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NFL – National Football League Picks explained

NFLIf this is your first time making NFL picks, you could probably use a little extra advice. With that in mind, we’ve put together our “National Football League Picks explained” – a guide to help you make the best NFL picks possible.


Every new bettor has been there at some point.  The first time you get ready to make your NFL picks, the odds probably seem as indecipherable as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Fortunately that’s not the case: it’s fairly easy to figure out once you understand how the betting is set up. With this guide to NFL picks, you’ll be one step closer to becoming an expert NFL handicapper.


The two most common ways for bettors to make NFL picks are against the point spread and against the total.  For every NFL game, the odds makers will set the points that favored team should win by, as well as  the most likely cumulative point total between both teams.


A sample point spread would look like this: “Patriots +3 -110, Steelers -3 -110”.  There are a few things to understand here when making your NFL picks.  First, the “-3” means the Steelers are 3-point favorites while the “+3” means the Patriots are 3-point underdogs.  The “-110” on each side means that you’ll have to risk $110 to win $100 no matter which side you choose.


It’s fairly common for the odds makers to take a little off the top and that is why you won’t often find underdog odds on the point spread when making NFL picks.  For a bet on the Steelers -3 to win, Pittsburgh would have to defeat the Patriots by 4 or more points.  If they win by exactly 3, the bet is a push no matter who you wagered on.  For the Patriots +3 to win, New England can win outright or lose the game by 2 or less points.  A 24-23 Pittsburgh win would make the Patriots’ point spread the winner because they stayed within the number.


NFL picks on the total are nearly as common as the point spread  and are fairly simple to understand.  Using the sample we provided above for NFL picks, we’ll say the over/under betting total is set at 42 points.  Whether you go over or under that number, the odds are going to be around -110.  A final score of 24-18 would make the bet a push, 24-23 would be a win for the over, and 20-17 a win for the under.


Another fairly common way to make NFL picks would be to bet on what is called the money line.  Instead of using the point spread, you just bet on the outright winner of the game with a tie in overtime being a push.  An example using our Pittsburgh/New England scenario above might have the Patriots at +130 and the Steelers at -140.  If you think the Steelers will win by any score, you’d bet $140 to win $100.  The “+” sign in front of the Patriots’ number indicates that the NFL picks will pay more than you’ve bet – in this case a $100 bet would pay $130 if the Patriots pull off the upset.


There are many other ways to make NFL picks and they all use the familiar set of betting odds we’ve gone over thus far.  A “+320” wager would mean you’d risk $100 to win $320, while a “-430” would mean you’d have to risk $430 just to win $100.  Of course you don’t have to risk $100 each time like we’ve done as an example.  If you want to bet $20 on a line of “+3 -120”, figure you’d have to risk $120 to win $100.  Dividing both numbers in the example by 6 makes your $20 bet worth about $16.67 if your NFL picks come out on top.


Other ways to make NFL picks including wagering on the first player to score a touchdown, pre-season bets on a team to win the Super Bowl of their individual conference championships, and even on the total passing yards during any regular season or post season game.  However you choose to make your NFL picks, we hope that we’ve helped you figure things out a bit more with this “National Football League Picks for Dummies” rundown.


Getting the best value on your NFL picks is one of the most important aspects of handicapping, and I wanted to take a second to let all of our readers know some tips and pointers in relation to this subject.


The market for NFL picks is extremely volatile and it’s often tough to gauge just where the odds may be moving because of the massive amount of sports bettors pushing the line each way.  Getting the best value on said NFL picks is one of the simplest ways to increase your bankroll and I want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the difference in betting odds.


A sports bettor that goes 60-40 on 100 NFL picks should be well on his way to a large bank account.  Now, assume we have two different bettors that attain this nice record, with one only getting an average line of -108 on their bets and the other getting -120.  For a $100 bettor, we are talking about big money here on these NFL picks.


-108 Guy:  $6000-40(-108) = $1680 profit


-120 Guy:  $6000-40(-120) = $1200 profit


As you can see in the example, the smallest difference in betting odds can knock close to $500 in profit from a guy that should be winning a ton of money on his NFL picks.  Getting the best odds is the number one factor involved in getting value out of your NFL picks and we’ll go over some tips that might help folks who have ignored this phase of sports betting in the past.


First off, there are certain “public teams” that simply get more love from sports bettors than others.  The Cowboys are probably the best example of this in for NFL picks, while the Yankees, Red Sox, Celtics, and Lakers would be examples in other popular sports.  You should generally assume that a Cowboys’ point spread will be bet heavily in the hours before start time of the game when many of their fans become casual bettors and decide to lay some money down.  If you like the Cowboys, it’s always good to make your NFL picks early.  If you want to bet against them, odds are that it’s a good idea to wait until right before game time before making a wager.


The idea of betting at the right time to get the most value in your NFL picks doesn’t always have to apply just to teams that have a large fan base.  You should be able to look at two teams and the point spread to figure out which squad is going to be bet on.  If the Vikings are -3 against the Lions, you should know that sports bettors – casual or hardcore – are going to be all over that number for Minnesota.  Bet on the Vikings early, or bet on the Lions late.  Those are the best times to make NFL picks for a situation like this.


Injuries are another thing that can dramatically figure into getting the best value on your NFL picks.  A ding to a star player could move the betting odds a ton and you’ll want to find out accurate information before you make your NFL picks.  If the Saints are -7 and Drew Brees is questionable, the odds will move accordingly.  In a case like this, do your best to make an educated guess on whether or not the player will play before making your NFL picks.  If you think Brees starts and you like the Saints, let the odds adjust themselves as people wager on the other team in an effort to get a nice number.  If you are getting the impression he sits and like the other team, it would be wise to make your NFL picks before the big line move to ensure the best odds. These are just a few of the strategies that can make you more money on your NFL picks if you wager wisely.


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