Strategy for Betting on Football

Winning money from betting on football is not easy. It can be
done, but it takes a great deal of skill. It also requires a
significant time commitment, and a fundamental understanding of
the strategy that’s involved. A lot of people who bet on
football, or are interested in doing so, don’t realize this.

This is one of the reasons why so many people who bet on
football lose money. They think that their knowledge of the game
and the teams that compete is enough to take on the bookmakers.
It really isn’t. Being an expert on football certainly helps,
but it’s relatively useless without knowing how to use that
expertise effectively.

Of course, there are plenty of people who bet on football
primarily for a bit of fun. They like to win, of course, but
that’s not their sole motivation. They just enjoy the added
excitement of watching a game with some money riding on it.
That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with being a recreational
bettor and not everyone wants to put in the effort that’s
required to make money from betting on football.

If you are someone who wants to take their betting more
seriously, and your goal is to make consistent profits, then
you’re going to HAVE to put in the effort. You’re also going to
need to learn about football betting strategy, and that’s where
this section of our football guide can help.

This page starts with some basic strategy advice that you
should start following immediately, and goes on to discuss using
different types of wagers. It also covers the subject of
handicapping, and there are several advanced articles covering
specific strategies.

Please Note

Much of the advice in this strategy is useful
for beginners as well as experienced bettors, but it does assume
that you at least know the basics of how to bet on football.

Basic Football Strategy Advice

There is plenty of relatively easy stuff you can do to
improve your chances of winning money from betting on football.
You’re going to want to get on to the more advanced topics if
you’re truly committed to making substantial and consistent
profits in the long run, but you don’t necessarily need to worry
about that until you’ve mastered the basics. Just following the
simple tips below will straight away give you a better shot at
making money.

  • Manage Your Bankroll
  • Use the Internet to Bet
  • Be Selective
  • Shop Around
  • Watch the Games
  • Understand Probability & Expected Value
  • Analyze Your Betting Performance
  • Use the Off Season Effectively

1. Manage Your Bankroll

We’ve put this piece of advice first because it is
exceptionally important. It’s fair to say that you will never be
a successful bettor if you can’t learn how to manage a bankroll
properly. Poor money management will almost always lead to going
broke, no matter how good the rest of your skills are.

Good bankroll management is not difficult. It’s just a simple
matter of setting some rules for how much you’re going to stake
on your wagers. The slightly more challenging aspect is then
sticking to those rules, but if you’ve got enough discipline
then that shouldn’t be too hard.

Bankroll management for football betting is essentially the
same as bankroll management for betting on any other sport. Our
general sports betting guide includes an article on how to
manage a bankroll effectively, and we highly recommend reading

2. Use the Internet to Bet

It’s questionable whether this can actually be considered
strategy advice, but it’s certainly good advice. Using the
internet to bet is far and away the easiest way to bet on
football, and it comes with several advantages. Not least is the
fact that there are several bonuses and rewards that you can
take advantage of and boost your bankroll from. The odds and
lines are usually very competitive too, and there tends to be an
excellent selection of betting markets available.

You shouldn’t just use the first betting site you find
though. You need to use one, or more, of the top sites in order
to get maximum benefit out of betting online.

Football CTA

3. Be Selective

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when betting on
sports of any kind is placing too many wagers. Successful
betting is not about the quantity of wagers that you place, it’s
about the quality of those wagers. It’s much better to place a
small number of well thought out wagers than it is to place
wagers on every single game each week. It’s also fine to
completely pass on a particular game week if you don’t see any
good opportunities. Betting for the sake of it rarely works out

4. Shop Around

Imagine you were looking to put some of your savings with a
local bank, and you had two banks to choose from. One is
offering you 6% interest, and the other is offering you 8%.
Assuming everything else is equal, you’d take the 8% right? Of
course you would, because you want to get the best possible
return on this money.

The same principle applies when betting on football (or
betting on anything in fact). You’re not looking for the best
interest rate though, you’re looking for the best odds and
lines. Time spent on finding them can make a significant
difference to your overall results. We suggest having accounts
at a few of the leading football betting sites, and comparing
the odds and lines for every wager you place.

5. Watch the Games

There’s another article in this guide where we’ve put
together a list of common mistakes made by football bettors. One
of those mistakes is not watching enough games. So many people
believe that the best way to be successful is by focusing
entirely on analyzing stats and relying on that analysis to make
good decisions. Stats help for sure, a lot, but they are no
substitute for actually watching games and forming your own
opinions into the relative strengths and weakness of the teams
and players you bet on.

There’s more than enough football on TV, and there’s really
no excuse for not watching some of it. You don’t have to watch
every live game of course, but you should certainly try to watch
as many as you can. Even just watching the highlight reels can
be helpful.

6. Understand Probability & Expected Value

Math plays a big role in gambling of any kind. If you want to
be a successful football bettor, then you really need to be
aware of all the math involved. More specifically, you need to
know about probability and expected value. Without that
knowledge all you’ll be doing is betting on what you think might
happen. You might think that’s all you need to do, but
successful betting is more complicated than that.

Before placing any wager, you should ideally determine how
likely you think it is to win. This is where probability comes
in. You should then compare how likely it is to win to the odds
you are being offered. This is where expected value comes in.

The basic principles of probability and expected value are
not really too complicated, even if you’re not especially
mathematically minded. You really do need to understand them
though. If you don’t, please take the time to read the following
article in our general sports betting guide.

7. Analyze Your Betting Performance

Analyzing your betting performance is essential if you want
to maximize your potential for profit. No matter how good you
become, there will ALWAYS be ways to improve your skills. Even
the best and most experienced bettors still make mistakes, even
if they are just minor ones, and the most successful strategies
can usually be adjusted to be even better.

The only way you can properly analyze where you might be
going wrong and how you can improve is if you keep accurate
records on all the wagers you place. Surprisingly few bettors
bother with this, and yet it doesn’t even have to be
particularly time consuming. Once you’ve set up a spreadsheet
it’s just a case of entering the relevant details every time you
place a wager. You can then periodically review your bets, and
your results, which will help you in the end.

8. Use The Off-Season Effectively

The best football bettors know that long term success
requires lots of effort and hard work. There’s plenty to do
during the season, but the off-season is not the time to just
sit back and relax. Preparing and studying for the upcoming
season during this period can be invaluable, and it’s something
you should definitely be doing.

There are all several ways you can give yourself a better
edge by utilizing the off-season effectively, and we cover the
best of them in the following article.

Strategy by Wager Type

An important piece of advice that we didn’t mention above is
that you should consider using a variety of wager types for your
football betting. There’s money to be made even if you just
stick to betting on the spread, but you’ll be missing out on
other opportunities if you limit yourself like that.

First of all, you should make sure that you know all about
the different types of wagers and how they are used in football
betting. Once you understand that then you can start thinking
about how best to use them.

In the following pages we explain all about the different
types of wagers you can place on football, and also offer some
basic strategy advice for each one. The strategy advice that
you’ll find in these articles is not necessarily the kind of
strategy that’s going to help you to become an amazing success
when betting on football, but it will certainly help you to
maximize the possible value you can get from each specific wager

Handicapping The Market

Handicapping is a topic that often confuses people when they
first start betting on football, or any sport for that matter.
This is usually because they don’t really understand what
handicapping is all about. It’s actually not as complicated as
you might think. There are some advanced aspects to it for sure,
but a lot of what you need to know is relatively

We recommend starting out by learning the basics of general

General Sports Handicapping

If you have any aspirations of being a successful bettor then
you really need to understand the basic concept of general
sports handicapping. It’s really a quite straightforward
concept, and even the more advanced aspects are not that
difficult to understand if they’re explained to you properly.

Proper explanations are exactly what we provide in the
following article. We cover all the basics of handicapping the
market that will help introduce you to what’s involved, and we
touch on the most important techniques you need to learn as

Once you’re familiar with the above, you can start to focus
on how to handicap football specifically.

Football Handicapping

There are certain aspects of handicapping football that are unique
to this specific sport. You’ll need to be familiar with these if you
plan to make money from your football. The following article will
help you to become a competent football handicapper.

How to Handicap Football

You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the
various factors that should be considered when
handicapping football games. The following article
can help with this. We provide details of all the factors
you should be analyzing, and explain why they’re important.

Specific Football Betting Strategies

In the following articles, we provide details of how to
effectively implement specific football betting strategies. Some
of the advice in these is more advanced than what we’ve covered
so far, but we make sure to explain everything in a way that is
very easy to understand.

Buying Half Points

Buying half-points is considered by many to be just an
expensive way to try to win more wagers. It certainly can be,
but it can also be an effective strategy if used correctly. This
articles explain why, and also offers advice for buying

Live & Half-Time Betting

Live betting and half-time betting should be ignored at your
own peril. They provide lots of additional opportunities for
finding value wagers. The strategies required differ from
pre-game betting though, as we explain in this article.

Betting Season Win Totals

Betting season win totals has become increasingly popular in
recent years. Although long term bets such as these have their
downsides, they can be profitable and should therefore be
considered. This article gives you some useful advice.

Using Poisson Distribution

This is one of the more advanced strategies we cover in our
football betting guide, but it can be very helpful. In this
article we focus on using the Poisson distribution model for
finding value in prop bets, with detailed explanations and

Understanding Market Efficiency

In the final part of this page, we’re going to discuss market
efficiency. This is something you should try to understand if
you want to be a successful football bettor.

You might not think of betting as a market, but that’s
exactly what it is. It’s a supply and demand issue. Supply comes
in the form of the wagers offered by bookmakers, which can be
broadly categorized as being positive expected value (+EV) or
negative expected value (-EV). If you don’t understand these
terms, here’s some very basic explanations.

A +EV bet is one where the potential returns outweigh the risks. It’s expected to be profitable in the long run.

A -EV bet is one where the potential rewards don’t justify the risks. It’s expected to lose you money in the long run.

Any bookmaker selling too many +EV bets would go broke.
Whenever one is available, there’s huge demand and they sell out
fast. Who’s buying them? Most often, the largest and most
talented bettors in the world are picking off +EV lines.

To explain further, the football betting market is
effectively controlled by the biggest sportsbooks, bookmakers
and betting sites. When they set early lines, they closely
monitor the action they’re taking. If they get lopsided action
(i.e. they take a lot more bets on one particular outcome), then
they adjust their lines accordingly. If they continue to get
lopsided action, they adjust them again. They basically adjust
until they find a spot where they are getting balanced action.

Smaller bookmakers and betting sites will generally set their
odds and lines close to the larger operators. Sometimes, though,
they may make one side of a wager slightly more attractive
though. For example, you might see the following point spread
available at one bookmaker.

Dolphins vs Bills
Point Spread

Another bookmaker might have the Dolphins at +3.5 and the
Bills at -3.5. There’s an obvious advantage in taking the +3.5
instead of the +3 when backing the Dolphins and, as many bettors
shop around for the best lines, this bookmaker would probably
take a lot of action on the Dolphins. At some point, they’d then
move the line back to +3.

This whole process is essentially what keeps the betting
market efficient, as supply and demand always end up balanced.
Once you understand this, you should understand the importance
of trying to find value.


We started this article by stating that winning money from
betting on football is not easy, so you might be surprised by
the following assertion. We believe that anyone can make a good
profit during the football season even if they start without an
ounce of handicapping knowledge and no football knowledge at

They’ll need to learn the basics of handicapping the market,
and they’ll need to understand the importance of bankroll
management and that the market is efficient. Some insight into
the strategy involved is required too. But that all can be
achieved by reading this page and the articles linked from it.
There’s enough information and advice here to propel anyone well
on their way to successful football betting.