NFL Betting Is Upon Us…Are You Prepared?

by Rick Rockwell
on April 25, 2018

The big NFL news heading into this week is the 2018 NFL Draft live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. As millions of NFL fans are glued to their televisions to see who gets drafted from Thursday through Saturday, experienced football bettors will be studying the betting lines to see if anything changes from the opening lines that came out last week. With the NFL unveiling their 2018 regular season schedule last week, sportsbooks were able to release their betting lines for Week 1 of the NFL season.

And with the release of Week 1 lines, we can safely say that the NFL Betting season is upon us. It will only get more intense from here on out as we approach September. So, the question you have to ask yourself is … are you prepared?

Are You Using the Offseason Effectively?

In our article, using the football offseason effectively, we thoroughly detailed various tips and strategies on how best to use the offseason in order to become a more informed and effective bettor. As of this publication, the offseason has been underway for nearly 3 months. During that time, have you put in the work to become a more educated football bettor?

Like we said in our article, the offseason may be a downtime for the NFL, but there is never a downtime for committed football bettors who are looking to win money over the long haul.

With the football betting season just starting, take the time to read over the next few sections and evaluate where you are at in your offseason preparations:

Are You Completely Familiar with the Different Football Wagers?

Most experienced bettors know the ins and outs of each type of football wager. Do you? If you made a resolution to learn new types of football wagers, have you started that learning process yet?

Even with beginners, straight bets like Spreads, Totals, and Moneylines are well known. But, when you get into Props, Futures, Teasers, and Parlays, things can get a little overwhelming for beginners or casual bettors. If you are a beginner, or still learning how to bet on football, what are you doing to learn about the different wager types?

Have you tried Live Betting or Half-time betting? Do you even know if your sports betting site offers live betting? For those that are unfamiliar, live betting is a great way to find some real value when betting on football. However, live betting does require you to know the game and be able to predict future outcomes on each play, quarter, half or game.

Sticking to just one or two types of wagers can limit bettors from finding real value. So, it’s important to have some diversity in your football betting plan. However, before you can truly diversify, you must know the Pros and Cons of each wager type and how to maximize your winning potential for each one.

Have You Reviewed Last Season’s Bets?

How successful were you with your football bets last season? Did you win more than you lost? Are you up or down with your bankroll? Did you break 53%?

If you haven’t already reviewed last season’s betting data, then you are already well behind and unprepared for the NFL betting season. If this is your first season betting on football, then we recommend you keeping a log for all of your wagers including: types of bets, casual vs serious, when you placed the bets, teams, divisions, conferences, and NFL weeks. Obviously, the more data you keep, the better.

If you are an experienced bettor with access to this data for last year, then you really need to make sure you review it. And like we said, if you haven’t already done this then you need to start today.

Knowing what your betting success was in 2017 can shape the way you bet in 2018. This data can reflect how effective your betting system was, your handicapping skills are, and where you can make some improvements.

Offense

Are You Prepared to Shop for Lines?

Do you know what line shopping means? If yes, then evaluate last season’s line shopping experience by answering the following questions:

  • How many sports betting sites do you have accounts with?
  • Which site is your main site?
  • How often did you shop for lines?
  • Which wager types did you find the most success with line shopping?
  • What part of the week did you shop for lines?

If you don’t know what line shopping means, then you really need to get prepared for this essential football betting tool. Line shopping is the process where you shop for lines in order to find the best value and to improve your chances of winning. We have an excellent guide to line shopping that further explains the benefits of shopping for football lines, what to look for, and how to shop. I highly suggest you read this if you are inexperienced or need a refresher on football line shopping.

Are You Pouring Through the Wealth of Online Football Data?

The internet is full of incredible NFL statistical data and football betting resources. Experienced bettors already know this. If you are an experienced bettor, have you already started combing through the data from last year? Even for the most successful football bettors, the offseason is ideal for learning about new NFL stats or trends.

Beginners and inexperienced or casual football bettors often struggle in this area. If you fall into one of these categories, do you even know where to look for this data?

In our article on football betting systems, we mention how it’s a great idea to create a library of resources for statistics and other data on football. Have you created a library yet?

This doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Every major Internet browser allows you to save web sites as bookmarks. You can easily create a simple or complex bookmarking system to access whatever data you feel helps you to create your football betting system.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, start examining and bookmarking sites dedicated to NFL stats, game reports, game summaries, and football betting trends. From there, you will be able to find many subcategories to analyze further.

Are You Monitoring the NFL Offseason?

The NFL offseason represents a new beginning where teams can rebuild their rosters, find the pieces to put them over the hump, or completely overhaul the team by firing coaches and general managers. Are you monitoring to see how each team has undergone changes? Do you even know what the major stories have been over the last 2 months?

Free Agency
The free agency period started in mid-March with over 550 players eligible. Do you know which big named players changed teams? Additionally, some teams got noticeably better with their additions, while other teams got noticeably worse with their free agent departures. Do you know which teams came out the winners or losers of free agency?

Trades
This NFL offseason has been full of big time trades. In fact, some trades could definitely help new teams win more games in 2018. The Rams acquired Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters via trades, which makes them much more formidable in defending the pass. The Browns traded for a starting quarterback and a dynamic receiver, which dramatically improves their offense. Have you kept track of the trades and how they affect each team?

Retirements
Every offseason there are retirements. So, it’s important to pay attention to which players retired and how it will affect their former teams. For example, the Bills lost starting guard Richie Incognito and starting Center Eric Wood to retirement. This severely impacts their offensive line, which could dictate the team’s draft plans and their on-field success. Are you aware of any other impactful retirements?

Coaching Changes
There were 7 teams that hired new coaches this year. Do you know which ones these were? With coaching changes, comes new schemes and philosophies. Knowing what a coach likes to do is important when handicapping a game. Make sure you learn about each coach and get familiar with their tendencies and who they named as their coordinators.

Off-field Issues and Suspensions
Have you been monitoring any off-field issues with players? Are there any notable suspensions that could affect the early betting lines and a team’s chance of winning?

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones was in the news for a scene at a hotel where he allegedly vandalized the place and was caught on camera naked. Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants have had some relationship drama that sparked rumors of a potential trade. San Francisco 49ers is facing felony charges for domestic violence and could be released from the 49ers.

These issues could be significant in regards to how a team performs in 2018. You must keep an eye on any newsworthy off-field events.

As for suspensions, Spotrac.com is an excellent source for monitoring suspensions especially if you missed them announced in the news. This is a great addition to any library. An example of a notable suspension that could affect early season success is Thomas Davis for the Carolina Panthers. Davis is one of the team’s top linebackers and leaders. He’ll miss a few games due to getting popped for PEDs.

Not knowing who’s suspended could lead you to making the wrong bet on a team.
NFL Draft
As mentioned, the NFL Draft is here. Within a few days, it will take over the sporting world. Each team will add talented players to their rosters with the hopes of taking a big step in the direction of success on the field. It’s important for you to monitor who gets drafted where and how these draft picks will affect the early Week 1 lines.

Offseason Workouts and Practices
Do you even know when teams start their OTAs? Do you have any idea when teams open their training camps? These are important dates because they provide us with potential data for each team. For example, players can get injured or we can see early roster chart battles. Additionally, free agents who have yet to be signed can end up getting called into a training camp. What is your plan for tracking these practices and workouts? If you don’t have a plan yet, then you need to create one.

Have You Reviewed Your Football Betting System?

A football betting system is the strategy you use to bet on football games. Each system is tailored to each individual. As of now, there is no football betting system that wins 100% of the time. With that said, have you reviewed your system to see how effective it was last season?

Reviewing your system involves things like going over last season’s bets and examining the effectiveness of each factor that you used to handicap football last year. Additionally, reviewing your system also calls for you to be brutally honest and see where you made possible mistakes. Check out our article on common football mistakes and see if you are guilty of any of these. If yes, then those mistakes should be addressed in order for your betting system to be more efficient.

If you don’t have a football betting system, then you need to create one immediately. If you don’t know how, then check out our guide on creating football betting systems. This guide teaches you about why you should have a system and how to create your very own betting system.

How Effective was Your Handicapping Last Season?

This question directly piggybacks off of the football betting system section above. You can’t have a system without handicapping football. In short, handicapping football entails how you gather, analyze and value football stats, trends and other relevant data. Handicapping is the legwork for creating your betting system in order to choose which games you want to bet on.

For example, you can’t look at the upcoming season’s schedule if you don’t know which games have potential value. The only way you will know that is by how you handicap the sport.

Experienced bettors can and should examine how well they did with last season’s handicapping. For starters, they can review the betting success. From there, they can break down potential reasons why they lost a bet. This can link back to how they handicapped the game. With that said, have you examined your overall handicapping success from last season? If not, then you need to get on that right away.

For beginners and inexperienced or casual bettors, the word handicap is a bit daunting. In reality, it really isn’t scary at all. In fact, any better can handicap the sport if they’re serious about winning their bets. And, as I’ve said many times before, if you aren’t serious about winning your wagers then get out of sports betting altogether.

If you are still intimidated by the term handicapping and aren’t sure if you know how to, then check out our guide on how to handicap football.

Have You Looked at the 2018 NFL Regular Season Schedule?

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the NFL released their 2018 regular season schedule last week. Now, some of you might be saying that it was only just a few days ago and that you have time to still look. My response to that, serious bettors and professional bettors have already looked at the schedule and circled potential wins. In other words, there’s no excuse as to why you haven’t looked at the schedule yet.

When studying the upcoming schedule, there are many things to look for. If you are still learning how to examine the NFL schedule, or feel like you can add a few more ideas to your handicapping, then check out the following suggestions:

Bye Weeks

Bye weeks are critical for teams trying to rest up players and make mid-season adjustments. They’re also great opportunities for bettors to find some value in post-Bye week games. Did you know, that there are a handful of teams that have won 80% of their post-Bye week games over the last 5 years?

The following teams excel coming out of the bye week:

  • Arizona Cardinals (4-1)
  • Dallas Cowboys (4-1)
  • Detroit Lions (4-1)
  • Seattle Seahawks (4-1)

In 2018, the Cowboys have a Week 8 Bye, so their Week 9 game against the Tennessee Titans is one to circle. The other 3 teams have the following Byes and post-Bye week matchups:

Arizona has a Week 9 Bye and then plays at Kansas City. I would not bet on the Cardinals in this game as the Chiefs have one of best home field advantages with a record of 18-6 over the last 3 years.

The Seattle Seahawks have a Week 7 Bye and then travel to Detroit in Week 8. I’d circle this game, and wait to see how the lines shape up. Last year, Detroit was only 4-4 at home and the Seahawks were 5-3 on the road.

On the opposite end of the scale, I would bet against these teams that have struggled coming out of the Bye Week over the last 5 years:

  • Chicago Bears (1-4)
  • Cleveland Browns (1-4)
  • New York Jets (1-4)
  • San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)

In 2018, the Bears have a Week 4 Bye and then play at Miami Dolphins in Week 5. Neither team instills confidence in me. I would circle the Dolphins here, but wait to see how they perform this season.

Until Cleveland proves they can win, I don’t like them to win any game. The Browns have a Week 11 Bye and then travel to the Bengals for an in-state rivalry game. This might be the only time I take the Bengals all season.

The Jets have a Week 11 Bye and then play at home against the Patriots in Week 12. Enough said!

The San Francisco 49ers have a Week 11 Bye and then play at Tampa Bay in Week 12. The Bucs have some value here as the Niners are 0-5 following a Bye Week and are 6-8 over the last 6 years when traveling to the Eastern Time Zone.

The Bucs have a Week 5 Bye and then play at Atlanta in Week 6. I like this game as Atlanta has a 14-10 record at home over the last 3 years and have defeated the Buccaneers 3 straight times.

Short Weeks

Over the last 4 years, the teams that played on a Monday Night game and then 6 days later on a Sunday, have combined to go 57-69-1. During that span, there are 6 teams that have gone winless after playing on a Monday night. These teams represent value in betting against them on a short week:

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Miami Dolphins
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bills host the Patriots on Monday Night this year and then play against Chicago at home. I wouldn’t touch this game as the Bears aren’t a good team as of yet.

Miami and Jacksonville don’t have a MNF game this year.

The 49ers have two games on Monday Night Football and you can thank Jimmy G. for that. Their first MNF game is Week 6 at Green Bay. In Week 7 they host the Rams, which I would like LA in this one. Their second MNF game is at home against the Giants in Week 10 and then they have their Bye Week. However, they play the Raiders on a Thursday night in Week 9 and will have 11 days rest before they have to play the Giants. San Francisco is 0-4 in their games following a Thursday Night Game over the last 4 years. I would circle the Giants in this one.

The Cowboys host the Titans on Monday Night Football and then travel to Philadelphia 6 days later. Circle Philly for this Week 10 matchup.

Lastly, Tampa Bay hosts the Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 3 and they plays at Chicago in Week 4. This could be the one time in 2018 that you actually take the Bears at home.

London Games

The NFL will have 3 games in London this year. There are few things to look at when it comes to London games. First, will the teams play the next week or have a Bye Week following their trip to London. In the 3 games for 2018, all 6 of the teams will take their Bye Week right after their games in London.

Second, pay attention to which weeks these games are and look at the remaining schedules for the 6 teams that are playing in the UK.  From 2007 to 2017, the teams that won in London have combined to go 111-75-1 over the remainder of the season. The teams that lost, combined to go 77-111-1 over the remainder of the season. Furthermore, in 2017, the winning teams went 30-11 and the losing teams went 17-26.

For example, let’s examine the Eagles: They play in London during Week 8 and have a Week 9 Bye. Last year, the winning teams in London combined to go on and win 73% of their games over the remainder of the season. Looking at the Eagles remaining games, if they were to win in London they could conceivably go 6-2 or 7-1 over their final 8 games. Furthermore, Philly has gone 3-2 coming out of the Bye Week over the last 5 years. This season, they will host the Cowboys who are coming off a Monday Night Football game. Additionally, they have 5 games against the NFC East, which they went 5-1 last year. They also have 4 games at home, which they went 7-1 last year. If Philly can beat Jacksonville in London this season, I would definitely start planning on riding the Eagles the rest of the year.

Other Things to Look For

Keep in mind, the examples above are just suggestions on what to look for based on our research. These tips are not guaranteed to win you your bets, but they definitely improve your chances. In addition to Bye Weeks, Short Weeks, and London games, look for other things in the 2018 schedule like:

  • Who the Patriots play at home. They’ve gone 19-5 at home over the last 3 years.
  • Also pay attention to the Chiefs, Vikings, Steelers and Panthers home games as they all went 18-6 at home over the last 3 years.
  • Check out divisional rivalry games as the Patriots have owned the Bills and the Steelers have owned the Browns over the last decade.
  • Conversely, the Bears (7-17) and Browns (3-21) have had the worst home field records the last 3 years. Take a look at their home games and circle some that might look like easy wins. For example, the Bears play the Seahawks, Packers, Patriots, Vikings and Rams all at home this year. Yikes!
  • Easy conference wins. The Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Vikings all went 10-2 against conference opponents last year. Take a look to see which conference games might be easier than others.
  • Who’s playing on Monday Night Football? Seattle is 23-9 on MNF and has 2 MNF games this year.

Lastly, don’t forget that circling these games at the end of April doesn’t mean you will actually bet on them during the season. Plenty of things can change between now and then. Looking at the schedule now, can help you better prepare for potential bets and monitor everything that goes on between the Draft and the opening week of football. It also helps you to hone your handicapping skills and sharpen your football betting system. It doesn’t mean you are locking yourself into these bets.

Have You Even Looked at the Week 1 Betting Lines?

As mentioned, now that the Week 1 lines are out, the NFL Betting season is upon us. Have you looked at the lines yet? There are several reasons why you should look at the lines now. The following are just a few:

  • Get an idea of how the bookmakers view each team and matchups
  • Practice and hone your handicapping
  • See if any lines look good based on your football betting system
  • See if there are any early value bets
  • Practice line shopping

With that in mind, check out the following Week 1 Odds from 5Dimes:

Game Spread Moneylines Totals
Atlanta Falcons at +4.5 (-110) +180 O47 (-110)
Philadelphia Eagles -4.5 (-110) -220 U47 (-110)
Pittsburgh Steelers at -7 (+110) -265 O47 (-110)
Cleveland Browns +7 (-130) +225 U47 (-110)
San Francisco 49ers at +5 (-110) +190 O47 (-110)
Minnesota Vikings -5 (-110) -230 U47 (-110)
Cincinnati Bengals at +1 (+105) +113 O47 (-110)
Indianapolis Colts -1 (-125) -133 U47 (-110)
Buffalo Bills at +4 (-110) +173 O42.5 (-110)
Baltimore Ravens -4 (-110) -205 U42.5 (-110)
Jacksonville Jaguars at -3.5 (-110) -190 O44 (-110)
New York Giants +3.5 (-110) +165 U44 (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +7.5 (-135) +240 O51.5 (-110)
New Orleans Saints -7.5 (+115) -280 U51.5 (-110)
Houston Texans at +7 (-130) +230 O51 (-110)
New England Patriots -7 (+110) -270 U51 (-110)
Tennessee Titans at -1 (-120) -128 O46.5 (-110)
Miami Dolphins +1 (+100) +108 U46.5 (-110)
Kansas City Chiefs at +2.5 (+115) +138 O47.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Chargers -2.5 (-135) -158 U47.5 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks at Pk (+105) +105 O42 (-110)
Denver Broncos Pk (-125) -125 U42 (-110)
Dallas Cowboys at +1 (+105) +113 O44.5 (-110)
Carolina Panthers -1 (-125) -133 U44.5 (-110)
Washington Redskins at Pk (-110) -110 O44.5 (-110)
Arizona Cardinals Pk (-110) -110 U44.5 (-110)
Chicago Bears at +9.5 (-120) +325 O48 (-110)
Green Bay Packers -9.5 (+100) -400 U48 (-110)
New York Jets at +7 (-130) +230 044 (-110)
Detroit Lions -7 (+110) -270 U44 (-110)
Los Angeles Rams at -2.5 (-115) -138 049.5 (-110)
Oakland Raiders +2.5 (-105) +118 U49.5 (-110)

Looking at the Week 1 odds, there are several games and lines that are appealing to us. The following are just a few examples of games we find value in:

Texans at Patriots
The Patriots are 19-5 at home over the last 3 years. They’re favored by 7 points according to 5Dimes. If you shop around, you will find the line at -6.5 for the Patriots. As we covered in our line shopping guide, the key numbers for margin of victory are 3 and 7. So, anytime you feel good about one team with a spread at 3 or 7, look for a line at another site that is a ½ to a full point below or above the 3 or 7 point spread. In this case, we found the Patriots at -6.5 points (-105). That half point means we have to risk more than if we took the 7 points at 5Dimes. However, it’s worth the risk considering we are now off the 7 point spread.

Rams at Raiders
The Raiders went 4-4 at home last year and 13-11 over the last 3 years. The Rams went 7-1 on the road last year and the trip up from LA to Oakland isn’t a long one. That means, the Rams can spend more time at their facilities before having to travel. A luxury that’s not available for every road game. The Rams are a -2.5 favorite with a moneyline of -138.

I like the Rams in this game because they have more talent on both sides of the ball than the Raiders. Additionally, we don’t know how well the Raiders will play under the returning Gruden. But, we do have an idea of how good the Rams are, and it’s expected that they will improve this year with a scary, elite defense. A few sites have the Rams at a -1.5 spread with -130 odds. I feel that the moneyline is where to go with this game. Instead of risking $115 to win $110 on the spread, take the moneyline and risk $138 to win $100. That extra $23 you have to risk is worth not taking any points.

Prepare for Success, Not Failure

With this article, we hope that you really evaluate where you are at in your football betting preparations. Take the time to review your football betting system and handicapping skills, in order to win more football bets now that the NFL Betting season is upon us. Make sure that you stay on top of all of the latest NFL news, events and rumors. Lastly, if you are new to football betting then start learning how to bet on football so that you have a better chance at winning your wagers.

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