NFL Betting Strategy

Written by: Alonzo Solano, Sports Analyst and Content Writer
Last updated:
8 minute read
NFL Betting Strategy

NFL betting markets are among the sharpest in the world contrary to the popular belief.

Due to the amount bet on NFL games, online gambling sites have to keep their lines efficient, or they risk significant losses.

Nevertheless, beating the sportsbooks is not only possible but highly profitable for those that understand the game and target +EV (expected value) markets applying a smart NFL football betting strategy.

In this guide, we cover the best ways to bet on NFL games and introduce you to exciting opportunities to place winning wagers.

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Tips To Win At NFL Betting

Before diving deeper into our most advanced strategies we recommend you check the following video with basic tips to bet on the NFL.

The video will help you understand some key concepts and get a solid base to apply what we’ve prepared for you.

Best NFL Football Betting Strategies

Betting Strategy #1Betting NFL Underdogs And Unders

Favorites and overs are where NFL sportsbooks make a tremendous amount of their profits.

The average NFL bettor, year after year is much fonder of betting favorites than underdogs due to the false safety associated with betting favorites.

They also disproportionally take the over, most likely because it’s much more exciting to cheer for points to be scored rather than root for a defensive struggle.

Fading The Public

We don’t advocate fading the public blindly as a profitable NFL betting strategy, but it is worth avoiding the wagers that the bookies clean up on when it comes to the betting masses.

Online gambling sites shade favorites and overs to increase their edge over the squares, making them even less desirable. Unlike college contests, the NFL doesn’t have a massive disparity in talent.

Although the best team in the league is much better than the worst team, the difference between these two franchises isn’t anything close to the best and worst college teams.

NFL betting strategies are quite different from those for NCAA football betting.

Any Given Sunday

Betting on NFL underdogs strategy

“Any Given Sunday” isn’t just a 1999 football movie starring Al Pacino but can profitable NFL betting strategy, as well. It’s the reality of the NFL. Any team can surprise or shock even the best teams in the NFL “on any given Sunday.”

NFL teams also have little reason to run up the score and will often run the ball to run out the clock later in games and occasionally pull their starters when they have a significant lead.

It’s considered poor sportsmanship to run up the score in the league, but the situation is not quite the same as in college. Many coaches have no issues doing the same in the college game.

The BCS computers no longer include the margin of victory as a component, but it’s still regularly done to influence voters in the AP Poll or Coaches Poll.

Home underdogs and more specifically double-digit underdogs in the NFL have been particularly successful.

Underdogs Covering The Spread

Historical averages for home underdogs covering the spread hovers around 60% and this number is even higher when the spread is double-digits.

Double-digit spreads, regardless of if the underdog is home also provide an opportunity to bet underdogs.

The talent gap is just too narrow in the NFL, even in games that would seem lopsided from the oddsmakers’ number.

With all of that said, this doesn’t mean bettors should shy away from betting a favorite that they think is a good bet. Nor should they relentlessly bet underdogs without having solid reasoning behind their wagers.

Betting Strategy #2Taking Advantage Of Reverse NFL Line Movements

There are few better opportunities in larger markets, such as NFL sides, totals, and moneylines than reverse line movement situations. It’s basically a perfect storm of +EV for NFL bettors.

Various NFL line movement strategies are one of the most profitable betting strategies across many sports.

Reverse line movement occurs when the public is heavily invested on a side or total, but the sharp bettors have gone the opposite direction.

Instead of the line moving in response to the massive public betting action or simply not moving at all – it moves in favor of the sharp action.

Reverse NFL Line Movement Example

Let’s say the Seahawks open as a -7 favorite against the Rams +7.

The public is in love with Seattle in this particular game and has bet the Seahawks heavily. The sharps have gone the other way and have taken the Rams to cover at +7.

Instead of the line moving in favor of the public or not moving at all, major sportsbooks that take plenty of high volume action move the line to Seattle -6.5 instead of -7.5 before game time. The rest of the market follows.

If we can catch the move quickly, we can chase the steam and perhaps grab +7 before the rest of the market adjusts.

Reverse Line Movement And Public Betting Action

Reverse line movement is something that frequently happens in NFL markets due to broad public betting action and the sharp bettors’ disagreement with the masses.

Also, in many cases, there will be sportsbooks that don’t move the line fast enough or intentionally leave it unmoved, despite the rest of the market moving their odds.

Bettors will usually have 20-25 bets per year that fall under the reverse line movement criteria, and they shouldn’t hesitate to pounce when these opportunities arise.

Maximizing Welcome BonusesBetting Strategy #3

Having the best NFL betting strategy won’t be enough if your sportsbook falls short in terms of markets and promos.

One of the easiest ways to increase your bankroll is by taking advantage of NFL betting bonuses offered by online bookies.

That being said, there are a lot of scammy sportsbooks out there that you want to avoid. To make it easy for you we have reviewed and tried hundreds of sites to come up with the most trusted ones.

Here are the best sportsbooks to apply your NFL betting strategy:

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Check Our Reviews Of The Best NFL Betting Sites

Betting Smaller NFL MarketsBetting Strategy #4

There’s plenty of money to be made betting sides, totals, and NFL moneyline bets, but one area that profitable bettors forget about is smaller markets.

The bigger markets will garner a lot more attention from management due to a large number of bets coming in, and that means sharper lines.

Focusing on smaller betting markets is one of the best NFL football betting strategies at least based on our experience at

NFL Player And Team Props

Due to the NFL’s extreme popularity, oddsmakers offer a large assortment of bets aside from the major markets. Some of our favorite markets to attack are NFL player and team props.

These markets are often posted with little research behind them and are geared towards recreational bettors who naturally want to root for their favorite players.

Although both sides of these bets often have -115 juice, they can be extremely profitable for the average sports bettor when the correct NFL betting strategy is applied. You may find large differences in odds and some sportsbooks may be slow to move their props.

Attack Recreational SportsbooksBetting Strategy #5

Bettors have little reason to fund accounts at professional-level sportsbooks with high limits as they start their NFL betting career.

Their lines, across the board, are much sharper than those focused on public bettors or squares.

Although we highly recommend professional betting sites for their reduced juice and high limits, respectively, they’re not the sportsbooks we recommend bettors deposit at first.

Sites like BetUS Sportsbook cater to recreational gamblers and still offer tons of different markets, including props, NFL futures, and live betting.

They’re much more apt to shade their lines to public betting patterns and go against the lines offered at other sharper sportsbooks.

This allows bettors to get better prices on underdogs and unders and will in general offer softer lines than shops that take larger bets.

NFL Halftime Betting LinesBetting Strategy #6

NFL Halftime Betting Strategy

NFL Halftime betting is one market bettors should also consider. There are two ways to look at betting halftime lines.

One is to look at sportsbooks like Pinnacle Sports and see if any of your recreational sportsbooks have lines that are off compared to Pinnacle. Line shopping will be key here. If you can spot inefficiencies, bet them.

Another way is to watch the games and get a handle on how each team has looked.

There are many times during a half that a team is outplayed, but they end up leading, simply due to some bad luck or fluke plays.

Underdogs also have some value when it comes to betting halftime lines, especially if they perform well in the first half.

The betting public assumes the favorite (incorrectly) will bounce back in the second half and play dominantly. Betting action may skew the line in favor and add value to underdogs.

Consider NFL Proposition BetsBetting Strategy #7

NFL prop betting strategy

The amount bet on NFL proposition bets is a fraction of what sportsbooks receive on sides, totals, and moneylines.

They’re not watched carefully by the oddsmakers. They will occasionally pull props, but most of the line movements on these markets are automated.

With a little research, bettors can find edges in these markets that are not heavily researched before they are posted. The maximum bet on props, almost across the board is $500, but some are as low as $150.

This doesn’t make them applicable for higher limit bettors, but they’re excellent for those looking to build a bankroll or for people who like money and picking off soft lines.

It would also be possible to get bet similar props at multiple sportsbooks and get several thousand dollars down on these markets.

A dirty secret of online sportsbooks is that they almost all lose money on propositions because of the sharp bettors that come in and attack these soft lines. More and more sportsbooks are getting ride of props or decreasing the max bet

Try NFL Live BetTingBetting Strategy #8

NFL live betting is now a mainstay at most online NFL betting sites. Like halftime betting, it’s not often utilized by those who are focused on pre-match markets.

There are many opportunities in live betting games, both when it comes to line shopping and finding profitable bets on your own.

Keep in mind that thanks to the profitable opportunities, NFL live betting and propositions are the two areas where bettors are most often limited.

Start Applying Smart NFL Betting Strategies

Now that you have way more tools and knowledge on your repertoire it’s time to try to beat the sportsbooks.

Nothing can guarantee you a winning bet, but applying the strategies in this guide will give you an edge and help you spot value where others might see nothing.

Learn More With Our NFL Betting Guide

About the Author

Alonzo Solano

Alonzo Solano

Sports Analyst and Content Writer

Alonzo is a Sports Betting Analyst and casino games enthusiast who has covered Football extensively at SBS, but don’t be surprised if you read him on other sports. He's the host of the NFL Latino TV podcast.

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