Welcome to another installment of Odds & Ends, where we take a closer look at the gambling world’s answer to the English Premier League: the American Football League (AFL). The purpose of this article is to familiarize the reader with the basics of betting on the NFL, the unique betting patterns associated with this exciting sport, and how to maximize his or her bankroll with -4 options.
What Is NFL Football?
To put things simply, the NFL is the National Football League. You might be familiar with the NFL or the American Football League (AFL) if you’ve ever watched a game that pitted a team from the South against one from the North. The NFL was originally formed in 1921 as a merger between the American Professional Football Association (which consisted of teams from the Midwest and the Southern United States) and the National Rugby League (which was formed in 1896 and at the time included teams from the North, West, and Australasia).
Today, the NFL is one of the most popular sports leagues in all of North America. Every Sunday during the NFL season (roughly from mid-August until mid-March), you’ll be able to find a TV in some shape or form tuned into one of the games. For those who love their football, there are plenty of opportunities to wager on games throughout the year. Whether it’s betting on the Super Bowl or just picking regular season games, there’s always plenty to choose from.
Why Bet On The NFL?
There are numerous reasons why you might want to put your faith in the NFL over other sports or entertainment leagues. For starters, the odds are generally in your favor. Look at the 2015 season: of the 128 games, the average wager per NFL game was 4.26 with a total betting market of $52.4 million. That’s nearly twice the amount wagered per game on the 2014 NFL regular season and over 15% more than the average wager per game during the league’s most lucrative season, as measured by total bets: 2008.
Furthermore, the turnover in the NFL is relatively low. There have been only 20 head coaches and general managers who have been at the helm of a team for more than 5 years, and only 10 of those coaches/managers have been with their current team for an entire six-year cycle. The lack of managerial instability makes it easier for long-time bettors to get a feel for the relative strength of a particular team or player. This in turn makes it simpler to place bets with confidence.
Unique Betting Patterns & Termology For NFL Gamblers
To understand how to bet on the NFL, you have to start by familiarizing yourself with some unique betting terminology and patterns. First off, checkmarks indicate that a team is a favorite in a specific game, while a minus sign indicates an underdog. For example, a team with a minus-100 checkmark is a 100-to-1 underdog in the game.
Also, make sure you’re always looking at the point spread as opposed to merely the odds. You’ll often see odds reflected with a plus or minus sign attached, but the point spread is generally more indicative of how a game is actually going to play out. As an example, consider the 2015 AFC Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots. The over/under for this game was set at 40, with the Patriots listed as 3.5-point favorites (meaning they had to score at least 39 points to win).
As the game drew nearer and the betting opened, most people expected the Pats to cover the 3.5-point spread fairly easily. However, the exact opposite happened. In fact, the Bills opened up a whopping 9.5- point lead by halftime, and it was eventually settled for a 43-21 Bills victory.
This was due, in large part, to the point spread not properly capturing the favoritism the Patriots showed towards their arch-rival: the point spread only took into account the betting public’s perception of the game, while the actual edge went towards the Patriots. A good rule of thumb is to always use the point spread as your primary indicator of how a game is going to play out, and only use the over/under if you’re feeling adventurous and want to make a wager that won’t necessarily follow the game’s result
How To Place Your NFL Bets
Now that you’re up to speed on the terminology and have a general idea of how the NFL works, let’s examine how to place bets on games. To do this, you’ll need to login to one of the many online sportsbooks, like MyBookie.com or LiveBet.com, and make a deposit. These two sites are reputable and have a good reputation among recreational and professional gamblers alike. Once made, your deposit will be credited to your account and you can begin placing wagers on upcoming games.
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid placing bets on games that you’re less familiar with. Familiarize yourself with as many games as possible and learn to judge which ones are worth betting on and which ones aren’t. For example, the San Francisco 49ers are a pretty decent team, but don’t bet on them if you’re new to the game or if the odds are against you. On the other hand, if you’ve been watching the Niners for a while and know how they like to run football plays on their opponents (mostly from the wishbone formation), then you might consider betting on them in a close game. Another example would be the Cincinnati Bengals: due to their slow start in 2014, many people were quick to write them off as a hopeless franchise. Since then, they’ve put together a fairly stable roster and acquired a lot of talent via free agency and the draft, making them one of the better squads in the NFL. If you’re a fan of the Bengals, you might want to consider backing them in the upcoming season.
As for the games themselves, you don’t need to be a genius to figure out which ones to bet on. If you’ve been following football for any amount of time, you’ll soon start seeing games that you consider to be “good bets”. These are the types of games where you’ve seen a lot of action, are familiar with the coaches and players involved, and the final score doesn’t surprise you.
As a general rule, teams that are playing at home against teams with losing records are usually good value bets. You’ll often see home teams covered even in a game they’re expected to lose, which makes them good options for gamblers hoping to gain some value for their investment.
Where Can I Bet?
When it comes to betting on the NFL, the choice of where to do this is pretty much limitless. You have a variety of options, from the obvious ones (i.e. your nearest sportsbook) to less conventional ones (i.e. betting on the outcome of an XBox game). Which one you use depends on what kind of experience you wish to have. If you’re new to this, go with the simplest and most conventional solution (i.e. your nearest sportsbook) and learn to use it efficiently. Once you’re more familiar with betting and have developed a good feel for which games are worth wagering on and which ones aren’t, then consider moving to the more exotic options available to you.
For example, if you’ve got an extensive background in the NCAA and you’re confident that the trend of underdogs winning big in the NFL will continue, then you might want to try and predict the winners of the big game matchups (e.g. the National Champion). Predicting the winner of the College Football Playoff can be quite rewarding, as you’ll often see lots of action on these games. Furthermore, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even place bets on which team is going to score first in each of these games!
One last thing before we wrap up. Remember to keep your knees flexed as you’re bending over your computer or tablet to place your wagers! This will help prevent back pain as you age and prevent injuries to your back, hip, and/or knee. It also looks cool when you do it (#healthtip).