8 NFL Bets That Are Losers

NFL Player Stephon Gilmore Catching Ball With Sportsbook Background

You have many options for betting on NFL games. You can make traditional point spread bets, total bets, moneyline bets, and now you can make in game bets. When you combine all of the betting options with the popularity of the NFL, there’s no wonder that the amount of money bet on the sport is so high.

The good news is that you can learn how to make a long term profit betting on the NFL, but it’s not easy. One of the most important things you need to do is learn which bets to avoid.

Here are eight NFL bets that are long term losers. When you eliminate these bets, you have more time to focus on finding the best value and making long term profits on the NFL.

1 – Over on Two Good NFL Offenses

This is a common mistake, and it’s easy to see why so many NFL gamblers make it. When two high scoring NFL offenses meet in a game, the odds are good that a lot of points are going to be scored. But the people setting the over line on the game know this also.

The line setters also know a great deal about how the public thinks, and they use this information to make money. They know that the general betting public is going to assume that a lot of points are going to be scored, so the public is likely to back the over on the total.

What would you do if you were setting a line on a game like this? You’re going to do the same thing the books do. Set the line higher than you think the actual final total is going to be. This gives you a better chance to make a profit on the line.

I never bet the over on an NFL game with two potent offenses. I always look at the under on these games, because sometimes they books set the total line so high that it creates value on the under. This isn’t always the case, so I don’t bet the total line on many of these games.

2 – Under on Two Good NFL Defenses

Now that you know why the over doesn’t offer value with two good offenses, you should understand why the under isn’t a winning bet when two top defenses face off.

The main lesson you need to take from these first two sections is that the books set the lines based on creating the most profit. The sportsbooks aren’t trying to accurately predict final scores. In fact, the perfect line for every sportsbook for every game is one that creates an equal amount of action on both sides of the line.

NFL Quarterback Lamar Jackson

In games with two great defenses, forget about the under on the total and look at the over. You won’t always find value on the over in these games, but it’s the only place where you might find value.

It took me a long time to get a clear understanding of this trap. The turning point was over 15 years ago when I lost a huge amount betting the under on two good defensive teams. All of the numbers showed it was a value bet, but the final score wasn’t even close to the under.

This experience made me study the under in games like this more closely and I learned that it simply was never a good wager. In hindsight, the mistake I made was not doing enough research and making assumptions.

3 – Against a Losing Streak

NFL teams on a losing streak almost always break out with a win eventually. But the problem is that it’s impossible to predict when it’s going to happen. The only bet to consider making on an NFL team on a losing streak is for the streak to continue.

Of course, this isn’t always a bet that offers value, so you still have to evaluate the games. The main point is that if you handicap an NFL game and it looks like there’s value on the team that’s on a losing streak, the smart play is to skip betting on the game.

I always look for value on the team playing against the team on a losing streak. If there’s value on the opponent, I make a bet. If there’s not, I don’t bet on the game.

You can make your own decision about what constitutes a losing streak, but I use at least two games in a row if the team is paying particularly badly, and three games in a row for all teams.

4 – Against a Winning Streak

The same strategy that dictates not betting against a losing streak is true about betting against a winning streak. I don’t bet against teams in the NFL on a winning streak. And just like losing streaks, I consider a winning streak starting at either two or three wins in a row.

Teams on winning streaks find a way to win games, just like teams on losing streaks tend to find ways to lose. It’s simply not profitable to make bets on the wrong side of these games.

5 – Against Thanksgiving Teams the Following Week

Every season the NFL has games on Thanksgiving. All of these teams are playing on a short week, but this balances out because they all had to play the previous weekend. But these teams also have extra rest and prep time for their next game.

When a team that played on Thanksgiving plays against a team that didn’t play on Thanksgiving the next week, the team with more rest has an advantage.

This is why you should never make a bet against a team that played on Thanksgiving the following week.

6 – NFL Road Underdogs

NFL home teams that are underdogs are a popular pick. In fact, these teams are so popular that the sportsbooks set the lines to take advantage of gamblers who make these bets. This is why it’s dangerous to bet on too many home underdogs in the NFL.

But what about betting on road underdogs?

Betting on road underdogs is even more dangerous than betting on home underdogs. Road teams have a lot working against them, and there’s a reason why they’re underdogs. I do bet on a few road underdogs each season, but the truth is that there’s usually not enough value.

7 – Rookie Quarterbacks

Rookie quarterbacks are extremely unpredictable. They often come into the NFL surrounded by hype, but even if they grow into great quarterbacks eventually, their first year performance is filled with ups and downs.

One week a rookie quarterback might look like he has it all figured out, and then come out the next week and look like he couldn’t win a high school game. The best strategy is usually to skip games with rookie quarterbacks altogether.

But if you’re evaluating a game with a rookie quarterback, only bet on it of you find value on the other team. If there’s no value on the opposing team, don’t make a wager on the game at all.

8 – Moneyline on Top and Bottom

Moneyline NFL bets are popular because fans don’t have to worry about point spreads. If you just have to pick a team to win, it seems much easier than when you have to predict the final score differential.

The problem is that every moneyline bet comes with a cost. If you bet on the team that’s the favorite, you have to pay a steep price in return for a smaller return.

NFL Players Happy After a Play

On the other side, when you make a moneyline wager on a big underdog, you can win a big amount for a small bet. But the problem is that this bet rarely pays out.

When you’re looking at NFL moneylines, the best strategy is to avoid the highest cost options on the favorites and avoid the highest risk options on the underdogs.

Instead of looking at the extremes, look for value on games with moneylines in the +200 to -200 range. These games have teams that are more closely matched, and offer a better opportunity to find value.


Now that you know the eight NFL bets that you’re making now that are losers, you can stop making them and focus on finding value on other betting options. Betting against streaks is always dangerous, and making obvious wagers, like the over on tow high scoring teams, is a losing strategy.

Look for teams with extra rest and be afraid of betting on games with rookie quarterbacks. Finally, stop making bets on the moneyline when it’s too high.

Learning how to be a profitable NFL gamblers isn’t easy. But when you avoid these eight losing bets your profits are going to go up.