Four things we've Learnt After Nine NFL's games
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If you are looking for rollercoaster sports betting action with dramatic endings, there are few sports that can rival the NFL. With feature games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, plus a full Sunday afternoon slate, the league is a dominant force between September and February. The 2021/22 season even has the extra treat of a Week 18 set of fixtures as the regular season expands to give every team one additional game.
This is a fun time to be watching the league too, as legendary quarterbacks Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) enter the latter years of their Hall of Fame careers while trying to fight off the younger wave of über-talented counterparts, from Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) to Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals) and Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers).
And there are eye-catching performers all over the field, with running backs Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers) and Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans) terrorizing defenses with their contrasting styles, and speedsters like Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) and DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks) serving up regular highlight reel moments.
When it comes to betting on the action, there are many paths to choose from. Here are some of the different options:
Like with most sports, this is the simplest and most easily understood NFL betting option. It boils down to one question: which team is going to win? While a tie is possible in the NFL regular season (if the scores remain level after overtime), there has to be a winner when the playoffs get underway. The margin of victory is not a factor here.
As an example, when two evenly matched teams - say, the Ravens and Steelers - square off, you might see the home team favoured at -125, with the visitors at +130. In very lopsided matchups, like the powerhouse Buccaneers against the rebuilding New York Jets, the moneyline presents much shorter odds for the favourites (e.g. -475).
There are also moneyline options for portions of the game, such as first quarter or first half, or you could take a double result, where you have to correctly pick who will be winning at half-time and at the end of the game (e.g. Buccaneers 1st half – Buccaneers final, Jets 1st half – Buccaneers final).
This is where the scoreline matters. The oddsmakers will set a line that reflects the difference in quality and form between the two teams. Back to the last example, the Buccaneers might be expected to beat the Jets by 12 points. In that case, the line would be set at 12, giving you the choice of Buccaneers -12 or Jets +12. If you take the Jets, they do not have to win – they just have to lose by less than 12 points.
In the NFL, it is worth remembering that scores can change significantly in a short space of time, and leads can be deceptive. For example, 21-7 seems like an overwhelming advantage but, with touchdowns (and a successful extra point) worth seven points, the gap can close quickly. Untimely turnovers (interceptions or fumbles) can completely flip a game, allowing a team to score 14 quick points.
With spread betting, beware “garbage time”, where one team has a comfortable lead and takes their foot off the gas while the other throws caution to the wind with their offense. Garbage time touchdowns can take a chunk out of a lead and ruin bets.
You can also bet on the spread for the first half or even the first quarter.
Total points scored is another popular betting option. A line will be set, balancing the offensive and defensive abilities of both teams, and you have the choice of betting over or under that number. The line typically falls somewhere between 45 points and 55 points, depending on the game.
Take an NFC West showdown between the Seahawks and Cardinals as an example, with a total points line of 49.5. You can either choose over or under that total.
As mentioned earlier, individual moneyline bets on heavy favourites do not present significant value. However, building a parlay (or accumulator) can be a more attractive path. This involves pulling together a string of picks and turning it into a single bet where each part of the bet must be successful in order to win. (And the concept also applies to spread betting.)
For instance, if the Packers, Chiefs and Ravens are all clear favourites, you could put them into a three-team parlay for more eye-catching odds than you would receive betting the games individually.
Teasers take NFL betting to another level of complexity and offer another spread betting alternative when scrolling through the odds. Like a parlay, you could choose two, three or even more four teams to form a single overall bet. For example, you might like the Seahawks -7, the Rams -9.5 and the Cowboys +2. With teaser betting, you can reset those lines - typically by 6, 6.5 or 7 points.
So, if you decided on the three-team teaser above with a 6-point readjustment, you would now be looking at spreads of Seahawks -1, Rams -3.5 and Cowboys +8. All three parts of the bet have to be successful, but the expanded spread is advantageous. This kind of three-team teaser generally comes at odds of around +180. Stretching the teaser to include a fourth team would usually nudge the odds up to +300
You can bet on the first touchdown scorer, the last touchdown scorer and an “anytime” touchdown scorer. Odds are shorter for the latter category (e.g. -110 for a star running back), while first and last scorer odds are typically the same (e.g. +500 for a star running back).
Some teams jump out as likelier to run the ball (hand it off to a running back to try to muscle his way forward) near the goal line rather than throw a pass. As a result, certain running backs over great value in the first touchdown scorer category. Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys) and Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings) stand out as good options, with regular touches inside the 5-yard line. You can also find attractive value on mobile quarterbacks finding the end zone – Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) and Murray are among the best at faking a hand-off and running the ball themselves instead.
Beyond touchdown scorers, there are numerous other player performance categories. It starts with the quarterbacks - you can bet on the total number of passing yards, the number of passing touchdowns and the number of interceptions thrown. For running backs, there are typically odds on a number of rushing yards, and the same idea with receiving yards for the pass catchers.
You will also often find odds for defensive players too, based on tackles, interceptions and fumbles.
Often, these odds will appear as an “over/under” line – e.g. will Russell Wilson have more than or fewer than 299.5 passing yards?
With betting.com, it has never been easier to find the best odds for NFL action. Check out our game previews (on our NFL Picks page) for the recommended odds/bookmakers. The site is also set up to make adding selections to your betting slip equally simple. Once you are logged into your account, choosing your bets can be done in just a few clicks.
More specific to the NFL action, here are some other strategies and factors to keep in mind when placing bets:
Quarterbacks really matter: One of the first things to analyze when weighing up a particular matchup is the quarterback battle. Even if one team is dominant in other areas (defense, kicking etc.), it is tough for an inferior quarterback to beat an elite one. If you are picking the team with the weaker quarterback, it should generally be in a situation where they are the underdog (e.g. the Jets quarterback getting +12 in our earlier example).
Injuries: The NFL is a brutally physical sport with every team sure to run into injuries during the year. Keep an eye on the injury reports that are issued each week. While replacing an injured quarterback is naturally the most disruptive scenario, do not underestimate how important the absence of a key offensive lineman or a starting linebacker can be. Injuries force backups into action – and opponents are not shy about targeting those backups.
Playing on the road is tough: For many teams, home field advantage is a real factor - and fans will be back in the stands this season. Noisy stadiums can have a significant effect, disrupting the road team’s timing and play-calling. That leads to confusion and penalties. Kansas City and Seattle spring to mind as two of the more intimidating atmospheres to deal with. The New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens also enjoy a home field edge.
East to West travel, vice versa, and short weeks: While NFL teams generally play once a week, it is worth paying attention to travel and time zones. The history books tell us that teams struggle with cross-country trips – and that makes sense when you consider the three-hour time difference from coast to coast. Most teams will also have to deal with short weeks at least once each year – e.g. playing on Sunday afternoon, then in the prime time Thursday night game, or a Monday night game followed by a Sunday afternoon game. With the amount of game-planning that goes into each and every fixture, shortened preparation time has an impact.
Even with the regular season now stretched to 18 weeks (17 games for each team plus one bye week), the action gets underway early in September as usual. The Super Bowl champions kick off the season with a Thursday night fixture before the rest of the teams take the field that weekend.
Each week, the NFL serves up primetime night matchups on Thursday (8:20pm ET), Sunday (8:20pm ET) and Monday (8:15pm ET). The remainder of the fixtures are divided between the Sunday 1pm ET slot and then a mid-afternoon slate (4:05pm or 4:25pm ET).
The extended regular season schedule means the playoffs begin in mid-January, continuing the road to the Super Bowl (Super Bowl LVI is set for February 13).
Throughout the NFL regular season, and during the playoffs, make our NFL Picks page your home for the latest tips and predictions. We are committed to delivering the best NFL picks, along with what you need to know before betting on the action.
Head over to our NFL Odds page throughout the season to weigh up your options for upcoming (and live) games on the schedule. You will find all the latest odds at your fingertips.
For more tips and predictions, check out our NFL Predictions page for detailed coverage, including game previews.
The thrill-a-minute NFL schedule offers something for everyone - and so many ways to get involved in the betting action. From casual fans looking to place a small wager to frequent bettors seeking to gain an extra edge, look no further than betting.com for NFL tips, picks and odds.