Pro handicappers share top tips for betting the NFL

Sep 5, 2013 |
Should NFL bettors care about the Steelers' 0-4 record in the preseason?
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Should NFL bettors care about the Steelers' 0-4 record in the preseason?
Photo By - USA Today Sports
If you’re a first-time NFL bettor or a seasoned sharp just looking to touch up your edges before the first big NFL Sunday of the season, we have something for you.

Rather than breaking down the do’s and don’ts of NFL wagering, we’ve asked some of Covers Experts handicappers to provide their words of wisdom heading into Week 1, giving us their golden rules when it comes to capping America’s Game:

Steve Merril – “Respect the key numbers, specifically three and seven. NFL favorites will win by exactly three points nearly 10 percent of the time and win by exactly seven points nearly 5 percent of the time, so it is crucial to shop around and get those key half points when possible, especially on key numbers.”

Bruce Marshall –
“One phrase to remember from my mentor Mort Olshan: ‘Don't be afraid to lose a game’. I have seen lots of cappers talk themselves out of specific plays and regret so afterward. Take a chance and play your instincts.”

Bryan Power –
“Going against public sentiment is traditionally the way to go in NFL. If everyone seems down on a team, look to take them. If everyone is jumping all over a side, be prepared to go against them. In the NFL, regression to the mean is all too common. The difference between the 11-5 teams and 8-8 teams is not that great, nor is the difference between 8-8 and 6-10 teams.”

Jesse Schule –
“The most common mistake I see people make is following a strict set of unwritten rules that only hurt their chances of success. You will hear people say that only squares play favorites, parlays, teasers. People tend to believe that it's sharp to take the points and square to lay the chalk, but the reality is that there is a time and a place for both.”

Teddy Covers – “Don't be overly concerned if the sharp money is against you. One of the most common questions that I get asked during football season is 'Who do the sharps in Vegas like this week?'. Yes, over the long term, sharps make money betting on football. But sharps certainly don't win every game and many of their wagers have more to do with getting the best of the pointspread than having any particular opinion about the game in question”.

Marc Lawrence – “A tip for early wagering is not to overreact to the preseason. Aside from the fact they are little more than exhibition games, it's important to remember that different coaches take different approaches to the preseason. Some play to win while others play to evaluate. Don't knee-jerk to results from the preseason.”

Nick Parsons –
“Taking in as much information as possible from week to week is crucial in being a situational capper. Motivation is such a huge part of situational capping and knowing a team's schedule, what it did the week before, who it's playing next week, on or off a bye, and what the recent history is, along with carefully tracking the line movements helps in me getting a feel for the situation that each club finds itself in coming into any particular contest.”

Sean Murphy – “Don't believe the preseason hype. Teams are rarely as good - or as bad - as they looked in August. Bettors are quick to lay their money down based on what they just saw. But in this case, it's important to leave the four weeks of action we just witnessed in the rear-view mirror.”

Ben Burns –
“Learn from a team's previous game but don't overreact to it. The betting public is typically fickle and places too much weight on what is most recent in its memory.”

What is your golden rule when it comes to betting on NFL? Share your words of wisdom in the comment section below.
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