Halftime Betting: How to Win Betting 2nd Halves

There are three Kinds of sports bettors. Two of them bet into halftimes odds.

1. The Typical Sports Handicapper
The typical sports bettor is a handicapper. He’s checking the NFL lines early in the week. He’s checking the NBA injury report at lunch. He’s browsing the betting odds looking for that line that just looks ‘off’. Maybe he’s checking to see what games will be on TV that night.  He has a bet on the full game and doesn’t need more action than that. This guy enjoys preparation... and the process and halftime betting is too intense. Unless, he has a REALLY bad losing day and turns into this guy…

2. The Degenerate Sports Gambler
The degenerate sports gambler, aka the Action Junkie, is the guy who often bets the 2nd Half of Sunday Night Football because every other game has already started. It’s either that or International Table Tennis. He might be betting this game because he’s been on fire and wants a heat check. But usually this bettor is chasing losses.

Chasing money
Credit: Mohamad Hassan

Ah yes… the chaser, the sportsbook's most profitable customer. This is the guy who's upside down on the day, and just can't be at peace with saying “tomorrow is another day”. His last chance of the night is to play the odds for the second half. Half time betting can be a goldmine for the house and the worst part of a nightmare day for impulsive gamblers. But, for the small percentage of sharp bettors, it offers the chance to turn the odds against the house.

The Winning Halftime Bettor Knows Line Shopping Is the Key

All of us have pushed on a bet where we would have won had we put JUST A BIT more effort or time into getting that half point in our favor.

Picture this… You spent the last two hours handicapping a football game that's nearing kick-off.

Your efforts tell you that the Green Bay Packers should win the game by at least three points. When you first started dissecting this MNF game, stat by stat and injury by injury, your sportsbook was offering a juicy -3. BUT... the line moved against you while you were checking your almanac.

Your bookmaker is now asking you to give up -3.5 points for a play on the cheese heads! If you don’t have access to a bookie who is still hanging a -3, you are either forced to pass on the bet or eat the hook and go for it. To bet it now means needing more than a Field Goal to avoid a Loss. The majority of gamblers will indeed bet their bad-number pick... a long term losing venture.

Handicapping an event and forming an opinion is only part of the battle. Every profitable bettor AND bookmaker knows that line shopping, and more specifically, line movement is a key part of winning at sports betting. Following the markets of changing odds offers an enormous advantage over the long haul.

Consider this… An NFL bettor may follow football lines ALL week in order to gauge the right time to strike as NFL odds gradually move in or out of his favor. An NFL full game betting market can start on Monday and last until kick off a week later!

For most gamblers, watching betting lines all day is not a realistic option. But if you do see the importance of getting the better line, then half time betting may be perfect for you.

How to use Halftime Odds For A HUGE Advantage

Halftime odds offer you the ability to see a newborn line and follow it until it comes off the board. A bettor watching multiple books is able to get a great feel on which way the line is headed and pounce on those odds when it suits his pick. He may use the same techniques as an NFL bettor glued to betting sites all week, or that of an NBA bettor who has been checking lines since breakfast… but he does it in a span of less than 10 minutes.

Let's say you bet the Lakers vs Hornets 2nd half total today. These were the lines when the sportsbooks first offered the bet.

Sportsbook Total Line (O/U)
PointsBet 100.5
BetRivers 101.5
DraftKings 102

I realize some of you have other betting options with Uncle Joey or perhaps other betting sites. The point is, unlike pre-game lines where almost all books have the same odds, these halftime markets will give you options and will move FAST!

Using the odds example above, lets say you wanted to bet OVER on the total. Pointsbet has the lowest line by a full point and two things are true:

1) Pointsbet is likely to move the line up to get more in sync with the market, especially as people like us bet their OVER the total line.

2) Pointsbet’s Total of 100.5 has a high probability of being the lowest line offered during this half time. While not impossible, it's unlikely that the other sportsbooks will come down a full point or two, to unveil a better line option.

In this example, it’s time to bet the over 100.5. If you want to bet the under, and lets say you only have an account at Pointsbet, you can calmly refresh the odds page to see if the line rises since it is unlikely the lowest line of the three books will go any lower while the rest of the market remains much higher.

By monitoring the market at halftime, you are able to see the changes you would see in pre-game lines as if you sat by your computer all day!

Halftime Points are Worth MORE

Let's say you were playing a 1 on 1 basketball game against a friend for $100. That friend is a much better player than you so he is willing to spot you 1 point. Is that a good deal?

That answer is that it depends on what you are playing up to. If you are playing to 21 it might not be. But what if game point is 11? Or 7? 3? Getting one point is huge if you are playing to 7. The same principle applies to betting half of the game.

Getting the best NBA line for the FULL game by 2 points is good but beating the average line by 2 points for a half will increase your win % by much more.

Let us say you wanted to play the over on a NBA total that was set at 210. You were able to follow the line movement and earn a valuable 3 points better towards your bet. From time to time, these big line moves do happen especially when the odds first come out, and they also happen often with 2nd half odds.

Getting 3 points from that 210 is a great find, but getting 3 points on the 2nd half over/under total of 105 will guarantee that you make money on this bet over the long haul. It's a much larger percentage of the line of which you are trying to beat. Another way to think of this advantage is as a head start in a race. A 10-foot head start would be much more effective in the 400m rather than a mile run.

But are Halftime points REALLY worth More?

Go to any sportsbook and check how much they are willing to let you bet on the first half vs the game lines. These are both mature markets that have been available to bet all day yet, your sportsbook may let you bet 10 TIMES MORE on the full game. Sportsbooks are leery of halves and quarter bettors for the reasons mention here.

If you use a sportsbook with reduced juice you may have noticed those discount prices are only available for the full game odds. Same with the new "Boosts" promos the betting apps all have now.

Trying to buy a half point at halftime? You'll notice the sportsbook values that half point much more as it is much more expensive. There is a 50% increase on the vig (juice) when you buy a half point in a halves market!

halftime betting buying half point

Betting Halves Will Level The Playing Field vs Sportsbooks

I've heard gamblers say that they don't like this quick betting format because it doesn’t give them enough time to crunch numbers and research trends. My response is that bookies already utilized much of the information you are weighing into your normal handicapping.

At a game’s intermission, the bettor may actually have the edge in knowledge. Sportsbook Linesmen are often forced to offer odds on many half time events at the same time. It would be impossible for them to follow every individual game as closely as the one you are watching, and a week’s worth of inside information no longer comes into play. This 2H line is largely based on the original game line combined with what happened in the first two quarters.

When an NFL line is released days before the game, bettors immediately beat it into shape. Thousands of opinions go into a line after it first comes out. With half-time betting, it is often mono a mono with the sportsbook. You have the chance to bet the line at the same time as everyone else.

Unique Lines Found ONLY at Half Time

A soft line is one that fails to keep up with the market rate. The market rate is the line that all of the other sportsbooks usually have.

Sportsbooks only have a short span of time to take in action at half time, and on occasion bookies will stray from the pack in order to take the bets it needs to to balance exposure. Meaning, they will move their line in a different direction than the other sportsbooks.

Some bookmakers will consistently be the last to move their numbers which offer value when odds have changed against you elsewhere. Even if you have only one sportsbook, you’ll be able to get the hang of when it will move to be in line with the market odds.

In the course of setting full game odds, bookmakers will frequently peek at what one another are offering. Many bookmakers will base their lines on what other sportsbooks are doing.

During halftime there is little opportunity for them to consult with others. Out of five sportsbooks at least one book’s opinion will often dramatically differ from the rest, especially on 2nd half totals. This line will adjust quickly as people bet into it, but this initial unique  line offers the occasional shot at an extra points that you wouldn’t see betting full games.

How to Pick Your 2nd Half Play?

Unlike pre-game handicapping, much of 2nd half betting is situational handicapping and not based on pre-game stats. Using the NBA as an example here are some of the factors to keep in mind.

Will the pace change?
Teams like the Miami Heat are known for clock management. If Coach Spo has a lead, look for the team to slow the game when they get into the meat of the 4th quarter.  Some teams like Golden State will sub when holding a substantial lead. Others, like the Knicks, do not. Capping when the 2nd and 3rd units will be coming in is important. Forecasting when a football team might slow the game and run the ball is similar.

How does the Coach Usually Handle the situation they are in at half time? 
The Charlotte Hornets, when under Coach Borrego, was know for never quitting even though they were typically out gunned and facing a deficit in the 4th quarter. If you were betting a Hornets game you had to consider that this team would foul and shoot threes when down 12 with only 90 seconds remaining. The opposing team is getting fouled while trying not to foul Charlotte getting their garbage points! Will

Shooting Percentages and Free Throw attempts remain at the same pace? 

Notoriously bad shooting teams that shoot well in the first half, depending on the matchup, are not be expected to keep that pace. Good shooting teams that are behind in the score can be expected to fire for longer if the game remains close. Teams that do not get to the line a lot in the first half can be expected to in the 2nd.

Teams that have fouled a lot in the first half, tend to avoid doing so in the 2nd. The official might make less calls to avoid fouling out star players.

What does the schedule say?
Teams on a back to backs often show it in the 4th quarter. Favorites often grind out wins but don't have enough possessions to cover the spread or the over bets. If favored teams have a back to back the following day and are up by 8 or more at half time, cappers must consider that substitutions will come earlier as the lead grows.

League Pass is an Important Betting Tool
When betting 2nd halves, the most important factor may be the eye test. If players are hyped in a game. That can shows in their body language and emphatic high fives. You'll notice teams fired up during a first half even though, on paper, they should be tired having played the night before. On the other side, you can see when players like Klay Thompson are hanging their heads and their team is not in the right mindset to recover.

Your Best Bet

The fast pace of halftime wagering is not for everyone. If you don’t enjoy getting numbers dumped on you over the course of a few minutes, then you may want to spend the 2nd half on the bench. If you want the ability to follow the life of a line, take advantage of more unique or soft numbers, apply your efforts to a shorter event, know as much as or more than, your bookmaker... then the 2nd half may be your best bet!

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