Posted by Mike Wendt on July 31, 2010 Jump To Comments
For the past two NFL seasons I’ve picked up a hobby that allows me to make some extra money while watching football on Sundays. No, I’m not talking about beating my friends in numerous fantasy football leagues. I make some extra cash on Sundays by making smart bets on the NFL games. Now obviously you need to understand what you’re doing and do your research before you put money into a gambling website, but once you’ve found a secure website, (I use superbook.com) betting on games can be fun and add excitement to boring games like Oakland vs. Kansas City, especially if you don’t have any fantasy players to cheer for. But before we jump into a few early season bets, there’s a couple of rules that you should follow in order to enhance your gambling experience, and your bank account.
1. Only deposit a small amount of money to start.
Many online websites offer promotions like a 20% first deposit bonus, so you might be tempted to deposit more money when you start so you get more bonus cash. The problem with these offers is that you need to bet a certain amount in order to have access to that extra money. The last two seasons I’ve started by putting in $50.00, a small amount that wouldn’t bankrupt me if I lost it, but enough to have some fun.
2. Start by betting what you know.
You might be tempted to throw down a bunch of small bets early in the NFL season on a bunch of games to make everything exciting, but I find you’ll end up splitting a lot of games because you didn’t do the smart things like checking the weather conditions, injury reports, or little things like that. Look at the NFL lines and pick one game you love and put a good chunk on that one game. It’s much more satisfying to hit a $20 bet than to follow four games in which you bet $5. Back to the rule, bet what you know. Last season I rode the Packers and made some good coin, only taking a big hit in the Cinci game because I didn’t believe the Bengals were as good as they really were. I stayed away from scary games against the Steelers and Ravens, bet hard on the sure covers (Browns and Seahawks) and even bet against the Packers against the Vikings because I still feared Favre. Think about it, you watch the Packers on a weekly basis, you know the team better than Vegas, so ride them to some extra cash.
(Side rant – Normally I stay away from betting on other sports, but thanks to a processing error I was credited $12.00 in May. Now I wanted to just leave that money in there until football season, but due to some fortunate timing and my love for soccer I got to bet on the World Cup. I followed rule #2 and bet what I knew, that only two teams actually had a chance to win (Brazil or Spain). Betting on the US would have been fun, but it would have been a waste of money. I took Spain at 4-1 odds and my account shot up to $60. I let that sit for a while but then I took a look at some baseball bets. I love the Brewers and probably watch 100 games a season. A few weeks ago they had a bet that combined the total Hits+Runs+Errors for the Brewers vs. Braves game. The over under was 28, and Manny Parra was on the mound. Needless to say I took the over and the total ended H+R+E ended up being 45. And once again last night I bet what I knew. It was Parra vs. J.A. Happ, who was traded to the Astros on Wednesday. Not only would the Brewers be at a scouting disadvantage, but Parra is prone to giving up runs early. I took the Astros to score first at +120 odds for $30, which equates to $36, and won on a 2nd inning home run by Jason Michels. Bet what you know, whether it be the Packers or Manny Parra, and you’ll make some extra cash.
#3 Ride the hot teams, and the good teams.
Last season I thought Vegas didn’t respect the Giants, and although it slightly went against rule #2, I decided that I liked the Giants for betting purposes. They covered the first fives weeks of the season before falling in week 6 to the Saints. Also, this probably isn’t a shocker, but bet the good teams. There are about 15 teams in the NFL that could play each other and if either team won you wouldn’t be surprised. There are about 10 teams that are bad and you love betting against, but there are only a handful of great teams that more often than not cover the spread, even if the spread is double digits. These teams are the Colts, Vikings, Saints, and most of the time Green Bay, Dallas, and New England. Betting on top teams is the best way to win in the long run because more often than not they’ll play up to their ability and cover.
#4 Have fun with it!
Once you have some extra cash by following the first three rules, you can put some fun bets down to make other events exciting. I don’t know a lick about NASCAR, but I put $17 on Matt Kenseth to win the Daytona 500 last year and what-do-you-know, he had 30-1 odds and took home a victory. Once you’re up a bit, play some hunches and you’ll have a lot more fun watching Sunday night and Monday night games.
So those are the four rules to follow if you want to start making some extra cash on Sundays. Start small, bet what you know, and ride the best and hottest teams. With those rules in place, here’s a few bets that look smart early in the NFL season.
Cincinnati Bengals (Over/Under 8 wins)
Sure the Bengals were a surprise last season, but look at the Bengals schedule and you’ll be hard pressed to find 8 wins in there. I don’t know the Bengals, but I do know they play some of the best NFL teams. I see losses to New England, Baltimore twice, Atlanta, Pittsburgh twice, Indy, the Jets, the Saints, and the Chargers. That’s 10 losses, assuming they take care of business in the other six. Even if they manage to win those six and snag two of the other games, you’ll get your money back if they end up at eight on the dot. Don’t read into the T.O. Hype, take the under.
Green Bay Packers (Over/Under 9.5 wins)
In a previous column, I projected the Packers for 12 wins. Even if they fall short by two games, your bet still wins. Check out their schedule and then put down a bet.
Minnesota Vikings (Over/Under 9.5 wins)
I know, cheering for the Vikings would be a pain, but betting with your mind and not your heart is always a better decision. The Vikes have an easy schedule, and we all know Brent is coming back. Look for the line to jump up to 10 once he officially comes back. And that half a game is huge. Jump on the line before it moves.
So that’s all we have for now. I’ll be putting out a picks column each week once the season starts, and I’ll include some surefire bets that will put some extra money in your bank account. Need any betting advice? Want to talk about the Packers? Drop me an email at email@example.com