Betting on the NFL season win totals is increasing in popularity every season. Most long term prop bets aren’t particularly interesting to serious football bettors because of the lack of value and the amount of time that money has to be tied up. Both things can be a problem here, too, but savvy sports bettors also know that there is some attractive value that can be found in these bets – especially if you can find spots where you think a strong public opinion is inaccurate. If you aren’t careful, though, you can put yourself in a big hole before the season even starts if you make a lot of bad win total bets. To avoid making those costly mistakes here are five things to keep in mind when considering these bets:
What’s the schedule? – A lot of people make the mistake of just thinking about how strong they perceive a football team to be when they are considering these bets. It should be obvious, but it is very easy to overlook the significance of the schedule here. A soft schedule can make a decent NFL team look great, and a brutal schedule can make a very good team look very average. In order to truly judge whether the total makes sense, then, you have to break down each game a team is going to play. There will be some football games you are confident they will win, some they are likely to lose, and some that fall into a grey area. Once you have broken down the schedule this way you can get a whole lot more accurate idea of the likely range the team is going to fall within. By doing this you’ll be surprised how often you’ll find a big difference between your initial perception of the team and what you have found by doing this.
How is their depth? – A lot of people make the mistake of looking at the best case scenario when making these bets. There will not be a team in the NFL that doesn’t lose a key player for a significant period this time of year, though. The teams that succeed each year are the ones who get lucky enough to minimize injuries, and who have the depth required to replace the players that they do lose. If you are betting on a football team to go over a total and it is an aggressive opinion then you will want to be especially confident that they have viable options at key positions – quarterback, running back, left tackle, defensive line, and so on.
What does the public think? – There are some teams that the betting public is totally in love with, and others that they are only barely aware of. NFL oddsmakers take the preferences of the public into consideration when they are setting these numbers, so you have to take them into consideration when handicapping them as well. It will likely be harder finding the value on the over when betting on a very public NF: team than it would be one that gets little attention. Similarly, the under on a popular team could be more fruitful than it is on a team that no one has any respect for. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bet the more popular side of those bets. It just means that you have to be particularly sure that you have enough value if you are going to do so. You also need to be aware of how the lines are moving. The sports betting public has a tendency to jump on the bandwagon of some football teams aggressively each year, and the total for those numbers will shift significantly. A bet that might have made sense when the numbers were posted might not make sense anymore, or vice versa.
Where is the major value? – There are a lot of situations where you might be willing to accept a low potential return on investment and high risk because the circumstances make that acceptable. This is not one of those situations. Your money will be unavailable to you for the entire season, and you are making a decision before you have seen the teams play a meaningful game. In a lot of cases their rosters aren’t even fully set before you have to decide. There is a whole lot of risk involved here. In the face of that risk the reward has to be more than adequate. That means that you can only justify making these bets when there is a tremendous amount of value. If you think a football team will win eight games and the number is set at 7.5 then you’ll have to think long and hard about whether it is worthwhile, and it probably isn’t. If the number if 5.5, though, then you are probably very interested – or at least you should be.
What does this mean for your bankroll? – Any money that you have tied up for the NFL season is money that you can’t bet on football games during the season. That means that making these bets effectively shrinks your bankroll, and likely limits the bet size you can use safely during the season – either that or it exposes you to a higher risk of going broke. While that might be worthwhile if the value is strong you need to make sure the bets are attractive enough to warrant the risk. If you think you can use the money more effectively during the season than you can on the win total bets then you shouldn’t make them. That’s smart NFL money management and sports betting advice.