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Halftime Betting

NFL Bets: Halftime Betting

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Halftime betting is a unique form of NFL wagering that has been receiving increased attention in recent years. Some very sharp bettors have made this a key feature of their betting profile. At root, a halftime bet is a point-spread or total that is posted during halftime of all NFL games. Rather than betting on the whole game, you merely predict the course of the second half.

One reason why this bet is so unique is the timeline. With all NFL bets, the oddsmakers have big chunks of time to form the best point-spread. In addition, the bettor has days to make their most educated calculation. With halftime betting, the timeframe is very limited. It only exists in a very short period of time--during halftime.

What that means to the bettor is that you don’t have endless time to ponder your wagers. You more or less need to act on the fly. But on the positive side, halftime bets give you a chance to amend your bets. Depending on how your normal straight-bets are faring, you can make certain moves during halftime that will maximize your chances to take home a profit, while deflecting some of the losses. And it allows you to bet on events after you already have an idea of how it will go. How many times after getting thumped in the first half have you wished you would have had a chance to see how things were going before you bet?


It’s important to not make halftime bets based simply on the scores you see. You should actually be watching the game. As you know, some NFL halftime scores can be fluky. A team might be up 17-3--benefitting from a twice-tipped interception and some wild special teams play. The score might suggest they are dominating, but you know better because you have been watching the game.

Watching the game will let you know the true complexion of the contest. You might notice the pass protection crumbling after a lineman goes down injured. A center could be taken out and the replacement is not clicking with the QB. A cornerback is on a gimpy hamstring and is getting run past. A lot of things can happen in the first half that is not reflected by the score that can give you added insight when placing NFL second half wagers.

Don’t forget to take into account the styles of play for the given team. If the San Diego Chargers are off to a big halftime lead, you can figure Norv Turner will go into protection mode for the entire second half. If you see a big line in favor of the Chargers, you might be hesitant to bet them knowing Turner will be employing a “three yards and a cloud of dust” format. If the total is high for the second half, you might be inclined to take the “under,” knowing how Turner operates with the lead. Other coaches in the same situation will continue to attack.

It’s important to account for the element of urgency. Teams play about as well as they need to a lot of the time. Ever notice how dormant offenses in a tight game all of a sudden get their act together at the end of the game when everything is on the line? Now compare that to the urgency level of a team that is up 28-7 at the half. Halftime only helps the fact that they are winning big resonate more clearly. The team that comes out of the tunnel for the second half might not be the same squad that began the game.

Statistically, teams with big first halves don’t have a big second half. Their opponent is playing with the urgency of a team that is behind, while the team that is ahead might start phoning it in a bit. This is especially true with favorites that cover half of the game spread by more than ten points in the first half. A team that is pounding another team in the first half usually lets off the gas pedal in the second half, leaving some soft halftime lines for you to take the other side.

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