NFL Betting Against the Public

Common across all sports, betting against the public is a wagering strategy that, when used sparingly, can help bettors build their bankroll. This system is largely predicated on the fact that the majority of public bettors aren’t fully informed when wagering and thus rarely have a winning percentage. Going against publicly backed NFL teams can result in cashing winning football tickets. 

How To Determine Sides That Are Heavily Bet Public Teams

Here we offer our opinions on betting against the public as a wagering strategy. While it’s always wise for sports bettors to employ a variety of handicapping tools, fading casual ‘Cappers should not be a primary deciding factor. That said, sportsbooks stay in business, and consistently turn a profit, largely based on casual bettors losing more often than they win. The most beneficial aspect of going against the flow is receiving better odds since lighter bet sides often have better money line prices. However, proper research will always be the key to betting success.

Generally speaking, wagering against the public is most common with standard NFL betting lines. Whether it’s against the spread prices, money line odds, or game totals, watching how lines move can help handicappers determine which sides are the most heavily bet. Let’s say a line on New England opens at -7 (-110) and moves to -8 (-115) during the week. Since the Patriots are a more recognized NFL squad, that line move can be an indicator that the public is investing big on the Pats. To even the betting flow, and limit risk, the books move their lines accordingly. 

“Casual NFL bettors often wager on most popular teams of the time”

Public money often flows in on the most popular NFL teams. Pittsburgh is a prime example of a squad casual NFL bettor’s back blindly as they have a huge fan base around the world. That said, while the Steelers are a very successful franchise, they did not have a losing season between 2003 and 2017, they are not always the best team to lay points with. That was illustrated during the 2017 NFL season as the Steelers posted a 13-3 record but they were just 7-9 against the spread. Those numbers include a straight up loss to Chicago when Pittsburgh was -7 point chalk.

Publicly Backed Home Teams Are Possible Reverse Wagering Contests

Backing home underdogs is another wagering option that is often heavily bet by the public. It’s said that everybody loves an underdog story and the perceived edge of playing on home turf can sway casual bettors to take the points and bet against visiting chalk squads. However, unlike the NBA and NHL that often provide a solid home court/ice edge, home field advantage is sometimes overrated in the National Football League. Far from a lock, even the best NFL teams struggle at home and recent betting history provides plenty of examples to back up that theory.

“Public bettors gravitate towards home favorites and home underdogs” 

Home underdogs, at least once during the 2017 season, New Orleans (11-5) LA Rams (11-5) Jacksonville (10-6) and Pittsburgh (13-3) all lost outright to a visiting chalk squad. The Saints lost 36-20 to New England as -6 point dogs, the Steelers had an eight game winning streak snapped when they lost 27-24 as -2.5 pups also vs the Patriots, San Francisco ripped the LA Rams 34-13 as -6.5 road favorites, and Tennessee (-1.5) jolted the Jaguars 37-16 in Florida. Casual public bettors, who blindly bet on winning teams receiving points at home, lost all four matches.

Beware of Automatically Bailing From The Public Bandwagon

Automatically fading public bets is far from a lock. In fact, as many examples throughout history illustrate, it can be downright dangerous. A classic example played out during Super Bowl 42 when New York was a monster pup versus New England who entered the match with a 18-0 record. According to Las Vegas Hilton bookmakers, public bettors moved the SB XLII line from -14 to -12 and 60% of the wagers they took were on the Giants. All totalled, when New York won 17-14, Joe Public bets on the G-Men cost Sin City sportsbooks a rare $2.6 million overall loss.

Overall, there are going to be weeks when the public wins big but the books usually win out in the end. The 2018 NFL season provided examples of that as the top five publicly backed teams in Week 8, plus the top three in Week 9, all covered and cost the bookmakers a bundle. Despite those two stellar weeks, through NFL Week 11 action, the most heavily bet games were sporting a losing record at 25-28-3. Our bottom line opinion here is fairly simple. While it is nice to know which sides are receiving public money – there is no substitute for all encompassing research.

When Canucks bet, they should skip lottery kiosks and head to top rated online bookmakers…