Football is one of America's most popular sports, generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. It's also one of America's most popular sports to wager on, with annual betting receipts on the Super Bowl alone exceeding $90 million. Serious fans can capitalize on their knowledge by making bets on football. If you want to learn football betting, follow these guidelines.
Learn the different kinds of football wagers. Football gamblers have a wide array of bets to choose from, ranging from straight wagers to proposition bets. All can play a role in the player's betting arsenal.
- Spread: This is the most common football bet. A team may appear on a sports book's betting board as "101 New England -3." This means that a player who places a bet on New England (by calling 101 to the teller) can only win if New England beats its opponent by 4 points or more. If New England wins by 3 points, the result is declared "no action" and all money is returned. If New England wins by 2 points or less or loses the game outright, the bet is a losing one. Spread bets are generally 11/10, or $11 wagers to make $10. So a winning bet returns $21.
- Money line: This is a straight wager on who will win the game. Teams that are favored require a larger bet to make a smaller profit. For example, if San Diego is favored in its game with Kansas City, its money line may be "San Diego -160." That means the player must bet $160 to win $100. "Kansas City +260" means that the bettor collects $260 on a $100 wager if the Chiefs win.
- Over/under: This is a bet on whether the combined score of a game will exceed a predetermined figure or not. A bettor choosing the over in a game with an over/under of 45 wins the bet if the 2 teams combine to score 46 points or more. Payouts are the same as with point-spread wagers.
- Parlays and teasers: These wagers involve 2 or more teams. All bets must be winners for the player to collect. The greater the number of bets, the larger the payout. A winning 5-team parlay, for example, pays 20-1. Teasers also involve multiple teams but allow you to alter the betting line slightly in your favor.
- Propositions: These exotic bets usually are offered only during special games, like the Super Bowl. Players can make bets on virtually any game occurrence. Some prop bets can be on the type of play that results in a score, whether a quarterback will throw an interception, the score at the end of the first half, or even who will win the opening coin toss. These wagers are difficult to win and offered at generous odds.
Familiarize yourself with key statistics in football betting. There are thousands of football websites providing detailed information on every phase of the game. While most fans concentrate on touchdowns, rushing yards and completion percentages, serious bettors focus on other data that historically has a greater impact on the outcome of games.
- Average yards per attempt: Many professional sports bettors use this figure to determine the effectiveness of a team's skill players, but it also points to the overall performance of the offensive unit. Bettors generally prefer quarterbacks who average 8 yards per passing attempt and rushers who average at least 4 yards per carry.
- First-half scoring trends: Football bettors try to isolate teams that build early leads and take control of the game. These teams tend to manage the clock well in the second half and force their opponent to take chances to close the gap, often resulting in turnovers.
- Negative pass-play percentage: This is the combination of 2 important defensive statistics sacks and interceptions that often uncover teams sitting on a victory. Teams with an NPPP higher than the league average have disruptive defenses that take opponents out of their game plan.
- Turnover ratio: Few statistics have a greater influence on the outcome of a game than turnovers. Teams that don't protect the football lose field position and very often, games.
Keep up to date on emerging trends. Effective sports bettors consider a variety of factors before making their wagers. Professional sports gamblers are keenly aware of personnel changes, the extent of player injuries, and even weather forecasts.
Manage your bankroll properly. Professional football bettors are dispassionate gamblers. They understand the innate volatility of the game and therefore, never risk a large portion of their bankroll on any single contest. Professionals try to grind out profits over the long haul, capitalizing on their experience and insights into each contest. In general, bettors will only risk 20 percent of their total bankroll each week. For example:
- A player has a starting bankroll of $5,000. He can make $1,000 in bets for that week. If the bettor wins $2,500, increasing his bankroll to $7,500, he can make $1,500 in wagers the following week.
- Professional bettors also vary the size of wagers on games based on the strength of their opinions. If the player wants to bet $1,000 on 3 games, he may put 4 units on the bet he is surest about and 3 units on the other 2 games. In this example, each unit represents $100.
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