NFL Betting Tips Part I

I seem to always get the same questions from people when it comes to betting football, so it only made sense to do this NFL betting tips piece based on a few of the common inquiries I see multiple times each week.

Yes, I am a sound believer in bankroll management — you can’t consistently win without it — but everyone already knows that whether they adhere to it or not. Resisting chasing after a loss or pressing after a win can be included here as well. The psychology and self-control — or what I like to call being a headstrong sports bettor — is just as important as money management when it comes to building your bankroll.

There is other generic sports betting advice I could continue spewing, but I want to discuss detailed questions I receive and dig deeper into the numbers and a few other tips that I personally believe are underutilized when the casual fan is betting football.

  1. Buying hooks

I am often asked when it is profitable to buy hooks. My quick response to this question on Twitter is that I don’t buy hooks. The biggest key numbers in football are 3, 7, and then 10. Even in situations where I see a line at 3.5 or 7.5 I don’t consider buying half points. There’s no evidence to prove that this is a profitable venture long-term. Reality is anyone worrying about a hook probably shouldn’t be considering playing that particular game in the first place. If you like a team to cover -3 but -3.5 scares you off, you shouldn’t even be looking at the side.

Think of it this way: why would sportsbooks allow you to buy half points if it was a proven profitable angle for the bettor? Sportsbooks have also grown smarter over the last few years and typically require you to lay more than the standard -120 when buying a half point around the key numbers of 3 and 7. Laying -125 and -130 to buy a hook are much more common these days.

For arguments sake let’s say you are confident that you can beat the books 55% of the time. Even at the cheapest of prices at 12-to-10 when buying a half point, you’re losing an extra 10 cents 45% of the time. By laying 12-to-10 a bettor must now win 54.55% of their games just to break even as opposed to the 52.38% the standard 11-to-10 bettor needs.

The money that you would save the few times the game does in fact end in a push doesn’t equate to the amount of money you are losing when you’re paying an extra 10 cents in games that would have been losers regardless. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s much more common these days anyway to see -130 when buying to 3 and 7. At this point laying 13-to-10 the bettor needs to win 56.62% of the time just to break even. Good luck.

Ultimately I would stick to the notion that being worrisome about a hook should probably keep you away from a game all together. If I ever make a play on a team laying -3.5 it is because I think the line should be 7+. The half point between 3 and 3.5 shouldn’t change my opinion. On the other side, if I like a team getting +2.5 it’s because I project the team to win outright and think they should be a small favorite. The option of buying a half point from 2.5 to 3 shouldn’t make a difference on whether or not I like a particular side.

I want to be clear that this doesn’t mean you should discount 3s and 7s altogether. It is especially important in the NFL to always do your best shopping around for the best number. With the discrepancy in talent between teams being so much smaller than college football for example, every half point of value to be had — particularly around key numbers — is extremely important.

In part II we will look at Statistics and and other factors to utilize in your handicapping.

College Football Handicapping Tips & Predictions

Marco D’Angelo, Sports Cheetah and Johnny Detroit break down some tips and predictions for handicapping college football.

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