Halftime betting can be profitable for both NFL football and NBA basketball
These days the popular time-honored catch phrase "who do you like" has gotten somewhat lost. With the giant menu of wagering options available throughout all top online sportsbooks, focusing on simply the outcome of the game's point spread or total is not nearly as relevant. Or often as necessary to make an optimum profit.
Many preferred sportsbooks, including Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline and WagerWeb prominently feature halftime lines within their wagering menu. Most books often intersperse quarter-by-quarter lines, with totals always included. Sharp bettors often take these lines seriously. Especially those who notice trends of not only specific teams with quarter and half tendencies, but teams coming off rest periods, noting injuries, etc.
It is traditional for the first quarter of any NFL game to be the lowest scoring period. It's rare for the total of most NFL games to exceed 10-14 points, at most, initially. But, this very tricky number is one that many seasoned handicappers can take advantage of. Only except for a quick starting Tom Brady led Patriots offense or perhaps Aaron Rodgers with the Packers can much confidence be built for an early score. In fact, field goals start a high percentage of the scoring in an NFL game. If possible, buying a half point could lead to a wise under the total play or a key side in the first quarter.
Overall, first half NFL handicapping is a bit trickier and less popular with bettors who are more focused upon the game line and total. It is often ignored and shouldn't be. Weaker teams can take advantage of points against stronger rivals. A perfect example: last week the Washington Redskins +10 to +10.5 in the 1st half vs. the New England Patriots. A 12-7 winning cover before being wiped out by the Pats 21-0 in the second half. Incidentally, wise bettors weren't fooled. Although the Pats closed as a -16.5 game favorite at top sportsbook Bovada, they were merely an enticing -7 to -7.5 second-half choice, but the juice was listed as high as -150 at some locations.
The very first moment the first half ends remains the optimum moment to leap onto your phone or PC to check out the opening lines for the second half of any NFL football game. This is the beginning of only a quick ten-minute window of opportunity.
Unlike the traditional game lines, bookmakers only have precious minutes to create and adjust odds. It's virtually impossible to balance action. Therefore, an immediate disparity of wagering takes place, often initiated by very sharp bettors. NOTE: it is foolish to believe you can exploit an opportunity by wagering on 'the value team'.
Second Half NFL
Green Bay Packers +2.5 +115
Minnesota Vikings -2.5 -130
Bet on the Vikings, even with the poor value money line choice. If you must, all books will provide you the option of buying a half point or full point to negate the money line disadvantage. However, the best option in this specific case is to lay Vikings -2.5. The worst option is getting enticed to play the Packers at any offered odds.
The same rules apply for the Total (Over/Under) numbers. Watch for one side clearly preferred in the very split second the first half ends. It often cannot be balanced out and often cashes out a winner.
NBA Halftime Logic
The NBA offers a completely different set of circumstances, especially now with the newly announced rules enforcing head coach starting line-up notification 30 minutes before each game. Bowing to their endorsement to legalized US sports wagering and burgeoning casino relationships, the NBA has pledged to expand their line-up announcement time from 10 to 30 minutes prior to game time.
This significant rule change dramatically affects the dynamics of first half wagering. Besides the aspect of game lines and totals, probably the better possibility for savvy gamblers to exploit was focusing upon opportunities for first half wagering. This necessary new rule makes things fairer for both sides (house and player). Also, if you like excitement, this is your wager as a very high percentage of outcomes fall very close to the number for BOTH first half lines and totals.
An NBA second half has usually proven a contest of depth and star power. That's why the Golden State Warriors were previously known for their ferocious third quarter play and priced accordingly. That strength is gone now along with Kevin Durant. Perhaps the 76ers or Nets will resume that role this season with their new acquisitions and momentum from last season.
The similarity to the NFL rests with the very limited time between halves. Just like the NFL, it's inadvisable to bet against the "early money" online following the close of the first half. Those initial two minutes are an excellent barometer of where the smart money is headed.
You may have noticed I’ve completed eliminated the subject of first and second half COLLEGE football and basketball wagering within this discussion. It most certainly exists but is not nearly as popular as the professional option. Perhaps many agree with me that the unpredictability aspect is a primary reason. It's not to say that the potential isn't there to exploit. In fact, with two marching bands and parades on the field, college football halftimes can last up to 20 to 25 minutes. Certainly, an advantage for a sharp handicapper to take note of plus extra time to shop the list of preferred sportsbooks for optimum opportunity.
Overall, there are many clever overlooked opportunities to cash-in within a day or evening's NFL or NBA games. Often in half the time.
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.