NFL Second-Half Betting: Profitable Tips Bettors Should Know

NFL Second-Half Betting: Profitable Tips Bettors Should Know article feature image

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jameis Winston

  • Sharp NFL bettors can use a handful of strategies to take advantage of second-half betting lines.
  • Using Bet Labs, we’ve identified two profitable second-half betting systems for the NFL.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off the biggest upset of Week 4 with their 55-40 win over the Los Angeles Rams as 9-point underdogs. Few expected the Bucs to be competitive, let alone win outright.

More than 60% of spread tickets were on Sean McVay’s team as a 9-point favorite. The game went sideways quickly as Los Angeles trailed 28-17 at the half. Oddsmakers listed the Rams as 8.5-point second-half (2H) favorites.

Desperate to recoup a surely lost full game bet, the public jumped on Jared Goff & Co. -8.5 in the second half expecting them to bounce back. Once again, LA failed to reward bettors, being outscored by Tampa 27-23 in the final two quarters.

Jameis Winston leading the Buccaneers to an outright win was stunning but Tampa covering the second half spread, that was expected. At least if you are a seasoned second-half handicapper.

Here are two profitable strategies for waging on NFL second-half spreads:

  • Take large 2H underdogs
  • Take teams that are winning big at halftime

So you don’t fall into the same trap as the Rams bettors did in Week 4, let’s walk through each betting tactic and explain why it works.

First, for anybody who is unfamiliar with the concept of second-half betting, it is simple. Whenever a game goes into halftime, oddsmakers will post lines for the second half of the game. This solely reflects the outcome of the second half; not the final score.

Large Second-Half Underdogs

Since 2005, second-half underdogs are 1772-1748-125 (50.3%) against the spread (ATS). While it has not been profitable to wager on all second-half dogs, there has been value betting teams getting seven or more points.

According to Bet Labs, second-half underdogs of at least seven points have gone 152-110-26 (58.0%) ATS since 2005. This strategy is profitable regardless of whether the team is at home or on the road, and facing a division rival or a non-conference opponent.

It is difficult to cover a big spread in the NFL, especially when a team only has two quarters to accomplish the feat.

Winning Big at Halftime

A popular belief among casual bettors is that teams who struggle in the first half are likely to make the necessary halftime adjustments to get back in the game, and teams winning big are likely to regress. However, our data shows that teams winning after two quarters keep on winning.

A larger first-half margin of victory leads to a better second-half win rate. Since 2005, teams winning by 14 or more points at half time are 466-388-19 (55%) ATS in the second half.

At halftime, before grabbing another beer, check the second-half spread. If a team is a large underdog or winning big at halftime, history suggests it will be undervalued by the betting market, making it a good second-half bet.

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