Advanced Football Betting Strategy
If you're new to sports betting and are looking for strategy to beat the bookmaker at NCAA and NFL football perhaps you've come to the wrong place. While you're more than welcome to continue reading - you might discover my article on football betting systems better suits your immediate needs. If on the other hand you're looking for information on where to get started betting football as a steady source of income, or even as a living, this is the perfect article to read.
Understand Market Efficiency
In order to beat NCAA or NFL football it's helpful to understand betting is a market. It's a supply and demand issue of sorts. You see, any time a bet with positive expectation (+EV) exists there is a huge demand. If a bookmaker sells too many +EV bets, he goes broke and there's no one left to take our action. Therefore, any +EV bets that hits the board won't last long, because in market terms they sell out fast. Who's buying them? Most often the largest and most talented bettors in the world are the ones picking off +EV lines.
To explain further Pinnacle Sports is the sportsbook that controls the football betting market. While other sportsbooks base their point spread lines at -110 ($110 to win $100) Pinnacle bases them a -104 ($104 to win $100). They also have the highest betting limits and the fastest payouts. You can cash out $50,000 from Pinnacle to a Neteller account in minutes, and you can also bet $250,000 on a single game on their website. (Note: Pinnacle does not accept US players - nor are they ideal for anyone but high limit punters, because they don't offer sports betting bonuses).
In the early going, Pinnacle opens the lines and keeps the betting limits small. If they get lopsided action via maximum bets this is sign they're giving up a +EV bet and now need to adjust. Once they find a spot the lopsided action stops, they increase the betting limits. If they suddenly get hit with more maximum bets they adjust again. This process continues up until game time at which point Pinnacle will allow $30,000 per bet with no limit on the number of maximum bets a player can place.
The other betting sites either copy Pinnacle or have a similar market going on. You see if Pinnacle is offering Jets +6.5 -104 and Topbet is offering +7 -110 everyone who understands the betting market, including both sharps and savvy recreational players, is going to bet and keep betting at Topbet until they move to +6.5 as well. For this reason the betting market is efficient.
Profitable Sports Betting Strategy
You might be surprised by this assertion, but I confidently contend most anyone can make $50,000+ per season betting football online without having an ounce of handicapping knowledge or even knowing the name of a single player. Doing so requires nothing more than bankroll management, the understanding the betting market is efficient and then learning how to handicap the market.
The first article I suggest reading is the one I wrote on handicapping the betting market. In that article I cover square vs. share books, finding and betting off-market prices, steam betting, removing vig and other related concepts. This is enough to get you started finding +EV bets. After this I suggest reading my detailed articles on NFL teasers and college football teasers. From here, buying-half points will be an easy concept to grasp. All this football betting strategy linked to is based off the understanding the betting market is efficient.
The next thing you probably want to do is read up on football prop betting. From this article pay close attention to the idea "derivatives" which are explained with the info on how to handicap "which team will score first". You should also learn about Poisson Distributions and at some point well into the future will want to Google search and learn about binomials.
Reading, understanding, and using the information on each article I linked to on this page will have you well on your way to beating internet football betting. In the future you can start to explore more advanced handicapping, but understand none of that strategy is needed to make $50,000 or more per season betting football online. All you need now is the ability to calculate EV and then some bankroll management.
Calculating Expected Value
This section you might wish to come back to at a later date so I suggest bookmarking this page. In any case, moving on… the formula to calculate expected value is: EV = (Reward * WIN%) - (Risk * (1-WIN%)). In order to best illustrate the use of this information I'll assume you're already familiar with teaser betting and buying half points.
Let's say we find a team with a point spread -7.5 -110 with vig and +100 without vig. We've also worked out via a push chart and the game's moneylines, the no-vig odds on this team covering -1.5 is -292. It so happens we have the ability to bet this in a 3-team 6-point teaser at +180 where we're given an implied of .7095 for this selection. We also find a local bookie who is willing to sell us 2 half points at ten cents each, giving us the ability to bet -6.5 -130. How do we determine which is the better bet?
We'd start by getting the information we need. Starting with the teaser, for reward let's say we're betting to win $100. We have no-vig probably of -292 which we can see using our odds converter is a 74.49% WIN%, however for the WIN% field we need to use a decimal so here we'll use 0.7449. Our risk to win $100 on -292 is $292. We now have what we need so we can enter in ($100*0.7499) - [$292*(1-0.7499)] which calculates to $1.9608 EV. To calculate our ROI use 1.9608/292= 0.00672 which is 0.672%.
To run the same for betting -6.5 -130, we'll again use a reward of $100, which means our risk is $130. We go to the push chart on my earlier linked article on buying half points and see 7 pushes 5.7% of the time. We know -7.5 was no-vig +100 which is a 50% no-vig win-probability. With now winning instead of losing on 7 our WIN% is 50.00+5.7=55.7 which we'll use in the formula as a decimal of .557. We can now solve EV using ($100*.557)-[$130*(1-0.557)] which calculates to -$1.89. We're losing $1.89 for each bet and our ROI is 1.89/130= (-1.45%).
In this case the decision is easy; one bet is +EV and the other is -EV. The reason I bothered to use this example is because you might be aware that buying 2-half points off a -7.5 or +6.5 line when getting ten cents per half point is considered the best blind bet in NFL football. Even so it's still -EV. This bet is suggested to recreational players because it cuts the bookmakers advantage down so small it's similar to playing low house edge baccarat. The point here is that most bookmakers charge 15 cents per half-point around the 7. Even though we got far better than is generally offered the bet was still -EV.
Now once you understand betting at a higher level there will be other bets you could analyze on this same game. Perhaps changing to making a pleaser bet and using the team +7.5 would be a better bet (probably not, but it might be) or maybe prop betting which team will score first will be better. You should analyze all bets you know how to calculate the EV of and decide which one is best to bet. The more bets you learn the math and calculations for the more likely you are to find maximum value. From here all you need is bankroll management.
When first starting out I'd suggest betting 1% of your bankroll on anything with under a 1% edge, 2% of your bankroll on anything with a 1-2% edge and 3% of your bankroll on any edge over 2%. Keep in mind all football betting strategy I've linked to in this article deals with quantified probabilities. Once you're very comfortable betting, you'll probably want to Google search and look into Kelly Betting. A quick warning Kelly Criterion is too aggressive for sports betting. If you do learn this method I'd suggest starting at 1/5th Kelly until you get used to it and then maybe eventually when you're comfortable raising your stake to as high as half-Kelly.
While most bettors are eager to get into Pythagorean records, power rankings, calculating yards per point (YPP), making adjustments for turnovers, game simulations and all this. I have to ask if you're just starting out, why? The information I just gave you, along with using multiple betting sites and learning their intricacies is enough to make $50,000+ per season betting football online. Save advanced stuff for when you're already exceeding that profit-goal per season. At such time you are, learning more advanced football betting strategy then makes sense. Until this time, I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy your new found source of betting profits.