HomeThe Shuffle5 Ways to Shift Your NFL Bets as the Season Progresses

5 Ways to Shift Your NFL Bets as the Season Progresses


A glorious era beckons discerning gamblers.

As the NFL season is in full swing, it may be time to rethink your betting strategy. Here are some tips to help you plan your bets:

1. Shop for Odds

The emerging application of legalized betting, coupled with enlightened technology, allows players to shop for odds, much like the famous “wise guys” once did in the Las Vegas desert.

They’d comb the city searching for half-point differences in games. Some even managed to “middle” the books if they’d play one team as a 2.5 favorite, play the opposite side if the line moved to 3.5 and score big if the game was decided by three points. Those instances are rare now. But, just as the “wise guys” cavorted from property to property, you can meander from app to app, book to book or watch for lines to move.


2. Dynamic Line Moves

Books are competing for your business, just as banks do for your mortgage. Some moves are big. The Indianapolis Colts went from a one-point favorite to a one-point underdog in the final days before its overtime loss to the Houston Texans a couple weeks ago. The Tennessee Titans went from 3.5-point favorites to six in some places before losing last week to the Buffalo Bills. When the Oakland Raiders shifted from three to 2.5-point favorites in some books against Cleveland two weeks ago, that was the difference maker when they won by three in overtime. Shop before you drop the bet.


3. Over-Unders

They are a prime subject now. Books are starting to catch up with offenses being lit up by strict roughing-the-passer rules and previous changes to allow receivers more space to run without being hit past the line of scrimmage. The books have started to place over-under totals higher, but have not yet hit the comfort spot. You will see more over-unders in the high 50s and beyond.


4. Remember the Vig

You are laying 10 percent off the bat on regular bets. Teasers and parlays create more action and enhance your chances to win, but check the prices before committing. In general, expect 5-2 odds on a two-team parlay, 6-1 on three teams and 10-1 if you can hit four. But if you want to tease the lines by 6, 6.5 or 7 points, the odds on that combo ticket can change drastically.


5. Watch for Contrarian Lines

Keep an eye out for lines that buck recent trends. The defending champion Philadelphia Eagles have been awful, losing their last three versus the spread. To prevent bettors from souring on them, books may post a line to entice betting on the Eagles. The Kansas City Chiefs have (if you count the late line move against Denver two weeks back) covered every week. The Cincinnati Bengals have been very good against the spread, as have the Cleveland Browns. Will the lines soon reflect a more difficult covering task for them? Could be an opportunity for you.

Mark your calendars: The famous Breeders’ Cup unfolds November 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs. We’ll have betting previews here ahead of the race.


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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for sportsquare.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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