NFL Spread Betting Angles You Must Know
One of the most important rules for running a successful business is to know your customer. It’s no different whether you run a corner drugstore or an online sportsbook. If you don’t know your customers, you won’t make money. That’s logic and reason, not Harvard professor MBA talk.
The NFL is the most wagered upon sport in the world. Successful sportsbook operators understand their customers. The most successful bookies understand how NFL bettors decide on what wagers to make.
Let’s answer a few basic questions about NFL Bettors before getting to the angles they use to try to score in your book.
What is an NFL bettor?
An NFL bettor is a sportsbook player that wagers on NFL games. That’s the classic NFL handicapper description. Although correct, it’s not a full description. There are two types of NFL bettors: casual and pro.
Casual NFL Bettor – The casual NFL handicapper does so because they enjoy the action. Casual NFL players provide a steady stream of bookie profits. They won’t make or break you. But they’re important because most are steady players who just want to have fun.
Pro NFL Bettor – The professional NFL bettor can cost you profit. They can also ruin your online sportsbook reputation. You must tread with soft shoes when dealing with pro NFL bettors.
Both casual and pro-NFL bettors use the angles we discuss in this article. Pro NFL bettors use a couple of angels while casual bettors often follow steam plays. Either way, bookie risk exists with both types of bettors.
Let’s get to the NFL betting angles!
NFL Betting Angles Pros Use & the Per Head Tool to Counter
Add Moneylines to Boost NFL Parlays
One of the most classic ways NFL bettors boost potential profits is to add moneyline wagers to parlay bets. Let’s take a look at a parlay wager. By doing so, we can see how money wagers boost parlay prices. Below are a couple of basic NFL against the spread wagers.
New York -6
Los Angeles +6
Your customers want to play a 2-team parlay with New York and Atlanta. We can represent the 2-team parlay like this:
2-Team Parlay: New York -6 and Atlanta -4. In this parlay, New York must beat Los Angeles by at least 7 points. Atlanta must beat Minnesota by at least 5 points. A $100 2-team parlay pays from $200 to $260, sometimes more. It depends on the parlay odds online bookies offer.
Now, take a look at this moneyline wager.
New Orleans -400
The chances of Buffalo beating New Orleans aren’t great. So a casual or semi-pro NFL bettor will add New Orleans into their parlay. That produces a 3-team parlay like this:
3-Team Parlay: New York -6, Atlanta -4, and New Orleans -400 moneyline.
The payout on this 3-team parlay should pay around $350. If the 2-team parlay paid $260 in profit, the moneyline wager boosts profits by 34%.
Luckily for the bookie agent, nothing says you must allow bettors to add moneylines to parlays. Just disallow the practice. Make sure that your clients know they can only make NFL parlay wagers that include ATS and O/U total bets. They cannot include moneylines into parlays to juice potential profits.
Wait for the Last Moment to Make an NFL Wager
By itself, this strategy isn’t an issue. Pro bettors use this method to take advantage of the best lines, though. Pro bettors that play in Vegas or with large online sportsbooks wait until the public money has “settled the line”. By settle the line, we mean that no drastic line moves should occur.
Sometimes, this won’t happen until the morning of the NFL game. At times, it won’t happen until an hour before kick-off. Although large online sportsbooks must play by Vegas rules, individual sportsbook operators don’t.
PayPerHead offers a line mover. The tool allows bookie agents to change betting lines. Bookies can use this tool to their advantage a couple of ways. First, they can change lines to discourage wagering.
They could also use this tool to attract active players. Bettors have tons of choices. State-regulated gambling should spread throughout the United States. When it comes to NFL betting, bettors mustn’t play with a single sportsbook.
By calling up potential clients and asking them what line they think is fair on a game, and then giving them that line, you can add that active player to your client list. Use line manipulation as a carrot.
If you do use this method, make sure to lower your risk by setting betting limits. Say something like, “I’ll give you the line you want, but I’m a small book. I can only accept X amount of action.” There’s nothing wrong with that. The NFL bettor will appreciate your honesty.
Make an NFL Wager on Opening Lines
While pro bettors often wait until the line has settled, casual NFL bettors often play this angle. The angle can work if the bettor is on the right side of the spread. Those who liked Denver in the 2016 Super Bowl at +6 opening odds got paid. Those who liked Carolina lost.
Those who liked the Eagles at +4 ½ to beat the Patriots got no boost either way. Although Philadelphia beat New England 41-33, the line opened at Pats -4 ½ and ended at New England -4 ½.
The 2018 Super Bowl where the Patriots lost to Philadelphia is a good example of a betting angle that doesn’t always hurt a bookie. Not all NFL angles are bad for bookie agents. The reason? Per head tools allow NFL bookies to assess and temper risk.
To temper NFL wager opening line angle risk, set max betting limits. Or, add a half-a-point to a betting line that lands on a whole number. In the case of Panthers-Broncos, a bookie could have made the line Carolina -6 ½ instead of Panthers -6. A simple half line change can help even betting action on both sides of a spread.
Play For or Against the NFL “Bounce”
Athletes and sports teams can have “bounce” performances. In the NFL, a bounce performance happens in a game after an excellent performance or a terrible performance. A team that blows out their opponent by 40 points in Week 10 won’t perform as well in Week 11.
A squad that lost by 40 points in Week 10 will perform above expectations in Week 11. The bounce performance happens in every sport. It can happen to any team in any sport.
NFL bookie agents shouldn’t worry so much about this angle. It’s not reliable. NFL bettors that use this angle won’t win many more wagers than they lose.
Check out the 2019 Baltimore Ravens as an example. From Week 7 to Week 12, Baltimore beat Seattle 30-16, the Patriots 37-20, Cincinnati 49-13, Houston 49-7, and the L.A. Rams 45-6. Baltimore “bounced” in Week 13 when they didn’t cover as a -5 ½ favorite against San Francisco. The Ravens beat the 49ers 20-17.
Set max betting limits like normal. But don’t worry so much about the NFL bounce angle. It’s not as reliable as so many NFL bettors believe it is. It’s to the bookie’s advantage if their players use this angle to make NFL bets.
Make Value NFL Wagers
Most pro-NFL bettors stick to a value-based handicapping approach. In value-based handicapping, sportsbook players look for advantages in betting lines. For example, if a top team’s quarterback is injured, NFL bettors overplay the opposing team. When this happens, a value-based NFL bettor looks to take the points on the team with the injured quarterback.
Casual NFL bettors always overbet injury information, stats, and trends. Pro NFL bettors look to go the opposite way of casual players.
When a player uses this NFL betting angle, you use the layoff account. The PayPerHead layoff account allows per head bookies to manage risk. Don’t overuse the layoff account. Overuse leads to profit left on the table. It is important to use the layoff account if a value wager can cause a potential sportsbook altering imbalance in your book, though.
We can stick with the Baltimore Ravens to illustrate a value wager. In Week 13, the Ravens did beat the San Francisco 49ers. But Baltimore was over bet. At the time, the San Francisco 49ers were the second-best team in the NFL. Only the Ravens were better.
Baltimore opened as a -3 ½ home favorite. After 2 days of the public pounding the Ravens, Baltimore rose to -5 ½ favorites. The Ravens struggled with San Francisco’s defensive line. Again, Baltimore beat San Francisco straight up but the 49ers won against the spread.
Some pro-NFL bettors saw value in the 49ers at +5 ½. But not enough wagered on the 49ers at +5 ½ to force an odds change. For your sportsbook, you don’t want to change the line all the time. Remember, sports bettors have plenty of options. They mustn’t use your book.
Don’t change lines to prevent value plays. Casual players won’t make many value wagers. Pro NFL handicappers will. But that’s okay. You can use the layoff account to counter any large value-based NFL wagers.
Some NFL Bettors Go with the “Steam”
Steam betting can affect a bookmaker’s sportsbook. Steam betting happens on NFL games the same way it happens with a stock. If a hedge fund purchases $1 billion dollars of Apple stock, it drives up the price. Although the stock costs more, other investors see it as a positive. If someone in the “know” is willing to purchase a billion shares of the iPhone maker’s stock, why wouldn’t individual investors?
Same happens on NFL games. All we must do is look at the Ravens-San Francisco game to see this. Baltimore opens at 3 ½. A steam move causes the Ravens to go to 4. The steam continues until Baltimore ends up at -5 ½.
You can manage steam moves with a couple of pay per head software tools. First, ensure you protect against the steam move with your layoff account. Lay off at least some of the initial move. Second, set a schedule limit override. Shut off betting until the steam dissipates in the Vegas sportsbooks.
Wait for the line to settle. Once the line on Baltimore went from -3 ½ to -4, individual sportsbook operators could have set a limit override. Then, they should have waited a few days until the line settled at Ravens -5 ½. Once the line settled, they could have lifted the override.
Make Wagers Based on NFL Betting Trends
Some NFL handicappers use betting trends. See below for an example of 4 NFL betting trends. We took these from the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 5, 2020.
Seattle is 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 road games
Seattle is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 playoff games
Philadelphia is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 playoff games
Philadelphia is 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games as a home underdog
Trends aren’t just for against the spread NFL wagers. Trends also exist for all over-under NFL total bets. The trend is a bettor’s friend. It’s a reason they exist. You might notice, though, that both the Seahawks and Eagles offer a positive and a negative trend. This happens in almost every NFL game. Both teams will show positive and negative trends.
The main question every NFL handicapper must ask is, “Which trend is my friend today?” That’s a tough question to answer. It means that NFL trend betting is subjective. It’s like value-based NFL handicapping. Subjectivity requires the bettors to be right.
Don’t worry about trend betting. You want your players to use trend betting when making NFL wagers. Use the layoff account if you must but other than that, tell your trend betting clients good luck and that you’re rooting for them.
Know Angles NFL Bettors Use to Make Profit & Counter With PayPerHead Tools
The NFL is the most wagered on sports league in the United States. The Super Bowl is the most wagered upon a single sporting event in the world. That makes NFL betting the most important revenue generator for every sportsbook in the U.S.
It’s important that bookie agents know NFL betting angles. NFL handicappers use angles to decide what wagers to make. By knowing NFL betting angles, bookies can lower their sportsbook’s risk. Bookmakers do this via per head tools like those offered by PayPerHead with the layoff account and line mover; they can create override limits to prevent steam moves.