Cutting the game into halves or quarters is growing more popular for many seasoned sports bettors
We are all creatures of habit. One habit many of us share at halftime of any football game is using that approximate 10-12-minute window to eat, head to the bathroom, return a phone call, whatever. For a sports bettor it is often precious time not to be wasted as upcoming action has their investment interest.
But did you know that ticking small window of the clock sometimes offers the greatest potential to win money? In fact, popularity of halftime wagering, plus first half betting has increased dramatically for all top online sportsbooks over the past five years, piggybacking the growing opportunity of in-game wagering as well.
Dividing the Game
First off, why even evaluate halftime as the best opportunity to wager? Betting on the first half could render better prospects in either an NFL or NCAA football game. It can be debated whether the point spread or the over/under total offers the better chance. The interesting part is not seeing the game of how it completely plays out, but rather how it might function depending on the at-hand scenario.
As an example, let’s look back at last week’s Kansas City Chiefs-New York Jets game.
In NFL Week 8's most predictable game, the -19 to -20-point spread was so unusually high, most sportsbooks would not put out a money line. It was beyond obvious the Jets had no chance against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Coach Andy Reid's game plan for Patrick Mahomes and KC was to quickly get in front, stay healthy and then ride out the clock. A perfect recipe to play a consensus 24.5 "over" on the first half total.
That is exactly what happened in the game as the Chiefs scored immediately to build a 14-0 lead. The only anxiety lurking was the horrible Jets contributing a mere three field goals. However enough points with the Chiefs easily driving down the field during the second quarter for a 21-9 lead and a relatively easy cover for this first half wager.
Halftime might have offered an even better opportunity for a seasoned bettor to act. The number on the O/U total was 20 at Bovada, BetOnline and within a half point of that at many of the other preferred sportsbooks.
That number is basically compiled in respect to two factors. One is the closing number on the game line, which in this case was 49 and a total of 30 points were put up in the first half.
The other important factor involving the total was the motivation for the Chiefs to score points in this specific scenario combined with the Jets lack of talent and ability to score. Overall, 20 points seems low regarding the Chiefs offense alone, but not considering they were comfortably ahead and facing no threat. Also, the Jets with little chance to compete against the KC defense.
Again, it played out exactly to sharp bettors' delight as the Chiefs shut out the Jets while adding on only 14 points in route to a 35-9 final. Even better, for those wise and brave enough attempting a parlay of -20 ATS along with an Under 49 total were wisely rewarded.
No Half-ass Guarantee of Success
Let us not think betting on halves or halftime wagering is always a substitute method of success either. An honest examination of last Sunday's LA Rams-Miami Dolphins game is perfect evidence.
The big headline here was Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s debut at QB for Miami and every reason to believe his inexperience was good reason for a bet-against, surely in a first half performance.
The game line was set at Rams -3 to -3.5 at most top online sportsbooks with the group on the board at a consensus Rams -1.5 for the first half.
As it turned out either you or I could have played quarterback for the Fins and covered +1.5. Combine four 1st half Rams turnovers that included a 78-yard fumble return for a Dolphins TD with another 88-yard fumble return and it was a quick losing ticket for Rams bettors. After the first half Tua and the Dolphins had 56 total offensive yards and led the Rams 28-7.
The second half betting lines provided a most interesting trap for inexperienced bettors. Using the desperation and situation theory, the Rams were correctly installed as -8.5 favorites at Bookmaker, WagerWeb and other top books. Combined with that an extremely tempting tiny 13.5 O/U total.
Not many would have predicted the Rams were cooked in the 92-degree Miami sun at Hard Rock Stadium. Or the Dolphins 2nd half game plan was to protect their Heisman winner for next week and leave it up to their defense to close things out.
Tua spent the entire 2nd half handing the ball off while the Dolphins gathered zero (0) necessary points. The Rams fared not much better, only managing to put up one scoring drive with a touchdown. The result was another Dolphins +8.5 second half win, plus an amazing cover, for the shrewdest who held out for Under 13.5.
Doing your Homework
Composite sports wagering websites are doing a better job than ever measuring half and quarter wagering lines due to increased demand from bettors. Scores and Odds has an excellent updated website to view line movements and other tools to help these alternative game choices. The days of "who do you like" tonight seem long gone. They can be easily replaced now at any specific time of the game leading to potential success and profits.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.