NFL Live Betting: Bills vs. Rams Betting Results, Live Bet Updates
Professional football is back, as the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams officially kicked off the 2022 NFL season on Thursday night in a 31-10 win for Buffalo. And with the return of the NFL comes some of my favorite betting opportunities: NFL live betting markets.
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
The primary benefit of this is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games will tend to produce more points.
That brings us to Thursday night’s Week 1 season-opening game. Here’s how we were live betting Bills vs. Rams, as well as the results.
NFL Betting Results, Live Betting Notes for Bills vs. Rams
The Bills covered after closing as 2.5-point favorites against the Rams.
Buffalo was -135 to win outright (bet $10 to collect $17.41).
The total over/under was 52.5, with the combined score of 41 points meaning the under cashed.
Some of the player props that hit included:
- Josh Allen OVER 273.5 passing yards
- Cooper Kupp anytime TD (-136)
- Stefon Diggs OVER 67.5 receiving yards
There was also one particularly absurd prop bet market in which NO ONE cashed a winning bet. Over 300 bets were placed on Rams kicker Matt Gay to make over 2.5 extra points on Thursday night; he had just one on Los Angeles’ lone TD.
Every bet in this market has lost.
Extra points kicked by Matt Gay tonight: 1. https://t.co/Mfv5FmkL3G
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 9, 2022
Before the game, we broke down three potential live betting scenarios to watch for. And as the first half unfolded, it was clear the first was most applicable:
1) Bills Take the Lead, Total Drops From Open
UPDATE (11:10 p.m. ET): This is by far my favorite scenario to live bet — although as with all live-betting angles, there’s some nuance required. (For example, I’m also fine with a total that’s gone up a bit if there’s been 20 points in the first quarter.)
While the Bills did take the early lead on a Gabe Davis touchdown, the total over/under went up to 54.5 initially, from a closing line of 51.5 at FanDuel. Davis was +165 to score a TD anytime and +950 to score the first of the game.
With 13:30 remaining in the second quarter, the Rams recovered a fumble in a 7-0 ballgame and the total moved to 48 — which was a number I was willing to pounce on with an over bet. But patience was a virtue; the total then dropped even further to 44.5 after just a couple plays.
A Cooper Kupp touchdown (-136 for an anytime TD, a bet that was more popular than the Rams on the spread) with 3 minutes left in the first half brought the Rams to within 10-7, moving the Bills to -3.5 and -184 on the moneyline, with Los Angeles +142 to win outright at FanDuel. The total moved back up to 46.5, so it appeared we got some value for anyone who took over 44.5. Unfortunately, in the end, we came up a few points short.
Los Angeles followed that up with a field goal to end the half and tie the game at 10-10 (and helped our Sean Koerner cash his best bet of the game: Rams +1 in the first half).
At the break, the Bills were -1.5 and -128 on the moneyline, with the Rams +100, and a total over/under of 45.5.
On “Bet What Happens With Dr. Nick!,” our live halftime show on the Action Network app, my predictive analytics colleague, Nick Giffen, said he was taking the over on that total of 45.5. Dr. Nick was also bullish on Josh Allen’s live passing yardage over at 283.5 yards, as he projected Allen to surpass 300 yards by the time this one hits all zeroes.
The Bills rewarded our faith to start the second half, with an Allen TD pass to Isaiah McKenzie (+340) that put Buffalo in front 17-10 and lifted the total over/under to 47.5, with the Bills 4.5-point live favorites.
Isaiah McKenzie gives the Bills the lead!
Anytime TD (+340) ✅pic.twitter.com/inmWM0aAcq
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 9, 2022
The Bills then started to pour it on just a bit, as Allen hooked up with Davis for a big play that sent the wide receiver over his receiving yardage total of 59.5. The Buffalo QB then kept it himself for a rushing TD to put the Bills up 24-10 as 10.5-point live favorites with a live total over/under of 46.5.
Anyone who tailed Dr. Nick’s halftime picks was in luck at that point, as a deep Allen pass to Diggs resulted in another Bills TD, with both Allen and Diggs going over their respective live prop totals on that pass. Allen also went over his pregame total of 273.5 passing yards, while Diggs cashed as an anytime TD scorer at +130 and flew past his pregame receiving yardage total (67.5).
Not too shabby, even if we missed that live over bet.
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The Other Two Live Bet Angles We Were Considering …
2) Live Player Props
There were a few live-betting angles I came into Thursday looking to exploit in the player props market.
My main focus was Stefon Diggs. Our NFL Props tool was showing a slight edge on his pregame over of 67.5 receiving yards.
By halftime, that Diggs number was 89.5 before rising to 90.5 — but it was also a bet correlated with the Josh Allen passing yardage prop. In fact, Dr. Nick had Diggs going over 100 yards total, so this wasn’t a bad look to go along with the Allen over.
(Had the Rams gotten out to a lead mostly through the air, targeting overs on rushing yards made sense. They shift more heavily to a ground-focused attack when playing from the front. Alas, that didn’t happen.)
3) If Rams Leading & Total Up From Open
The Rams tend to play with a more traditional pace when ahead. They ranked 12th in the NFL in pace when leading by seven or more points last season.
On the Bills side, their pace of play when trailing only ranked 11th in the league last year. While both of those numbers are slightly above average, they combine to play less than a second faster than the league-average pace.
If this game had a ton of scoring early — causing the total to rise — taking the under with the Rams in front could have made a lot of sense. They had the 20th situation-neutral pass rate last season. Besides slowing the game down, rushing is less efficient from a scoring standpoint.
Here’s the rest of my pregame NFL live betting analysis, for those who might be curious …
Unlike most teams, the Bills tend to keep their foot on the gas even when leading. Last year, they ranked second in pace of play when leading by seven or more points.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams accelerate their pace when coming from behind. While this is standard procedure in the NFL, the Rams are near the top of the league in pace when trailing, ranking fourth.
The combination of these tendencies means the average play will be 2.75 seconds faster than a league-average rate when the Bills are up. Based on making this bet at halftime, that adds an extra seven plays to the game, or a little over a full drive. (According to Dr. Nick, the first half was played at a pace 2.5 seconds faster than league average.)
When you combine both of those factors with the Bills’ tendency to continue to throw even when ahead, we’ll often have a recipe for more scoring with Buffalo in front. They ranked second in situation-neutral pass play rate last season.
Sportsbooks’ live models are unlikely to factor that in, adjusting their live total in a Bayesian fashion based on their priors (the pregame total) and the current score. That’s likely to produce a lower number than would be optimal.
All in all, with three scenarios to watch for, we were ready to make the most of our NFL live betting opportunities in Week 1’s season-opening game. We’ll see you Sunday.