7 Nightmares of Every NFL Bettor

Man Screaming With a Money and NFL Background

When you bet on NFL games you need to know that just about anything can happen. A favorite can play poorly and get upset, a sure thing can quickly turn against you because of a big turnover, or a key player can go down with an injury and change the game.

Here’s a list of 7 nightmares that NFL gamblers have that can keep them up at night. You can’t do much about some of these, but once you understand them you can at least learn how to deal with them.

1 – Your Quarterback Is a Late Scratch

The worst thing that can happen as an NFL gambler I to place a bet on a team based on a quarterback starting and then have that quarterback miss the game. When you evaluate NFL games you have to do a good job of predicting how the quarterbacks are going to influence the game.

The quarterback is easily the most important player on the field. He’s involved in every play the offense runs, and a single mistake can lose a bet for you. When you spend time evaluating a quarterback and find a value wager to make based on your research, you should have a good chance to win.

But when the quarterback you evaluated doesn’t play, it reduces your chance to win a great deal.

One thing that some gamblers do when this happens is place a bet on the opposite side to try to hedge, but this is dangerous because the line usually moves when a quarterback goes down. You might lose both sides of the bet, which makes the nightmare worse.

2 – Turnovers

Fumbles and interceptions can change the course of an NFL game, and change a winning wager into a losing one. And turnovers are difficult to predict.

You can look at turnover tendencies when you evaluate NFL games, but it’s impossible to predict what’s actually going to happen in upcoming games. NFL players are human, and they make mistakes. Even the best players turn the ball over.

Dallas Cowboys on a Running Play

At the end of the day there isn’t anything you can do about turnovers other than looking at past results. You can also look at the expected weather for each game, because sever rain or snow usually leads to more turnovers. But even this isn’t an exact science.

This is why turnovers can lead to nightmares for NFL gamblers. They’re completely out of your control, but they can win or lose a bet for you in a second.

The thing to remember is that over the long run, the unexpected turnovers are going to even out. Sometimes you’re going to lose a bet because of a turnover, and sometimes you’re going to win a bet because of a turnover. The best solution is to expect them to happen, and just move on to the next game and keep handicapping NFL games to the best of your ability.

3 – The Late Score in a Decided Game Point Spread

It’s late in the game and the team you bet on has a 14 point lead. You gave 10 points, so all you need for the win is for the time to run out on the clock.

The problem is that the other team has the ball and your team is playing a prevent defense to burn clock time. Your team isn’t worried about your point spread, because a single score won’t cost them the game. Of course, a touchdown is going to cost you the game.

The clock is running down, and your team gives up a touchdown with 32 second left on the clock. The other team tries an onside kick but doesn’t recover. Your team runs out the clock and is happy with a victory. You lose a bet.

This is one of the most frustrating things that you’re going to deal with betting on NFL game, but there’s not much you can do about it. Just remember, every time this happens to you, a bettor on the other side of the game just had a loss turned into a win. This might be you in the next game.

4 – Tackle Injury

Offensive tackles aren’t usually considered more important than most other positions, but take a look at what happens when an important offensive tackle goes down with an injury.

One of the most damaging situations is when a left tackle goes down against a team with a great pass rusher. This can completely change the course of a game.

The fact is that there are only a handful of good tackles in the NFL. The second tier of offensive tackles is decent, and can usually hold their own against a strong pass rush, while giving up an occasional sack.

But here’s the problem. All of the guys in the top and second tier are starting. None of these guys are sitting on the bench backing up the starter. So when a starter goes down, you’re looking at a third or fourth tier tackle entering the game.

When this happens, it almost always changes the course of a game. Either the team gives up more sacks and pressures, or they have to change their entire blocking scheme.

5 – Head Coaching Decisions

I kind of touched on this in a previous section, but one of your worst mistakes as an NFL gambler is ignoring head coaches. They usually have completely different goals. The only thing head coaches care about is winning the game. They don’t care about how many points they win by or any of the betting lines offered by the sportsbooks.

These guys are doing everything they can to win games. Winning games is how they stay employed, get raises, and make money. If a head coach wins 12 games but only covers the spread in 2 of them, he’s considered a great coach. If a head coach wins 4 games but covers the spread in 12 games, you might love him as a sports bettor, but his employer is thinking about firing him.

NFL Colts Quarterback and Offensive Lineman

The good news is that there are ways you can try to predict what head coaches are going to do when it matters to you. Track what every head coach does in certain situations to get a feel for what they’re going to do in the future.

This information can help you when evaluating games in the future. Like many other things, in the long run coaching decisions will probably even out, so don’t stress too much about it.

6 – Early and Late Line Changes

When you’re an NFL gambler, you should be making most of your wagers either early in the week or right before game time.

Betting early in the week can give you an edge by getting your bets in before the lines start to move. Betting right before the game starts lets you gather all of the available information and make bets based on the information.

The issue with making bets early in the week is the lines might move later in the week in an unfavorable way. But sometimes they move in a way that lets you increase your odds of winning.

I prefer to analyze as much information as possible, so most of my bets are made just before the games start. But some NFL gamblers can find big value on the early lines too. So it’s up to you to decide what works best for you.

7 – Trash Time Totals

When NFL games are decided but there’s time left on the clock, many different things can happen.

The leading team is always interested in running out the clock as much as possible, and the trailing team is usually taking big chances and trying to score.

This can lead to the situation I described in an earlier section, where the trailing team scores and makes you lose a wager. But the trailing team can also make a big mistake and let the leading team get a quick score.

Everything that happens in trash time can push the score over on the total. This is why you need to be careful betting the under in a game that might end up with one team dominating the other. The under is usually safer in closely battled games.


When it comes to NFL gambling nightmares, one thing that can help you deal with them is understanding that in the long run most of the bad things that happen even out with the good things that happen.

This might not keep the nightmares away, but it might make you feel a little better. Just remember that NFL teams don’t share your goals, so don’t expect them to do what you think they should.