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NFL Handicapping Tips | How To Bet On NFL Football

How to Bet on NFL Football

There is no more powerful force in sports betting than NFL football. It garners the majority of action at all books and it’s a big reason why the NFL itself is the most popular major pro sports league.


Because of its popularity, however, the NFL is also arguably the most difficult sport to bet.

The public is very knowledgeable about NFL football and, because teams play just once a week, there’s lots of time to crunch numbers and learn about extra information like injuries. Oddsmakers have therefore become amazingly good at making extremely accurate or “sharp” lines. You have to dig very deep to find value.

How to Bet on NFL Football

For that reason, any advice we can share with each other on NFL betting is useful. Here are a few tips I have to offer, in random order.

Keep in mind that I’m primarily focusing on point-spread betting.

1. Shop For Lines.

The layman may scoff at the experienced bettor who spends an hour trying to find a 3.5-point spread instead of a 3-pointer. But you’d be amazed at how many NFL games are decided by a hair. It never hurts to shop around for the best value possible.

The difference may look marginal but it isn’t.

2. Injuries to players other than quarterbacks are overrated.

Any fantasy football fan surely understands this principle. Running backs, for example, are a dime a dozen nowadays. Darren McFadden gets hurt and Michael Bush tears it up. Chris Ivory saves the day for the Saints – as a third stringer. NFL rosters have so much depth and talent that they can replace cogs in the machine without drastically impacting their overall performance.

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Quarterbacks are an obvious exception, however. Most of the time, an injury to the starter will force a team to drastically alter its offense for better (the Eagles when Michael Vick stepped in) or for worse (the Bears when Todd Collins replaced Jay Cutler).

3. Have fun with parlays – but temper your expectations.

How many times has your buddy told you, “I got every game right except for ONE! It cost me a grand!” That’s what parlays – bets on multiple games strung together – can do to you. They offer a huge return on a minimal investment but they’re extremely difficult to pull off.

Just understand that your odds are low – and don’t bet too much – and you’ll have more fun with parlays. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

4. Pay more attention to ATS records than win-loss records.

It’s a such a common mistake in NFL betting that I can’t help but smile at it: people forget what they’re actually playing against. If you’re picking the Lions +6.5 over the Packers, you are NOT betting on the Detroit Lions and against the Packers. Your opponent is the spread, not Green Bay. Your bet should therefore not be based on a team’s win-loss record but instead its against-the-spread record.

The Lions were 5-7 overall last season but their 12-4 ATS record was tops in the NFL.

5. Weather Matters – Sometimes.

You don’t want to go overboard worrying about weather – in the first few months of the season. When the weather turns cold and/or snowy, however, it becomes more of a factor.

Take Mark Sanchez, for example. He played his college ball at sunny Southern California.

It’s thus no surprise that his best NFL career passer rating comes at temperatures above 80 degrees (112.2). By comparison, his rating in frigid temperatures below 21 degrees is 60.2. In “windy” weather, he has 17 career interceptions versus five touchdown passes.

So if Sanchez travels to Green Bay in December to play on the Frozen Tundra, you may want to pick the Packers.



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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.