|No offense to anyone in
particular, but the overall lack of knowledge in the football
handicapping forums I participate in is almost unbelievable. It's
Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I expect more. Maybe I
expect a group of members who all have a common interest and goal
(winning money) and a love for the NFL and sports betting in
general, would be a little more versed up on the subject.
Wow, I couldn't be more wrong.
1) There are no such things as "trap games."
An NFL line is never put up in an attempt to "trap you" or make you
pick the wrong team. The line is, and always has been, a number to
try to generate equal action on both sides.
That's all it is. That's all it ever has been. Contrary to what you
might think, a bookie would VERY MUCH like to have an equal amount
of money on both sides. They want to EARN their vigorish, not try to
WIN your money. Which brings me to item #2..
2) Winners pay the vig, not the losers. Casinos/bookies make
their money on the vig they earn, not on the bets
From an article by Bob Stupak in an old Gambling Times magazine,
There are two inter-related concepts about casino profits that most
players, and even many longtime casino executives, don't really
understand. First, players are paying the house edge only when they
win - never when they lose. Put another way, you might say that the
house makes money not on customers' losing bets but on their winning
bets because the house pays slightly less than the true odds on
those winning bets.
If a fellow comes in and makes one bet for $1,000 on the craps table
and loses it, he pays nothing for it. But if he wins the bet, he
should get approximately $1,028 for his $1,000. Then he would be
getting true odds. Instead, he wins only $1,000. So by winning the
bet, he pays a $28 vig. By losing, he doesn't. Customers are often a
little flabbergasted when I tell them, "I only make money when you
win, not when you lose." That may be hard to believe, but
nevertheless it's true.
The second thing people don't realize is that a casino does not make
its profits by winning money. For example, a fellow came into Vegas
World with $28,000 a few Saturdays ago, and lost it in about 10
minutes. Now, we didn't EARN that money. We just WON it. We were
GAMBLING and we got lucky. But I can't survive on WON money. I can
only survive on EARNED money. That guy's $28,000 is just in escrow.
Sooner or later somebody is going to come in and win it back.
Everyday some people win and some people lose. One day per week or
month there might be more winning bets than losing bets, but in the
long run they even out. The only thing the casino EARNS is the money
it retains from winning bettors by paying them slightly less than
If that's not enough, you can look at it this way, if this is easier
You make a bet with a friend, for $110.00, who doesn't charge you
vig. You win. You win $110.00.
You make a bet with a standard bookie, also for $110.00. You win.
You win $100.00.
See the difference? You won both times, and yet with the bookie you
only won $100.00. Why? Because you, the winner, paid the
bookie the "vig."
This site also helps to explain
3) I see far, FAR too many sports bettors playing parlays;
two-team parlays, three-team parlays, four-team parlays, or more.
You shouldn't be playing parlays. The reason should be obvious...
the house edge is higher than it is for normal straight bets. And
it's all about the house edge. No matter what sport or game you like
to wager on, you want to lower the house edge as much as possible.
I'll bet that most of these members of this forum have no idea what
the house edge is on parlays, nor do they know how to properly
compute it. (Heck, few people here even know what the house edge is
on straight bets. Hint: It's not 10% nor is it 5%.)
Parlays are fun? Bullshit. Winning is fun. Stop playing parlays and
after a very short period time see how much more fun you're having.
Here's some general information on parlays:
4) I see far, FAR too many sports bettors playing a three-team
parlay (for example), and then, after winning the first two legs,
"hedging" their bet.
You should never hedge in this situation... it reduces your long
term profit. (And yes, we're all in it for the long term.) If you
are going to hedge then you should have just left that final leg
(game) off the ticket in the first place! If so, you would then
already have your profit/win and you could then make an additional,
smaller bet on that final leg if you wanted to "guarantee" yourself
a small profit for the two bets.
Does anyone know what the the Wizard of Odds #7 Commandment of
Gambling is? Yep, you guessed it: "Never Hedge."
This entire website is devoted to
nothing but gaining an edge on the casinos. If they tell you
to never hedge, don't you think there's a valid reason why?
It was also well said in an epic thread right here on Covers. "If
you find yourself in a POSITION to hedge, you've ALREADY made a
5) Most of the time, as a rule of thumb, teasers also should
not be played. They are also a "sucker bet" - a bet with a very high
However, I said "most of the time" because AT TIMES, when properly
done (crossing a 3 or a 7 point margin of victory, for example), it
is possible to reduce the house edge substantially on certain
More information on teasers can be
6) It is almost certain that most bettors do NOT take the time
to compile their OWN statistics from the NFL games. And with today's
easy access to online box scores and today's computer spreadsheets
which make everything easier, their is no good reason why a player
shouldn't take an hour or two each week and keep their OWN set of
statistics, for whatever stats and numbers interest them. (Scores,
yards gained, yards given up, yards per point, number of turnovers,
strength of schedule, etc., etc., etc.)
Don't give me any shit by saying, "I have a website or a service do
it for me." That's a copout. You will gain a much, MUCH better
understanding and feel for each team/game when YOU do it YOURSELF.
A good source for past NFL box
scores can be found here:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ A website which
lists past pointspreads and results can be found here:
7) NFL games aren't "fixed." The outcome is not known ahead of
time. The game is not scripted in any way.
Just because a underdog wins outright or because the refs made
a terrible call (re: Green Bay/Seattle!), or a wild play near the
end of the game results in a swing of the pointspread winner, is not
in any way "proof" that the "fix was in" or that "Vegas called in
These games and calls are going to happen eventually. It's
Every time I see someone talk about "a fix" no one ever offers any
proof or gives any facts. Who is in on it? The refs? Some or all of
them? Are the players in on it? If so, how? Are they all in on it or
are some sworn to secrecy? Are the coaches involved? If so, who? How
far does the fix go? Are the bookie's involved?)
Give me a freakin' break.
If you think the game is fixed, then why don't you get in on the fix
and start betting on that side? And if you don't know what that
other side is, then it really doesn't make any difference to you
then, now does it?
Anyone who talks about the game being fixed, might just as well just
post a sign on their back saying, "I'm not only a whiner, I have no
idea what the hell I'm talking about."
8) Never go "all in." There is never a game that is
attractive enough to warrant betting your entire bankroll, or even a
large percentage of your bankroll. Proper money management calls for
something, far, far more conservative. This might be at most, 2% of
your bankroll on any one game, if you subscribe to that system or maybe it's as much
as 5%. But whatever it is, stick with it and ignore the desire to
chase or step up your bets, especially when losing. (And no, betting 10 "units" on a game is
NOT proper money management.)
Without proper money management, even as something as simple as a five or six game
losing streak, that happens all the time, could wipe you
There are lots of sites on proper money management, when it comes to
betting. Google it.
As I write this, this year's NFL season is still very young.
If you want your best chance to show a profit betting on NFL games
this year then follow this simple recipe:
Understand that there is no such thing as a trap game.
Understand that the WINNERS pay the juice, not the losers.
look for the lowest possible house edge, which means...
...don't hedge your bets.
...don't play parlays.
...don't play teasers.
compiling your OWN statistics. (Just do it. No excuses.
You'll be amazed at the results.)
Understand that NFL games are not "fixed."
proper money management. Ideally, you should probably be
betting no more than 3% of your bankroll on any single game.