The popularity of the NFL

The popularity of the NFL is soaring in the UK thanks to regular season games now being played in London each year. Bookmakers have sought to cash in on this opportunity and the UK’s biggest names, from Bet365 to William Hill, are offering all sorts of betting options on the NFL. It is highly tempting for sports fans that love betting on football, golf and other popular sports, but it is risky as American football is a complex sport, so here are some tips for new NFL bettors:

Money management

Don’t get carried away. When listing advices for new NFL bettors, it is impossible not to start with this one. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Set yourself a bankroll at the start of the season, say £1,000. Bet with around 5% share of your bankroll – a £50 bet – and increase that share when you win, decrease it when you lose. Don’t chase a losing bet. If you lose, walk away, lick your wounds, regroup and come back with a clear head. Betting while emotions are running high can be dangerous. Also try not to bet when drunk – there is a reason why casinos keep topping up your drink while you’re gambling, it clouds your judgment.

Shop around

Never just go for the first betting site you stumble across. There are dozens of established betting sites out there and they are all competing to win your business, and they do so by offering different odds on the various outcomes. Always check multiple sites before finding the best odds available, or use an odds comparison site to show you which bookmakers are offering the best odds on the line you are interested in.

Avoid deals that sound too good to be true

Many bookmakers will try to lure you in with the offer of a free bet or outrageously enhanced odds on a favourite to win. They sounds too good to be true, and that’s because they typically are. Read the small print carefully. You normally have to stake an equal amount of your own money first, or you will be paid in credit with the bookmaker rather than cash, or both.

Choose your time wisely

Odds jump all over the place in the buildup to a game. The closer you get to kick off the more likely people are to start slapping down large sums of money on the favourite. That pushes the odds on the favourite down and makes the underdog’s odds go higher. If you fancy the underdog, it is often worth waiting until as late as possible before placing your bet as you will often get the best odds then.

Embrace in-play betting

New NFL bettors should be aware that pre-match betting is just a small part of the overall action. Most of the action occurs in-play, when bettors have settled into their armchairs, watched a bit of the match and gained a feel for how both teams are playing. All leading bookmakers offer in-play betting and the odds will shift dramatically as the game progresses, depending on who has the upper hand. You arguably have a better chance of beating the bookmaker in-play. Pre-match they have teams of experts compiling odds and pouring over everything until they are blue in the face. But once the game starts they are scrambling around and reacting to things quickly, just like you.

Look beyond simply betting on who will win

In any given match you can bet on point spread, total points, half-time/full-time result, winning margin, the team to score first, the first scoring play, the highest scoring half, the total points for each team, who will win each quarter and many more. Seasoned bettors don’t really go for outrights, they delve deep and find niche bets that pay off.

Find a niche

Instead of knowing a little bit about everything, specialise in a few things. Get to know a particular conference like the back of your hand and focus your betting efforts on that, rather than shooting in the dark on a broad range of games.

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