Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
- Understanding key numbers when betting NFL over/unders is an important strategy that most recreational bettors ignore.
- Similar to margins of victory, the total points scored by NFL teams per game have changed since the league moved PAT attempts to the 15-yard line following the 2014 season.
Because over/unders aren’t talked about as regularly as spreads, many recreational NFL bettors are surprised to learn that there are key numbers associated with over/under betting, as well.
What are those key numbers and what do they mean for you?
To break this down, we analyzed the total points scored for every regular season and postseason NFL game since 2003 to determine the most common total points scored.
Based on our historical NFL data from 2003-17, 41 is the most frequent number regarding total points scored at 3.9%, followed by 37 and 44 (3.8% each).
Similar to margins of victory, total points scored are also being affected after the NFL moved extra-point attempts back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line following the 2014 season.
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As you’d expect, longer PAT’s have resulted in more misses which translates into not only fewer points scored, but more teams coming away with six points after touchdowns as opposed to the almost automatic seven before kicks were moved back.
Here’s a look at the biggest differences in total points scored on a per game level from before and after the extra-point rule change:
Forty-four is clearly the biggest change, with 4.1% of all games landing there from 2003-2014, but that has dropped to only 2.9% of games over the past three seasons. In other words, 44 has gone from the most common total score to the 10th-most common total score.
Here’s the full rundown of differences for games finishing with between 30 and 60 points scored.
Since 2015, 43 points has taken over as the most common combined score at 4.0% of all games.
Let’s use a real-live example so you can see how to leverage this data on a week-to-week basis.
The over/under for Chiefs-Chargers in Week 1 is currently 47/47.5 depending on the book. Looking at the table above, we see that 47 has been the second-most common occurrence for total points score since 2015.
Bettors looking toward the over should be sure to play it at 47, while anyone liking the under needs to shop for 47.5. Should the game land on 47, over bettors would push with under tickets cashing. But those who don’t comprehend the importance of 47 and settle for bad numbers could lose with over 47.5 and push with under 47.
Understanding key numbers when betting NFL over/unders, especially since the league moved the extra point, will ensure you’re getting the best of the number every time you place a wager.