College Football Betting Trends

Best Football Betting Strategy

There are no sure wins or guaranteed profits in football betting and betting on other sports. However, with the right strategy, you lower your risk of mistakes and errors of judgment.

The goal of each football betting strategy is always the same: minimize your risks and maximize your profits.

But with multiple football betting strategies out there, how do you know which ones really work and which you should avoid? How do you develop a sports betting strategy based on a betting system that works for you?

We detail how these strategies apply to football betting per wager type. We also explain how they can help increase your potential profit and improve your sports betting experience.

Read on as we examine the different betting systems, how they work, and why. We also include the systems that don’t work for football betting and explain why you should avoid them.

Practical Advice When Betting on the NFL

A betting strategy can make or break your potential success. The right approach to use depends entirely on you, as your own preferences and betting style uniquely determine how you play.

Here, we list some of the valuable betting tips as betting guides to help you develop and improve your own football betting strategies.

1. Bet online.

Using the internet to bet is the most convenient way to bet on football. The process for online betting is user-friendly, and you get to enjoy bonuses and rewards.

The odds and lines are very competitive, too, with various selections of betting markets available.

Go only with licensed sportsbooks to get the maximum benefit out of betting online that are backed by government licenses and strict regulations to ensure your privacy and safety.

2. Look for the best odds and prices.

Betting lines move, and prices vary between sports betting sites. Comparative shopping can decrease risk and increase returns.

To successfully line shop, you pick a betting line and compare it across two or more betting sites.

Just three to five minutes of additional research can add hundreds of dollars in estimated returns for futures bets on an NFL team, for example. In some cases, profits and losses come down to the smallest of margins.

A typical recommendation is to sign up at three or four of the best NFL betting sites and compare the betting lines on each before you make any bets this NFL season.

3. Monitor the changes in odds throughout the week.

Playing every game (or close to it) in the NFL each week is a recipe for disaster. Look for weekly edges and capitalize on them.

If you’re planning on wagering against the public, wait around and let emotional sports bettors drive the odds in your favor.

If you’re betting on a public team, however, you better jump on an early line.

4. Understand expected value and probability.

Having good mathematical skills can help you find value bets, calculate profits, and use football betting systems with ease.

The most popular football betting strategies are primarily based on mathematical methodology and formulas.

Analyzing expected value should be part of your betting process because it helps you make money long-term. Equipped with that information, you won’t be just guessing what will happen.

Look at the context behind the numbers, as patterns sometimes provide valuable information when betting on NFL games. However, you must know more than just the trends when evaluating statistics.

5. Choose quality over quantity.

Successful sports betting is not about how many bets you place but the quality of those bets. It’s the value tied to your predictions that determines bet quality.

It’s much better to place a few wagers that you really thought through than it is to place bets on every game each week. If you don’t see any good opportunities, it’s OK to just pass.

Tips to help you focus on quality bets:

  • Don’t load your bets with too many events. Limiting parlays and teasers to just two to five events is ideal when betting on the NFL.

NFL teams are more closely matched than other sports, making it challenging to correctly predict the outcome of several games.

  • Don’t bet with your emotions. Be mindful of your biases to avoid making decisions based solely on favoritism.
  • Don’t drink and bet. Drinking can impair your betting judgment, so wait until the games start and you’re done placing your bets before you help yourself to some alcohol.

When you feel like you're on tilt, do something that will calm you down, like going for a short walk.

6. Watch the games you bet on.

Stats help, but if you watch the actual games, you can form your own opinions about a team or player’s strengths and weaknesses.

Take note of the goalscorers, the number of goals scored, corners won, and red and yellow cards shown. Even watching the highlight reels, which are often wildly entertaining, can be helpful.

Important considerations when watching and betting on NFL games:

  • Check the team’s injury reports.

When team injury reports are a bit vague, check the Twitter accounts of the team’s football beat-writers for more detail.

Also, find out which players missed practice during the week, their status for the upcoming game, and their role on the team.

  • Consider the venue of the event.

When handicapping for home team advantage, always compare each team’s home vs. away record.

Home-field advantage matters more at certain stadiums. For example, the Seahawks have been performing exceptionally well in Seattle 92-31 since 2003.

  • Be wary of divisional matchups.

Divisional matchups are often very close even though one team appears superior. Opposing teams that meet twice every season get to size each other up.

While the NFL point spread betting is a great idea, it can be risky on the moneyline.

  • Pay attention to individual matchups.

Try to know the major skill differences between players who are going head-to-head, as they can dramatically impact the outcome of a sports event.

For example, a weak offensive tackle is pitted against the premier edge-rushers in the premier league. Also, consider the coaches’ strategies.

7. Analyze your betting performance.

Tracking your betting history can help you analyze your performance and improve your results. Even your winning NFL betting strategies can be adjusted to be even better.

Once you’ve set up a spreadsheet or a betting logbook, entering relevant details every time you place a wager will be easy. Review your bets periodically to evaluate the quality of your betting decisions.

8. Use the off-season to handicap the upcoming season.

Use the off-season to prepare for the upcoming season by honing your betting skills and improving your football knowledge. You can also use this period to analyze your betting success and previous strategies and properly handicap the upcoming season.

9. Diversify your NFL bets. Strategize per wager type.

Consider using various wager types for your football betting. While you still earn a profit by sticking to point spread betting, for example, you can be missing out on bigger opportunities in the football betting market by limiting yourself like that.

Successful football betting strategies often include betting on the different options available to you, like moneyline, the spread, and game totals.

At online sportsbooks like, you can bet on the NFL and several popular sports using these bet types and more.

Each time you place your bet online, you’re given a bet slip that automatically computes and displays your estimated returns.

The types of bets on football include point spreads, parlays, moneyline bets, NFL teasers, college football teasers, over/unders (totals), college teasers, propositions (prop bets), and pleasers.

Click here to read more about betting on the NFL, including reading the betting lines and how each wager type works.

Once you understand the basic concept behind each bet type, you can start thinking about how best to apply them to your game plan.

No matter which bet type you use, it’s essential that you consider the following pointers:

  • Make it a habit to look for value bets.
  • A variance will even out over time, so continue to employ your tried and tested value betting principles.
  • Use in-play (live bets) to your advantage.

With live betting, you can draw better conclusions on the outcomes that are likely to occur while you enjoy watching the game.

10. Manage your bankroll.

Bankroll management for football betting is essentially the same as bankroll management for betting on any other sport. Good money management is a simple matter of setting some rules for how much you’re going to stake on your wagers.

The slightly more challenging aspect is sticking to those rules. But if you’ve got enough discipline, that shouldn’t be too hard.

We also give you the option to go on play breaks and self-exclusion.

Strategies and Systems to Apply When Betting on Football

The strategies listed below are mostly recommended for beginners and proved most effective when betting on football.

They’re straightforward, general guidelines to what you should be betting on and when. However, don’t expect these strategies to lead you to easy wins.

Football betting strategy is more than just following a set of rules and watching cash roll in. Still, you have to study each betting opportunity for yourself and create your game plan.

One way you can develop your own betting technique is to try live betting, find a system that works for you, and apply it or combine it with your current betting approach.

More importantly, take your time to research results and statistics, increase your knowledge of sports, and train yourself to recognize value. These are, and always will be, the fundamental proponents of the best football betting systems.

Many punters count on live betting and slightly adapt the strategy they use to suit them after they’ve experimented to find which system works best.

1. Handicapping

It’s not only the quality of teams that affects the outcome of football games. The circumstances surrounding a football match have an effect too.

Situational factors include:

  • Playing conditions (schedule, weather, and stadium)
  • Team standings
  • Previous matchups
  • Player injuries
  • Travel (for road teams)
  • Winning or losing streaks

2. Value Betting

Spotting value bets requires a lot of research, betting experience, and ample knowledge about the game.

A bet with a high percentage of winning isn't necessarily a good bet if the betting odds are too low. A bet that seems unlikely to win can still be a good bet even if the odds are too high.

Value betting trains you to always look into the possibility that the odds listed could provide an opportunity for extra value.

3. Following Steam Moves

Sharps or professional bettors bet solely based on data and value, not for entertainment purposes.

This strategy aims to figure out what sharps are betting on based on the changes made to the odds and lines. Then, you simply follow their lead and bet the same way.

Timing is critical in this strategy, as steam moves can happen at any time. If you’re not closely monitoring the odds and lines, you’re going to miss the opportunity to bet on them.

4. Fading the Public or The Contrarian Strategy

The idea is to bet on the opposite of what the majority of people are betting on. The theory is that the public often overvalues one side of a betting line.

However, this strategy is too simplistic and only applicable to big games that attract a lot of interest.

5. Betting on The Underdogs

This strategy is about looking for value in matchups where underdogs play at home against more popular teams.

Most recreational bettors put their stake on road favorites without much thought. That action often makes home underdogs an attractive betting option.

6. Betting Middles

The strategy to ‘middle’ a game is most prevalent in football betting. Still, many bettors may not be familiar with this system because it involves two different wagers on the same game, not on the same team.

This strategy entails investing double the money, so it isn’t for everyone. However, middling can still be a helpful wagering option to earn a decent payout without taking much risk.

7. Betting Off-Market Prices

Compare the odds and lines set by oddsmakers at several betting sites to find off-market prices. Look for anything that stands out, and then use that information to your advantage.

8. Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage betting focuses on exploiting the variation in odds across different betting platforms. By strategically adjusting your stakes, you can expect to earn a profit.

Bookies apply their own statistical approach to setting odds for an event. Still, you’ll often find games where both outcomes are priced in a way that promises a profit no matter which team or player wins.

9. Lay Betting Strategy

This strategy is associated with a betting exchange, where you can bet against other football bettors instead of a bookmaker. You can offer odds to or request odds from other bettors.

For example, you make a betting offer or ‘lay the bet’ and offer the odds in a particular game. Then, other bettors will browse these offers and bet on the ones they like. This is also called ‘backing.’

Given the option to set the odds, you can get a better price on exchanges. For this reason, ‘laying’ and ‘backing’ football bets are popular among sharps and among the top football betting strategies.

10. Matched Betting

This betting technique is also called back or lay bet matching, arb betting, or double betting. You can use this to earn from the free bets and deals offered by different bookmakers. Essentially, matched betting is placing multiple bets to trigger these offers.

11. Rebound Game Strategy

Study the results of previous games and look for teams that suffered a blowout or poorly lost in a game where they were the favorite.

The ‘bounce back’ theory suggests that setbacks can push a team to do better the next time they play. But these bets can only be profitable if you know enough about the teams involved.

12. Bye Week Strategy

This strategy is based loosely on a trend of teams performing better than average following a bye week (a scheduled off week). You simply bet on a team in their first game after a bye week.

To benefit from this concept, you need to dig deeper into a team’s stats to determine under what circumstances the bye week has the most significant effect.

13. Goliath Bets

A Goliath bet is popular in horse racing and football. A single bet consists of 247 bets on eight selections, and you must win at least two of the eight selections to win your bet.

With Goliath bets, the stakes are much higher than with just one. The two winning selections must have very high odds for the overall bet to return a profit.

14. Wong Teasers

The term ‘Wong teaser’ was popularized by Stanford Wong in his book Sharp Sports Betting in 2009. This two-game teaser bet involves teasing the spread, moving it through the key numbers three and seven.

The key here is to play as close to kickoff as possible. This teaser considers point spread underdogs of between 1.5 and 2.5 and favorites of between 7.5 and 8.5.

15. Boosted Odds

The differences in pricing of events give you opportunities to cover all results for a win. But note that these bets aren’t risk-free and may even lead to your account being restricted and, potentially, closed.

Price boosts often present the same possibilities without the risk to your account. The strategy is to place a ‘back’ bet on the boosted odds and then cover the other possible outcomes via betting exchanges and a lay bet, for example.

Click here to check out our NFL futures odds boost.

16. Football Trade Platforms

Football trading is like a stock market where you trade football players instead of company stocks.

But unlike traditional soccer betting, where you win or lose your stake, your share value in trading platforms fluctuates until you decide to sell.

Also, you can buy real-life footballers but in a virtual world. Player prices depend on their performances in the real world and the demand by traders online.

Rewards are given in the form of dividends or prizes. Like stock markets, capital appreciation (buy low, sell high) is the ultimate goal.

17. Kelly Criterion

This betting system uses a formula to calculate the maximum stake of a bet on an outcome with higher-than-expected odds.

This method maximizes the bet’s value by determining how much of your bankroll you should use.

However, one major drawback of this system that’s more pronounced in football betting is that you have to stake a large amount of money on a bet.

When testing the Kelly criterion in football betting, it’s better to be conservative to avoid overestimating the probability of a win.

Football Betting Strategies and Systems to Avoid

The following betting systems aren’t profitable long-term investments of your time or money. They may be familiar or have been recommended by people you trust, but they aren’t really worth pursuing.

Fibonacci Method

The Fibonacci system is drawn from a mathematical sequence where each new number is the sum of the previous two. In football, some bettors would recommend using this method when betting on draws.

This method involves increasing the size of your bets every time you lose. The idea is that applying this method can help you to earn bigger profits since you’re likely to have huge stakes on winning sports bets than losing wagers.

However, at some point, you’re likely to go on a long losing streak, and the stakes will get too high.

Martingale Method

Commonly used when playing roulettes, the Martingale method entails that you double your stake immediately after you lose an ‘even money’ bet. This way, you’re allowing your first win to recover all of your previous losses.

However, the reality is very different. That much-anticipated win may not come before you realize that you’ve exhausted your bankroll.

In general, it’s not advisable to chase your losses when gambling, and this method asks you to blindly do so.

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