What Makes a Smart NFL Bet?


Since the striking down of PASPA by the Supreme Court, online sports betting has spread throughout the country like a wildfire. Thanks to our somewhat chequered history with sports betting as a country, many Americans don’t know the first thing about placing a successful sports wager.Which is why we decided to put together this handy guide, to show you what it takes to put together a clever and (hopefully) successful NFL bet. If you want to know more about betting on American football, read on to find out everything you need to know before making that first online sportsbook deposit.

Odds Checking

The first and most important place to start with online sports betting is with the odds. The odds are what sportsbooks use to represent one teams probability chances of winning over another whilst also demonstrating to betters how much they stand to win from their wagers.Understanding NFL odds can be confusing though, especially if you’ve never really bet on sports before. Unlike other countries, American sportsbooks don’t use fractional or decimal odds, instead opting for American odds which always use a baseline of $100.What does that mean and how does it work? Well, let’s take a look at the betting odds ahead of Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals:

Los Angeles Rams: -200

Cincinnati Bengals: +165

Ahead of the game the Rams were the favourites, represented by the ‘-‘ in their odds. Odds of -200 meant that to win $100, betters would have to wager $200 on the Rams to win the game. Conversely odds represented with a ‘+’ showed that the Bengals were the outsiders; a $100 wager backing the Bengals would have returned $165 had they defeated the Rams.The smart bet in this case would have been to back the Los Angeles Rams, the eventual winners, after paying attention to the betting odds. But, wagering $10 on the Rams and winning $6.50 wouldn’t exactly be savvy betting would it?Let’s take a look at the ways in which you could build a bet to make it that little bit smarter…

Bet Building

Outrights, or as they are known by most sportsbooks ‘moneylines’ are the most appealing bets to beginners because of how straightforward they are. If you think one team is going to win a game, you place a bet on them to win leaving no room for ambiguity.Unfortunately there’s little value in this type of betting as there is always a favourite in a two horse race and usually, the favourite ends up winning. Which is why clever betters add in extra layers to their bets.

Using the previous example of the Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, let’s look at how a smart better could have built their bet to add more value:In addition to backing the Los Angeles Rams, a savvy better would have added two more factors to his bet. Firstly, he would have backed the Rams to win by less than 4 points, with odds at -114 and then he would have wagered that there would be under 43.5 points in the game at -108.

In total, that wager would have taken his potential winnings from a measly $6.50 to a much more impressive $44.23, all from the same initial $10 bet. Whilst on the face of it, this type of bet might seem a little complex, it really isn’t.The Rams were the favourites, but it was the Super Bowl so the game was naturally going to be tight and hotly contested. Which also made it quite likely that there would be less than 43.5 points in the entire game.

So in retrospect, that bet contains three fairly smart and savvy predictions that when bet on in combination, increased the profits from loose change to a decent amount of money.Finally, this bet would have given our better a much more engaging and fun viewing experience of the Super Bowl as they would always have something to cheer for. Which is why many NFL fans choose to bet on games in which their team isn’t playing.Something that brings us on to our final pointer in becoming a savvy better…

YOUTUBE EMBED: <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/4x4MND-Rhrc” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

(The Super Bowl between the Rams and the Bengals ended up being a nail biter anyway, even without the added drama of a bet.)

Never Wager on Your Team

No sports fan is a realist. Nope, not even you. Despite what you might say outwardly to your friends, there’s still that small part of you inside that thinks/hopes your team can win whatever the odds are. Which is why you should never bet on your team because this will cloud your judgement. The only way in which a smart better will ever consider betting on a game in which their team is involved is by backing the opposition in a bid to soften the blow if their team does fall to defeat!

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