5 Mistakes That NFL Bettors Make
The NFL popularity is extraordinary in America. It’s the Holy Grail of sports. Even though the league and the rest of the professional sports leagues can’t seem to lose a court case when it comes to the legality of betting sports, it’s one of the major reasons the league is so popular.
A large majority of the sports gamblers in the U.S. may only have an interest in betting the pigskin and forgo wagering on other sports. Below are the traits of bettors whose tickets most likely aren’t being cashed each week.
#5: Getting Betting Advice from the Sports Media
Even though sports betting isn’t regulated outside of Nevada, everyone seems to have an opinion on who is going to cover that weekend. This includes bloggers, ESPN hosts, hometown radio guys, your friends, your father, and anyone else who watches football.
It’s important not to take their advice seriously. In a lot of cases, they’re not even making any bets themselves. Their knowledge of sports betting is likely almost zero. Their enthusiasm and description of what might happen in the game (no matter how sure they seem) is something that should be ignored altogether or taken extremely lightly.
Just because they are former players or their jobs centered around NFL news and predictions doesn’t qualify them to give betting advice. Often, the odds they quote are old, and the market has already moved.
We’re not saying you have to shut your ears to everything anyone who isn’t an expert handicapper says. That would be ridiculous. However, we are saying you shouldn’t base your sports betting picks based on which teams they like on Sunday NFL Countdown.
Anyone who has a clue about sports betting should already know this, but this is mostly addressed to the betting masses, the vast majority of which are losing bettors. Stop making bets on the opinion of people who have no idea how to profit from betting sports.
#4: Betting Too Many Games
If you look at the board, and you’re eager to bet on just about every game, then you have issues finding value in the lines, or simply you’re betting too many games. One of the biggest misconceptions among new bettors is that they need to have an opinion or a stake in every game.
Sports betting is about finding value in the lines. Spotting off-market odds and inefficiencies is how to profit from sports betting. The oddsmakers are sharp. They’re rarely making major adjustments to their initial odds. If you’re betting the entire slate of games, you’re undoubtedly a losing sports bettor (or you will be).
How many games should you bet per week? Well, there’s no exact number. You’re looking for value, and if you find that, you’re going to place a bet. For most bettors, this probably around 3-5 games per week.
If you’re craving the action or eager to sweat, well, it’s time to learn some discipline. Betting sports isn’t about how many games you can sweat. It’s about getting the best of what’s available in online betting markets.
#3: Betting Too Many Parlays and Teasers
This ties right into betting too many games. It shouldn’t be a secret that the sportsbooks clean up when it comes to parlays and teasers. There are viable strategies for both teasers and parlays for betting the NFL, but most bettors aren’t utilizing these properly or at all.
Straight betting is almost always going to be better than a parlay. There can be times when parlays make more sense, like when clearing a bonus or circumventing betting units, but even when it comes to two or three team parlays, straight bets are still the right choice.
Teasers can be a little better, but at most sportsbooks, they’ve adjusted their odds to stay out the range of basic strategy teasers. You might find a spot to bet these at +EV pricing, but it’s not going to happen at major sportsbooks.
It might not be what you want to hear, but sports betting is mostly straight wagers on sides and totals. If you are interested in betting teasers and parlays, keep at a maximum of three teams or selections and wager a significantly smaller amount (like ¼ of a betting unit, or less) than your standard unit size.
The oddsmakers advantage on both bets gets exponentially larger once bettors go beyond three teams.
#2: Using Sharp Sportsbooks Instead of Recreational Ones
It’s no secret that sportsbooks that take the most money are the sharpest online. In U.S. online betting markets, that’s none other than Bookmaker.eu. They’re probably the most trusted sportsbook for U.S. residents, but their odds are also quite sharp.
You may end up at Bookmaker eventually if you’re a highly successful sports bettor, but it’s not a sportsbook we recommend attacking until after you have exhausted your opportunities elsewhere.
That means focusing on sportsbooks that target recreational players, such as Bovada.lv and Heritage Sports. Their odds, in general, are much softer. Not only that, but they will shade their lines towards public perception, which means there is better value with underdogs.
There’s isn’t any viable reason why bettors should be wagering at sharper sportsbooks earlier in their career. Stick with trusted, recreational sportsbooks, then move on to the tougher options. Recreational sportsbooks have excellent underdog dogs, especially for football.
#1: Recency Bias
Almost everyone who bets on the NFL has the mentality of “what have you done for me lately” and they heavily base their expectations for the coming week with a heavy emphasis on short-term play.
Recency bias is exceptionally high at the beginning of the season. The betting public overreacts heavily to the first few weeks of the season. There are a lot of excellent spots where there is value on teams that have started slow, but have a proven track record of success or are simply being undervalued or overvalued by the masses.
As we mention in our article on fading the public, doing it mindlessly across every market is not a profitable strategy. However, early season overreactions by the betting public on NFL games is quite common, which is often enhanced when a game is on national television, such as Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football.