People love betting on football so much, you can get fresh NFL odds at halftime to go along with your chips and dip. There's value in these lines if you do it right.
Don't look now, but it's almost August already. We've gone nearly six months without betting on NFL games. That'll all change pretty soon; we've got exhibition games coming up, and the regular season is only six weeks away. Football fans, are you ready?
Okay, before we infringe too heavily on someone's gimmick – who, us? – let's get right to today's topic. If you're new to betting on football, you might not know that sportsbooks publish NFL odds not just for every game, but also for both halves and all four quarters. We're focusing today on the second-half lines, because that's where the gold is at. All you need to do is learn how to dig.
The 2-H Club
First and perhaps foremost, don't frown upon halftime lines just because you're betting on 30 minutes of football instead of 60 minutes. The money you win betting on the second half spends exactly the same. If anything, these halftime lines carry even more betting value. Especially during the early-afternoon Sunday games, sportsbooks are scrambling to post their football odds and grab whatever action they can before the second half starts. That opens up plenty of room for mistakes and soft lines.
So if these second-half lines are so soft, the market must be full of sharp bettors, right? Not so. There's no shortage of recreational bettors jumping into the marketplace at halftime, and the sportsbooks usually account for this by making the favorites a little chalkier than normal. The same contrarian betting strategies that you might use for a full game (supporting underdogs and the UNDER) still apply at halftime. If anything, they might be even more profitable.
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A Tale of Two Halves
You've heard it 1,000 times by now: Football is a game of ebb and flow. How many times do we see Team A take the lead at halftime, only to have Team B adjust and “win” the second half, if not the entire game? If you've been paying attention to the first half and you see that Team A has taken the lead despite being outplayed, that's a valuable opportunity to bet on Team B in the second half, since recreational bettors are overly focused on the scoreboard.
Middle of the Road
Every now and then, you get a second-half line that allows you to play the “middle” and get some of that sweet, sweet arbitrage money. For example, the Green Bay Packers could be 10-point favorites going into their game against the Oakland Raiders, but let's say Oakland takes a 21-14 lead going into halftime – and you're on the Raiders. If the books post a second-half line of Green Bay –7, you can hedge your original bet by taking the Packers. That way, if Green Bay outscores Oakland in the second half by anywhere between eight and 16 points inclusive, you win both NFL picks. Any other result, and the worst that happens is you go 1-1 and you have to pay the vigorish on one bet. Now that's what I call halftime entertainment.