Halftime betting has increased in popularity recently.  Basically this is just a bet that is made at halftime of a game and is graded based on how the second half and overtime shake out.  The game essentially starts over at 0-0 when the second half starts.

You can take advantage of these halftime bets to increase your bankroll.  Let me discuss how.

Middling

NFL teasers are a very popular bet right now.  A lot people love to throw something small down on a parlay each weekend.  If your team is doing well through the first half then a halftime wager is a great way to go for a middle and hedge your risk.

Let’s say for example that you have the New England Patriots teased down to -2 against the New York Jets.  They enter halftime ahead 21-7 and the sports book opens the 2nd half line at a pick.

You can then take the NY Jets pk for the second half and hope that the Patriots win the game by between 3 and 13 points, allowing you to win both of your wagers.

In this case you are risking the juice of your bet to try and double up your winnings.  If you bet $100 on each then if either side loses you lose $10, but if it lands in the middle you get $200!

Plus, it takes away most of the risk from your original wager.  If the original wager loses the halftime bet has to win.

If you really want to take your middling game up to the next level during football season then you will try to maximize the NFL or college football key numbers between your original line and the adjusted halftime line.

Do you have a local dumb enough to let you bet correlated first half/full game lines then second half bets are a great way to lock in profits.

Value

Since there is only a short period of time for the oddsmakers to create a line, it’s easy to shop around if you have an account at more than one top sports book.  The lines are going to vary widely and sometimes even enough to give you an arbitrage opportunity where you can guarantee yourself a profit.

This is especially helpful when there are line moves.  If two books both start with -3 -110, but one book quickly adjusts to -3 -120, you know some money came in on that favorite.  If you are quick you can get -3 -110 at the other shop before it too moves.

You’ll typically see the over set higher when the favorite is tied or trailing at the half.  The books know that team is going to have to put points on the board if they are going to come back and win.

You’ll also see them use the original side and total as a starting point.  So if a game total is 200 in the NBA and there are 90 points at the half, 110 is going to be what they reference for the second half line.

The books will also make mistakes by factoring in their total liability on a game.  They might not set the halftime line at what they actually think it should be, instead worrying about getting middled and losing out on both sides.  When this is the case there will be some really good numbers for bettors to take advantage of.

What half do you think is higher scoring?  In the NBA, NFL, and college football it is the first half.  College basketball is the only major sport it’s the second.  Yet, most people think it’s the second half that is higher due to teams getting, offenses are in a better rhythm, and defenses are tired.

Feel of the Game

The oddsmakers can not keep a close eye on every single game going on at once.  So, you can have a real advantage if you have been watching a game closely.  Here is a short list of things you need to analyze.

  • Did a team get lucky or unlucky due to turnovers?
  • Were there any bad penalties that helped/hurt a team?
  • Which team has the momentum?
  • Did a team win the yardage battle but lose on the scoreboard?
  • Were there any key injuries?
  • Did the weather change?
  • Did a team shoot at a higher or lower percentage than normal?
  • Is a player in foul trouble?
  • Who gets the ball first?

Outright Winner

A situation that I love to exploit is when you have a good sized favorite that is trailing at halftime.  If you think they are capable of coming back and winning the game then you can sometimes take advantage of them at a pretty good number.  For example, a team might be down 14-7 at the half as 7-point favorites and the second half line comes out with the team trailing at -7.  If you think that the team that is down will come back and win grabbing the -7 is a solid value.  If they win the game, you win.  If they don’t win, you won’t cover.

Finding Teams Who Start Fast & Fade

Knowing who gets off to great starts and who finishes well can be a valuable tool for the professional gambler when used correctly.  I remember a couple of years ago the San Antonio Spurs were getting off to great starts by murdering teams in the first half of their games, but they have faltered in the second half.

For the entire playoffs, San Antonio averaged a 48.5 to 40.8 halftime score, but won their games by an average score of only 96.2 to 91.2. That’s an 8-point halftime lead turned into a 5-point lead by the end of the game! Obviously a team like this would be a great first half bet and a great team to look to fade at halftime.

Key Numbers for Halftime Bets

NFL

MarginGames% of All Games
7 Points85013.02%
3 Points80512.15%
4 Points6059.24%
10 Points5759.01%
0 Points5478.56%
14 Points4036.62%
6 Points3805.17%
1 Point3344.67%
11 Points2884.04%
13 Point2353.78%
17 Points2283.63%
2 Points1982.68%
8 Points1882.44%
9 Points1591.94%
5 Points1551.78%
21 Points1181.69%
18 Points921.52%
12 Points871.19%
20 Points681.16%
16 Points640.90%
24 Points500.81%
15 Points460.66%
28 Points340.60%
19 Points300.38%
22 Points220.38%
23 Points200.35%
25 Points160.30%
27 Points130.29%
31 Points90.27%
35 Points40.18%
29 Points40.14%
26 Points40.09%
38 Points20.08%
34 Points10.06%

CFB

MarginGames% of Games
7 Points96812.50%
14 Points7269.38%
3 Points6378.23%
10 Points5667.31%
4 Points5366.92%
0 Points5316.86%
21 Points3995.15%
17 Points3574.61%
6 Points3424.42%
11 Points3154.07%
1 Points3124.03%
13 Points2703.49%
8 Points2323.00%
2 Points1962.53%
18 Points1531.98%
5 Points1451.87%
28 Points1451.87%
9 Points1381.78%
24 Points1321.71%
15 Points1121.45%
20 Points1111.43%
12 Points881.14%
16 Points841.09%
25 Points540.70%
27 Points470.61%
19 Points400.52%
22 Points380.49%
31 Points380.49%
23 Points290.37%
35 Points280.36%
34 Points210.27%
32 Points110.14%
26 Points100.13%
30 Points100.13%
29 Points90.12%
42 Points70.09%
38 Points60.08%
41 Points50.06%
45 Points50.06%
33 Points40.05%
36 Points20.03%
37 Points20.03%
39 Points20.03%
40 Points20.03%
48 Points20.03%
43 Points10.01%
50 Points10.01%
56 Points10.01%

NBA

MarginGames% of All Games
1 Point19738.01%
2 Points19407.88%
3 Points18297.43%
5 Points17907.27%
4 Points17517.11%
6 Points16926.87%
7 Points15036.10%
8 Points14125.74%
9 Points12995.28%
10 Points12034.89%
11 Points10714.35%
12 Points10304.18%
0 Points10074.09%
13 Points8843.59%
14 Points7272.95%
15 Points6112.48%
16 Points5132.08%
17 Points4621.88%

CBB

MarginGames% of All Games
1 Point37827.92%
2 Points36967.74%
3 Points36157.57%
4 Points35327.40%
5 Points34067.14%
6 Points32306.77%
7 Points30106.31%
8 Points28145.90%
9 Points25825.41%
10 Points22994.82%
11 Points20554.31%
0 Points19214.02%
12 Points19003.98%
13 Points16353.43%
14 Points14052.94%
15 Points12332.58%
16 Points10202.14%
17 Points9251.94%

NFL Halftime Betting Systems

Two of the angles that I look for in the NFL are easy to understand, and you can easily see why they will show you value.  Nolan Dalla was the inspiration for most of these.

Bet the underdog when they are getting more points in the second half than they were for the game.

If the underdog is leading at half, sometimes the books will throw up a number for the original favorite in the second half that is more than they were favored by for the game.  Does it make sense that if you thought the Patriots were 8 points better than the Jets for the game that they are now 10 points better than them in the second half?  Of course not.

When a team is up by more than 2 touchdowns, take the UNDER in the 2nd half

The average total for every one of these games is 42.2.  The average first half score is 27.2, but the average second half score has been 20.3.  Teams slow it down when they have a big lead and try to eat up clock.  They also know the opposing team has to pass so they can run more nickel and dime packages.  This is even stronger if the road team is the won that is leading.

Don’t Chase

Now for the negative.  One of the pitfalls of halftime wagering is chasing good money after bad. I have heard too many stories of people trying to recoup their losses by doubling down on the 2nd half of a game. Just because you think highly of a game and your team is down big in the first half, doesn’t mean that i’s a good play to take them in the 2nd half. Sure, sure I hear the, “Well I thought they would cover the -10 to begin with, so now when they are down 17 at half, why wouldn’t I take them when they can lose by 10 and I win my money back?” This is just bad thinking.  Gambling is a marathon, not a sprint, and you are going to lose your wind (and your bankroll) fast making plays like that.