Basic NFL Betting

There are three basic football or NFL bets. In North America, these bets are called the Money Line, Handicap and Total Points markets.

The handicap market is the most popular way to bet on the NFL in North America, and it is used as the standard reference point for referring to relative chances in a game. As is the case in all sport, opposing NFL teams vary in strength and to effectively counter the perceived bias in abilities, bookmakers offer a ‘handicap’ to level the playing field.

Totals betting on the NFL focuses on how many combined points will be scored by both teams during the game. Bookmakers will generally offer an option to bet on whether or not the total points will be either over or under their mark. This is why this form of betting is often referred to as the Over/Under.

In both the handicap and totals markets, when a team exceeds the required points for a successful bet it is called ‘covering the bet’.

Once you have mastered the basics of NFL betting, you may want to explore some more advanced strategies like a spread betting strategy. Bettors looking to bet on the NFL handicaps must take into consideration a number of factors about the game, instead of just the chances of team X beating team Y. This form of NFL betting is more about how many points X is better than Y and an experienced bettor will most likely think about how the weather can impact on the game as this could effect the number of points scored by either team.

Professional NFL spots bettors spend time building power ranking systems to evaluate teams’ relative strengths and calculate who will have the advantage in any given game. This is then measured against the handicaps and odds offered by bookmakers – looking for discrepancies that represent value.

Collating reliable information is an integral part of a succesful betting strategy. However, for those sports bettors new to NFL betting, there are some accessible handicapping systems that can produce accurate results in the short term.

The most basic level, the NFL is about the battle between offensive and defensive units. So one simple way to evaluate the strength of an NFL team is to look at the average offensive yards gained per play and the average defensive yards allowed per play.

As you would expect, teams that gain more yards than they allow tend to win. While this is NOT exclusively accurate, this measure can be used as a tool to predict future performances.

NFL operates in a unique ‘closed’ league system, where relegation and promotion do not occur. From a statistical point of view, the data from successive seasons for such factors as home-field advantage (HFA) is robust.

To work out HFA for each franchise competing in the NFL you should subtract the total points scored by visiting teams from the home teams and divide by the total number of games played.

You will notice after working out the HFA for the past 20 years, each Franchise HFA is close to a 3-point mark, which has become standard for handicapping purposes.

When betting on the NFL handicap there are a few key numbers to be aware of. These numbers are the margins most landed on relative to the NFL final score.

By understanding what the key numbers are, you can avoid betting on a bad handicap and can even work out which team the bookmaker wants you to bet on.

For instance, three is the most common margin of victory in the NFL as most games are decided late on by a field goal, while seven is the second most common winning margin, as this is how many points a team is awarded for a touchdown plus an extra point for a successful conversion.

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