NFL Betting Systems: The Definitive Guide to the Top Strategies
How big is the football betting market?
America’s favorite pastime is football.
The proof is in the pudding. And the Vegas sportsbooks. Football is by far the most bet on sport in the United States. To be specific, the Super Bowl.
This past year alone, the American Gaming Association estimated bettors to have wagered upwards of $4.7 billion dollars on the nation’s most-watched sporting event.
Despite an ongoing federal ban on sports betting outside Nevada (and sparingly in certain other states), the majority of that money comes from illegal bets placed outside of the Sagebrush State.
Only $132M of that $4.7B is considered legal.
And yet, betting for the sport continues to increase with each passing year. According to Jimmy Vaccaro, a prominent Las Vegas bookmaker, Americans wager upwards of $50 billion a year on NFL and college football combined.
That being said, the majority of bettors fail to turn a profit.
According to Dan Gordon, a top football handicapper and author of Beat the Sports Books (Cardoza Publishing 2005), throughout an entire NFL season, “fewer than one bettor in twelve turns a profit. Over the course of several seasons, the percentage of bettors who turn a profit is minuscule.”
Why do most NFL betting systems fail?
Well a standard bet requires bettors to wage $11 for every $10 they want to win. The extra $1 is called the juice.
Were it not for the juice, things might be different.
The average bettor might have a chance at real success. But as it stands, the odds and the money favor the bookmakers. A sports bettor has to select 52.4 percent winners simply to break even. But each year, the average Joe wins only 50 percent of the bets they make.
Treat NFL betting for what it is — a sophisticated network of constantly changing data points pouring through equally sophisticated predictive algorithms —
So it’s an uphill battle for most bettors dipping their toes in the waters of sports gambling.
The trick is to take things seriously.
Treat betting for what it is — a sophisticated network of constantly changing data points pouring through equally sophisticated predictive algorithms — and you might just have a chance at going from square to sharp.
But don’t be overwhelmed.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a serious bettor looking to make some well-informed decisions to take your football betting to another level.
Before we get into the fundamentals of NFL betting, let’s first take a look at the basics of our very own predictive wager system.
Our Betting Methodology and System
The Simulator is built based on a predictive model created by a doctor with an extensive background in mathematics, psychology, and operations research.
This individual has worked with multiple professional and collegiate sports organizations, player agents, sports data agencies and a top-ranked fantasy website. His work with professional sports organizations includes optimizing scout travel, in-depth player analysis and lineup configurations.
Correctly predict the winning team 74.33 percent of the time (on average) as compared to the experts who were correct 68.67 percent of the time
Among his greatest innovations was the discovery of neural networks as a powerful tool for sports betting.
A neural network is defined as a computer system modeled on the human brain and nervous system.
Using this technology, the good doctor found that, “the best networks were able to correctly predict the winning team 74.33 percent of the time (on average) as compared to the experts who were correct 68.67 percent of the time.”
While the model was initially developed around NBA betting, it has since been applied to other sports — chief among them, the NFL.
What makes the Sports Analytics Simulator unique is that it relies not on data inputs (statistics) from previous seasons, but on continuous game-to-game updates.
The Simulator’s specific algorithms run through up to forty different stat categories to create the most efficient model possible.
From this model, we derive our picks for each game. And the best part is, our system is a living, breathing predictive model — it possesses machine learning capacities that allow to detect trends and potentials that we mere humans could only dream of finding.
For more information, check out this handy dandy video on how it works.
NFL Betting Systems
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the fundamentals of NFL Betting. Essentially there are six different ways to bet on the NFL. Let’s run through them shall we?
NFL Spread Bet
The first and most popular form of NFL betting is spread-based. Which is pretty straightforward.
Bookmakers set a spread with a favorite and an underdog. In order for you to win on a bet of this nature, one team must cover the spread — so if the spread is -7 in favor of the Chiefs over the Steelers, the Chiefs must win by seven points or more.
Whereas in order for the Steelers to cover the spread, they must either lose by less than seven points, or win. To make it simpler, the spread gives the underdog a ‘head start’.
In this case, the Steelers have a +7 head start in points to kick off the game. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Now, if you simply want to bet on the winner of the game you’ll want to place a…
Moneyline betting is an equally common form of sports betting as spread bets. The difference is that with moneylines, bookmakers will set lines representing the favorite and the underdog.
Let’s go back to this Chiefs-Steelers matchup.
Let’s say the Chiefs have a favored line of -150 and the Steelers have an underdog line of +125.
What this means is that in order to win a hundred dollars on the Chiefs, you must wage $150.
As for the underdogs, if you wage $100 you will win $125. So that’s that.
NFL Totals Bet
NFL totals betting is rather self-exploratory. Also known as over/under, this form of betting involves placing a wager on the total number of points scored by both teams combined in a game.
Let’s say bookmakers set an over/under of 55 points for the Chiefs and Steelers.
Your job as a bettor is to decide whether the score will be… over or under 55 points.
NFL Prop Bet
A prop bet is a special kind of bet that has nothing to do with the outcome or final score of a game.
Prop bets come in many different forms.
Some of them are player-based — how many yards or touchdowns a specific player scores. Some of them are based in live betting, i.e. if a team scores on a specific drive.
During the Super Bowl you’ll see all sorts of fun prop bets like coin toss wagers.
NFL Parlay Bet
You might have seen a parlay bet featured in the film, Silver Linings Playbook, (or read it in the book), wherein Pat Solitano’s father, Patrizio Sr., places a bet on the Eagles-Cowboys game and the judge outcome of Pat and Tiffany’s dance number in a local dance-off.
In order for Patrizio to win the bet, the Eagles must win their game against Dallas and Tiffany and Pat score 5 out of 10 in their dance competition.
This is what’s known as a parlay bet, wherein various games and outcomes are rubber-banded together into one single bet.
In order for the bettor to win the wager, all outcomes must unfold accordingly. This might involve a handful of other bets such as a totals bet and a moneyline bet.
In the NFL, this is a common form of betting to get more bang for your buck.
NFL Teaser Bet
A teaser bet is a form of parlay that involves a combination of two to ten NFL wagers in which you adjust the point spreads and/or totals in your favor in exchange for a lower payout.
When your teaser includes a point spread, you have the option to decrease the spread for the favorite or increase the spread for the underdog.
When you’re teasing a total, you can increase the under or decrease the over.
Like a parlay, winning the bet is dependent on all of the wagers winning.
Standard teasers are 6, 6.5 and 7-point. There’s also a sweetheart teaser, which offers you the choice to tease a line by 10 or 13 points.
It’s basically a parlay with a little bit of zazz.
The Most Important NFL Betting Stats
Now, knowing the forms of NFL betting is great but without the statistics to back up your wager, you’re S.O.L.
So what are the most important stats for successfully determining winners in an NFL game?
Well, it might not be what you think.
According to a prominent Vegas oddsmaker, one of the most integral statistics for betting the NFL is… duh duh duh dahhh… pass yards per attempt.
Teams that are successful and efficient in their passing game tend to carry the edge over their less successful opponents
In a passer’s league this makes a lot of sense.
Teams that are successful and efficient in their passing game tend to carry the edge over their less successful opponents. Taking this little known or acknowledged stat into account in your handicapping will no doubt help you find success in your waging.
The other big stat to consider in placing your bets is turnovers.
Seems pretty simple.
The team who averages more turnovers per game is likely to give up more scoring opportunities and thus the whole game.
As we’ve said, the Sports Analytics Simulator utilizes up-to-date, real time game-to-game statistics to establish the most accurate predictions week in and week out. So it goes without saying that our model analyzes far more than just turnovers and passing yards per attempt.
Nonetheless, betting in any case involves a level of intuition. Therefore, even if you subscribe to the Simulator, it would behoove you to do your own research. Check out important stats. Take your time with each pick. Choose wisely based on time-tested methods and patterns.
Factors for NFL picks?
Aside from the aforementioned factors, you’ve got to consider other dynamics. For instance, what is the most pivotal quality of any team in the NFL?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s not a good quarterback. Teams with good quarterbacks flounder all the time in the NFL.
If an O-Line is good, the quarterback and running back will look good too. And you better bet your bottom dollar that an NFL team with a solid O-Line is far more likely to go the distance than a team with big holes and weaknesses in their front five
What really matters is the team’s offensive line.
Think the 2016-17 Dallas Cowboys. Sure, they failed to win a Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback and running back. But the majority of their success last season was owed directly to the strength of their offensive line.
If an O-Line is good, the quarterback and running back will look good too. And you better bet your bottom dollar that an NFL team with a solid O-Line is far more likely to go the distance than a team with big holes and weaknesses in their front five.
In order to successfully bet the NFL, you’ve got to consider these more understated and under-appreciated factors — such as a strong O-Line.
You’ve got to take it game by game and know that in this league, fortunes shift in an instant. There’s no perfect formula for effective betting.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t resources and numbers at your disposal to help you get the edge on oddsmakers.
With that said, let’s explore some of the biggest mistakes that squares (amateur bettors) often make when betting on the NFL.
Biggest mistakes with NFL betting
The biggest mistake is money management.
If you have a $1,000 bankroll for the season, you should generally bet no more than $50 a game.
This seems pretty obvious but you’d be surprised (or maybe not) at the trouble amateur bettors have with this one.
Don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose.
That means knowing what your bankroll is for a given season and being disciplined with your money. “Most people with an understanding of football gambling bet between 3 percent and 5 percent of their bankroll, increasing when they win and reducing when they lose,” says Jimmy Vaccaro. “If you have a $1,000 bankroll for the season, you should generally bet no more than $50 a game.”
Shop the Numbers
Another big mistake amateurs make is that they don’t account for a variety of numbers.
No sportsbook is exactly the same as another.
Lines, differentials, totals, spreads will all look different depending on where you look. In the NFL, you might not think that .5 points is a significant. But you’d be wrong. So shop the numbers.
Don’t say yes to the first line you see.
Shopping the numbers will give you a better idea of potential outcomes and allow you to make a well-rounded decision on your bets.
What else? Well, let’s start with something basic.
Bet the Underdog at Home
There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home
You might think betting on the favorite is the obvious option every time but you’d be wrong. “There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home,” says Morey “Doc” Moseman, a professional gambler and sports consultant withfor nearly 40 years. “Teams play inspired ball at home.
Slim underdogs regularly win outright.
Big underdogs often find ways to cover the spread and they rarely give up toward the end of a game in front of the home crowd.”
To revisit a favorite example, the Chiefs tend to claim the edge in the majority of their home games, no matter their status on the betting lines.
Because there’s magic at Arrowhead.
There’s more to lose when you’re playing before 150,000 of your fans’ scrutinizing eyeballs.
Here’s a list of some of the other worst betting mistakes you can make:
- Chasing your bets
- Getting vindictive
- Trying to win back losses
- Go after big wins to recoup losses
- Overly-promising wagers.
It’s like a night of heavy drinking. It might sound tempting beforehand. But the next day you’re likely to have some regret.
Remember that betting is a mathematician’s game.
There’s no large place for emotion in this game.
When it comes to the NFL, upon which more bets are placed than any other sport in America, that goes double. The oddsmakers have one job — and that’s to know their shit.
The key to beating them is knowing yours too.