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NFL Gambling Tips: Dos and Don’ts of Football Betting

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Sometimes, when we make wagers and carry on like that for years, it’s easy to lose sight of some hallmark items--things we should and not be doing. Let’s look at this as a little review, a reminder of the traits we should double up on and the less-desirable parts of our handicapping that we should get rid of.

Do not forget about the inherent powers that are held by NFL football bettors that are not shared in any form of gambling. You get to choose which battles to fight! That sounds elementary. Of course we get to choose. So what? It is a state of mind. All other gamblers in the casino sit down and play and they must play. You sit down at a blackjack table--you’re betting every hand. At a slot machine, you sit down and play and you will be playing every spin.

The power of isolation in football betting cannot be overstated. But in order to make it count, you must be selective. That’s the whole point of the power of isolation. You sit back and choose the battles that you consider worthwhile. If the battle is a winnable one, then you consider taking a stand.

During the course of picking winners, we also should strive to extract good betting value out of our wagers. This can be done by finding what you consider to be a weak line or by mastering the nuances of line movement. We are not ruled totally by our opinions of who will simply cover the spread. We look for weak spreads like how an eagle soars the skies looking for prey.

Once we key in on a possible wager, we try to beat the closing line. The lines can and usually do move. We need to constantly be asking ourselves if we are getting the better shake of that line movement. This becomes easier as you begin to develop a sixth sense as to where lines will move. Then you let that guide whether you place bets on sides and totals early or later in the week.

What we don’t want to do is go to one sportsbook, whether it be brick-and-mortar or online, and just look at the spreads and totals and then take a pick. If you’re in Las Vegas for a weekend and want to bet on NFL football, then maybe it’s ok to just bet the lines at your host hotel and be done with it. But that’s for very casual and infrequent bettors.

If you want to make a serious go at this, you have to be cognizant of value and line movement. You shop for lines. You chart line movement. You start acquiring an innate sense of where the lines will move, which govern when you place your bets. You don’t just plop down one night and start making picks. You ponder, you calculate, and then you get the best possible price. Over the long haul, this sometimes overlooked element can spell the difference between winning and losing in the long-term.

One thing all bettors should do is have an extensive knowledge of all the different types of wagers and which ones suit their needs the best. If he has a pair of 5 or 6-point favorites he wants to bet, he knows he can bet them straight-up, he can put them on a money-line parlay, or he can make a 6-point teaser (See our article: How Teasers Work). Options in your artillery is power, but we need to use it for it to matter.

In any walk of life, and NFL football betting is no different, the true trailblazers are the ones who forge their own math. In NFL betting, that equates to creating your own read and perceptions. Astute NFL bettors are not molded by the opinions of others. If we like a team, we don’t switch our pick because someone said something on ESPN. If we have an observation on a team that could aid our bet, we don’t second-guess that opinion because of something someone else said. We have our own observations, perceptions, and beliefs--and we don’t rely on others to tell us what’s happening.

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