Everyone loves betting the NFL. This means that unlike other sports, where sharp money drives line movements, the LV books often set and move NFL lines based on casual bettors or public sentiment.
Casual bettors love betting favourites (they know the Patriots/Brady are better then the Jets/whoever plays QB) and ignore the value of getting points (2% of the time the fave wins by 1 pt, 2% by 2, 9% by 3 and 3% by 4 – a 4.5pt fave wins, but doesn’t cover, 16% + upsets).
Casual bettors love betting overs. They want to cheer for completions and touchdowns, not pinned punts and good d.
Add it up and the faves and the overs are inflated in the NFL. A team that ‘should be’ a 3.5 pt favourite based on the numbers will actually be -4.5 meaning you lose a point of value taking the fave, crushing you the 3% of the time the fave wins by 4 (ie final score of 28-24). A total that ‘should be’ valued at 47.5 will be 48.5 meaning you lose a pt of value which comes in 2-4% of the time (depending on the point), crushing you when the final score is 28-20, a total of exactly 48.
So, what does this mean? Bet underdogs and unders. Not all of them. Be selective, but generally speaking do NOT bet faves and do NOT be overs. If you prefer that side of the game/bet, take a pass.
need a refresher on the terms? See our glossary of terms.
need a refresher on the odds and how they work? See explaining the odds.