6 Essential Tips for Betting on the NFL

In 2022, about 46.6 million Americans are betting on the NFL. The big question is: how many of them are making money on it?

The truth is, the NFL is a tough sport to make a profit on. Part of that is that many people who watch these games know their team inside out. They then try to parlay that knowledge into money, usually without success.


See, knowing your team is only one part of the puzzle. If you want to make smart wagers, you also need to know the betting system. Here are six simple tips that will help you improve your betting game!

1. Focus on the Big Picture

With how popular the NFL is, it’s easy to forget that the season only has 272 games. As a result, every week comes with a bunch of hot takes.

A smart bettor will know not to overreact to any particular game. In this league, the difference between the best and worst teams isn’t that big. A bad team that dominates one week doesn’t automatically become a contender.

This is true when it comes to your results as well. Going 5-0 one week doesn’t mean you should push all your chips in next week. And if you’ve had a bad week, don’t sweat it too much—it happens to everyone.

Want to make sure you’re not overreacting to specific games? We’ve got two words for you: advanced statistics. There are plenty of available metrics online to help you filter out the noise, such as PFF player grades.


2. Stay Away From Parlays

When it comes to parlay tips, the rules are simple: don’t bet on them. For new bettors, parlays are the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket.

Let’s say you see a four-team parlay with an enticing 12-1 payout. If all four games are coin flips, you’re giving the bookmaker an 18.75% edge. Compare that to the 4.75% edge you get for a regular wager at -110 odds.

When you give away this much edge, the NFL becomes even harder to beat. That’s the main reason why parlay payouts are so tempting. The bookies know you’re unlikely to get them, so they juice the odds.

Now, if you just want to play a parlay bet for entertainment, go ahead. If you want to make smart bets, stay away. For every parlay ticket that hits and gets shared on social media, there are hundreds that crash and burn.


3. Only Bet Wong Teasers

When betting on football, teasers are about as productive as parlays. In most cases, they won’t be worth your time.

Let’s assume you want to break even on a 6-point teaser at -110 odds. To achieve that, you need teams that have a 72.5% or greater chance to cover. Stats show that spreads only cover 6-point teasers 69% of the time.

But what if we only bet on Wong teasers, which capture both the 3 and 7? This involves betting on favorites of -7.5% to -8.5% and underdogs of +1.5 to +2.5. Well, these teams will cover a whopping 75% of the time.

Now, many bookies have wised up and now only offer 6-point teasers at -120. The good news: this only raises the hurdle rate to 73.9%. If the past is an indicator of future results, Wong teasers still make sense.

Of course, this isn’t the sexiest bet you can make. If you enjoy exploiting whatever edge you can get, though, Wong teasers are perfect for you. That said, make sure you find the best odds for your teasers first.


4. Shop Around

Speaking of finding good odds, this is something you should do regardless. Having access to multiple books is a great way to improve your edge.

For most people, this won’t seem worth the effort. After all, why not bet a +130 money line at your usual book instead of looking for a +132 for the same game? In the long run, though, you’ll feel the difference.

As for where to look for good odds, there are plenty of free options online. Whether you’re looking for totals, spreads, or money lines, a little research will go a long way. Checking out expert predictions is also a good idea.

5. Don’t Chase Bets

In sports gambling, chasing bets is the surest way to lose money. In essence, this involves betting for the sake of recovering your losses.

Here’s the thing: the NFL market is very efficient. For any given game, you have a 50/50 chance of covering the point spread on either side. Despite the fairness of these odds, most people still lose money due to chasing.

Again, the temptation is obvious. When you’ve had an unlucky day, you want to make up for it. And even if you’re doing well, you may still feel like making Thursday Night Football more fun with a wager or two.

The best way to avoid chasing is to come up with a system. For instance, consider making your bets for the day before that day starts. Once you know what you’re doing, you can start looking for an edge in a rational manner.


6. Avoid Buying Points

On every point spread, you can pay money to buy more points. That way, you increase your break-even percentage for that specific bet.

In most cases, this won’t be worth it. Even if you pay, say, ten cents to buy a favorite down from -9.5 to -9 on the spread, you’re likely wasting money. In the NFL, a 9-point margin of victory has happened less than 2% of the time.

Again, the key numbers here are 3 and 7. The margin of victory involving these numbers happens by far the most often in the NFL. If you can pay 10 cents to take a favorite down to 3 or 7, you should consider it.

Buying on or off the 3, in particular, makes even more sense. In the history of the NFL, 10% of the games have finished with a margin of 3 points. This means you should pay up to 20 cents in these situations:

  • Take a 2.5-point underdog up to +3
  • Take a 3-point underdog up to +3.5
  • Take a 3-point favorite down to -2.5
  • Take a 3.5-point favorite down to -3

Betting on the NFL Made Easy

The more you know about how bookmakers work, the easier it will be to make money betting on the NFL. Read our guide above to learn about the small things you can do to improve your bottom line!

Interested in quality NFL analysis? Looking for the best NFL picks this week? Check out our selection of free picks right here!