NFL Totals Betting

NFL Totals

There is a fair amount of support for the notion that the NFL Totals betting market is easier to beat than say the pointspread market. For a start, football totals or over / unders as they are sometimes referred to, are not as well advertised by sportsbooks as the spread - a reasonable indication that they are not eager to take bets in this market. Also bet limits on totals tend to be lower, of course this could be simply because that the market is smaller. But consider the fact that in the early days, sportsbooks would offer only -120 (120 to win a 100) in this market rather than the standard -110 and you begin to feel that there is some truth to the idea.

With less betting action in the totals market, it is much harder for the bookmaker to balance their books and there is generally more fluctuation and therefore more opportunity for the bettor.

NFL totals are subject to the same types of scoring patterns as pointspreads. If the key number on the pointspread is 3, then the key number on the total market is 37. Betting a game to go over 37.5 is one hell of a lot more risky than betting it go over 36.5. By the same token, betting one point higher on the over with certain other numbers will make very little difference at all.

The key totals, on which more than 33% of games will finish, are as follows:

30, 33, 37, 38, 41, 44, 45, 47, 48, 51.

Around 5.5% of games will finish on 37, but it is not so much the total itself that is important, rather the fact that the further you drift above or below the total the 'more' or 'less' something needs to happen in order for you to win your bet. Also, when penciling in your total estimates, remember to take note of how many key numbers are 'eaten up' between your prediction and the posted total. The more key numbers that exist between the posted total and your estimate, the better it is for you.

Naturally you need to do more than simply look at key numbers and then rely on the fact that NFL totals might be 'soft' enough for you to be profitable. You also need to look at the following and the list is not exhaustive:

Weather: This can be a major factor when estimating the total. Bad weather and cold weather can cause the total line to plummet. Read the forecast.

Shop around: 0.5 of a point can make the difference between winning, losing or pushing.

Coaches: What kind of a coach is leading the team. Is he a risk taker? Does he like a big aerial game? Is he conservative?

Team characteristics: Some teams tend to be high or low scoring for long periods of time.

Kickers: Does each team have kicker good enough to snatch every 3 point opportunity.

Motivations: Team character, distractions, turmoil, off field incidents, in-house squabbles.

Press Conferences: Look for signs of unrest or harmony when watching team / player interviews.

Dome Games: Watch out for dome games / games played in unfamiliar environments.

Live Games: Try to factor in nationally televised games, where players/teams will be in the spotlight.

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