Sports Wagering: 1st Half Betting
By Loot, Sports Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
A lot of people don’t even look at 1st half betting. Perhaps they should. There are some cases where you can get a more accurate read of the first half than on an entire game. In cases like that, first-half betting might be a sound alternative to normal straight bets. Obviously, these bets can only be made on sports with halves, so that means basketball and football. Baseball can also be bet in a first-half wager.
In 1st half wagering, only the first half is at play. The final score is of no consequence. In pro hoops, and pro and college football, that means the first 2 quarters. In college hoops, it’s the first half, being that there no quarters. In either case, the first 50% of the game is all that matters. We’ve all heard the expression “a tale of two halves” before and if we can detect what the tale of a half will be, this is a good bet to explore.
There are a lot of situations where you might suspect a team will start quickly and represent a better bet earlier in the game. Maybe you notice that a mediocre NBA team has a pattern of playing the top teams close for the first half before fading badly in the second half. Perhaps there is a college football team that customarily blows out inferior teams, but only after kicking their game into gear in the second half. So their opponent might represent a good first-half value.
TIP: Not all online sportsbooks carry first half lines, however, you can find a line for every single game of every sport at Sportbet.
The examples are endless. What if a college football team is a gigantic favorite over another team, but you know the coach pulls key starters when the game is out of hand? It would stand to reason that the huge favorite would be better to bet on in the first half. Or maybe there’s an NBA team on the tail-end of a draining road trip and you think they will perform well in the first half before the fatigue sets in. You might like betting a baseball team in the first half thinking that’s when the starter is at his freshest.
The above examples, while possible catalysts for placing a 1st half wager, are not terribly original pieces of insight. Knowing things like a certain aging running back is far more effective in the first half, before his tired legs catch up with him later is something the book also knows. Only really good information can be used to outsmart the bookie for the most part. Maybe you have a Doppler radar machine in your house and know the first half weather is going to be dreadful, so you take the under in the first half. By in large, it’s not easy to outmaneuver the bookie.
You will also be betting along with the public at large when going off elementary observations, like that Alabama is going to lay on the points against Western Carolina in the first half. So if Alabama is a 50-point favorite, don’t think the first half line will be Alabama -25, as it will be closer to 30. The bookie is fully aware that big favorites start the game by crushing their opponent before going into coast-mode. And with so many people looking to bet on that, the bookie needn’t set a very tantalizing line. That could suck the value right out of it.
The book simply doesn’t cut the full number in half in order to come up with the 1st half line. The book will also sometimes give more juice to certain sides of a first-half wager, which sucks even more value out of it. The number 3 is a huge watermark in the creation of first-half lines in football. The bookies dance expertly around that number. In other words, if a team is a 5-point favorite, don’t expect to get a juicy -2.5 line for the first half. The bookie knows favorites very often enter halftime up by a field goal and they will keep themselves protected.
When looking for 1st half plays, search for tidbits of information that lie a little outside the public’s radar. There are little subtle things that can be found within games that can give you an edge, but you’ll need to be sharp. And it won’t always be obvious. Maybe a quarterback is just a touch off-key in the first half. Or a point guard makes a few more miscues in the first half. Perhaps a secondary is a little sharper in the first half. It won’t always jump out at you. But if you can scoop up a little pile of info-nuggets, there will be some good first-half spots for you to exploit.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy our piece on halftime betting.