How to Pick NFL Winners
There are a number of different ways to bet on the NFL, but there is no more simple bet than picking a winner of a football game.
Betting on the winner of the game is the most popular choice of most casual bettors, as it is much easier to understand than trying to win money on the spread or the over/under betting lines.
Check out our top tips on NFL winners, and how to find a good moneyline bet.
Moneyline Betting Introduction
For those who may be new to the sports betting scene, a “moneyline bet” is the betting term that is used by sportsbooks to refer to picking “the winner” of the game.
When you take a team on the moneyline, you are taking them to win the game.
Sportsbooks also offer odds on teams winning after the end of the first quarter or first half, making the moneyline a very intriguing type of sports bet.
For example, let’s say that the Tennessee Titans play the Indianapolis Colts with the Titans coming in as (-180) moneyline favorites over their division rival Colts who are (+160) underdogs.
Those who think the Titans are going to win would take the (-180) moneyline, while Colts fans would get the more profitable (+160) line.
If a bettor wanted to bet on the Titans winning after the first quarter, he/she would want to wager on the TItans first quarter moneyline.
These alternative moneyline odds will often offer better odds to the bettor, as they are a more risky bet for the player.
Betting on NFL Favorites
Barring rare circumstances in which two teams are very evenly rated, each NFL game will have a favorite and an underdog.
Sportsbooks odds are usually very accurate, making the NFL one of the tougher sports for bettors to make a long term profit.
One aspect of NFL betting that is difficult over the long run is the art of betting on favorites.
While the majority of bets on favorites will usually hit, this does not mean that those bets will win you money.
A bet on the favorite does not return as much money as was bet, meaning that you will have to bet more than $100 to win $100.
This can be problematic when winning over a period of time, as it takes a significant chunk of investment to win big on favorites.
Although it’s not always the easiest or most profitable way to bet, placing wagers on favorites does have its own time and place.
Try parlaying an NFL moneyline favorite to another bet to make it more profitable, or simply be very accurate when betting favorites to avoid getting burnt by the bookies.
Betting on NFL Underdogs
If you aren’t betting on the favorite in an NFL game, that must mean you decided to go with the underdog.
An underdog is simply the team that the bookies think will lose the contest, and their odds will reflect this.
A good underdog is always cherished by the sports bettor, as there is always money to be made with a good underdog.
Considering an underdog has the ability to multiply your bet by any range of numbers, it is always smart to research the NFL board for an interesting matchup that has a competitive underdog.
There are even ways that can allow you to take the original favorite as the underdog.
Sounds confusing, but it’s actually simple.
If the team who is favored at the beginning of the game has a slow start and gives up a couple unanswered scores, the live odds of the sportsbooks will gradually change.
This will allow the bettor to get in on the original favorite, even though the team that they are betting on is losing.
This tactic is called betting on the “live moneyline”, and can be very useful when executed properly.
Underdogs can boost your bankroll in a hurry, but don’t get too trigger happy.
These teams are typically priced correctly, so unless you find a serious flaw in the matchup, be very cautious when placing money on the underdog.
While There is a sensitive balance that must be struck between betting on favorites and underdogs, and it just takes experience to find your perfect combination.
What to look for when betting on NFL Winners
So it’s finally time to place a bet, but what are the nitty gritty stats that you want to break down before placing that moneyline bet?
Before putting any money down, make sure to check the following stats, as a mismatch against your choice in one of these categories could result in a bad bet.
One of the most telling details about the future of an NFL game is the performance level each team on the road and at home.
There is a rumor that a home field advantage gives the team playing at home an automatic -2 point advantage, but this is simply not true.
Each team plays differently at home, but some are much more productive than others in front of their home crowd.
In some cases, teams can play even better away from home.
Home field performance is not the only thing that can affect the outcome of the game.
Certain home fields also come with weather conditions that can have a heavy influence on how the game can be played.
This type of home field advantage can be best witnessed in the high altitude of Denver, in the windy city of Chicago, and in the blistering cold of Green Bay.
Always consider these variables when picking a winner playing at one of these unique home fields, and study up on each team and how they play at home and away.
Coaching philosophy matchups
Everyone looks at the player matchups, but an advanced betting strategy that all handicappers should be using coaching matchups as a way to predict NFL games.
Coaches have just as much influence on the game as players do, and some coaches perform much better against certain opponents.
Do your homework on offensive and defensive coordinators, as well as head coaches, before placing a moneyline bet on an NFL game.
Time of possession stats (Offensive/Defensive)
One huge detail that can predict the winner of an NFL game is the time of possession each team has.
While star players might rack up a lot of yards and big stats, time of possession is a less glorious but hugely impactful number that tells a story of who is controlling the game.
Look for impressive time of possession stats while finding a moneyline bet.
Yards gained v. yards given up
A more obvious statistic to keep tabs on when betting on the moneyline is yardage stats.
Teams who gain massive amounts of yardage on offense, like the 2018/19 Kansas City Chiefs, will likely be a favorable matchup against any defense.
Teams who give up loads of yards will often not be in the sportsbooks favor.
It is the job of the handicapper to search for mismatches in this department, and to take advantage of the most vulnerable NFL lines based on research.
Recent meetings results
One underrated aspect of a matchup that can give decent betting clues is a study of recent meetings between the two teams playing.
While current form and statistics can tell a handicapper what has been going on in the present, recent matchups statistics are unique in the way that they cover the two teams over a longer term.
There is a lot to be said for what recent meeting results can tell a bettor.
For example, the Lions have won just once in the last 25 meetings against the Packers, indicating that Green Bay would likely be favored in the next matchup.
This is just a drastic example showing one of countless ways to incorporate recent meeting results to picking NFL winners.
- And much more
The best handicappers are able to find their own special tells that they rely on to help pick a winner.
Always look for your own little wrinkles that you can apply, and try to pick up on some tips from successful sports bettors.
In closure, one essential thing to remember about betting on the moneyline is to not think too hard.
Picking the winner of a game can be much easier than most make it out to be, but it will take some time to get used to making confident picks and backing them up with real wagers.
Make sure to always be expanding your knowledge on sports betting, and to practice safe and responsible betting. Remember there is no such thing as a lock in sports betting