Single-game betting will take up the vast majority of NFL picks this year, but you can score yourself a little extra value by betting just on the second half.
Some investments take longer to mature than others. If you want to place a bet right now on who will win Super Bowl LI, you'll have to wait until February to get paid. That's one of many reasons why pro handicappers tend to prefer single-game wagers. Even if you're one of the early birds, making your picks days in advance, you'll get paid out once the game's over, then you can plow those winnings back into next week's schedule.
But what can you do to defeat a marketplace where so many people are betting on single-game outcomes? Consider giving halftime betting a spin. First-half and second-half lines are becoming more and more popular on the NFL odds board, but they still make up a fraction of the betting market, so you're more likely to find some soft lines – especially when it comes to the second half.
Your Better Half
The wonderful thing about halftime betting is that so many recreational bettors get it backwards. They'll watch Team A put the boots to Team B in the first half, then bet on more of the same happening in the second half. And that's exactly what happens sometimes. But the real money often comes from betting on Team B to make adjustments at halftime and play more competitive football during the last 30 minutes.
Halftime betting is also just as easy as single-game betting. When you're making your NFL picks, just head on over to our odds board and select which point spread you want to view. Lines will be made available for the full game, each half, and all four quarters; the second-half lines normally get published at or just before the halftime gun. Different books may post slightly different odds, depending on the action they've taken thus far, so be sure to shop around for the best price.
Getting the best price becomes even more important when you consider the possibility of “middling” the halftime line. Depending on how the first half goes, you might find yourself with an arbitrage play on your hands when the second-half lines come out. Say you've got the San Diego Chargers as 7-point road dogs for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chargers take a 21-14 lead into the dressing room. If the books make the Chiefs 10-point favorites for the second half, you can take that bet, too. There's a chance you'll win both bets, but you can't lose both.
Halftime in NFL games only lasts 12 minutes – unless it's the Super Bowl when things get stretched out to 30 minutes or so. Either way, you'll have a limited time to do your handicapping and decide which team to bet on for the second half. Spend that time wisely; take notes during the first half, consult them while your nachos are heating up in the microwave, and as always, may the prolate spheroid be with you.
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