The NFL betting season has gotten off to a roaring start, especially if you take advantage of the live in-game option.
The first rule of NFL betting is to ignore so-called experts. I have been intrigued by the chances of the Chicago Bears and have not understood the extent of the negativity surrounding this year’s team. While they are in the midst of a rebuild, I think they are in a better position than last year.
While the Bears came back to earth in their week two match-up with the Packers and failed to win a winnable game against the Giants, I still think they will improve on last year’s 6-11 record. I cashed in on a money line bet in week one, and added to it with a unique opportunity offered by most betting apps.
Improving Odds Betting the NFL
I am speaking of live in-game betting. In week one there were a couple of great opportunities. The Philadelphia Eagles were about a 5-point favorite over the Detroit Lions in Detroit. After the Eagles jumped to a 17-point lead the live in-game line jumped to 16.5 in the second half. While I am not a fan of the Lions or was really excited about their chances, I took the points, figuring they would make it closer, which they did, losing by just a field goal.
An even better opportunity occurred when the lowly Houston Texans jumped out to a 20-3 lead over the Indianapolis Colts. The line moved to Texans -13.5 with a few minutes left in the third quarter: a no-brainer. But I didn’t stop there. Given the match-up, I figured the Colts had a good chance to come back and win. The money line odds on the Colts down 20-3 with a couple of minutes left in the third quarter was roughly 14-1; a $5 bet returned more than $75. More on that later.
In week four there were additional opportunities; some worked out, some didn’t in terms of NFL betting.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers fell behind the lowly New York Jets, you could have gotten the Steelers +5. The Bears fell behind the Giants 14-6 and the line moved to Bears +7.5 and best of all when the Bills fell behind the Ravens in the first half 20-3 you were able to get the Bills +16.5!
I bet that three-game parlay unfortunately as the Bears failed down the stretch. However, this shows why this is such a good play. Steelers should have won but did cover. It was a lock for the Bills to come back and make it a game, and a money line bet on the Bills would have made your day.
The hard part about these live in-game bets is that the odds are constantly changing so it is hard to lock in bets. I kept trying to get this in and ended up making three small parlays, which was good as I was able to cash out two of those with a significant profit. This brings up an important benefit of these betting sights, they allow you to cash in early or partially cash out bets.
(A side note. While I enjoy sharing my thoughts on sports and NFL betting with you, my day job has been as a financial journalist and editor. I have profiled more than 100 professional money managers and have edited hundreds of trading strategy articles. Key to my coverage is analyzing the metrics of trading included bet sizing and profit taking. John Henry (who made his money as an extremely successful commodity trading advisor) told me that the key to his success was not in his strategy but in its risk management; knowing the correct bet size and when to take losses and profits).
The point being, wide swings in momentum will turn the line and you don’t have go all in on the momentum swings, instead you can exploit the temporary movement in the line to find value and cash out before you see a “reversion to the mean.”
NFL Betting Reversion to the Mean
When a betting-line swings based on an underdog jumping out to a lead it provides multiple opportunities. An easy bet when the game experiences a “reversion to the mean” and the chance to earn high odds on an outcome you see as likely. When the games swings back in your favor and the betting app is offering a cash out, you must measure risk/reward factors. If you bet $10 with an opportunity to win $150, and the game moved in your favor but coverage is not locked in, you can cash in. Anything can happen in the NFL so if you can cash at a $10 bet at $50-$100, it may be worth it rather than risk it all for the last 20% or so.
Back to the Texans/Colts example. This was a great bet and looked to be a lock after the Colts tied the game late in the fourth. The Colts had an opportunity to win it at the end of regulation, but the game went into overtime. The Colts missed a short field goal after marching deep into Texas territory in OT and the game ended a tie. My $5 bet would have paid $75 and the app offered $38 and then $46 briefly.
A cautionary note on these apps. At a certain point the cash-out function suspends and locks you out. So, if you earned a good payday and there is risk, it is worth cashing out and foregoing the last 20-40%, especially if you can get 50 to 80% of your total outcome. If you are actively betting and at higher stakes, it also increases your opportunity by freeing up capital. This is what professional traders do.
Oh, when the Bears fell behind the Vikings 21-3, I was able to put a large (for me) bet on the Bears plus 22.5. The Bears spirited come back produced a nice win. I did not have the faith to look at the money line at that point! Good thing as it would probably have been north of 20-1. But if one did make that bet, the cash out function would have been about 50% after they took a lead!
Think about the math on that and good luck with your NFL betting!
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