Placing Wagers on NFL Games

nfl-betting-onlineThe NFL has completed one week of the regular season and sports betting is getting hot right now. The first week saw a lot of people lose to the sportsbooks by making one critical mistake. These people all forgot that any NFL team can play well on any week and you shouldn’t always bet on the favorites.

There were no less than 6 games where the favorites were heavily bet on (at least 75% of the overall wagers placed) and lost. The worst one of these was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing outright to the New York Jets. Over 95% of the wagers were placed on Tampa to beat the -3.5 point spread.

There are a couple of basic things that the sports bettors should keep in mind when they are placing their wagers. First, I’ve never met a winning gambler that strictly bets on favorites to beat the spread. Underdogs were 9-7 in the week 1. 3 out of the 4 teams that were favored by a TD or more didn’t cover. Most people lost on wagers placed on all 3 of those games because those three underdogs (Buffalo, Oakland and Tennessee) were talked down to the point where everyone expected these games to be blowouts.

Second, watch how people are betting at the bookmakers. Some sportsbooks will make this information available and others will not. Find the ones that do and you can use that information to make some basic judgements about how people are betting overall. The key thing to look for is a game that is being heavily bet on one way. If the spread or line doesn’t move, this is a big clue that the oddsmakers aren’t budging from that prediction.

The New England Patriots were a great example of this. About 90% of wagers were placed on New England. The point spread opened at -9.5 in favor of the Pats. Even with 90% of the bets on them, the line dropped to -9 points instead of getting bet up. That’s a red flag. Either someone placed a huge bet on the underdog or the oddsmakers knew Buffalo would play better than the analysts expected.

Finally, when you are shopping lines, remember the following: Place bets on the favorites early in the week. Place bet on the underdog a little before the game starts. A lot of gamblers place bets on the favorites. You will get the best odds early when the line opens if you think the favorite will win. The other gamblers will usually bet up the spread or line as time goes by. There will be more value for bets on the underdogs within an hour or two of the start of the game.

Don’t wait too long, however. Bookmakers can adjust the line again if too many people bet the underdog before the start of the game. Usually, about 1 to 2 hours before the start of the game is the best time to place an underdog bet.

Shopping Lines

When it comes to NFL betting odds, different sports betting sites will offer different lines. Shopping lines is the best way to give yourself the most value. I’ll give you a practical example of this for the upcoming week.

Thursday Night – New York Jets at New England Patriots. This game opened with the Pats as a 12.5 point favorite. Here is what the various sportsbooks are offering right now. – Jets +13 (-125) at Patriots -13 (+105) – Jets +13 (-130) at Patriots -13 (+110) – Jets +12.5 (-110) at Patriots -12.5 (-110) – Jets +12 (-115) at Patriots -12 (-105) – Jets +11 (-110) at Patriots -11 (-110)
SportsInteraction – Jets +12 (-110) at Patriots -12 (-110)

The spread ranges between +11 and +13 right now. The line for the Jets ranges between -110 and -130. The line for the Pats ranges from +110 to -110.

Now personally, this is a game that I would avoid. The Jets are getting more bets right now because 1) they won their first game 2) the spread is really high for an NFL game and 3) because several key Patriots are hurt (Amendola and Vereen are both out).

However, if you were going to bet on the Jets, you have to ask yourself whether the spread or line matters more to you. If you are more concerned about the spread, pick Bovada to place your bet. If the line is more important, pick TopBet to place your bet.

The same thing holds true for the Patriots. If you care about the spread, pick JustBet. If you care about the line, pick 5Dimes.

Upset Alerts for Week 2

Using the information above, here is the favorite picks that you will want to consider really hard before placing a bet on them.

San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) – 85% of bets on the Eagles
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7) – over 90% of bets on the Ravens
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-3) – 75% of bets on the Colts
St Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons (-7) – over 90% of bets on the Falcons
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – over 90% of bets on the Saints
Detroit Lions (-2) at Arizona Cardinals – over 90% of bets on the Lions
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-6) – 85% of bets on the Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7) – 75% of bets on the Bengals

Watch the point spreads on these matchups, if the spread does not increase, you should really think about betting on the underdog.

Here are the two most tempting games that you should watch out for: New Orleans at Tampa Bay and Detroit at Arizona. I think Arizona will win at home and I’ll pick Tampa to lose but cover.

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