NFL wagering has really grown throughout the years. There are now so many live in-game bets that can be placed that it’s hard for the average bettor to keep up. While the spreads and totals are the most popular bets, followed by parlays and teasers, it’s time to start taking a look at some of the other types of wagering opportunities that you are missing out on.
The one I’m going to focus on in this article is halftime wagering. Sportsbooks post odds for the second half of games shortly after the second quarter has come to a conclusion. You will only have approximately 15 minutes to get your best in for the second half. If you have watched the entire first half, then you should have a pretty good sense for what is likely to happen after intermission.
Middling is a bet that is made to give yourself a chance to win two wagers while minimizing risk. Say you have bet on the Raiders at +14 for the game and they are up 10-3 at halftime. The Broncos are a 10-point favorite on the halftime line. You would then bet the Broncos at -10 to try and middle your original bet on the Raiders +14.
Sure, a 21-point cushion on your original bet on the Raiders +14 is almost a sure thing, but there is a chance the Broncos would come back and win by more than 14. Taking that risk out by middling gives you a chance to win both wagers. If the Broncos come back and win by anywhere between 4 and 13 points, you would win both wagers. If they win by 3 or 14 points, you would push one of your bets and win the other. That leaves you a 12-point window to be a winner.
The only risk with this middle bet would be losing the vig or juice on the game. That will only be the case if the Broncos either came back to win by more than 14 points or if the Raiders cover the +10 halftime bet. This middling strategy is also known as hedging, which is placing bets on the opposite side that you have already placed a wager on to cut your losses, or possibly guarantee a profit.
The biggest factor to look for when trying to middle is key numbers. Say you have Team A at +11 against the spread for the entire game. You have an option to take an adjusted +3 on Team A’s opponent at halftime. That creates a 14-point middle, which is huge considering the key numbers in the NFL are 3, 7, 10 and 14. You don’t want to middle if your opportunity falls between 3.5 and 6.5 as games don’t typically end on scores between those margins.
Even if you’re not middling, there can still be some advantages to halftime betting. Oddsmakers aren’t watching every game they release lines on. The lines are usually generated from a certain formula that factors in what the original spread was for the game. Since you are watching the game, you know which team is likely to cover the second half spread just based on how the game has gone.
In the example above, the Raiders are +14 for the game and have a 10-3 halftime lead. Their only score was an interception return for a touchdown. The Broncos have moved the ball at will, but turned the ball over three times, while the Raiders haven’t moved the ball at all offensively. There’s a good chance that Denver is going to shore up its turnover problems at the half and cover the -10 halftime spread. I hope this helps you understand how halftime wagers can be great bets whether you are middling or not.