NFL Betting: Advanced and Alternative Options
NFL betting has changed. Consider horse racing. For decades if you enjoyed wagering on horses, the only way to make bank was by picking one winner at a time, race after race after race.
All wagering consisted of was win, place, and show. And bettors ground out a living by choosing horses who would finish in the top three. But making a few pennies for each correct pick was not realistic.
Then came the advent of exotic wagering. An exciting daily-double (a two-race win parlay) turned into Pick 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s. An exacta (who will finish first and second in a given race) morphed into trifectas, superfectas, and super high fives.
NFL betting has changed a great deal too. There are far more options than taking or giving points or making an educated guess as to how many total points will be scored in a game. Even better, a trip to Nevada is no longer required. Online betting sites make it easy to bet on the NFL from the comfort of your own home.
In Game Wagering
If you’ve ever heard the theory that the team who scores the first points usually wins, you can now test out that philosophy. Let’s say the 49ers are five-point favorites at home against Seattle. The Seahawks get the opening kickoff, drive down the field, and score a touchdown.
In the old days, whether you wagered on San Francisco minus five, or Seattle plus five, you still had an entire game to watch to determine if you won or not. Now, with in-game wagering, you can choose to bet the game before it starts, or wait until a new point spread comes out.
The game might only be four minutes old, but your NFL sportsbook is now going to post a line something along the lines of Seattle -2. The way the bet works remains the same, if you wager on the Seahawks, they need to win the game by more than 2 points to cover.
If you put your money on San Francisco, they must lose by fewer than 2 points. In other words, if the final score is Seattle 31, San Francisco 28, the Seahawks have covered the spread and won the bet. If Seattle triumphs 31-30, the Niners cover the 2-point spread and win the wager.
You can bet this way throughout the game. If the 49ers get the ball trailing 31-28 with two minutes to go the updated spread might be Seattle -2. If the Seahawks’ defense holds, a bet on Seattle is a winner. If the Niners kick a field goal and force overtime, the bet continues into the extra session with Seahawk backers needing to win by more than two and those who wagered on San Francisco needing to lose by one or win the game outright. If the Niners score a touchdown to win the game in regulation, Niner bettors are rewarded.
In game wagering allows astute bettors to take advantage of ever- changing scenarios. Perhaps your speciality is watching a quarter of a game and being able to see how it unfolds. Maybe you can analyze the impact of weather or a key injury.
While the sportsbooks know what they are doing when setting the line, their goal continues to be getting an equal number of bets on each side. You may be able to find the smart wager while a game is in progress.
Manipulating Spreads – Money Lines & Buying Points
In the first section of this guide, we discussed how casinos guarantee that they make money. The short answer is the vig. You must bet $11 to win $10 or $110 to win $100. This is the case for almost all standard bets.
Whether you take the Cowboys minus seven or the Raiders plus seven, you are betting an extra 10 percent. When you bet this way, it is referred to as -110. Almost all standard bets are -110. However, like most everything in life, both the spread and the vig are negotiable.
If the Cowboys are a seven-point favorite, instead of wagering that they will win by a touchdown, you can simply opt to bet that they will win the game. However, to avoid laying points, you will need to risk more to win the same amount. Usually, a seven-point favorite is about -300, or a 3-1 favorite.
In this case, you would need to bet $30 to win $10 or $300 to win $100 if you wager on Dallas on the NFL money line. Conversely, if you like the Raiders, and think that they will win the game (not just cover the spread), the money line will be something like Oakland +275. If you bet $10 on the Raiders and they win you will get $27.50, and if you wager $100 you’d make $275. Instead of betting with points, money lines evaluate the percentage chance that a team will win a game.
The middle ground between point spread and money lines is when you buy points. Let’s say that you like the Cowboys and think they will win, but see it as fairly feasible that they will triumph 20-13 or 20-14. If you give seven points, in the first scenario, you will push, and in the second you lose. However, you don’t think that the game will be so close that you need to give away three-to-one odds.
In this case, you can alter the line by buying two points. You want to make the spread Dallas minus five. Sportsbooks generally will allow you to do this, but be aware that the -110 will change to something like -150.
In other words, because you changed the spread from minus seven to minus five, you now must bet $15 to win $10 instead of $11 to win $10 or $150 to win $100 instead of $110 to win $100. While it might not seem like a huge amount more to bet, each time you change the odds from -110 to -120 to -130 and so forth, you must win your bets at a higher percentage to make money.
Let’s make this real clear. There are five games you like in a day, and all are at -110. You bet $110 on each game and win three of the five. Here is what it might look like.
- Eagles +7 and -110. You bet $110, the Eagles cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $100.
- Browns +10 and -110. You bet $110, the Browns cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $200.
- Chargers -3 and -110. You bet $110, the Chargers cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $300.
- Packers -7 and -110. You bet $110, the Packers fail to cover, you lose $110. Where you stand: up $190.
- Rams +4 and -110. You bet $110, the Rams fail to cover, you lose $110. Where you stand: up $80.
Now what happens if you alter the five spreads by two points, pay a percentage to do so, and still win three out of five?
- Eagles +9 and -150. You bet $150, the Eagles cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $100.
- Browns +12 and -150. You bet $150, the Browns cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $200.
- Chargers -1 and -150. You bet $150, the Chargers cover, you make $100. Where you stand: up $300.
- Packers -5 and -150. You bet $150, the Packers fail to cover, you lose $150. Where you stand: up $150.
- Rams +6 and -150. You bet $150, the Rams fail to cover, you lose $150. Where you stand: Even.
Of course, the idea is that by altering five spreads maybe one of the two games you initially lost would turn into a win. Say, for example, the Packers won 27-21. If you gave seven points that would be a loss, but by changing it to a five-point spread it becomes a win. Suddenly you have gone 4-1 instead of 3-2 and are loving life.
Now that you have an understanding of how odds work, it is time to introduce NFL parlays. Simply put, a parlay is when you want to make one wager that is contingent on making multiple correct picks. Because it is difficult to wager correctly on more than one game, you are given enticing odds to try and beat multiple point spreads.
You must win all of the individual games in your parlay to cash your ticket. Odds vary depending on where you make your bet, but they are generally in the ballpark of:
- 2 Teams: 13/5 (+260)
- 3 Teams: 6/1 (+600)
- 4 Teams: 10/1 (+1000)
- 5 Teams: 20/1 (+2000)
- 6 Teams: 40/1 (+4000)
- 7 Teams: 75/1 (+75000)
- 8 Teams 150/1 (+150000)
What this means is if you bet a two-team parlay, and both portions of it win, for your $10 wager you will get $26 or for a $100 bet you will make $260. If you bet on three games, and they all win, a $10 wager nets you $60.
Although it is obvious, it should be noted that winning five or eight games without any flaws is incredibly difficult. While you may have a really strong feeling about one, or two, or three games, generally anything more than that is awfully difficult to win consistently, and you are probably better off betting eight individual games than trying to bet one parlay and hoping that all of the results work out in your favor.
Much like parlays, teasers require you to be correct about more than one game to win money.
A teaser essentially is a parlay where you are buying points in each of the games. By doing so, your team has a greater chance of covering the altered spread. However, your odds are reduced.
Popular teasers generally alter the point spread by six, six-and-a- half, or seven points. Because the spread is changed dramatically in each game, for a two-team teaser your odds might be -110, -120, or -130, while a three-team tease you gets odds like +180, +160, or +140. It all depends on whether you take the extra six, six and a half, or seven points.
A five-team teaser would offer odds like +450, +400, or +350. An eight-team teaser might be worth +15000, +12000, or +10000. Obviously, for eight teams 10-1 for a teaser is much different than 150-1 for a parlay, but you are getting seven extra points in each game, or 56 total points.
In addition to betting on which team is going to win, or if a team will cover a spread, you can bet on a wide range of NFL propositions surrounding a game. From things as random as who will win the coin toss, the temperature of a game at kickoff time, and how long it will take to sing the national anthem, to how many yards the two teams will combine for, which team will score first, and how many yards or touchdowns an individual player might notch.
Just about all prop bets are wagered by using odds not spreads. So, if the over/under on number of yards Tom Brady throws for is 300, and more people think he will go over than under, you might have to take odds like -140 (bet $14 to win $10) in order to take the over, and could get +120 (bet $10 to win $12) by going with the under.
You can also bet on portions of a game. There can be spreads or odds for what the score will be after one quarter or at halftime. All prop bets are best if you have knowledge or opinions on a particular facet of the game but not the game as a whole.
Throughout the season and even before the year begins, you can wager on NFL futures. Wagers might include who will a division, conference, or the Super Bowl. You can also bet who will be awarded Rookie of the Year, MVP, or Coach of the Year honors.
Odds fluctuate as games are played and more knowledge is gained. You can even bet before the season begins on how many games each team will win. Let’s say the over under on the Broncos is 11.5. If you bet on the over, Denver must win 12 games or more for you to win. If you bet on the under the Broncos must go 11-5 or worse before you can cash your ticket.
These wagers can be fun because you can bet something in August or September and follow your bet throughout an entire season. They are also valuable if there if a team or a player you think is seriously underrated or overrated. Because before that squad starts
out and the sportsbook adjusts, you can lock-in your wager and hope they exceed your expectations, whatever you predicted!