NFL Betting Habits Of A Professional: Shop Early And Often - Prediction Machine

NFL Betting Habits Of A Professional: Shop Early And Often

NFL Betting Habits of a Professional

Bet the NFL Like A Pro

Every professional bettor has unique habits and tools to make a profit during the NFL season, but there are also a set of behaviors utilized by virtually all of them. 

These behaviors, outlined below, are generally not appreciated enough by recreational bettors. The purpose of this article is to give you insight into the NFL betting habits of professional handicappers, compared to Average Joe bettors.

Professionals Bet NFL Games Earlier

On Sunday nights, while the majority of bettors are out celebrating their wins or licking their wounds, professionals are placing bets for the following week and carefully monitoring line movement.

In contrast, most novice bettors are placing wagers closer to kickoff and often a few hours before a game. Unlike most public bettors, professionals don’t have 40-hour work weeks competing for their attention, so while most people are mentally preparing themselves to get through the early part of the work week, professionals are attacking lines when they’re the softest.

To be clear, it’s okay to place bets at the last minute and professionals do that too. After all, limits are higher closer to kickoff and inactives are announced 90 minutes before each game (information is king). However, if you’re only betting games late, you’re essentially missing out on early-week bargains and betting into numbers shaped by (mostly) professionals.

In late summer, some professionals also take advantage of the ability to bet games Week 2-18, while most recreational bettors aren’t looking past Week 1. Our models identify inefficiencies in the market in games that bookmakers haven’t put as much attention into.

Pros Have Multiple Shops

Many recreational bettors have one trusted sportsbook they submit their wagers to, while professionals leave themselves as many options as possible.

This is partly to avoid betting limits from individual shops, but also for line shopping purposes. Line shopping is especially important in the NFL where it’s common for several sportsbooks to have a team at -7 while others have the line for the same team at -7.5.

Pros Watch the Market Closely

Professionals watch (and anticipate) line movement throughout the week, almost like stock brokers obsessing over the stock market. You can follow @pm_bestbets and @tonysmarkettips on twitter for updates on line movement throughout the NFL season.

A lot of information can be gleaned from line movement during the week (i.e. where are other professional bettors and syndicate groups putting their money) but more more importantly, we are waiting for opportunities to pounce.

For instance, maybe I really like the 49ers -3 vs. the Steelers, but the market is telling me that number might go down to -2.5 soon. A professional will often wait for the market to adjust and fire immediately after it does because a movement like that, off a key number, may not last long (because other sharps are firing at it, thus causing a correction). Having multiple sportsbooks means, as outlined above, means you won’t have to wait as long for a number to come to you. 

Reading juice can help determine if a line is likely to move or not. For instance if the 49ers -3 is juiced up to -120, that’s the sportsbook trying to discourage you from betting it for liability reasons. Therefore, it’s a signal that the line is probably more likely to hit -3.5 than it is -2.5 at that book. 

Pros Reduce or Eliminate Parlays

A lot of recreational bettors don’t want to hear this advice, but professionals recognize the pitfalls of parlays and bet them way less often than Average Joes. To read why, click here.

Pros Are Aware of Public Bettors’ Psychology

Professionals are often (not always) playing a contrarian role and on the opposite side of the public, especially in Nationally televised games like Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football.

If public bets have inflated a number and you can identify why the public is wrongly betting one side, you can take the opposite side and get a great price. This article explains some of the key principals to keep in mind when fading the public.

To read post-game betting habits of a professional, click here.