NFL Wagering: Getting Started
Craig Mish offers you an introductory look at NFL sports wagering and what you should know before getting started.
Before you place your first bet this NFL season, here are a few tips which should help you along the way.
First, you need to come with a bankroll. This will be the total amount of money you will use for wagering throughout the season. You need to be disciplined with this amount and understand that, for better or worse, this is disposable income you won’t need in order to pay your rent. Look at it as a hobby and, especially if this is your first time wagering to make money, treat it as if you were making any other investment. There will be time spent in making it grow and it will not be easy. You can have success for sure, provided you stay within your means.
Everyone’s bankroll will be different, but, conceptually speaking, the strategy is the same.
Let’s use a $100 bankroll for the entire NFL season. To some, that may be minute, and to others a large amount. It simply depends on your threshold in terms of finances.
The next strategy to employ, one used by some of the best in the business, is what we would call a “unit structure.” As an example, on any given NFL week you can have up to 15 games. After your final analysis is made you may determine that you have focused on three separate plays upon which you choose to wager. What you have to ask yourself is, are they all of equal strength in your opinion? The answer is probably not. I’m sure you’ve heard many say “Oh I absolutely love this play,” or “Well, I like it but I don’t love it.” Some would say if you don’t absolutely love a play you shouldn’t wager on it, but we all know this is not an exact science and since this is a bit of a hobby for most, you just have to structure your wagers the correct way.
For example, your favorite play on any given weekend would be a TWO unit play. What are units? Well for a $100 bankroll, you would be wise to wager somewhere between 5-10% on each wager. For you, with your $100 bankroll a ONE-unit play could be $5 with a TWO-unit play being $10. It would not be wise to have a single wager at risk higher than 10% of your bankroll. This way you can monitor your own plays in terms of strength and self-analyze what went right or wrong on any given week. The unit structure is a good way to keep yourself disciplined but also understand that, on any given week, you should NEVER have more than 20% of your total bankroll at risk on all the games. Stay within the 10-15% range initially, build success and learn how to make the bankroll grow. If your bankroll grows over time, you can increase your unit structure. If you are losing, scale back. There is no such thing as a lock and if you find yourself having 50% of your bankroll at risk during Week 1, you are too aggressive.
Do not be afraid to increase your wagers provided you are winning. Consider the fact that, if your wagers hit 60% of the time (which would be outstanding), you cannot make money unless you are increasing your unit structure over the course of the season. Remember that losses will cost you an extra 10-15% in “juice” or “vig” which means if you are even in your record for the season, you have lost money. There will be hot and cold streaks like anything else, but understanding that scaling back on losses, and increasing after wins is the key to sustained success over the course of a season.