NFL Live Betting Week 1: How to Live Bet Monday Night Football
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Bills vs Jets pregame view from the field, as we break down the NFL live betting for Week 1 on Monday Night Football.
As anticipated, the first week of the season has been tough going for live bets. It's much harder to predict play-calling tendencies in Week 1, and the lack of preseason reps had plenty of offenses struggling to get on the same page.
That unpredictability is especially pronounced on Monday Night Football in Week 1, as the Jets offense could look drastically different with Aaron Rodgers under center. While most of the coaching staff remains intact, it's likely that the upgrade at quarterback has a notable impact on how aggressively they play.
Therefore, we'll be especially cautious with this one. Consider a smaller unit than you'd typically wager — or holding off entirely unless we get plenty of signals pointing in the same direction.
Monday Night Football Live Betting Scenario to Watch For
Any Excuse For Unders — NO LIVE BET MADE YET
With the total sinking appropriately to reflect Aaron Rodgers' absence, there's not much value to be found here. It's hard to trust the Jets offense enough to take the over, but the Bills could pour it on deep into this one. We'll pass, for now, depending on how the early part of the second half shakes out.
Here's how we evaluated this Monday Night Football matchup pregame:
While the bulk of our live betting angles are based on pace of play, we're taking a slight departure from that analysis on Monday night.
These teams were both top 10 in overall pace of play last season, although for different reasons: The Bills stubborn insistence on throwing the ball regardless of the scoreboard, and the Jets needing to play catch up frequently.
We're anticipating the Jets to lean slightly more on the pass this season, even when the game script isn't forcing them to do so. However, these were two of the best pass defenses in the league last season, with both groups ranking inside the top six in yards allowed per pass.
We also saw plenty of passing offenses fall short so far in Week 1. While there were some notable exceptions, league-wide, the ground game produced a far bigger share of the offense than the passing game did.
While this doesn't necessarily mean the trend will continue tonight, it's probably not a coincidence. It takes time and reps to get quarterbacks and receivers on the same page, and since the move to a three-game preseason, most starting quarterbacks don't get or barely get those reps in the preseason — including Allen and Rodgers, who combined for 25 pass attempts between them in the preseason.
Ideally, we get an early score or two that drives the total up to or around 50 from the pregame 45.5. It'd be even better if that score is on the flukier side — defensive or special teams touchdowns, or broken plays that don't suggest offensive aptitude.
The one possible exception here is if the Bills get out in front early and the total drops. Since they continue to attack through the air regardless of game script, it could speed things up enough to make the over worthwhile. We're only looking that way if there's some bad luck offensively for either team, though. Think drives stalled in the red zone or other situations that "should" have produced points but didn't.
The biggest edge in live betting here is probably getting a look at Rodgers and the Jets offense before making a pick, so hopefully our read on that lines up with the movement of the total.
How We Approach Live Betting in General
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 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 tend to produce more points. The broad assumption is that the pregame line is roughly efficient, so we want to target spots where we're getting a better number in the direction that fits the scenario.
Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious opportunities.
Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.