7 NFL Point Spread Betting Strategies

Point Spread Betting NFL Strategies

The first bet I ever made was on an NFL game. I didn’t really know what a point spread was at the time, but the guy I made a bet with gave me points.

Of course, I was a kid, and it was a friendly wager with someone my dad worked with.I remember the bet fondly, even though I lost. I paid the bet, and then I got busy learning how to do better the next time I made a bet.

It’s been over four decades since I made that bet, and I’ve learned a lot. Here are seven things I’ve learned about making NFL point spread wagers.

1. Home Favorite Spreads

Every NFL game has three possible combinations on the point spread line. The home team is a favorite, the home team is an underdog, or the home team is even with the visiting team.

But, of course:
You also have to evaluate the road team in all three of these situations. The first situation to evaluate is when the home team is the favorite. The home team is the favorite in the majority of NFL games, so this is the most common situation.

Of course, if it were as simple as picking when the home team was going to win, everyone would make a profit betting on NFL games. Therefore, the amount of the spread is the most important thing to consider when evaluating home NFL favorites.

Please Note:
Not only does your evaluation have to show the home team is going to win, but it also has to show that the home team is going to win by a large enough margin to cover the spread comfortably.

If the home team is favored by four, I won’t bet on them and give the points unless my handicapping show they should win by at least six. I rarely bet on home favorites on the spread in the NFL, but a few games show value in this situation.

2. Home Underdog Spreads

Home underdogs are where I make roughly half my bets on NFL point spreads. Of course, less than half of the games where the home team is an underdog show value, so I don’t make a large volume of bets. You should only make NFL point spread bets when you find value.

And nothing works 100% of the time, so you can’t just bet on every game where the home team is an underdog.

The reason why half of my NFL spread bets are on home teams that aren’t favored is simple. Home teams win more often than road teams, home teams perform better than when they’re on the road, and by getting points, they don’t have to win for a bet to be profitable.

The secret is refining your handicapping skills to the point where you can spot value when you see it.

For example, a home team getting six points isn’t a value unless you can see why the team is going to cover the six points more often than not.

3. Road Favorite Spreads

I don’t like betting on road teams, and I almost never bet on a road team that’s giving points in the NFL. It’s not that you can’t occasionally find value on a road favorite, but I struggle to make a profit on these teams.

Not only does a road favorite team have to win the game on the road, but they also have to cover the point spread. Both of these things combined make it hard to find value in the NFL. Like every other thing, you have to evaluate on NFL point spreads, the only time you should bet on a road favorite is when you find value.

But, of course, you’re not going to handicap games the same way I evaluate NFL games, so your system might do a better job finding value in these games than my models.

4. Road Underdog Spreads

I make some wagers on NFL road underdogs, but not as many as on home underdogs.

The road underdogs I bet on are usually small underdogs, at three points or under.

I’m looking for teams that should win the game if it was played on a neutral site but are getting points because they’re playing on the road.

Road underdogs are tricky to make a profit on because it’s challenging to evaluate exactly how much of a boost the home team is going to get from playing at home and exactly how much it’s going to hurt the team on the road.

But a road underdog also has two ways to win the bet because they win the bet if the team wins or if the team covers the spread but still loses.

5. Even Point Spreads

I love NFL games with even point spreads. These games are often listed at – 110 on each side, but sometimes you can get a side at – 105.

In these games:
I always look at the home team first to see if there’s a reason why the team should win the game at least 55% of the time. If my evaluation shows the home team should win at least 55% of the time, the bet offers long-term value.

The problem is that these games have an even point spread because the teams are usually fairly evenly matched. Most of the time, my evaluations show that each team has close to a 50% chance to win.

Which means there’s no value in the game.

In these games, the road team would usually be favored to win the game if it was played on a neutral field, but the home team gets a small bump.

Please Note:
The 55% win chance I mentioned above is important because if you don’t win 55% of your point spread bets, you’re not going to make much money betting on the NFL.

6. Less Vig Can Be More Important Than Almost Anything Else

When looking for point spreads, the actual spreads aren’t the only thing you have to consider. The vig attached to the point spread is also important.

If you can bet the same line at – 105 instead of – 110, it changes your long-term math. Of course, you still have to win more than 50% of the time to make a profit, but it basically saves you $2.50 on every $100 you bet over time.

When you’re done evaluating each game on the NFL schedule, you have to shop for the line that gives you the best chance to win based on your evaluations and for the line that has the lowest vig. Of course, you won’t always be able to find the best line with the lowest vig together, but it improves you profits when you can.

Please Note:
I can’t count the number of games that have been decided by a single point on the point spread. A single point, or even a half point sometimes, can be the difference between a loss and a push, a push, and a win, or even a loss and a win.

And the less vig you pay over time, the more profit you keep.

7. Forget Everything Else and Find Value

I love the challenge of figuring out how to make money on point spread wagers in the NFL. It’s not easy, and some weeks things just don’t go my way. But I’ve learned enough about finding value over the years that I’m able to make a profit.

And making a profit is the only thing that really matters when you’re evaluating NFL point spreads. So forget about anything that anyone tells you and focus on finding bets that offer value. And never forget that a big part of finding value is finding the right line and paying low vig.

You can find value on either side of a line and on either a home or road team. The value is only determined by the available line and your ability to evaluate a game better than the sportsbooks set the line for the game. So your main goal is to learn how to evaluate NFL games better than anyone else in the world.

Conclusion

NFL point spreads are always tight because the online sportsbooks can’t afford to make too many mistakes.

More money is bet on NFL games than any other sport in the United States.

But you can still find value on at least a few point spreads every week of the NFL season. You just need to learn how to find value consistently.

You need to learn how to evaluate every game and point spread from every possible angle and find the lines that give you an edge.

A single point can be the difference between winning and losing, so never make an NFLL point spread bet without looking for a better line.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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