sizes to scale-
Total Bankroll = $800
1% = $8.00 | 2% = $16.00 | 3% = $24.00
Follow your system through good and bad and you’ll have less chance of busting your total bankroll. You’ll also have a more fun, less stressful NFL betting season.
If you are just starting out betting on the NFL, we suggest ‘Flat Betting’.
What is Flat Betting? NBA Betting for beginners.
Flat Betting is placing identical $ amount on each NFL bet, no matter how confident you are.
We recommend this to people just starting out in NFL betting and those that don’t have the time to put in the study needed to find a weak line or market.
Should your NFL betting knowledge grow down the track, the star or unit system is a good way to build your bankroll.
Never start your NFL bankroll with more than you can afford to comfortably lose, and never create a new bankroll during an NFL season.
Do this, and you’ll have a better NFL betting experience, with less stress and more fun!
NFL Betting, final thoughts…
Risking your hard earned cash betting on the NFL requires a lot of courage, planning and discipline if you are going to come out at the end of the season with a profit.
The NFL season may be just 17 games long, but with such a large number of teams, that equates to a total of 256 games. So take a deep breath and only bet on the markets that you feel comfortable with. You can’t bet on them all!
Start a bankroll, create an account below, and have fun!