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Dangers of Betting NFL Chalk

NFL Betting: The Dangers of Chalk

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

When making straight bets in NFL football, we will be doing so with a point-spread. That doesn’t appeal to all bettors, who prefer to merely pick the winners of games. That occurs on the money line, where teams are given odds to simply win the game. Money line betting should be a part of your NFL betting arsenal, unless you fall into the deadly trap of betting huge favorites exclusively.

Let’s examine the reasons some bettors disappear in a cloud of chalk dust. They bet on big favorites on the money line to limit risk. Betting point-spreads is too iffy for some people. Spreads seem too arbitrary. After all, a favored team is trying to win, not necessarily win by a certain amount. OK.

But the problem is that over the long-run, betting big favorites forces bettors to walk the tight-rope. Sports are unpredictable. Upsets are a part of the NFL fabric. When betting huge favorites, you have to win at such a high percentage that any kind of losing streak will likely spell doom. There is simply no room for losing. In something like NFL betting, that doesn’t work well. In fact, how you fare in NFL betting often comes down to how well you are able to insulate yourself from losses. If setbacks throw you into a spiral, it’s time to retool your betting. No one setback should spell disaster.

Talk to anyone who makes a living at NFL betting and they will tell you about the all-important nature of betting value. In other words, the best in the biz try to place bets where the odds they’re receiving are better than what the book is offering them. This is the first component of success to erode when habitually betting favorites on the money line. You see Green Bay is at home against a team like the St. Louis Rams. The only thing on your mind is how you can make easy money picking Green Bay to simply win the game.


Let’s say Green Bay is -500. You put up the money. That’s it. What you should be thinking is if whether -500 is a good-value price for you. This is where most big chalk players fail. If Green Bay should maybe be -400 or -450 and you lay -500, the long-run is not going to be very fruitful. When consistently getting poor value, as is often the case with big favorites, the bookie will roll out the red carpet for you because he knows you’re going to get killed. You need to realize that if you lose a bet at -500, you need to win 5 bets in a row just to break even! This is a very poor proposition.

You might win the Green Bay bet. You might even win your next few bets. You might be thinking you’re pretty slick, but what did you really accomplish? Favorites, especially big ones, do in fact win. So you weren’t much of a genius picking Green Bay to beat the Rams at home. The fact that you’re laying a long price is bad enough. If you’re getting bad value or not in the mindset of extracting the best value from your wagers, you’d be better off donating that money to charity.

In NFL betting, if you’re afraid to lose bets, you shouldn’t be betting--that’s the reality of it. If you’re looking for ultra-safe moves to make with your money, buy bonds. In NFL wagering, you’re not going to be able to insulate yourself from failure. Those who try to remove the element of losing from betting are only setting themselves up for even heavier doses of what they‘re trying to circumvent.

There is a certain mindlessness to betting big chalk on the money line in the NFL. You see a big favorite and the bookie’s opinion becomes too big of a consideration. You figure the team should win, otherwise the bookie wouldn’t have made it a -500 favorite. Maybe you make some elementary observations. Like, “Oh the Packers aren’t going to lose at home to this team” or “The Rams lost to the Panthers last week, how can they beat the Pack?”

Picture a NFL betting whiz. Ponder the alarmingly-low percentage of bettors who succeed at NFL betting. Then examine the quality of the observations that fuel making big bets on money line favorites. It’s clear that it isn’t going to work. Making it in NFL betting requires tremendous insight, analysis, and yes--balls. A bettor who only bets on big favorites is simply too gutless, simple, and unimaginative to make it in this world.

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