NFL Bettors Lose Their Minds Over These 9 Variables

Man Losing His Mind On Right With the NFL Logo Over a Football and Money on Left

One of the most impressive aspects of betting on the NFL is that anything can happen. One of the most terrifying aspects of betting on the NFL is that anything can happen.

Parity in the NFL is substantial. The teams in the league are all full of top-level talent, and most have brilliant play-callers behind the scenes.

They didn’t coin the expression “Any Given Sunday” out of thin air. The outcome of a football game can often come down to the bounce of a ball.

There are a ton of ways a game can be influenced that are entirely random and unpredictable. NFL bettors lose their minds over these 9 variables.

You can’t predict them, so it’s best to take the bad breaks in stride. That allows you to get the most entertainment out of your time in the sportsbook.

Questionable Coaching Calls

As brilliant as NFL coaches are, they make mistakes. These mistakes are more often an overall scheme to defeat a team than an individual play call, but close games could come down to either.

When a head coach makes an in-game decision that directly impacts your wager, it’s hard to not take it personally. It’s easy to forget that the coach probably wants to win the game more than you.

I can assure you that your $100 wager does not factor into an NFL head coach’s play calling. This can hurt you; the most is on-the-point spread.

Coaches are only concerned with winning the game. When that play call causes you to lose a bet, it’s devastating.

I hear a lot of sports bettors complain about personnel decisions. As if somehow, they know more about NFL talent and the players on a team than the head coach.

Other times a team can come out and be completely undisciplined. Racking up unnecessary penalties will drive sports bettors mad.

Totals When the Game is Already Decided

Betting totals in the NFL is a fantastic way for finding the most value on weeks where the sportsbooks seem to have everything hemmed up perfectly.

Savvy gamblers particularly love the totals through live betting as the games progress. However, you can usually find decent lines throughout the week by shopping around.

Trash time in the NFL is any point where the conclusion is all but certain, typically late in the game. However, almost anything can happen in the last few minutes of an NFL game.

The team in the lead is typically doing nothing more than running out the clock. While the team trailing will fire shots downfield, trying to close the gap.

NFL Vikings Versus Steelers Play

When you have the over, and a team shoots for a touchdown, rather than kicking the easy field goal, your easy total win could wind up 1 or 2 points short. This drives sports bettors to the brink; the margins are thin.

Conversely, a turnover resulting in a score is one way that can affect the over. The professional handicappers employed by the sportsbooks are tough to beat. When things don’t quite go your way, it’s not usually a coincidence.

So, when you think you have the book beat, it can be completely deflating to lose late in a game to the total.

In-Game Injuries

One variable that not even the sportsbooks can predict is injuries. It’s not often that a critical injury during a game will impact the entire complexion of a match-up, but it happens enough that most sports bettors will run into it at some point.

The problem with injuries is that you’ll never know how they impact a game because they’re so random. If a team without a serviceable backup QB loses their starter, that could be the end of the contest.

I never like to see anyone go down to an injury; NFL players dedicate their lives to being the most elite athletes on the planet. Couple that with the fact that as rare as impactful injuries are to your bottom line, they probably give you an even split.

Having an objective view of in-game injuries will keep you from getting too hot and losing your mind.

Poor Refereeing

I don’t get hot over losing NFL bets very often. I try to approach my gambling, as a whole, like a business.

I don’t let poor weeks of tough losses wear on me any more than I would by a failed work project or business deal.

However, it’s hard not to come unhinged when a referee makes a poor call that costs me money. Some of this can be trivial, but that only adds to the sting.

To the NFL’s credit, they are constantly striving to improve the officiating and nullify the negative impact officiating can have on games. One significant advancement is the advent of “Sky Judge,” which seems to act precisely as the league intended so far.

Football Referee Pointing

Still, there will always be the potential for a referee to completely blow a call one way or another and cause your bet to lose. Of course, even when the referee is absolutely spot on, people will see what they want.

Don’t be such a poor loser that you let the referees live in your head rent-free. There are 60 minutes of football, and one two-second span won’t beat you too often.

Losing the Turnover Battle

Turnovers are hands down the most exciting plays in football. Many fans will say touchdowns are more exciting, and the media would definitely lead you to believe that.

There’s even a channel dedicated to the Red Zone in hopes of seeing a TD. Still, nothing will get sports fans and gamblers off their butts like a fumble or an interception.

Winning the turnover battle is fundamental for winning games in the NFL. A game can be won or lost on an ill-timed fumble or interception.

As a sports bettor, you don’t have to win a turnover battle. However, one play may change the entire course of a game.

When a turnover late in a game affects your bet, coming unglued is understandable. Still, it’s a hazard we all face, and they work in our favor as often as they hurt us.

It merely doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Starting QB is a No Go

The NFL is a league that hinges squarely on the performance of quarterbacks. Have Tom Brady, and you’re going to win a lot of games. Put Andy Dalton under center, and you’ll be enjoying a more extended off-season.

Because of that, NFL front offices will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their prized asset. Occasionally, this means making a late scratch when a QB has a minor injury.

NFL Quarterback Josh Allen

You can’t blame a team with aspirations of winning a championship for acting out of an abundance of caution. Should the minor pain become a more significant issue, the entire season could be sunk.

That being said, it’s a hard pill to swallow when the team you bet to cover opts to start their backup.

A Blown Play on Special Teams

Special teams are an area of the game that casual sports bettors will often overlook. The key is on the quarterback battle, defense, and maybe the coaches. But give little thought to starting field position being affected or whether a kicker will blow an extra point.

Blown plays on special teams often result in a point being put on the board or a lack of points being scored.

A snap sailing over the punter’s head can give the other team exceptional starting position, a poor hold on a kick can erase an easy three points from the board, and inadequate coverage on a kick might lead to six points the other way.

It’s challenging to stay calm when a football team fails to execute on the small things. Keep in mind that when you’re losing your shirt and your cool over special team play, you’re likely not doing an adequate job of handicapping games.

The Last Second Field Goal

Sometimes everything can go exactly right for a team, and it bites you right on the tail end. Last-second field goals can completely ruin your day as an NFL bettor.

Not only do these field goals affect your point spread, but they might also have a massive impact on your total. I’ve lost many bets to the legs of NFL kickers.

NFL Panthers Kicker

What makes many of these worse is that frequently they are entirely inconsequential. It’s a sober reality of betting on sports in general; making a profit is highly challenging.

Dropped Passes

How many times during an NFL Sunday do you see a wide receiver drop a pass that would be a guaranteed six points?

I’ve never counted them all up, but it’s got to be one per game or more. A lot of those dropped passes result in a field goal, but that doesn’t necessarily help sports bettors.

When you need a team to score a touchdown, there’s nothing worse than watching the ball hit between the 8 and the 1 then bouncing to the ground. Football is hard, but I don’t excuse dropped passes when your job requires you to catch balls for millions.

Like most of the things that drive NFL bettors crazy, dropped passes are part of the game. Becoming a better sports bettor will help negate the effects one play will have on your success.


NFL bettors lose their minds over these 9 variables.

Become a better gambler, and you’ll notice they have less and less of an impact on your results.