Football Quarter and Halves Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 09/18/2008
For the large majority of sports bettors betting on football starts and ends with point spreads, the money line, and totals. There are so many more options out there, though, and sometimes those options are a better way to pursue profit if used carefully and appropriately. Two of those options that are filled with potential are half and quarter bets. They get a small fraction of the action that the more popular bets do, but in some cases they make much more sense.
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The quarter and half bets have obvious differences, but they are basically the same bet - you are betting on the outcome in a quarter or a half instead of in the full game. You can typically bet on the spread, money line or total just like you can in a whole game. The first half and first quarter bets are available before the games start, and the rest of the quarters and the second half are available for a short time as soon as the previous half or quarter is over.
The best way to get comfortable with these bets is to experiment with them on a small scale. If you are going to be watching games anyway then it only makes sense to check in on the lines at the end of each quarter to look for opportunities. As you watch you probably have a sense of how the game is going to play out. If the line doesn't reflect your opinion then you may have an opportunity to cash in. Before you do that, though, let's look at five different ways the bets can be used effectively. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it's enough to get you thinking about the many possibilities:
1. Take advantage of early starters - Sometimes a team has the tendency to get off to an early start. That might not translate into wins or covers so it's useless for bettors playing the whole game. You can take advantage of this using the quarter and half bets instead. This can be particularly useful if you can find teams that are underdogs on the game that tend to be fast starters. In that case you can likely get a good price on the money line or an attractive spread in the first half or quarter.
2. When starters are out in a runaway - How many times have you seen this happen - a team gets way ahead in a blowout, pulls their starters, then gives up a meaningless touchdown or two in the fourth quarter when nothing matters? The quarters and half bets can help you take advantage of that.
3. To hedge a troubled bet - Sometimes it doesn't take very long at all for you to realize that you are in real trouble with a full game bet. You may have thought that a defense would be adequate but it clearly isn't. You might see that a quarterback is having a horrible day, or is struggling against a secondary. The weather might be better or worse than you hoped in such a way that your expected outcome is unlikely - a snowstorm will inhibit scoring, for example, or expected rain doesn't materialize. Whatever is causing the problem, there is nothing worse than having a pretty good idea that you are going to lose your bet before the first half is even over. In cases like that it might be worth looking at these quarter and half bets as a way to offset some of your losses. You want to be cautious in these cases, of course - the worst feeling in a case like this would be to lose more than you were already going to.
4. Overcome a slow start - Sometimes it takes time for teams to find their legs. It could be the nerves of the game, the weather, or any other reason. If you have a game with a high total that is very low scoring by the half then chances are very good that the scoring is going to increase in the second half. The teams might not go over the full game total because of the slow start, but it may be likely that they will go over the total for the second half or the third quarter.
5. Exploit an injury - An injury that happens in the middle of the game can have a huge impact on the outcome of a game. The loss of a quarterback or running back could impact scoring. So could the loss of a left tackle or center. An injury to a key linebacker or defensive end could cause the defense to lose their sharpness. If you are watching a game and see a situation like this then the quarter and half bets can often present an opportunity to capitalize on them. This is especially valuable when an injury is key but not so high profile that the public will jump on it--not a quarterback or running back, for example.