Betting on Different Sports During the Football Offseason

Football Player Silhouette, Question Mark, and Money

You might love March Madness, or the NBA Playoffs.  You could be the type to count down until baseball’s opening day or get excited about other summer sports. However, if you’re a hardcore sports bettor, none of that can compare to football season.

This isn’t just my opinion, the data backs it up. Americans bet football at a rate that can’t be touched by any of the other major sports. So once the confetti drops after the big game, what are sports bettors to do?

In this article, I’ll lay out my five favorite bets to keep you going until September rolls around again.

Mid-Major College Basketball

You’ve likely accepted the fact that although the NFL is the most fun sport to bet, it’s also the most difficult to win consistently.

The reason this is the case is because oddsmakers and sportsbooks know that massive amounts of action are going to come in on just about every game. For the house, there’s no room for error.

Additionally, a 16-game season means sportsbooks can spend a great deal of time and effort into setting the perfect lines – perfect meaning a near-certain win for the house.

College Basketball Louisville Player Driving the Ball

If you’re looking for something that’s the complete opposite of the NFL in terms of gambling, betting on college basketball is just that.

If you’re unfamiliar with how betting markets work, the easiest way to describe it is to say that the more action that comes in, the more difficult it is to win.

The general public sticks to the bigger-name schools when it comes to college basketball, which means there’s a great opportunity to capitalize on the overlooked contests.

It bears mentioning that you have to do adequate research if you want to be profitable betting on directional schools that you’ve probably never watched before in your life. If you do truly get to know the leagues, the possibilities are endless.

The bottom line is that the sportsbooks are very rarely going to have holes in their odds when it comes to the NFL – there’s just too much at stake.

Much like a stock that has yet to explode, there’s a tremendous amount of value in betting on games in which the general public simply doesn’t have any interest.

The NBA Playoffs

Granted, you’ll have to wait a few months after football season is over to make to get to the NBA postseason, but that just means you’ll have plenty of time to learn the teams inside and out.

The reason I suggest waiting until the playoffs to really start putting some skin in the game is because the results are a much more accurate reflection of the team’s capabilities.

During the regular season, extraneous circumstances such as motivation, travel, and the schedule can all play a role in the outcome of the game. That makes betting on the NBA tough for even the most tuned-in basketball fans.

The NBA is a different league in the playoffs and it’s clear to anyone who has watched the difference in effort and strategy between the regular season and the postseason. In the regular season, one team’s star player might decide that it’s a good night to take it easy and give a less-than-100% effort. Who can blame them? The system rewards saving yourself for the playoffs.

With that being said, the regular season isn’t complete devoid of value – even if you aren’t betting on the games. When you watch, try to gauge how certain team’s lineups play together, and how they might look in a playoff matchup.

For example, you might recognize that although the Celtics have a very strong core, they don’t have the ability to matchup against a team that has a “big” lineup option.

MLB (Underdogs)

Remember the philosophy of, “less action, better chance to win” that I laid out in regard to mid-major college basketball? The same applies to betting on baseball, albeit in a slightly different way.

When it comes to betting on baseball, it might look a little different than what you’re used to with other sports. The most notable example is that the “standard” way to bet isn’t via the point spread.

Most MLB bettors bet using the moneyline. If you’ve never bet the moneyline before, it’s very simple to understand. Here’s a brief example: if you’re looking at the Reds vs. the Rockies, the odds will appear as CIN -150 vs. COL +135.

Wide View of an MLB Player on Field

This means that you’d need to bet $150 to win $100 on the Reds, and bet $100 to win $135 on the Rockies.

In the example above, the Reds are the favorite. You might be asking yourself why anyone would bet $150 to win $100 in a sport where the best teams lose 60+ times per year and the worst teams win 60+ times per year.

If you did in fact ask that question, you’ve discovered the beauty of betting on baseball.

I won’t necessarily go as far as to say you should simply bet the underdog on every single game without the slightest bit of thought. With that being said, the data would suggest that there are worse moves you could make in sports gambling.

If you have a relatively deep bankroll and don’t mind going through some ups and downs, being a heavy underdog-bettor in Major League Baseball has a high likelihood of being profitable over a long period of time.

Football Futures

Some things are just too hard to quit. When you’re in need of a football fix but the calendar has other ideas, there’s still a way to get some action in on your favorite sport.

Futures bets, if you’re not familiar, are simply wagers placed on events happening – you guessed it – in the future. What exactly does that look like? Here are a few examples:

Over/Under Team Win Totals

It’s just like it sounds. Sportsbooks that offer futures bets will come up with a number for how many wins a given team will have during the upcoming season.

You choose whether you think they’ll have more or less, and will get paid out (or have to pay) following the conclusion of week 17.

Individual Awards

As soon as the MVP, Defensive POY, Comeback Player of the Year, and others, are given out each year, the sportsbooks will have odds on who will take home those same awards the next season.

The key here is to look at the odds and consider the value presented. For example, taking someone to win MVP at +120 is probably not worth it – my advice would be to only play +200 odds or better.

Team Accomplishments

To round out the most common football futures bets, there are bets offered on which teams will win each division, playoff round, and even the big game itself.

Be wary of betting on teams that are heavy favorites. A lot can happen in the offseason, and you don’t want to jeopardize your chances by taking a team that’s -400 to win the division, even if it seems like a sure thing.

The downside of futures bets is that you will have to wait several months to know if you’ve won or lost, but you could be looking at a nice payday once the season wraps up next year if you choose wisely.

Betting on Golf

If you still think golf is only for the older generation, you’ve never tried betting it.

Though it might not quite have the same feel as an NFL Sunday, when you’ve got several wagers on the field during the Sunday round of a major, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried gambling on golf before.

Another benefit of betting golf is that there are endless options from which to choose. For example, you can bet on the overall winner, bet on a player to finish in the top three, five, or ten. Additionally, you can bet on golf in the way I most prefer: matchups.

Pro Golfer Jordan Spieth

By all accounts golf is much different than team sports, but matchup bets make it feel much more familiar. The dos and don’t of betting on golf are simple to understand, too.

Matchup bets pit two golfers against each other on the betting slip and look something like this: Dustin Johnson (-180) vs. Patrick Reed (+150). These moneylines can provide a ton of value if you do your homework beforehand.

When it comes to golf, put your plays in, take the “golf nap,” and wake up at the turn to cheer on your picks.

Try Betting on Other Sports

The end of football season is sad for many reasons, but not having a sport to bet on shouldn’t be one of them.

If you learn how to master the types of plays laid out in this article, you could be heading into the first weekend of college football season with a bankroll that looks like it got in shape during the offseason.