NFL Betting Strategy

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 NFL is not only possible but highly profitable for those that understand the sport and target +EV (expected value) markets and apply a smart football betting strategy.

This article is by no means a one-stop-shop when it comes to becoming a profitable sports bettor or NFL betting strategy expert but it is an excellent introduction to understanding where the betting opportunities are to be found to make winning bets.

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How To Win At NFL Betting | Top Tips & Strategies

Betting NFL Underdogs And Unders

Favorites and overs, NFL betting strategy, is where the 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 strategy is quite different than NCAA football betting strategy.

Any Given Sunday

NFL betting strategies

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

This can’t be said for the college game where lowly schools have no chance of competing with some of college football’s powerhouses.

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.

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Reverse NFL Line Movement

There are few better opportunities in larger markets, such as NFL sides, totals, and money lines than reverse NFL 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 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

Reverse NFL Line Movement Strategy

For instance, say the Seahawks opens as -5 favorites against the Rams. 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.

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 -4 before game time. The rest of the market follows.

If we can catch the move quickly, we can chase the steam and perhaps grab -5 before the rest of the market adjusts. However, even with the full point move and market adjustment, -4 is often still worth taking due to the significance of the situation.

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.

Betting Smaller NFL Markets

There’s plenty of money to be made betting NFL 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 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 correct NFL betting strategy is applied.

Attack Recreational Sportsbooks

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 like for their reduced juice and high limits, respectively, they’re not the sportsbooks we recommend bettors deposit at first.

Sportsbooks like Bovada Sportsbook and BetOnline Sportsbook offer much lower limits, but they cater to recreational gamblers and still offer tons of different markets, including props, 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 sportsbooks. This allows bettors to get better prices on underdogs and unders and will in general offer softer lines that shops that take larger bets.

NFL Halftime Betting Lines

NFL Halftime Betting Lines

Halftime betting is one market bettors should also consider. There 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 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 Bets

NFL prop bets betting

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.

Halftime Lines And Alternate Point Spreads

Halftime lines and alternate point spreads are also areas that bettors may want to consider attacking as well.

Propositions are derivative markets of full game sides and totals, but they don’t always move in unison with significant market changes.

Even though these are markets are highly juiced, their recreational focus and automated odds make them excellent targets for savvy bettors who take the time to handicap them.

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.

NFL Live Betting

Live NFL Football Betting

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 is a lot of opportunities in live betting games, both when it comes to line shopping and finding profitable bets on your own. NFL live betting and propositions are the two areas where bettors are most often limited.

NFL Betting Strategies Conclusions

If you’re successfully attacking their weaker markets, there’s little doubt that they will tire of your action rather quickly, and it won’t be long before your betting limits are severely cut.

It’s unfortunate that you will likely have to move on to another sportsbook, but it’s a rite of passage for profitable sports gamblers and one that only comes after you’ve beaten them for quite a bit of money.

Thus, it pays to learn and know when to apply various NFL betting strategies to maximize betting profits.

Don’t Miss Our Complete NFL Betting Guide

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