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BETTING

Why Value Bets Aren’t Always Winners in NFL Betting

Trent McDuffie Kansas City Chiefs v 49ers
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To your knowledge, you have followed the “Value Bet” process correctly. You have read countless articles on how to generate value bets and feel completely at ease with the process, yet you barely win more than you lose after two or three years of trying to in NFL football.

How can this be and what can you as the value bettor do about it? Here are some thoughts.

Value Betting is a Sound Principle That Takes Strict Discipline

You can find several articles on this topic that come to this conclusion with the words said in different ways.

{If every bet you make has value to go with it, then statistically you will always come out in front long-term.}

What does that mean? That is following a set of exact circumstances to an exact process and never deterring from it. That could mean finding two NFL picks every week that fit the precise methodology required.

For a decade, you have religiously made five weekly bets during the NFL regular season. To win more money than you are losing, are you willing to make just two bets over 18 weeks and have 60% less action a week, every week? (Only you can answer that.)

Most NFL, or sports bettors in general, want the “action” as much as they want to win. Most of these types of – value bettors – will have the discipline to find two such plays, but add one to three more that are “almost the same”.

To maximize profits consider this:

Let’s say you want to lose 15 pounds in two months, there is this strict new diet which “guarantees” to lose at least 15 pounds in those 60 days. Two people start the diet, one does so precisely and the other does so for five days a week having a couple of modest – cheat days.

The individual with more self-control loses 15 pounds and is profoundly happy. The other person drops seven pounds but becomes disenchanted, stopping the diet altogether.

If you want to be a value bettor, that’s what it takes.

A Basic Understanding of Value Betting Is Important

Value betting is an element of handicapping, not a singular way of wagering. There are subjective components that not everyone will view the same way. Say you have Cincinnati at +3.5 (-110) and the correlating money line is +140, against Pittsburgh at -3.5 (-110).

The money line tells us the Bengals should win outright 41.6 percent of the time. Yet when you compare quarterbacks, statistical yardage differences, home field advantage and coaching, your process would calculate Cincinnati being just a one-point road underdog. Your numbers show the Bengals should be +110 on the ML, which raises the probability of Cincy winning to 47.6 percent. Thus, you have 2.5 points of value on your ATS wager.

Nonetheless, how everyone calculates the data about the team’s play on the field is often different, which can convolute the end result.

Value Betting in the NFL is More Than Win Probability

Several factors complicate the equation in NFL betting. Firstly, the inherent unpredictability of the sport itself plays a significant role. The NFL is notorious for its parity, where any team can beat another on any given Sunday. Upsets are common, and even the most statistically sound value bets can fall short due to unexpected turnovers, injuries, or faulty coaching decisions.

Secondly, public perception and media hype can skew betting lines and reduce the value of what initially seemed like a favorable wager. A great example is finding value on popular teams, as bookmakers adjust their odds to balance risk exposure.

Team Dynamics and Player Performance

Furthermore, the complexities of team dynamics and player performance add layers of uncertainty to NFL betting. A team may have statistical advantages on paper but fail to execute on game day due to factors for a myriad of reasons. Injuries to key players can also significantly impact the outcome of games, turning what seemed like a value bet into a losing proposition.

Moreover, betting markets themselves are not static. As more bets are placed on a particular outcome, the sportsbooks adjust their odds to reflect the influx of money and manage their exposure. This means that by the time you identify a value bet, the odds may have already shifted to negate the value.

Mitigating Risks

To mitigate these risks, seasoned NFL bettors employ a combination of statistical analysis, situational awareness, and disciplined bankroll management. They understand that while value bets offer an edge over time, individual outcomes are unpredictable.

In conclusion, while value bets are a fundamental strategy in NFL betting, they do not guarantee success in every instance. The variability of the sport means that even the most meticulously researched wagers can lose. Success in NFL betting requires a balanced approach that acknowledges both the potential rewards and inherent risks of each bet. By understanding these dynamics and refining your betting strategy accordingly, you can increase your chances of long-term profitability in this challenging but rewarding pursuit.

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