Gambling isn’t a game of luck. It’s a game of skill and preparedness. While random chance never goes away and the worst team in football the previous season can upset the best team in football during the current season, there are ways to increase your odds to win NFL bets.
No, it doesn’t mean scouring bookmakers 24/7. And while that strategy is great for shopping the lines and finding an edge, there are other, lesser-known strategies to increase your odds.
Keep in mind even the best betting strategy isn’t bulletproof. You can’t guarantee a win in this. Regardless, you will always win some and lose some. This article doesn’t guarantee a win nor does it imply it.
Instead, it helps you increase your chances of winning.
1 – Research Before Betting
Research each betting arena you enter, from the preseason betting stage all the way to postseason and Super Bowl betting.
Never enter an avenue of NFL betting that you haven’t previously researched. Chances are, you aren’t ready to wager.
And remember, there are many betting avenues out there in the NFL world where it’s easy to believe that you can wager the San Francisco 49ers’ defense will finish in the top 5 in 2020 because they were in the top 5 in 2019.
But if you haven’t fully researched team productivity or unit productivity, you might not want to go that direction.
Think about it this way. One of the most common forms of NFL gambling is fantasy football. We all like to wager between 50 and 100 bucks on fantasy, either weekly fantasy or if we play in a league. Since we’re wagering money, shouldn’t we at least pick up a fantasy football magazine in June?
I do. Every year. 2 months before my fantasy draft in mid-August, I’m picking up a magazine and dissecting each player I have targeted in each round. For example, if I wanted to select Browns’ running back Nick Chubb in the 1st round, I’ll look at how each of his opponents fared stopping the run in 2019.
Here’s an example. The Packers drafted quarterback Jordan Love as the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers. Sure, Love could sit behind Rodgers for 3 seasons as Rodgers did with Brett Favre in 2005, 2006, and 2007, but Rodgers is playing with a 1st round pick behind him, knowing he’s the successor.
Does this distract from the often cool, calm, and collected Rodgers, whose fantasy numbers are among the best in football when he’s not injured on the sidelines?
See where I’m going with this section?
Betting avenues might look good.
They might look clear-cut and flawless on paper, but when you research variables, a good bet on the surface might in reality be far too risky.
And if a bet looks great on the surface, there’s probably a hidden reason or 2 to believe that they’re not as good as they look.
2 – Don’t Always Target Your Favorite Team
There is a time to pick your team but most of the time you need to stay away from your team. You want to stay away from them, their division, and even their conference.
Any NFL fan who has a favorite team will always have an emotional bias toward that team, and it will skew your judgment when betting for 17 weeks. I follow the Browns and I’m glad I followed this rule because despite all the red flags prior to the 2019 season, I thought, “Yeah, 10-6 at the worst.”
I would’ve lost a lot of money on the Browns. I also have an emotional bias against their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals.
The same goes if a team you like has a hot rival that doesn’t play in their division. The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers are a good example, as were the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots during the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady era.
Pay close attention to teams you have an emotional bias for and teams you have an emotional bias against.
I never bet on Cleveland and I never will. I’d be more likely to bet on who they’ll draft in the NFL Draft and who they’ll pick up in free agency. The draft and free agency should be the only 2 cases where you bet on your favorite team.
Trying to bet on them during the season is never a good idea. Our emotions will always come up with a way to justify why we feel our favorite team will upset the defending Super Bowl champions in a road game on national TV.
Don’t even try it.
3 – Niche Your Betting Avenues
No, you don’t want to put all the eggs in 1 basket, as the old axiom reads. But becoming a jack of all trades isn’t the best route either.
Especially if you’re serious about taking your gambling to newer heights and earning money from this. If you want to increase your betting odds, niche your betting avenues.
Take 3 different NFL avenues that interest you. Don’t worry about which will bring in the highest profits right now. You want to earn money, but you also want to enjoy this experience.
For me, it would be the NFL Draft, fantasy football, and player productivity. Notice how productivity and fantasy football entwine.
Now, say your niche is regular-season betting with weekly spreads and betting the over-under. These would translate to in-season betting while my areas of choice reside in offseason betting. When I say fantasy football I’m talking about league-based fantasy, not weekly.
The reason you want a few niches is that you need to maximize your research. You aren’t maximizing your research if you’re trying to flip-flop between free agency, the draft, player productivity, team productivity, preseason, regular-season, and postseason betting.
And we haven’t even gotten to the streets within those betting avenues. It’s like building an online business, to an extent. You niche the business and perhaps even down-niche into a few specific sectors.
This ensures your research is well-targeted early, and it ensures you gain and build knowledge regarding the niche. Those who learn history and patterns in the game will ensure they don’t repeat past mistakes of others.
By niching your betting avenues to between 1 and 3, and of that avenue between 1 and 3 types in sub-niche categories, you can become an expert in that area of NFL gambling.
Again, you can’t guarantee wins but the odds to win increase.
4 – Don’t “Chase” Bets
Never play this game and it’s the easiest way to decrease your odds to win not just in the NFL, but any area of gambling.
Chasing bets is a strategy where a bettor finds themselves in a hole and they’ll end up betting on a game or games they otherwise wouldn’t have wagered money on to recoup earlier losses.
The danger increases when you do this without even researching a matchup past its spread or past its over-under. If you didn’t conduct research on the teams, their opposition, their performance at home or on the road among other categories, don’t force or chase the bet.
Any time you do this you’ll most likely lose and that $100 hole you found yourself in after the 1:00 games on Sunday can evolve into a $250 hole when Monday Night Football rolls around.
Let me use this analogy. I once knew a guy who worked as a poker dealer at a respected casino in West Virginia. He often dealt at the Texas Hold ‘em tables and the same faces were present all night. Many who lost early went straight to the ATM, took out another $500 to $1,000, and kept losing money.
Relate the above story to the NFL. Even if you’re down $100 because you lost $50 on 2 1:00pm games and the only other game you bet on for the week is $50 on the Sunday night game, don’t chase a 4:00 game or the Monday night game.
If you break even for the week after the Sunday night game, you break even. If you lose, a $150 loss beats a potential $300 loss. It’s also why you give yourself a weekly bankroll and never go over it.
I stress in every article like this that these tips won’t guarantee anything, and I stress it multiple times.
Instead, increasing your research will give you knowledge in a niche that you won’t get by reading sports books and studying spreads.
Refraining from your favorite team cuts out emotional bias. The same goes for betting against a team you dislike.
Find your niche in NFL gambling. You don’t have to bet on everything and doing so often ends in a loss. Find 2 or 3 areas you like and become an expert in those areas.
Finally, don’t chase bets. It’s a strategy that can lead to a fast downward spiral any week. Stick to your initial strategy and stay the course.
Do you agree with my betting strategies? Are there any other factors I might want to consider? Let me know in the comments.