A Profitable First-Half Betting Strategy for NFL Week 3, Including Browns vs. Rams

A Profitable First-Half Betting Strategy for NFL Week 3, Including Browns vs. Rams article feature image

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

  • Early in the NFL season bettors can profit by playing first-half over/unders.
  • Using Bet Labs, we share a profitable approach to wagering on first-half totals, including Rams vs. Browns (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) on Sunday Night Football.

In the 2019 season opener, the Packers-Bears first-half (1H) total was set at 23 points. Since 2005, only 37% of games (1,320 out of 3,557) have had a 1H total of 23 or more points.

Chicago finished last season ninth in points per game (26.3), and Green Bay’s offense was expected to be rejuvenated under new coach Matt LaFleur. In a snoozer, the Cheeseheads and Bears combined for 10 points in the first two quarters, easily going under the  1H total of 23 points.

What happened? Oddsmakers inflated the 1H total knowing recreational gamblers would want to bet the over based on preseason expectations for both offenses.

Rust could have also played a role in the offenses struggling. For the past two preseasons Sean McVay has rested his starters the entire preseason. Some skeptics argue that players need snaps to get in game rhythm, but McVay doesn’t believe that preseason football is worth the injury risk.

Other teams, like the Packers and Bears, have adopted the approach as fewer starters took meaningful reps this preseason.

With inflated totals and players not being in midseason form, it has been profitable to bet the 1H under in high-total games early in the season.

Since 2005, bettors following this strategy have gone 154-116-15 (57.0%) wagering on 1H unders, according to Bet Labs. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $2,372.

In Week 3 there are eight games that match this system. If you are uncomfortable placing that many wagers, one way to narrow down your bets is to look for games in which the total has decreased.

In this scenario, our 1H under system improves to 74-40-6 (64.9%).

Game Matches

  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Under 24
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Under 27
  • Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Under 23
  • Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Under 23.5
  • New England Patriots vs. New York Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Under 23.5
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Under 23.5
  • Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Under 23.5
  • Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Under 24

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