Smart Football: NFL Betting Tips

NFL betting is a way in which dedicated followers of the game can benefit by placing bets about the outcome. However, you need to do more than know the style of the team in order to make money and win from football/NFL bets. While it is essential to understand the nuances of the game and be aware of the ability of the players and the teams in order to place winning bets, successful betting involves a few other strategies as well.

Bet Against the Grain

When assessing teams for their ability to win, you should look to bet against the grain. This means that you should look for a team that was a favorite the previous week but lost. The bookmaker odds of them winning will be low since they will be considered underdogs this week. However, if the team is outstanding such as the Denver Broncos of 2013, you can bet on them winning this week. Of course, the final decision on this will depend on why the team lost the previous week - an injury or something else for instance.

Imagine if the Broncos saw Wes Welker go down or even the unthinkable happens and Peyton becomes injured again? Both of these players have a different impact on the direction and capability of this team.

Defensive Strategy

Another way of trying to predict a winner is to look at the strategies of the teams. If a team with a solid offense is playing against one with a great defense and they are otherwise evenly matched, the defensive team is more likely to win. By betting on the defensive team, especially if they have been placed as underdogs, you increase your chances of obtaining a fabulous payoff.

The NFL in 2013, though, does not have any sparkling defensive teams. The Ravens, which just saw Ray Lewis open the door to retirement, used to have a stifling defense; if you look at their performance this year, that defense does not seem as solid as it used too. They are certainly not terrible either because they still have some outstanding defensive players including Terrell Suggs.

Bet against the Streak

Another way of predicting a win or loss is to look for teams that have already displayed a streak - win or loss. If a team has already won three games or lost three, bet against the streak and you are more likely to collect on it. Again, in these cases, the bookmakers consider the winning streak team to be a favorite and offer better odds against the team with a losing streak, increasing your chances of winning a larger sum.

The New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos fit the bill here. Both teams have had a solid start and with exceptional QBs in Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, it may just continue this way.

Home Underdog

Another way of winning bets in the NFL is to choose the home underdog. If the underdog is playing on their home turf, they have an advantage and are likely to win. Many times the home team is considered to have an extra player because of the loyal support the crowd normally shows their team. In the NFL, the home team can be considered to be their 12th man, for example, since 11 players are on the defense and the offense at all times.

Even if you are sure that they cannot win, because the opponent is formidable such as the Seattle Seahawks or the Indianapolis Colts, you can place bets on the point spread since the underdog is likely to perform better this time around.

Spoiler Factor

When the teams playing include a team that has to win to get to the post season and one that does not have a chance of entering the playoffs, the public has a tendency to bet on the team that needs to win to make it. However, the spoiler team might perform better since they are likely to take more risks and because they do not have anything to lose. Of course, this is likely to happen only if the two teams are otherwise evenly matched.


Many people participating in NFL betting believe that making betting decisions based on rumors is likely to be counter-productive. They fear that the risk of losses is greater if the rumor were false. However, a more prudent approach would be to place a bet based on the rumor since the odds are evenly matched when the rumor is not factored in. In the event that the rumor is true, the payoff will be severe and sizeable, while the risk if the rumor is false is not greater than in normal conditions.

Sandwich Game Theory

When it comes to placing NFL bets, there are definite advantages in combining in-depth knowledge about a team's strengths and its current performance streak. For instance, the Sandwich Game theory says that when a strong team has won or lost against a strong opponent and is set to play against another strong opponent the following week, they are likely to be off their game in the middle week. By betting against the favorite in their sandwich game it is possible to increase the odds of winning by the highest margins. The winning sum is also likely to be more since the book makers would have provided better odds against the favorite.

Risk Spreading

Another way in which a person placing bets on NFL games can ensure that they end the season with an overall win is to place a series of small bets throughout the season. While many people believe that pro bettors place only a couple of bets in a season, this can be the wrong strategy for most people. Just a single unforeseen event - bad weather, injury, a bad decision - can push the favorites into the losing column. This can lead to a major loss for any bettor who placed a lot of money on that single game. Instead, by placing a series of small bets, it may increase someone's chances to come out of this, or any, stellar NFL season ahead.

No matter how you bet, be sure to do it responsibly. Problem gambling is a very real issue and should not be taken lightly. If you feel you may have a problem, please seek help immediately. If you are not prone to problem gambling and are looking to place a few recreational wagers with money you can afford to lose, we provide the best gambling sites to do so. You can get started right away, or have a look through more sports articles to brush up on your betting knowledge.