When you start betting on football games it can quickly reach a point where it seems you’d be better off flipping a coin.

I remember many years before taking sports betting serious I’d have done better flipping a coin.

Once I started taking things more serious I started learning all the little things I needed to do to have the best chance to win.

Below you’ll find 6 football betting tactics that all beginners need to master. Once I learned these six things my sports betting results improved a great deal.

1 – The Over / Under

Many beginning handicappers get caught up in evaluating games and players and trying to determine which team is going to win and by how much.

When you’re betting with or against the spread these are the things you need to be good at.

But handicapping teams overall offensive and defensive abilities can offer an easier way to start betting on football games.

Statistics are readily available for offensive and defensive yards per game, points per game, turnovers, and special team’s performance.

You can also track the record of teams, offenses, and defenses based on the head coaches and coordinators.

Start handicapping over / under lines on paper to see how you do. What I mean by “on paper” is make picks every week but don’t actually place any bets.

Once you start seeing positive results pick the games you feel the strongest about each week and place a bet or two. As you improve you can place more wagers.

Some bettors focus almost 100% on over / under wagers because they feel they can handicap the outcomes easier.

2 – The Money Line

A money line bet is one of the simplest to handicap in many ways. After all, you just need to pick the winning team. You don’t have to worry about point spreads, so what could be easier?

The problem with money line bets is you pay a price for picking favorites.

The secret is picking the favorites when you’ll win enough times in the long run to be profitable and pick underdogs when you’ll win enough times to turn a profit also.

Here’s an example:

If Atlanta is a money line favorite where you have to bet $250 to win $100, how often do they have to win to turn a profit?

I always base decisions like this on x100 because it makes the numbers work easier for me.

If you place 100 bets your total amount wagered will be $25,000. When you win you get back your bet of $250 plus the $100 for a total of $350. $25,000 divided by $350 is 71.13. To turn a profit you need to have Atlanta win at least 72 times out of every 100 times you place this bet.

I realize you can only place this bet one time, but over your life you need to be right 72 out of 100 times or more when you place a 250 to 100 money line bet.

On the other side, you only need to be right 29 times out of 100 to turn a profit if you bet 100 to win 250 on an underdog.

As a beginner, figure out places where you can make money on the money line and you’ll be able to bet profitably for years.

3 – Understanding and Profiting From Moving Lines

Lines move because more money is being placed on one side. The sports books want the money to be roughly even on both sides of the game.

Start tracking the lines from early in the week all the way up to game time and you’ll start finding opportunities in the moving lines.

4 – Understanding Home and Road Biases

Everyone understands that home teams win more often, but very few are able to use this profitably in their handicapping.

Track teams to learn how much the home and road games change their expected chances to win and then use that information to pick more winning games.

5 – Factor in Weather and Travel Distances

Once you have a firm handle on how teams perform on the road and at home the next thing to consider is how far they have to travel when they’re on the road. A trip from one coast to the other is brutal on a team.

The weather is also important. This is especially true when you consider warm weather teams playing on a freezing day. When the Dolphins have to play at Buffalo when it’s 10 degrees outside, the Bills have a distinct advantage.

6 – The Vig Is Your Enemy

The vig is the difference between what you have to bet and how much you win on a bet with or against the spread. Most of the time you pay 110 to win 100, so the vig is 10. When you win you get your vig back.

Any time you can find ways to place bets with less vig you make more money. This tactic alone can be worth over 2% a year to your bottom line. You can shop different sports books for better vig percentages and try to find other people to bet with for no vig.


I went to college with a guy who loved to bet on football. The problem was he was one of the worst handicappers of all time.

Once I figured out how bad he was, all I had to do was take his action. We bet either $10 or $20 per game and I let him pick every game he wanted to bet. Most weeks he’d pick 10 games and lose at least 6 or 7. Some weeks he’d only win 1 or 2 games.

If he’d flipped a coin on every game instead of picking the team he wanted he’d have done much better.

It’s good for me, but too bad for him that he didn’t have the 6 football betting tactics listed above. Don’t be like him. Don’t just read these tips and forget them. Start trying to use them starting right away to win more bets.

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