According to a recent survey, about 38 million Americans are expected to bet on at least one NFL game this season. That represents about 15% of all the adults in this country.
Are you going to be one of them? If so, you’re going to need to know how to place point spread bets since that’s often the most popular way to bet on NFL games.
Here are three essential tips that will help you “beat the spread” when you’re wagering on NFL matchups.
1. Understand What Point Spread Bets Are
Before you start making point spread bets, you need to understand what they are and how they work.
There is a point spread placed on every NFL game each week. It represents how much better odds-makers think one team is than another team.
For example, if odds-makers think Team A is two touchdowns better than Team B, they’ll make Team A a 14-point favorite for the game. You’ll see them listed as -14, while Team B is listed as +14.
What exactly does this mean to you? Well, it means that if you bet on Team A with the point spread, you’ll need them to win by more than 14 points for your bet to cash. If, however, you bet on Team B with the point spread, you’ll need them to either win outright or lose by less than 14 points for your bet to cash.
If the game happens to land right on 14 with a final score of, say, 28-14, it would be considered a “push” with everyone getting their money back.
This makes point spread bets different than moneyline bets. With moneyline bets, you pick one team to beat another one. And if your team wins, you win—regardless of how many points they win by.
2. Get Into the Habit of Monitoring Point Spreads
Point spreads for games are usually released days in advance of the games themselves. NFL point spreads, for instance, are often available on Sunday nights or Monday mornings throughout the NFL season.
If you’re going to be making point spread bets, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of seeing how point spreads fluctuate over the course of a few days. In some cases, a point spread will shift dramatically due to everything from injured players to big bets placed on games.
By monitoring point spreads, you can see how the lines for games move. This might clue you in as far as which teams the so-called “sharps”—betting experts who wager large amounts of money on games—are betting on.
3. Look for Point Spreads That Offer the Most Value
Outside of keeping a close eye on point spreads in the days leading up to a game, you should also research games and find out whatever you can about the two teams playing in them. This will allow you to find point spreads that offer value.
If you see that Team A is favored to win a game against Team B by 11 points, it might make sense since Team A is 5-1 and Team B is 1-5. But it might not make sense when you see that Team B has won six straight games against Team A, including last season when the two teams were in similar positions.
That might make a bet on Team B more valuable than your usual point spread bet. All it takes is a little research to uncover these kinds of value bets when it comes to making both NFL preseason picks and NFL season picks.
Start Placing Better Point Spread Bets Today
There is nothing more exciting than making point spread bets on NFL games and then spending a Sunday afternoon seeing how they do. It’s part of the reason why the NFL is so popular these days.
But before you start making these kinds of bets all the time, consider using the three tips listed here. They’ll make you a better sports bettor all around and allow you to be more profitable.
Check out our other articles for more information on sports gambling.