The Basics
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how to bet

For fans of American football, the only thing more enjoyable than settling in to watch wall-to-wall NFL games every Sunday between September and February is winning money while you do it! Here are some handy NFL betting strategies and key tips to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.



Studying the form is terminology often used by horse racing bettors who thoroughly research the recent and historical results (i.e. the form) of horses they are considering wagering on. This process is just as useful for finding winners in the NFL as it is at the track.


While you’d probably need the brain capacity of Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting to be able to make sense of all the analytical data and statistical information available online in the relation to the NFL, there are a few easy identifiers to help inform your betting decisions.


Checking out the NFL standings for an overview of each team’s win/loss record is a good place to start, while zooming in on more recent results and score lines will give you a truer indication of current form and possible totals.

Some NFL teams perform particularly well against certain opponents, so identifying favorable matchups can definitely help with moneyline and spread betting. These are all very basic, but useful tidbits of information to have at hand.



This sounds really obvious, but it is actually really important to understand how scoring in NFL games works, as points spreads and over/under totals are often calculated by sportsbooks with this in mind. 


Considering a touchdown with successful extra point is worth 7 points, and a field goal is worth 3 points, the bulk of NFL fixtures finish with a margin of either 3, 6, 7 or 10 points. These numbers are certainly worth noting!


For example, there is a significant difference between betting on a favorite to cover a minus -6.5 spread (i.e. a touchdown with extra point) versus a minus -7.5 spread where a touchdown and a field goal (or two-point conversion) are needed to cover the spread.



There is a reason the Seattle Seahawks’ fan base is known as the ‘12th Man’… the noise they make and atmosphere they create at Lumen Field makes it feel as though the Seahawks have an extra player out there with them!


While this is obviously not the case (although Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf is essentially the same size as two human beings), it’s important not to underestimate the impact of home-field advantage in the NFL. Things such as travel weariness, the unfamiliarity of different climates, and crowd noise so loud the quarterback can’t be heard in the huddle all make life difficult for road teams and should be considered when placing your NFL bets.



Weather can significantly the outcome of NFL games. Rain, wind and snow in particular make it difficult for quarterbacks to throw the ball and move the offense downfield, which often results in low-scoring, closely-fought games (some would say boring, but who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned dog-fight!).


For this reason, being aware of the forecast is important when considering placing totals and points spread bets, as it might reduce margin between the two teams, as well as the amount of points scored (hint: it might be a good idea to bet on the under, as well as underdog to cover the spread).



Injuries are so common in the NFL that some people joke that NFL stands for ‘Not For Long’. This is due to the lack of longevity players have as a result of their bodies getting battered every week.


This is why it’s so important to be across all the ailments that might be keeping players sidelined before you place your NFL bets. Injured quarterbacks are the main one to look out for, while missing wide receivers, running backs, or multiple injures at a specific position (i.e. offensive line) could also see sportsbooks adjust their odds on a variety of markets. 



For all the reasons already listed above, the NFL odds listed by sportsbooks can change in the lead up to game day. If you’re savvy enough, there’s opportunities to take advantage of these fluctuations provided you know how to read the different types of NFL odds.


For example, a team could start as a -7.5 favorite when the odds go up on Monday, but this could quickly change once the media get wind the star quarterback is carrying as shoulder injury. If the sportsbooks aren’t quick enough to adjust the odds before you bet on the +7.5 underdog, this could be a great way to tip the odds slightly in you favour.



Last, but certainly not least, it never hurts to get an expert’s opinion. This is equally valid when it comes to getting that rash in your groin region checked as it is for wagering on NFL games!


Not everyone has the time to watch a full slate of NFL games over the course of the weekend (nor can they probably afford the different cable packages required to do so), but thankfully there’s no shortage reliable and informed sources, including our own experts here at Bet Basics, that you can help. Try to find commonalities and consensus in the picks of these experts and use that to corroborate your own research before making your bet.

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