The NFL is one of the most loved sporting leagues on the planet, watched by tens of millions of viewers from both here in the United States and farther afield every week. The sporting melodrama, feats of insane physical prowess and world class skill are what keep NFL audiences growing every year.
The decision taken by the Supreme Court in 2017 to strike down PASPA and in doing so, overturn the ban on sports betting has also boosted the appeal of the NFL in recent years. Every week, hundreds of thousands of Americans are using their mobile devices to check the latest NFL lines and place their bets for the weekend ahead.
Is the regular bettor making the most of what’s at his or her disposal though? Likely not. Which is why we decided to put together this guide to the best tips and tricks for betting on the NFL. Read on to find out how to turn your punts into big wins.
Betting odds are something we assume we know, despite never really being taught about them or researching them ourselves. Incorrectly, we believe that because we have watched sports our entire lives and heard about betting, that we implicitly understand it.
That’s error number 1 that most American NFL bettors make and it’s an error that could be costing you unnecessary cash. If you don’t understand the odds properly, how can you make an informed bet and maximise your winnings? You can’t, so here’s a rundown of how odds work.
The odds that we use here differ to those used abroad and by the wider gambling public. Instead of using fractions or decimals, we represent our odds with a + or – symbol that denotes either how much you win from a $100 bet or how much you would need to wager to win $100.
Here’s an example of how American odds work:
Indianapolis Colts +165
Minnesota Vikings -195
Ahead of the clash between these two on Saturday, December 17 the Minnesota Vikings are the favourites with the sportsbooks to win. Their odds of -195 highlight that, to win $100, you would have to wager nearly double, $195.
If the Colts were to unexpectedly win the game though, a $100 wager would return you $165. At the time of writing, this game has yet to be played, so let us know in the comments section below whether the odds were right!
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(Still unsure? Check out this explainer on American odds.)
The best piece of advice when it comes to straight up betting is to go with your head rather than your heart. Regardless whether you’re an avid fan of a team who goes to every game or you’re an armchair supporter with a slight preference for one team or player, never let that cloud your judgement.
We are prone to either overestimating the ability of the team that we support or pessimistically writing them off, even when they are the favourites. That’s why you should never, ever bet on the team you support.
Instead bet on teams that you have no affiliation to whatsoever. That way you can make your choices based on objective things like form and standings than a ‘feeling’.
Diversify Your Bets
You can make money from constantly backing the favourites when they are up against the minnows, but your winnings will be small. The best way to add a bit of extra spice into your bet and to increase your potential winnings is by adding in extra conditions.
Bet on the point spread, the total points and the outright winner of the game in a treble bet to increase your winnings.
If you were to place a $10 wager on the Buffalo Bills beating the Miami Dolphins by at least 7 points and there being more than 44 points in the game you could stand to win $17.22 whereas a straight $10 wager on the Bills to win would only return $3.07.
The latest form, tables and recent results should be your basics when it comes to making an informed bet. However, there are other factors at play when two teams come up against one another in the NFL.
If you’re making a tight bet, take a look at the latest injury reports to see if any key players are doubts for the game. Go on the forums and check out what the fans are saying, does one particular team always do badly at the other’s stadium?
Despite recent results, do the fans think that the team have been performing poorly? Take all of these intangibles into account and you’ll start to be able to predict the outcome of tight games far better.