How Recreational NFL Gamblers Can Make the Most of Their Bets

The NFL season is a favorite for sports bettors around the globe. Many recreational gamblers make costly mistakes that lead to frustration and increased losses.

Now that you likely find yourself on the verge of another exciting NFL season, you’re facing your own choices on how to approach NFL games. I know precisely what it looks like to face the NFL gauntlet as a recreational gambler.

That means I’m in the perfect position to share how to make the most of your NFL betting as a recreational gambler. Let’s dive into the most common areas of improvement for novice and casual sports bettors.

You can use these as a guide towards another season and a season where you’re giving the sportsbooks a run for their money.

Stop Chasing Games

One of the most costly mistakes recreational bettors make is chasing games. Punters chase action for a variety of reasons, but at the end of the day, it always comes down to one thing.

They are either chasing because of greed or chasing because of boredom.

Greed is the primary offender; players who have had a losing day merely can’t avoid the allure of the Sunday or Monday night game. The gambler bets heavy, hoping to cancel out the day’s losses.

Unfortunately, this leads to additional losses, unnecessary losses that should have been avoided. Winners on the day will also make the unfortunate decision to let it ride for the night games.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, settle for the incremental wins. Don’t get greedy and compound the issue even further.

Narrow Your Focus to One or Two Teams

There are 32 NFL franchises. That makes for a ton of information about even the teams in a single division.

Imagine trying to stay on top of every player and the trends of each team in just one division. You’d have to devote hours to fully grasp precisely what each team is capable or incapable of during the week.

NFL Team League Stability Saints Falcons Eagles Rams Seahawks

However, by focusing on only one team, you can gain crucial insights that are lost on many recreational gamblers. Don’t get caught up trying to know everything about the NFL.

Instead, your focus should be on knowing as much as possible about one or two teams. Bet solely on games involving one of these teams, either win or lose.

Stay Away from Parlays

Greed also gets unsuspecting gamblers in the form of parlays. The sportsbooks offer substantial payouts for the parlay bets, and the higher the payouts, the worse the odds for the sports bettor.

Recreational bettors love making parlay bets because they offer action over several games. There’s no question that the parlays are among the most exciting bets in the casino.

Still, there’s no reason to put yourself in that sort of liability. If you’re betting a single NFL game, you’re essentially flipping a coin by picking blind.

That’s because the sportsbook chief objective is to get even money on each side of a contest. The sports handicappers are tremendous at their role, which leads to a 50/50 proposition.

That is exactly what the sportsbooks are hoping for because they make money by charging a vig on all losing bets.

When you start making parlay bets on as few as four games, the house edge jumps to almost 20%. That’s a sucker bet in any casino on the planet.

Look for Games with a Middle

One of the most profitable tactics in sports betting is betting the middle. Betting the middle is when you spot different lines offered at competing sportsbooks and bet on both sides of the same game.

This NFL strategy can be complicated to find, but it offers you an opportunity to double your profits. As long as the best lands in the middle and you win both wagers.

The problem with the middle is that you’ll have a tough time beating the sportsbooks once, let alone twice.

Focus On Home Favorites

Home teams have a massive advantage in the NFL. Almost overwhelmingly, the home teams will be favored in tight games.

However, sometimes the bookies give the home team too much credit. Usually, this stems from the sportsbooks trying to get enough action on the other side of the contest to make a profit.

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In some instances, you may see “Tampa Bay – 500.” That denotes that you must wager $500 on the Bucs to win $100.

Some recreational bettors are scared off by this arrangement. Still, sometimes laying money down to win is your best course of action.

Betting on the home favorite moneyline is a great way to increase your success this upcoming NFL season.

Stop Throwing Your Money Away on Points

Guy Looking Worried - Money Flying AwayOne of the biggest mistakes I see recreational gamblers make is buying points. Buying points comes down to either being too lazy to properly handicap games or not confident in your handicapping ability.

Regardless of why you’re buying points, it’s costing you money. Stop throwing money away buying points.

Punters need to win over 52% of the time merely to squeeze a minimal profit. When you’re paying the sportsbook to slide the odds in your favor, that percentage goes up considerably.

The reason it’s going up is that you’re probably not very good at betting on games. So, you’ll overvalue the points you’re getting.

Don’t fall victim to believing the sportsbooks are doing you a favor by selling you points.

Shop Around

Sportsbooks are like any other business; they’ll regularly offer slightly better products to draw in customers. Other times a specific book may be seeing different betting patterns than a sportsbook across the country.

Because of these critical factors, sportsbooks will sometimes offer different lines on the same game. As a sports bettor, you must shop around for the best lines on games.

By finding better lines on the games you’re interested in, you maximize your value. Shopping lines are a tool of the savvy sports bettor that is instantly applicable for recreational gamblers.

The lines often move throughout the week as the sportsbooks try to split the action on a game.

So, your best options can often be found in the early part of the week. When the public spots a value and starts going heavy on one side, the casinos are forced to adjust the line accordingly.

Keep a Detailed Account of Your Bets

My wife takes a detail-oriented to a new level. She writes down notes in detail about everything from her watering schedule and the health of her plants to daily tasks and work.

Her daily journal would give you a detailed account of her activities and tasks on any given day.

You should make a play out of her book and write down every single wager you make. Make a note of the match-up, weather, handicapping notes, results, factors, and the result.

It will also serve you to keep notes based on what you won or lost on the wager. Keeping records is a vital part of every successful gambler’s routine, and it will make you a better gambler in a hurry.

Keep Things Friendly

One of my favorite parts of the NFL season is making wagers with my buddies. I’ve got friends from all across the U.S., and each has its own favorite teams.

This fact allows us to have minor inter-personal rivalries. We make ridiculous wagers that sometimes involve cold hard cash and fun payoffs that we can all enjoy.

Watching Sports And Cheering

Making bets with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors is an excellent way to further your NFL betting.

One of my favorite things about betting with people I know is avoiding the vig charged by casino sportsbooks. You’re also not going to be giving points constantly like you will with the sportsbooks.

Keep things friendly, and you’ll be able to enjoy much more NFL action this season.


These keys on how to make the most of your NFL betting as a recreational gambler cover everything from the fun to the fundamentals. The more you approach your NFL betting as a business, the more successful you’ll be.

Still, you shouldn’t become so serious that it feels like a job. That is unless you’re among the fortunate few that can turn sports betting into a career.

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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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