NFL Point Spread Betting Strategies

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Last year, in the 2021 NFL regular season, six teams won at least 12 games.

However, when we look at NFL teams who covered the spread in at least 12 of their 17 regular season games last year, we can see only two teams managed to accomplish that feat.

TeamRegular SeasonATS Record
Buccaneers13-49-8
Packers13-412-5
Chiefs12-58-9
Rams12-58-9
Cowboys12-513-4
Titans12-510-7

Our table above shows us that the six best teams in the NFL combined for an overall record of 74-28. (73%)

Against the spread (ATS), those same six teams were 60-42. (59%)

Betting on NFL point spreads can be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but it’s not as easy as picking the team who wins the game.

Below, we walk you through many different NFL point spread betting tips to help make your next NFL betting season successful.

Beware: Media & Meaningless Trends

It’s always a good idea to find resources to help you make better betting decisions.

Many people can provide accurate, worthwhile information to help us pick the right side of a bet.

However, many media and social media members are paid to provide their opinion but are not actually very good at beating the sportsbooks.

As a sports bettor, it is essential to do your homework, your research and seek the opinions of those who have proven they understand the intricacies of handicapping games.

It might be more important to understand those who are paid to provide their analysis and winners but aren’t actually sharp bettors.

Just because someone has a large following or is being plastered all over prime-time TV doesn’t mean their opinion is a good one.

The same logic can be applied when researching historical trends and data.

There will always be a lot of sports betting content for NFL games.

This content will walk us through historical trends and provide us with lots of stats to look at.

Some of this information can be great. Some of it doesn’t have any impact at all.

Knowing the difference between relevant and irrelevant information will help make you a better bettor.

Recent Play Trumps A Previous Matchup

In the NFL, each team will play their divisional opponents twice a season.

Sometimes these games are spaced out over several months.

For example, the New England Patriots might play the Miami Dolphins once in September and again in December.

In the September matchup, maybe Mac Jones lights up the Dolphins secondary for 300+ yards passing.

When we are handicapping the second game between these two teams, which is being played many months later, we do need to look at the original matchup, of course, but we must also consider everything these teams have done since then.

The NFL season is only 17 games. It takes five months for those games to be played.

So much can happen and change in five months that we must be careful with the data we use to handicap our games.

Just because a narrative played out one way in September doesn’t mean the same thing will happen in December.

Regarding handicapping NFL games, recent form and results are the most important factors to consider.

Line Movement & Public Money

For every NFL game, sportsbooks will set an opening point spread and move that number once bets start coming in.

As a bettor, understanding why the line moved can be very beneficial.

MatchupBet TypeTicket %Handle %
Bills vs. RamsBUF -2.5Rams 64%Rams 68%
49ers vs. BearsS.F. -749ers 70%Bears 52%
Patriots vs. DolphinsMIA -3Patriots 52%Patriots 77%

Some sportsbooks are starting to release their ticket percentage and handle percentage statistics for each NFL game.

Ticket % refers to how many individual bets have been placed on one team compared to the other.

Ticket % does not care about the total bet amount, only what team was being bet.

Handle % refers to the total amount of money bet on one team compared to the other.

Handle % does not care about ticket %, i. Instead only cares about the total money wagered on one team.

Using our table above, let’s look at the San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears.

The ticket percentage is 70% for San Francisco.

This tells us that 70% of the bets placed at this particular sportsbook are on the 49ers to cover the -7 point spread.

However, the handle % tells us a different story.

This 22% difference between ticket % and handle % alerts us to a potential sharp money bet.

Sharps are known to wager significantly more money than the general public.

Seeing such a significant difference between a ticket and handle percentage might signify that the sharp money is backing San Francisco.

Knowing which side of a game the sharp money is on is always a good idea for a sports bettor.

Shop Around

As a sports bettor who is passionate about trying to beat the sportsbook by earning a profit on your NFL point spread bets.

The single most significant advantage you have over the operators is your ability to shop around for your Best Odds,

Week 1 MatchupDraftKings OddsFanDuel Odds
Ravens vs. JetsRavens -7 (-110)Ravens -6.5 (-114)
Jaguars vs. CommandersCommanders -3 (-115)Commanders -3.5 (+100)

Let’s use the two games listed in our table above to discuss why shopping around to find your Best Odds when placing an NFL point spread bet is essential.

We can see that the Ravens are a full touchdown favorite on the road against the Jets with DraftKings.

If you like the Ravens, why not jump on them at a half-point less with FanDuel?

The fact that they are -114 at FanDuel, instead of -110, tells us that FanDuel is starting to take more money on Baltimore and that they might move that line to -7 soon if the money keeps coming in the same way.

A half-point can make a big difference when talking about key NFL numbers like seven-point and three-point spreads.

Only by shopping around for your Best Odds can a gambler give themselves the best chance to beat the sportsbooks.