Two (Almost) Guaranteed Profitable NFL Bets (2021)

Middling, hedging, and detached parlays have been a profitable tool deployed by astute bettors for some time now. They mitigate risk and maximize your aggregate *Expected Value (EV) on betting positions. Typically, we see these opportunities in-season, when a particular game’s line moves significantly during the week, creating a scenario where you can bet on two opposing teams in the same game, at different numbers, usually ensuring (or coming close to ensuring) your money back, with a chance to win both positions. For those unfamiliar, it would look something like this:

*EV is a simple mathematical formula (below) that helps measure the probability gap between your expectations and the sportsbook. EV = (Potential Profit * Probability of Winning) – (Potential Loss * Probability of Losing)

(-7) Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears on Monday. Let’s say you take the Bears at +7. Then, later on in the week, that number moves to Green Bay (-5). Now, you lay a second wager on the Packers at -5. Setting aside the nuance of the potentially marginally different payouts, you’re going to win one bet and lose another (sans a push), coming out even minus the juice. That juice is a small price to pay for the opportunity that BOTH bets win: Say the Packers win by 6, your Chicago +7, and Green Bay -5 will payout 2x the normal rate for a single game.

Of course, there are other similar tactics available, but the pre-season gives us a few unique opportunities to mesh futures bets, playoff chances, and Week 1 lines to (almost) ensure profit. Here are a couple of notes for the 2021 season:

Compare odds from all major sportsbooks for the best bets to win the NFC >>

Miami Dolphins Under 9 Wins in 2021 (+123) / Miami Dolphins to MAKE Playoffs 2021 (+137)

See Miami’s current Win Total:

That’s +123 paid out if Miami wins 8 or fewer games.

Now take a look at their odds to make the playoffs

That’s +137 IF Miami makes the playoffs. Meaning if you wager on Miami to win < 9 games at +123 AND separately wager Miami to make the playoffs at +137, you have two positive EV plays, where at least one of those instances happening is very strong.

YES, the season has expanded to 17 games, and “9 wins” will not carry as much weight as it did in the past (nine wins equals 9-8 in 2021, whereas it meant 9-7 in 2020, or more), but based on the historical rates of wins needed to make playoffs, even adjusted for what we could expect in a 17 game season, there is still plenty of upside here:

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Note, the top row represents team record, the second row are percentage chances a team with that many wins makes the playoffs historically, and the last row is that chance adjusted to a 17 game season slate.

The only way NOT to win money on either of these tickets is if Miami wins 9 or more games and MISSES the playoffs, which we can expect to happen a little less than half the time with 9 wins.

Especially given the expanded playoff field to 7 teams in each conference now, winning 9+ games AND missing the playoffs CAN happen, but it is unlikely. Additionally, that low amount of risk is subverted by additional value you get from the chance of a “middle”. Miami COULD end up winning 8 games and MAKE the playoffs, allowing you to cash both tickets. This will happen around 10% of the times a team goes 8-9.

It’s rare to have such a likely positive EV, especially in the NFL, so I would jump on this before the odds shift.

Seattle +115 to win Week 1 outright / Seattle UNDER 9.5 2021 total wins (+120)

Seattle is currently a +115 SU bet for Week 1 vs. the Colts
Seattle separately has a 2021 win total at 9.5, with the UNDER paying out + 120

These two scenarios are both positive EV plays yet play somewhat in concert.

That is, if you take Seattle to win the Week 1 game outright at +115 (which we recommend anyway), AND place an under bet on their season win total, at +120, you’re very likely to guarantee a profit:

Say Seattle wins Week 1. Clearly, you make a profit
Say Seattle loses Week 1, now, with your UNDER 9.5 wins on the season, you are one additional loss closer to hitting your mark (on a + bet). Seattle would need to go 10-6 the remainder of the season.
There is also a chance to win BOTH bets. That is, if Seattle wins Week 1 but goes .500 (8-8) the rest of the way, you can hit on 2 profitable bets at once.

Place em’ while you can. Best of luck!

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategies — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

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