# NFL Betting 101: Finding an Edge | NFL and NCAA betting picks

• **To be a profitable long-term bettor**: It is crucial to take advantage of the disparity between the implied probability and the probability that the bettor attributes to an event.

• **Why Closing Line Value (CLV) Matters**: You get a better line on a match, and for a cheaper price, than those who bet a few minutes before kick-off.

• **All bets are not created equal**: Their sizing also does not have to be equal. When one is more confident in the outcome of a game, this confidence should be reflected in the size of the bet.

*• New users who wager $10 or more on BetMGM will receive a free one-year subscription to PFF+ – a value of $79.99.*

*Estimated reading time: 6 min*

**• A description of the implied probability**

· **Implied probability**: This can be thought of as the probability that bettors consider an event to occur, and is calculated via the price offered by the bookmaker. Since sports betting itself takes a cut in revenue, the implied probability will add up to more than 100%.

· **For plus-money bets**: For over-money bets, or bets that pay more than the initial amount wagered, the implied probability is calculated by the equation:

*[ 100 ⁄ (100 + price) ] *100 *

And if not, the equation:

*[ (-1 × price) ⁄ ((-1 × price) + 100) ] *100*

· **To be a profitable long-term bettor**: It is crucial that one takes advantage of the disparity between the implied probability and the probability that the bettor attributes to an event.

· **Most Spread and Over/Under offers will be priced at -110 on each side**: This means that, for a pragmatic bettor, a straight bet on either side would be justified if one assigns a probability of an outcome greater than the implied probability of 52.38%

**• True Odds **

‘**real odds**‘ refers to the actual probability of an outcome.

· **Consider a spread offer of -3 (-110) / +3 (-110)**: Since the implied probability of each event occurring is equally probable, it can be assumed that odds-takers believe that each outcome also has an equally probable “actual probability”.

· **In most cases, the choices against the spread (ATS) and Over/Under will have the same price.**. *In most instances,* such pricing means that sports betting considers every outcome to be equally likely.

**• Arbitrage bet**

· **Arbitrage betting is when you have the opportunity to place a bet without any risk**: Such opportunities are rare, especially in the finely regulated betting markets.

· **Consider that a bookmaker offers the favorite at a price of -2.5 (+100):** While another bookmaker offers the underdog of the same contest at +3.5 (+100). If an individual places an even bet on both offers, it is a risk-free bet with the potential for a massive payout.

· **Arbitrage Opportunities Occur Incredibly Rarely**: However, as more and more sportsbooks enter such a competitive market, chances of profiting from an arbitrage bet will arise. Take advantage of the various sports betting offers in the unlikely event of an arbitrage bet cashing out.

**• Parlays**

· **A bet is a bet that requires multiple successful outcomes in order to win their bet**: These bets rightly offer a significantly higher return than bets on the outcome of a match.

· **The higher payment is justified**: As with each step or addition to a bet, the chances of success decrease.

· **Consider a five-legged bet**: composed of ATS and Over/Under choices at the equal price of -110. A successful bet of this type would offer a payout of around 24-1, or +2400. In other words, a $100 bet would pay out $2,400.

· **Not as lucrative as it looks**: In this example, the odds of placing a successful parlay would be 32-1, and such a return of 24-1 is significantly lower than the successful parlay odds.

· **An estimated probability of a successful parlay can be calculated by multiplying the actual probability of each event**: For ATS or Over/Under picks priced at -110, it is reasonable to assume a true probability of 50% for each outcome.

**• Cover**

· **Hedging shares many similarities with Arbitrage betting**: Both practices involve betting on conflicting results of the same contest. The main difference between the two is that hedging is an attempt to mitigate risk, while arbitrage betting is an exploitation strategy.

*Hedging – essentially betting against yourself – is common practice for those betting bets. *

· **Sports bettors will often bet against the final outcome of the bet in order to guarantee a profit on the bet**: However, if they were lucky enough to reach their last leg of a bet, it is shortsighted to protect themselves from the bet in most circumstances.

· **Consider the previously discussed five-legged bet**: If we were lucky enough to have survived the first four rounds of the parlay, the result of the last outcome will now alone offer a comeback of 24-1 (+2400). Such a bet would be profitable if this outcome is assigned a probability greater than the implied probability of:

*[ 100 / (2400 + 100) ] * 100 = 4% *

In the absence of information, it is assumed that our last step will hit 50% of the time. And any bet against this result would decrease the profitability of the bet in the long run.

**• Points of purchase**

· **Another tactic often employed by risk averse bettors**: Sportsbooks usually offer customers the option to change the spread, but at a cost. The purchase price for a half point is usually ten cents, but it can vary.

*Simply put, a typical ATS pick priced at -110 would drop to -120 if the client bought half a point. *

*Buying half a point at a price of ten cents naturally involves a change in implied probability.*

· **A price of -110 represents an implied probability of 52.38%**: Choosing to buy half a point with an assumed price of -120 would now imply an implied probability of:

*[ (-1 * -120) / (-1 * -120 ) + 100) ] * 100 = 54.54% *

· **Such an implied probability spread essentially eliminates any value from this betting strategy.**: The percentage of wins will improve if one chooses to buy points, but the losses will count much more. Punters hold on to the value that each half point presents and price these offers accordingly.

*People who regularly buy points or hedge their bets are likely to have their tendency to risk aversion exploited by sports betting. *

**• Fence line value**

· **Closing Line Value (CLV) is the difference of the closing line from the line taken by a sports bettor**: Understand that, until kick-off, all lines are fluid. Sportsbooks reserves the right to change the offers for any competition, and does so very often throughout the week. Bettors continually assess betting disparity to mitigate their own risk and are usually forced to reassess lines in the presence of new information such as the unlikely absence of a key player.

· **It is reasonable to interpret a positive CLV as an indication of a profitable bet**: Or at least that we got a long-term advantage in sports betting.

· **Consider a bet from an underdog of +6 points with the line closing at +4.5**: Buying a line at such a price would likely cost the bettor thirty cents and require the individual buy points to be correct more than 58.3% of the time, whereas the individual who won 1.5 points of CLV would only need to be correct more than 58.3% of the time. more than 52.38% to make a profit.

· **A brief summary of the importance of CLV**: You get a better line on a match, and for a cheaper price, than those who bet a few minutes before kick-off.

**• Sizing of bets**

· **All bets are not created equal**: As such, their sizes should also not be equal. When one is more confident in the outcome of a game, this confidence should be reflected in the size of the bet.

*Likewise, many novice sports bettors fall into the trap of betting similar amounts on different types of bets. *

· **A five-legged bet like the one previously discussed should succeed 1/32 times**: But a direct bet at the price of -110 should reach a rate of 50%. Betting even amounts on extremely unlikely outcomes is an effective way to give away money in sports betting.

*With each leg added to a bet, the probability of winning lengthens and the size of the bet should decrease in proportion to the size of its usual straight bet. *

Previous chapters of our NFL Betting 101 series

• Key betting conditions and types of bets