Professional football is not only the most popular sport to watch, but it’s
also the most popular sport to bet on. With that said, there are a lot of
bettors making careless mistakes when placing football wagers. In order to
achieve long term financial success, it’s important to avoid the following
football betting mistakes.
There’s no rest for the weary, and there’s no off-season for committed
football bettors. If you are serious about increasing your bankroll and becoming
a successful sports bettor, then you must maximize the time you have during the
off-season. Without rehashing our entire article “Using
the Football Off-Season Effectively“, there are many things you can do
during the off-season to prepare for the upcoming NFL season. The following is a
list of actionable steps to make the most of the NFL off-season:
Review last season’s bets
Analyze last season’s football stats
Learn new stats
Learn new football wager types
Study the upcoming NFL schedule
Monitor all of the major changes for each team
Remember, betting on football is all about winning your wagers. In order to
hit a high percentage of them, you need to take the time to prepare for the
upcoming season and not go into football betting hibernation when there aren’t
any NFL games being played.
Not Watching Enough Football
Speaking of NFL games, if you don’t watch football every week, then you are
really digging yourself a deep hole. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you are
just throwing your money away.
How can you know which teams to bet on if you don’t even watch them play?
This is the true definition of blind betting, and there’s a good chance you
are losing most, if not all, of your bets.
There are NFL games on every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday throughout the
season. There’s plenty of opportunities for you to watch games. Additionally,
the NFL Network replays games throughout the week, and you can also purchase the NFL Game Pass where you can
watch replays of every game online. The Game Pass features condensed replays and
all-22 coaches film where you really can get insight into each and every team.
There are many benefits to watching football. The following is just a few
major reasons why you should:
Learn about each team
Learn more about players
Gain invaluable betting insights
Carelessly Following the So-Called Experts
As we alluded to above, don’t blindly bet on football games. This includes
putting your faith and bankroll in the hands of the so-called experts. For
starters,ESPN and the NFL Network have
numerous football shows and dozens of talking heads. Now, don’t get me wrong,
the former players that host these shows can provide valuable insight into
football matchups. However, they do this without taking into consideration lines
and odds. The best thing to do is take their insight and use it as one of the
many factors that go into your football betting strategies.
Football handicappers and sites that offer free betting picks should be taken
at face value. Don’t blindly follow these individuals just because they claim to
have done well. There are some sites that offer picks based on a wealth of
information. These are the sites worth examining further because they provide
valuable betting data with their picks. Take their information into
consideration, but don’t blindly follow it. This is nothing more than another
factor to include in your football betting strategy.
Overreacting to or Ignoring Injuries
The NFL is a violent sport, and injuries are part of the game. In 2017,
concussions rose by
13.5%, according to the NFL. Additionally, the league reported that injuries
were also on the rise. It’s further proof of just how dangerous this sport can
be. With that said, it’s important not to overreact to injuries, especially
since they’re so common. For example, the NFL reported that there are 6.9
injuries in every Thursday Night Football game.
All too often, casual bettors and beginners overreact to injuries, especially
when it’s to a key player. Last year, Eagles QB Carson Wentz suffered a
season-ending knee injury, and everyone wrote the Eagles off. They were able to
cruise into the playoffs since they had a huge lead in the NFC playoff race. In
both of their NFC playoff games and the Super Bowl, the Eagles were underdogs,
as both experts and Vegas thought Philly would lose. Backup QB Nick Foles came
in and led the Eagles to 2 playoff wins and a Super Bowl victory.
Conversely, don’t ignore injuries. When Aaron Rodgers went out last year due
to a broken collarbone, the Packers’ offense was terrible. This had a major
impact on the team’s win/loss record and various wager types like moneylines and
spreads. Ideally, it’s best to wait a week or two after a major injury in order
to evaluate how the team will respond.
Mismanaging Your Bankroll
One of the fastest ways to lose your bankroll is by mismanaging it.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common mistakes made by football
bettors. And if we’re being honest, it’s the most catastrophic mistake that you
Before you even place your first bet, you should set aside a lump sum of
money that’s going to be used as your bankroll. This money should come from
extra funds and not from the cash needed to pay your bills. You must also be
prepared to accept the risk of losing this bankroll without it having a
detrimental effect on your financial responsibilities.
The next step is to set rules for betting and staking. This is where bettors
mismanage their bankrolls. These rules are put in place to keep you disciplined
while betting on football. They should be established before the season starts.
Typically, these rules are based on your betting goals, wagers, and strategies.
Establishing these rules can help to prevent you from mismanaging your bankroll
in one of the following ways:
Even the most advanced bettors have losing streaks, so you can expect to find
yourself in the midst of a losing streak during the football season. The
important thing here – don’t overreact and chase your losses. What this means is
to stick to your rules and don’t increase your wagers to try and make up for
your losses. This is where you can lose your bankroll.
Winning Streak Recklessness
Just like with chasing losses, bettors can get reckless when on a winning
streak. They can get overconfident and greedy, which leads to increased wagers
and the inevitable bankroll crash when a loss happens. The winning streak can
come to an end, and all of your winnings could go back to the sportsbook. If you
are going to increase your wagers, make sure it’s in proportion to your
increased bankroll. This will allow you to continue your betting rules without
blowing through your money.
Too Many Parlays
Parlays offer attractive payouts, but they’re difficult to win. Additionally,
they could hinder your overall betting success. For example, NFL Sunday comes,
and you go 3-1 in your picks. Unfortunately, you combined those four picks into
a 4-team parlay, which means you lost your money. If you would’ve just made 4
individual bets, you would’ve walked away significantly ahead for the day. Limit
your parlays to a maximum of one per week until you are more experienced, and
your bankroll has grown.
Betting on Your Favorite Team
We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. It’s not an issue if you do it
sporadically. The problem is when you consistently bet on your favorite team
almost every week.
This is when you run into trouble. More times than not,
beginners and casual bettors feel that they know more about their team than
Vegas does. They’re blinded by favoritism and can’t see some of the betting
factors that impartial parties can see. Betting on football has no room for
favoritism. Don’t fall into this trap.
Let’s get this out of the way right now – the majority of bettors lose when
placing wagers on football. Unfortunately, that’s largely due to bettors making
many of the mistakes in this article. Another trap that amateur bettors and
beginners fall into is having unrealistic expectations. Whether it’s past luck
or some overinflated knowledge of betting on football, many amateurs come into
this venture thinking they will win a lot of money. Sadly, they mostly end up
losing their entire bankroll.
Yes, it’s definitely possible to win money and have long-term success. But
that’s largely due to putting in hard work and staying disciplined. As we said
above, make sure that your bankroll is a sum of money that you can afford to
lose. Don’t gamble with your mortgage payment because you think you have a sure
bet. The only sure thing here is that you will not have any money to make your
Shotgun Betting Approach
All too often, the excitement of football betting can lead to bettors placing
numerous wagers. I call this the shotgun approach, as you just place a lot of
wagers and hope that most of them win. This flies in the face of a disciplined
approach and will definitely chew up your bankroll before you get to Week 3 of
the NFL season. You need to exercise patience when betting on football. Find
value in your bets, systematically analyze the data, and make an educated wager.
Don’t just bet on every NFL game that’s on TV that day. Additionally, stick to
just football. Don’t dip your toes into the waters of other sports, especially
when you have very little experience and understanding of that sport. The goal
is to place a wager that gives you the best chance at winning, not place as many
bets possible in the hopes that you will win.
Impulsive or Casual Betting
This shotgun betting approach is a perfect example of impulsive gambling.
It’s based on emotions rather than a betting system. Other examples are betting
on the game you are watching, doubling down on your fantasy games by betting on
the NFL games, or placing wagers when you are intoxicated.
Casual betting can be just as dangerous as impulsive betting, as there is not
much work being put into the bets. Additionally, there’s no plan for long-term
success or a proper bankroll management strategy.
Impulsive and casual bets may be fun, but they’re almost always a losing bet.
You are just throwing away money. If you are going to bet on football, then you
need to take it seriously and put aside your emotions.
Not Shopping for Odds and Lines
Other than laziness, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t shop for
optimal lines and odds. Since the goal is to win money, shopping for lines is a
must. Comparing lines from different sportsbooks can be the difference between
winning and losing a bet.
Site A vs Site B
Site A Ravens
Site B Ravens
The Ravens are a 3.5-point favorite over the Bengals at your
primary sportsbook. A secondtop-rated
sportsbook has the Ravens at -2.5 points. The game ends with Baltimore
winning 20-17, and you end up losing your bet because you stuck with your
primary sportsbook and the -3.5 line. If you would’ve shopped around and placed
your bet at the second sportsbook, you would’ve won your bet.
Another example would be if the Bears and the Lions are listed as even for
the spread, and you want to drop $100 on Detroit.
Site A vs Site B
Site A Lions
Site B Lions
However, your primary
sportsbook has the Lions as -105. So, you bet $105 to win $100. A second
reputable sportsbook has the Lions at +110, which means you could’ve bet $100 to
win $110. The Lions win, and you ended up shortchanging yourself because you
didn’t shop around.
There’s no room for laziness in sports betting. The Miracles, an old-school
musical group, said it best: “You better shop around.”
Not Betting for Value
The term “value” tends to take on different meanings and connotations within
the industry. A simple definition of value is when the probability of a wager
winning is greater than the odds suggest. In other terms, it’s a bet that gives
you a perceived edge.
Betting for value means that you are looking for bets that offer value based
on the definition above. Typically, casual bettors and beginners just bet based
on what they know or think they know. They don’t look for value bets. Over the
long haul, value betting is how you will make money. Learn how to identify value
bets and improve your chances of winning.
Take some time to read up on
value betting and prepare yourself for the upcoming season.
Don’t Learn from Mistakes
Lastly, and probably the most disheartening, is when bettors don’t learn from
their mistakes. In life, it’s inevitable that we’re going to mess up, make a bad
choice, or make a mistake. But those who don’t learn from their mistakes are
doomed to repeat them. In the case of betting on football, those who don’t learn
from their mistakes or the mistakes of others are doomed to lose all of their
After reading this article, there’s no reason or excuse for you to repeat
these or other mistakes. If you aren’t going to put the effort and discipline
into being a successful football bettor, then you might want to consider
spending your time and money elsewhere.
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