2012 marks my first year following an NFL season from start to finish, and one thing I learned is this: all roads in the NFL inevitably lead to betting (to the delight of sports bookies everywhere).
As I became more of a fan of the NFL, I couldn’t help but read stuff like “they covered the spread” or “they’re 7-point underdogs.” “A spread? What’s that?” It started innocuously enough from there, but as the saying goes, a thing once learned cannot be unlearned.
Now, I have never gambled in my life ever. So why start now?
As a new football fan, I like to watch as many games as I can. Obviously I’m most pumped when I’m watching my two favorite teams, the Broncos and the Giants. I also found that I enjoy watching other teams’ games when my fantasy football studs are kicking ass. But games featuring neither the Broncos, the Giants, nor any of my fantasy players couldn’t hold my interest for very long. So I figured, why not have a little something at stake, to make the games more exciting?
So on Week 12, I placed $5 bets on the underdogs of a few games. Did it work? Hell yeah. I found myself in rapt attention of games like Steelers@Browns and Titans@Jaguars (I won both).
I’m a miser at heart, so I’m not worried about turning into a degenerate gambler. I bet only minimal amounts, for not more than $30 a week. My entire betting “capital” is only $100, and will be kept at that amount forever. I never do impulse bets, like betting big on Monday night to make up for Sunday losses. It’s simply to make watching football more fun. As recreational diversions go, $100 for life is certainly on the cheap side. Any higher than that and it would cease to be fun — I felt bad when I once lost all my bets for the week; I could only imagine how this guy feels. Risking big is a slippery slope I don’t plan to be on (no high rollin’ a la Floyd Mayweather for me).
TL;DR: Betting on games is fun and can amp up the NFL viewing experience, but only if in moderation. Proceed with caution if you are impulsive and lack self-control (you might end up like these guys).
A lot of sports betting is done online nowadays, and punters across the interwebs swear up and down on Pinnacle Sports. I signed up here and funded my account through credit card, and so far have had no problems. I have yet to withdraw, though, so time will tell whether they’ll make me jump through hoops come cash-out time. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT FUND WITH NETELLER. Neteller is a waste of time and will merely cause you a ton of headaches. AVOID NETELLER AT ALL COSTS.
Below are some conservative betting tips for fellow new casual NFL bettors. So far I have managed to preserve my capital with these betting strategies:
1. Pick the favorites when you bet on the moneyline
That’s why they’re called the favorites; they’ll probably win. And when I say favorites, I mean the proven favorites like the Patriots, and not the season’s early flash-in-the-pans like the Cardinals. You won’t win big, but it’s better to win $1 when betting $5 than nothing at all when betting on the underdogs who lose. Case in point: if you’ve bet on the Patriots since Week 1, you would’ve won 11 out of 15 times already — a pretty darn good win percentage.
2. Only bet on the spread and over/under if the odds and matchup are good
The NFL truly is “any given Sunday”. Teams are not as bad as their records suggest, and losers are often able to cover the spread. Find those value bets where the stronger team is the underdog for some reason, like the Rams on Week 12, who were +1 against the Cardinals.
3. Ignore the “experts”
I still remember the first Thursday Night Football game I ever watched — Bears@Packers on Week 1. All the “expert” commentators predicted a shoot-out. That game turned out to be a sackfest. Bottom line: unless these so-called insiders are from the future, they know the same as us — nothing.
I started betting late this year, so I’m looking forward to starting early next season and hopefully compile a winning percentage. I might even bet on the preseason to make the games bearable (I usually stop watching when the starters stop playing).