Remember as a child when your father split a chocolate bar in half between you and your brother, you always got the SMALLER HALF? Without going into too much detail why I turned out the way I did, the bigger question remains: How can two halves not equal a whole? Well, this phenomenon doesn’t just exist in chocolate bar splits. It’s also apparent in specific NFL over/under halftime betting.
Generally speaking, halftime NFL lines split the game’s over/under in half.* But, there are THREE specific circumstances that can occur during the 1st half of a game that can significantly alter the course of the halftime total line:
ONE: MAJOR INJURY
If a stud QB goes down with injury in the 1st half of a game, especially one that is close, the 2nd half number will be much lower. That team can’t score and will play ball control.
TWO: CRAZY CHANGE IN WEATHER
Snowstorms (or conversely better than expected weather) during a game also have a profound impact on total points scored. Remember The Fog Bowl? In the 2nd quarter, it became apparent that nobody could see because of the weather. While the sportsbooks adjusted the halftime line down, it wasn’t enough, as only 6 points were scored in the 2nd half.
THREE: A ROUT
When one team is crushing another at the half, the 2nd half plays out dramatically different. The team that’s behind plays super-aggressive early in the 3rd quarter. If they succeed, the game becomes close. If they fail, both teams try to end the game as quickly as possible to avoid injury and move on with their season.
When any of the three circumstances described above occur, the 2nd half of the football game will have its own unique total that does not resemble the first half.
*Technically, the total is slightly higher in the 2nd half due to ot, so if the o/u was 47, it would be 23 in the 1st half and 24 in the 2nd half. It is also higher in the 2nd half because the trailing team gets aggressive leading to either to a greater chance of a touchdown or turnover where the leading team has good field position and can score.
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.