Why Bet The NFL?

Why Bet The NFL?

Jack Andrews
The Process
February 28, 2024


The most popular sport to bet on in the United States is the NFL. Nearly $100 billion dollars was wagered on the NFL this season alone. Everywhere you turn there are pundits and prognosticators telling you who you should bet and why. Meanwhile true sharp bettors will also tell you that the toughest market to beat in U.S. sports betting is the NFL. So why does everyone bet the NFL? and more importantly why should you bet on it too? Let’s talk about it.

Hi, I’m Jack from Unabated. I’ve been a professional bettor for over 20 years. Along the way I’ve beaten casinos at table games, machines, and promotions. However, for the past decade my focus is on sports betting. Along the way, I’ve helped thousands of sports bettors find their path to profitable betting.


Football Is King at the Counter

So why do we love football so much? More importantly, why do we love betting on it so much? Maybe it’s the uneven scoring that seems to create so many variable outcomes to games. Maybe it’s the short regular season. Each team only plays 17 regular season games, so each game is impactful. Squeeze the majority of those games into the same day of the week and it adds to the drama.

Whatever the reason, people love watching football, talking about football, and betting on football. For many, they want to just bet on their favorite team. Or perhaps bet a parlay of the teams they like that day. All of that extra money in the betting pool allows sportsbooks to take higher limits on NFL football, which then attracts the sharpest bettors in the world. Six-figure wagers on NFL games are commonplace at the bigger sportsbooks. By the time we get to the playoffs, Seven-figure wagers pop up frequently. 

During the NFL, sportsbooks seem to sweat less. They’re flush with cash especially early on in the NFL season. There’s no reason any sportsbook should hesitate about taking a large wager on an NFL side or total. That’s not to say some won’t do that, but NFL game lines are fairly efficient. More on that in a minute. 


Why Bet the NFL? Because of the Plentiful Options

Suppose you’re not sharp enough to beat the NFL against the point spread. Very few people are. A good reason to bet the NFL is that there are just so many things to bet on. The NFL more than any other sport offers a very plentiful betting buffet. You’re not limited to just picking who will win against the point spread or if the game will go over or under the total. You can bet on every facet of the game. This leads to an innate advantage for the savvy bettor.

You see, while sportsbooks have the advantage in being able to charge a vigorish on each line they offer, the players have the advantage of being able to pick which bets they’d like to make. This leaves the sportsbook having to defend their entire surface area of wagers. In the competitive world of regulated sportsbooks there’s a lot of pressure to offer more betting options than your competitors. Many sportsbooks have over-extended themselves which creates more surface area for bettors to find and potentially attack.

If you don’t mind digging deep and poking around every nook and corner of a sportsbook, you can find a lot of unique offerings. That’s not to say every weird wager is beatable. But when a sportsbook stands out from the crowd with a different bet type, or a unique line, it’s just you versus them in deciding how the bet should be priced. Remember, it’s easier to beat one sportsbook than to beat the entire market. 


Picking the Fruit off the NFL Money Tree

Now when you go digging for different bets in a sportsbook it’s not all gold nuggets you’ll find. Sportsbooks also try to outdo each other in offering the worst wagers. So many of these non-standard wagers you might find on an NFL game pit you against a much higher house edge. As you may recall from an earlier video, watch out for one-way bets where you can only bet on something to happen, not for it to not happen. And those same game parlays – well, they’re pushing them on you for a reason. 

Not all bets in the NFL are equal. In fact, I like to view the NFL as a money tree. It’s a big tree just waiting for you to pick the dollars off of it if you can. At the top of the tree are full-game NFL sides and totals.

Sure, the fruit at the top of the tree might seem sweeter because so few people can reach it. But, beating the spread or totals on game lines in the NFL is really tough. If you’re familiar with the Efficient Market Hypothesis it states that all markets tend towards efficiency. Sports betting is just another form of a market. Since the NFL is the most active market in U.S. sports betting it also makes it the most efficient. It’s tougher to try and beat the NFL market the closer you get to game day. 

When the lines open the previous week (or even weeks before), you can try to beat the market to things like injury news, weather information, and other influences. As it gets down to game day though, that NFL spread or total has been hammered into shape by the collective hive-mind of the entire betting universe. Good luck being sharper than that.


The Lines Based on the Lines

Now a few branches down from the top of our money tree might be partial game bets like first halves and first quarters where you’re just betting on what will happen in that slice of the game. These aren’t the easiest wagers to get an edge on either but successful angles do exist. You’re narrowing the variables that could influence the result by focusing on less of the game. 

Moving down our money tree are bets I like to call derivatives. These are lines derived from the game line. Things like alternate lines or alternate spreads. Sometimes there is value in looking into lines like these. I would even consider teasers as a form of derivative bet. A teaser is a parlay bet where you get extra points on each leg of the parlay. They don’t payout as much as a parlay bet, but they could be a good way to play the efficiency of the NFL market against itself. 

If you can get a teaser that moves through some key numbers of the spread and you get it at a decent price, it’s not a bad play. The edge comes from the fact that teasers are typically offered at a fixed price and sometimes the value of the points in the point spread that you gain in the teaser are greater than the price you pay. We’ll talk about key numbers and teasers another time. For now, we’re focusing on giving you a visualization that there are better ways to approach betting the NFL.


Start With Player and Game Props

However, there are branches even lower on our money tree. On the lowest branches are the prop bets. Player props and game props. This is your low-hanging fruit. As the name implies, it takes the least amount of effort to pick off the low-hanging fruit. When you look to do your NFL betting, think of this money tree. Why struggle to grasp for something on a high branch if there’s something more attainable within reach?

Don’t make the NFL harder than it has to be. Now I’m not saying NFL player props are easy money, they can be a tough market themselves. However, your efforts go a much longer way on those smaller prop markets. A little line shopping, a little news reading, a little modeling and you can definitely get the edge on that market. The nice thing about NFL player props is that major sportsbooks tend to take a decent bet on these if your account is not already limited.

But that’s also the paradox of this money tree example, sportsbooks take much bigger action on NFL sides and totals than they do on derivatives and they’ll take more on those alternate lines and teasers than they will on props. It’s an inverse relationship, but of course that makes sense given how beatable the lower branches of the money tree are. 

So bet the NFL because you enjoy doing so. But if you want to maximize your chance for profiting, do a little homework. Look into betting on things earlier before the market efficiency catches up to you. Also shop for the best line, I’ve told you before that’s the single sharpest thing you can do as a bettor. And while you’re line shopping, look into all the bets offered at a sportsbook, you never know what you might find. Lastly, don’t forget about that money tree. Stop trying to reach unsuccessfully for higher branches than you need to.

Copyright 2024 © Unabated Sports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This site is strictly for educational and informational purposes only and does not involve any real-money betting. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER. This service is intended for adults aged 18 and over only.