Key NFL Betting Numbers

Key NFL Betting Numbers

When it comes to betting on the NFL the public is looking for any information big or small to help them fatten their bankrolls. They look at the teams, the quarterbacks, coaches, defense, home field advantage, weather even the kicking games. We obviously support any NFL bettor that does their due diligence before placing a wager. The one thing that isn’t used often and is overlooked are the most common margins of victory. More than any other sport the NFL has key numbers that not only should every NFL bettor know before betting against the spread, they should be studied. If you are serious about moving beyond just the entertainment value of betting NFL games and want to make some serious money you have to know the key numbers.  When we are talking about key numbers we are talking about the margin of victory of games and how common each number occurs.

Key Numbers When Betting The Spread

We all know the most common ways teams score is either a touchdown or a field goal. In 2016 even when you take out the missed extra points and teams that went for 2 there were almost 1,100 touchdowns with a successful extra point and 850 made field goals. Looking at those numbers some people would be inclined to guess the most common average margin of victory would be 7 points but that’s not the case. Late in most NFL games the team trailing are crunching the numbers and doing everything they can to get the game tied knowing they can try and win it at with a kick at the gun or a kick in OT. Also late in the 4th quarter of tied games teams will play conservative, as going for a touchdown with less than 2 minutes increases the probability of a turnover. It’s a safer play to get in field goal range, burn clock and kick the field goal for the 3 point win. Due to these factors the overwhelming most common margin of victory is 3 points followed then by 7 points. Let’s look at a margin of victory chart in the NFL over the last 13 years courtesy of Sports Insights.

MarginOccurrencesFrequency
3 522 15.04%
7 323 9.31%
10 210 6.05%
6 202 5.82%
4 184 5.30%
14169 4.87%
1128 3.69%
2127 3.66%
17 1173.37%
8 1133.26%

Out of the 10 most common margins of victory the top 5 margins of 3, 7, 10, 6, and 4 occur over 41 percent of the time. If you add up all 10 of the most common margins of victory you get up over 60%. So this all leads to a very important question. When to buy a half point. Buying a half point in an NFL game usually results in the book charging you -120 instead of the standard -110. If you are looking to buy a half point to get on or off a key number like 3 or 7 the books will usually make you risk even more and may bump it up to -130. Is it worth it? We know this is playing both sides of the equation but the answer is yes and no. The sportsbooks know more about key NFL numbers than the public so when you see lines of -2.5 or -6.5 they are literally begging the public to bet the favorite and since they aren’t in the business of giving away money do your due diligence before laying the points in those two instances. What do you do when the favorite is -3.5 or -7.5. What about if you like a dog and they are getting +2.5 or +6.5? Do you buy the half point and risk the extra vig? It’s hard enough to profit betting NFL games paying odds of -110. Risking -120 or -130 on a regular basis will make it extremely more difficult. In our opinion in the long run buying those half points and landing on those key numbers will secure enough pushes over the alternative of losing by a half point that it is worth it in most instances. If you do your work handicapping the game and have enough confidence in the favorite winning big at -3.5 or the dog winning outright at +2.5 then skip the extra vig of buying the half point and trust in your gut. No matter what before you buy a half point shop around and see if you can get the number you want. You will be surprised on how much more money you can win over the long term by using more than one book and shopping for numbers.

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