Prop bets can make real money NFL betting significantly more complicated, particularly when they are part of a larger parlay. A significant advantage of NFL betting online is that online sportsbooks with odds on the NFL can provide a ton of prop bets brick-and-mortar sportsbooks aren’t equipped to offer. How to make money from sports betting business. How to make money from sports betting business. A general rule of thumb for NFL betting I go by is to only use 2-5% of my bankroll for each bet. In this example, it would allow us to make $60-$150 wagers on each game we bet. You can use 2% for your smaller plays and 5% for plays you really like. Bankroll Management. If you’re planning to bet on this NFL season, we recommend that you set a. The NFL is the most popular sport to bet on in the US and on this page you'll find a complete breakdown of how to get started betting on the NFL.
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The sports betting industry is on a meteoric rise in this country and we’re approaching one of the first NFL seasons where it will be possible to legally wager on most games outside of Nevada. Even in a largely illegal market, the American Gaming Association estimated that bettors wagered over $4.3 billion on Super Bowl LV alone.
With ample time between games and a wealth of strategy to consider, football is an understandably popular sport for mainstream bettors. Using analytics to gain an edge in predicting how games will unfold can help the savvy bettor go against the grain to earn big paydays. Conversely, the popularity of NFL betting can help bettors isolate a potential winner by piggybacking on research conducted by the masses.
This page can serve as a reference for residents of states that have legalized online betting. It will break down the basics of NFL betting, from various types of bets, to strategy, to tips on how to predict trends and think independently. If you heed this advice and weigh your options and bankroll carefully, you could turn a consistent profit throughout the 2020 NFL season.
NFL team betting guides
|AFC East||Buffalo Bills||Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||New York Jets|
|AFC North||Baltimore Ravens||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|AFC South||Houston Texans||Indianapolis Colts||Jacksonville Jaguars||Tennessee Titans|
|AFC West||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||Los Angeles Chargers||Las Vegas Raiders|
|NFC East||Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington Football Team|
|NFC North||Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions||Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers|
|NFC South||Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||New Orleans Saints||Tampa Bay Bucs|
|NFC West||Arizona Cardinals||Los Angeles Rams||San Francisco 49ers||Seattle Seahawks|
Where is NFL betting legal?
When the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May of 2018, it opened the door for individual states to legalize sports gambling. Beginning with New Jersey (the original plaintiff in the PASPA case), several states quickly moved to legalize and regulate the industry within state lines. Betting on the NFL and other professional sports is still not federally legal, but residents of the following states can place bets at live sportsbooks:
Most other states in the US have introduced some sort of bill that would legalize sports gambling. Of course, some states are far closer than others to legalizing the industry. Visit our state betting pages at TheLines.com to get a look at the status in each state.
Best NFL betting sites and apps
There are a number of apps available for sports betting in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia and Nevada. Some of the best:
The top players in the industry are DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet, and SugarHouse.
How does NFL betting work?
There are several ways to bet on NFL action. We’ll begin with the most simple type of bet: The moneyline. Taking the Moneyline means you’re betting on the winning team regardless of the margin of victory. Underdogs will get plus-odds on the moneyline and the favorites will have negative odds. For example, if a team is heavily favored they will be listed as Patriots (-230), meaning that a successful $230 bet on the Patriots pays out $100.
This differs from betting on the point spread, which accounts for the expected margin of victory. If the Patriots are heavily favored at home, they might be listed as -13.5, meaning a bet (likely at something close to -110 odds) on the Pats would only pay out if they win by 14 points or more.
Gamblers can also target the overall betting total of a game, which is usually listed as a number around 48.5 with the proposition of taking the Over or Under on a point total. Some sites offer the opportunity to bet on the expected point total of one team (23.5 points for example).
Then, there is often an extensive number of betting props (or propositions) where gamblers can wager on the individual performance of a player, the type of score to open a game, and the specific margin of victory. These options are often more expansive in prime time and playoff games.
Gamblers can choose to combine multiple propositions on a game, or multiple bets on different games, into a parlay. This wager is an all-or-nothing proposition which only pays out if all (anywhere between two and a dozen) bets are successful. The more bets added to a parlay, the greater the potential payout.
A teaser is a form of parlay that involves a combination of two to ten wagers in which you can adjust the point spread or total to your specifications. These bets are therefore more likely to succeed, but the payouts are smaller than in a parlay.
Finally, there is an option to bet on NFL futures. Rather than betting on an individual game, Futures offer gamblers the opportunity to bet on the eventual Super Bowl champion, divisional champion, or the number of wins that a team will accrue during the regular season. There are also futures bets available on postseason awards and other ongoing storylines.
Super Bowl odds 2022
NFL live betting
Another method of wagering on the NFL is live betting, also known as in-play betting. No longer are gamblers required to place their bets before opening kickoff and ride out the storm. Now users can watch a game unfold for one, two, or three quarters and place their bets based on updated odds.
The odds on online sportsbooks will shift throughout games and sometimes it won’t be possible to place a live bet until a team finishes their current drive and the odds can solidify. This can be a very effective method for the experienced sports fan. Those who can read how a game is unfolding in the opening minutes can target a line aggressively.
For example, the most recent Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams turned into an offensive quagmire where neither team appeared poised to rack up many points. Those viewers that read into game flow and placed a bet on the Under (even as it shifted lower) were rewarded by a comfortable payout in a game that ended 13-3.
NFL betting trends
There are several free sites that will disclose information on where the public is betting in terms of the moneyline, point spread, and point total. These trends can lead to a shift in the lines as sportsbooks try to adjust when too much money is coming in on one side or the other.
These trends can also indicate which side of the line is a better bet based on the sheer number of bets coming in. However, the percentage of bets coming in on one side or the other is often not as telling as the percentage of money coming in on one side of the line.
A ton of bets indicates that the reactive public expects a favorite to roll, but a ton of money on one side indicates that experienced gamblers or “sharps” have found something in their research to inspire confidence.
Following the money usually profits, but there is a high level of risk and reward in “contrarian handicapping” by going against the public and backing an underdog at plus odds.
NFL line shopping
With so many sportsbooks and platforms competing for your wagers, there’s no reason not to shop around for the best deal. Some sites might have a team with a line of -4 (-110) on a particular game, but another site could have the same team at -3.5 (+120). There is generally an industry standard, but even a sleight differentiation can lead to huge changes in dividends in the long run. It’s vital for bettors to shop lines on multiple sites even if they don’t have a huge bankroll. If that’s the case, simply decrease the amount you’re betting on each game.
You can also shop lines by timing when you place your bets. Oddsmakers will set an Opening Line early in the week, but that could change based on how the public bets the game. Sometimes it makes sense to hammer an Opening Line right away so that you get the best odds possible. For example, the Packers could open at -7 at home against a poor opponent, but after 90% of bets come in on Green Bay, that number could rise. Conversely, the underdog might become appealing late in the week if the spread rises to 13 or even 14 points. Waiting for the right line can create the perfect opportunity to bet against the public at even better odds.
NFL Betting Tips
Finding a betting formula
Consistent success in NFL betting is hard to come by, since sportsbooks are often eerily accurate in how they set Spreads and Point Totals. In order to turn a profit, bettors have to find their own formula for determining value and potential winners.
It’s possible to “follow the masses” by betting on favorites that are seeing a huge percentage of wagers, but it is far more reliable to analyze trends and look for value based on those raw numbers.
As the season progresses, it can become apparent which teams have a tendency to “play down” to their opponent. Certain teams tend to play better when going up against heavy favorites, and many teams tend to play better or worse in prime time games. Analyzing a teams’ recent travel schedule, results on the road vs. at home, and tendency to rebound after a loss (see Bill Belichick’s Patriots) can help bettors find a winning formula.
There are certain analytics available for free on many sites that can help you predict how a game will unfold. Here are some of the key analytics that we use to predict game flow:
- Pace (the average number of plays a team runs per game) – This can primarily help you identify fast-paced games that are likely to go Over the total, or slow-paced games that will go Under.
- Offensive efficiency – Especially in the red zone, offensive efficiency can serve as a great indicator for which teams are capable of finishing drives with touchdowns and therefore covering the spread. Pass yards per attempt is another indicator of which teams are successful on offense in terms of controlling possession and creating points.
- Turnovers – On the other side of the ball, teams with great defensive efficiency in the red zone may help games stay under the point total. Teams that have shown an ability to create turnovers are far more bankable in terms of hanging close in games and potentially stealing a game when they’re underdogs.
- Win Probability – This is an advanced tool that can help tremendously with live betting. Algorithms can provide the likelihood of a team holding on for the win and that makes for a very safe bet.
- DVOA – There are comprehensive numbers on how defenses perform against specific position groups. There are also numbers on how an offensive line performs in terms of creating space at the second level and whether defensive lines are stronger on the right or left side. Match up the numbers from each team to consider whether star players will have more of an impact and sway the outcome.
- Home Field Advantage – Teams such as the Packers, Chiefs, Saints, and Patriots have a tremendous home-field advantage for several reasons. Lofty point spreads in those venues should be considered with more weight than a lofty point spread for a team like the Bengals, for example.
Each game brings its own criteria in terms of analytics and there is almost always ample time to crunch the numbers and find an edge.
NFL betting mistakes to avoid
Sports gambling can be a destructive force and should not be taken lightly or considered as a main source of income for anyone but the most experienced handicappers. Here’s a list of a few of the pitfalls that can turn a harmless habit into a money-draining problem:
- Chasing your losses: Gamblers can be overcome by a need to be “made whole” after losing their initial bet. This can be problematic during NFL Sundays since there is a new wave of games starting at 4 p.m. EST and two prime time games providing the opportunity to go “double or nothing” after an unsuccessful run in the early games.
- Managing bankroll: Again, the spreads and totals assigned by sportsbooks are often extremely accurate in terms of the final result, which means that few bets are a “sure thing.” Gamblers need to manage their bankroll wisely and avoid betting big on too many games regardless of their confidence level.
- Emotional betting: While gambling on NFL games should be fun, it’s not fun to lose your money because you were afraid to bet against your hometown team. Gamblers should always bet based on data, trends, and their gut feeling, rather than by their allegiances as fans.
- Hoping for longshots: It’s important to get good odds on a wager, but taking a bet that has little chance to come to fruition is not a reliable method. A horse with 50/1 odds would certainly pay out handsomely in the Kentucky Derby, but there’s a reason nobody expects that horse to have a shot at winning the race.
- Banking on favorites: Conversely, it’s unwise to always follow the public and take the more popular team with your wagers. Things change on a weekly basis in the NFL and teams always find a way to surprise. Remember that the other guys get paid too, and they’ll fight to the final whistle to post a more respectable score and potentially get under a lofty point spread.
- Betting while impaired: Again, NFL Sunday is a time to relax and enjoy a few adult beverages, but don’t get carried away while intoxicated. Accept losses when they come and avoid becoming overconfident because you’re feeling loose and unafraid of losing a few hundred dollars.
Online betting vs. retail sportsbooks
Few states have legalized online betting within state borders because it’s so difficult to regulate. But if you’re in a state with legal online betting, there are clear benefits to that platform. While retail sportsbooks will only accept bets before a game kicks off, online betting sites allow users to bet throughout the contest and adjust to live odds. The convenience of betting from your phone or laptop is hard to beat. That’s why live sportsbooks will offer promotions and try to enhance the in-game experience in order to draw in more numbers.
How to watch NFL games
Every Sunday select NFL games are broadcast on local TV. Viewers can watch any game by purchasing the Sunday Ticket through DirectTV, or the scoring highlights and exciting finishes compiled by the Red Zone channel. There are also options to stream NFL games through various online platforms. During the 2019-2020 season there will be Thursday Night Football games from Week 1 to Week 15 that will be broadcast on FOX and NFL Network. Sunday Night Football games are broadcast on NBC and ESPN carries Monday Night Football games.
Total score over/under betting is one of the three most popular forms of NFL gambling, along with moneyline betting and spread betting. Despite being quite difficult to do well, the concept is quite simple: Over/under betting strategy means picking how many total points will be scored in a game. The number provided as a line is the combination of both teams, and you simply pick: Over? Or under?
Naturally, in practice, the strategy gets a little more complicated, so I’ll explain over the course of this page.
Before I go into detail, though, I want to remind you that over/under bets are one of the most in-depth situations that you will find in NFL gambling. More than most other types, over/under wagers require that you have a complete and comprehensive vision for how you think an NFL game will play out.
We also list our top recommended NFL betting sites here, for your convenience.
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This page does not concern researching and determining what the outcome of a game will be: For more information on that, check out my general introduction page, which describes my three-stage NFL Betting Strategy. In short, to make over/under bets, I utilize a three-stage process: gathering information, utilizing checks & balances and visualizing the game.
Here, I’ll go beyond this general NFL betting strategy and provide the following details specific to over/under betting:
- How total score over/under bets work and how to interpret the line
- How to know when to place a wager on a total score over/under bet
- How to find good value and make money in the long run with O/U bets
Let’s get started by talking about what an over/under bet is, and how the line works.
How Does a Total Score Over/Under Bet Work?
In my experience, over/under betting is one of the most common and enjoyable ways to gamble on the outcome of an NFL game. Across the nation and across the world, people tune in to NFL games – especially during the fourth quarter – to see whether their over/under bet will pay out.
A total score over/under bet is simply a wager placed on how high the combined score will be between the two teams. To explain, let’s take a look at some specific examples:
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These examples come from the Wild Card round of the 2016/17 NFL playoffs: There were 8 games on national TV the weekend of January 7-8, and the gambling public was out in full force to stake their claim on one team or another to win, to cover the spread, or to push the total score one way or another.
These were the available total score over/under bets:
- New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers: Over 44.5 (-115), Under 44.5 (-105)
- Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks: Over 43 (-110), Under 43 (-110)
- Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-110)
- Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans: Over 37 (-110), Under 37 (-110)
When I put up these sample over/under bets, a couple things become immediately apparent. First off, we notice that different from moneyline bets and spread bets, an over/under bet is a bet on one side of a line, not on an individual team. You can bet the over, or the under, but you can’t bet on one team or the other.
The other thing that you’ll notice is that there are odds attached to each outcome – each over or under. This reflects the golden rule of sports gambling: The goal of odds-makers is always to promote even action on both sides of a wager. Changing the odds to make wagers more or less profitable to gamblers is the way that odds-makers prompt even action on both sides of an over/under bet.
The four games listed above also demonstrate the usual range of over/under odds. In contrast with moneyline odds (which vary widely) and ATS odds (which will often go up to +/- 150), over/under odds do not vary much. Having 75% or more of the games show -110 on both sides is a pretty standard proportion.
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And in these examples, the total score lines themselves (which a gambler may go over or under) are also very standard. If the distribution of total score over/under lines was a normal curve, then it’s likely the bulge of the bell would fall around the range of 42 to 47 – this is the range of lines that you will most often see for most NFL games.
Let’s think about what this means in practice. If a game has a total score of 42 points, this means that – on average – both teams contributed 21 points to the total score. This means the equivalent of three touchdowns per team, or six touchdowns total over the course of the game.
For a 60-minute game, this in turn means a touchdown for every 10 minutes of game time: Touchdown #1 on a team’s opening drive. Touchdown #2 with 3 minutes left in the first quarter. Touchdown #3 with 4 minutes left in the half. Touchdown #4 midway through the third quarter. Touchdown #5 with 10 minutes left in the game. And Touchdown #6 on the game’s final drive, within the two-minute warning.
Now, do all NFL games play out this way? Of course not. Not by a long shot. But the reason I give this simplified example is just to make the total score a little more tangible. Thinking about a 42-point total score over/under is a little hard to grasp at first. But when you break it down in the context of a real game, it becomes much more clear how to diagnose what a line means and what type of a game would provoke such a scoring pattern.
With this basic idea of how over/under bets work, let’s now look at when you should place an over/under bet, which is tantamount to knowing whether the odds offer good value.
When Should You Place an Over/Under Bet?
For some reason, NFL gamblers that are particularly keen on using hard statistics to decide when to place a wager seem to gravitate towards over/under betting. So to provide some hard statistics to this conversation, I would simply offer the numbers that I’ve assembled in my 15+ years of NFL gambling.
While it’s not profitable to look back too far into the past (as the NFL has changed dramatically over its history, and the introduction and widespread adoption of the West Coast offense has recently changed the landscape of scoring in the league), limiting our target range to the last 15 years of regular season and playoff football gives us plenty of data to play with – over 7500 games-worth, to be exact.
Over this span of time, the limits for total score lines have become fixed at 30 (for the lowest) and 60 (for the highest). Of course, just because odds-makers don’t post lines lower than 30 or higher than 60 doesn’t mean that games don’t end below or above these bookends. According to my data, roughly 1 in 7 games end up with a total score below 30, and roughly 1 in 8 games end up with a total score above 60.
It’s extremely important to keep in mind, however, that there is no magic statistical formula that will tell you whether or not a game will go over or under. There are a host of systems out there – like betting the under in divisional games and the over in non-conference games, betting the over if the game gets to 41 or 42 or 44 total points, betting the over in games played in below-freezing temperatures, and any number of others.
But once again, statistical systems must be taken with a grain of salt. During these same 15 years, during which so much statistical knowledge has become available about when to bet the over and when to bet the under, the actual record has remained almost exactly 50–50. As in all types of betting, the house will end up making sure that the odds even out. Real apps that pay.
This is why prudent over/under bets require an understanding of value. Value betting is generally defined as wagering only in situations when you feel very confident about what the outcome of a wager will be (i.e. you feel there is low risk) while at the same time you feel that the odds for a particular wager hold the potential for a nice payoff (i.e. you feel there is high reward).
The betting systems mentioned above are after precisely this type of value, albeit in a slightly misguided way. When a betting system points out some statistical anomaly about how often a particular set of situations has prompted a winning over or an under, it’s useful to note the conditions they reference, but this doesn’t mean you should take what they’re saying as law. Consistently finding value requires combining together a large number of different betting systems with a large number of situational factors.
Now at this point, you might be asking: But what are these factors? How do I know if I’m getting good value? The short and honest response is that I can’t possibly explain this to you in words, especially not in the course of one short page. Like I said above, there is no specific magic formula for you to follow, and if someone tells you that there is, they’re probably going to ask for your credit card information next. It takes skill, experience, and a certain amount of feel to find value, and this takes time to develop.
Having said this, I don’t want you to think that there’s nothing you can do to start making good value decisions, and learning for yourself how to make this a profitable part of your gambling repertoire. In the next section, I’ll dive into the specifics of finding good value for total score over/under bets.
How Do You Make Money with Over/Under Betting?
As I just stated, and as I explain in detail in my general NFL Betting Strategy page, NFL gambling is a skill, and it takes practice. Like any other skill, it takes time and effort to develop the intuition that makes you proficient and profitable. I’ve been employed for 15+ years as an NFL gambler, and one of the ways that I’ve been able to pull it off it by understanding that it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s more like a job.
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With total score over/under betting, the single most important factor involved in making money in the long-run is being smarter and more disciplined at wagering only on good value bets. This is a skill that you will get better at the more often you do it. As you place more wagers, you’ll develop a feel for when there is good value to be found in a particular bet.
Don’t let yourself be suckered in by touts and sharps that will try to convince you that there is some set of numbers, some statistical formula, or some software package that will do the work for you to determine whether you should bet the over or the under, and is guaranteed to make you money 100% of the time.
(Even if they advertise something more realistic – which is to say, something closer to being correct 60% of the time – I would still turn tail and run as soon as they want you to whip out a credit card and pay them five easy payments of whatever.)
In total score over/under betting, there is no substitute for visualizing the entire game in your own mind. You need to actually count up – point by point, quarter by quarter, drive by drive, possession by possession – which team is going to score how many points when and why (take a look at my general NFL Strategy page for more info on this). Do this before you even look at the line, and you’ll have a baseline opinion to compare against.
Next, when you look at the line, make careful note of how different your personal decision on the total score is from the decision that odds-makers framed for the gambling public. You could be dead on (in which case, you’re probably right but there probably isn’t value) or you could be way off (in which case, you’re either right, and there is value, or you’re wrong).
Once again, there’s no exact science to knowing whether or not you are right (and the odds are different) or you are wrong (and the odds were right). The most honest thing I can tell you is this: the key to a good value bet is when you feel certain of a given outcome, while the gambling public and/or the odds-maker feels differently.
For me, I’ve come to a pretty good understanding with myself about when I’m probably stumbling into a good value bet and when I’m probably deluding myself. This isn’t something that I know factually, using statistics or logic, it’s just a feeling I have through years of experience. This is precisely the type of intuition that you can develop with enough time and practice.
Trust your gut, learn from your mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a profitable NFL gambler.
Summary: NFL Over/Under Betting Strategy
Total score over/under betting is one of the three most popular NFL bets. The concept is quite simple: In a total score over/under bet, you pick how many combined points will be scored in a game between the two teams. More than almost any other type of NFL betting, over/under bets require an in-depth prediction for how the game will play out, for which I employ my three-stage NFL betting strategy.
Here’s an example from the Wild Card round of the 2016/17 NFL playoffs: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers: Over 44.5 (-115), Under 44.5 (-105). Notice that an over/under bet is a bet on one side of a line, not on an individual team. Also, notice that there are odds attached to each outcome – each over or under. This is the way that odds-makers prompt even action on both sides of an over/under bet.
The odds for total score over/under wagers are pretty staid: you’ll often see odds of -110 on both sides of a significant proportion of the available total score bets. Most lines fall in the range of 42 to 47, with odds-makers never setting a line below 30 or above 60. However, the actual total score of games often falls below 30 or above 60, even though odds-makers don’t set lines in this range.
A key strategy for understanding the line is to visualize how a game might play out to yield that total score. For example, a typical line of 42 could mean 21 points per side, 3 touchdowns per team, which means 6 total touchdowns in a game. Six touchdowns spread over a 60-minute game averages out to one touchdown every 10 minutes of game time. This helps us visualize what the line of 42 means.
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Over time, you’ll develop a greater feel for what the individual total score numbers mean, and you’ll be able to connect these abstract numbers with a tangible intuition about how offensively intense or how defensively stolid a given game must be in order to yield the total score that you see odds-makers list. This skill takes time and practice to develop, but it’s absolutely vital to turning a profit with O/U bets.
Even though there are a large number of statistically beefy betting systems available for picking total score over/under bets, the truth of the matter is that finding good value requires combining together a host of different factors – there is no magic formula. In simple terms, you are trying to find a situation in which you believe the outcome has low risk, but you also find the odds have high potential reward.
Naturally, finding good value in this way – the combination of low risk and high reward – is the goal of all gambling ventures (and all monetary investments, too). But in the case of total score over/under bets, there’s simply no shortcut to doing the work of visualizing the entire course of an NFL game, counting up the points, and comparing this to the line. If the line feels off, you just might have a good value bet.
In conclusion, take the time to develop your own intuitive skill for when the total score of a game will certainly go over or under the line posted by oddsmakers. It’s not easy, but I can tell you from 15+ years of NFL gambling experience that there are few more rewarding experiences to see the course of a game turn out along the narrative you envisioned. In any case, it’s certainly a ton of fun.
How To Make Money Betting Nfl
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