NFL Live Betting Week 10: How We’re Live Betting Sunday Night Football
We're officially on to the second half of the NFL Season, with Week 10 upon us. This is a good time of the year for live betting, as most teams' pace and efficiencies start to become clear.
At this point in the day, it's obviously time to turn our live betting focus to Sunday Night Football, after watching one game in each of the main windows (1:00 and 4:00 p.m. ET). As always, in addition to betting totals and sides, player props are on the table as well. We generally don't hit on those explicitly but do give some guidance on how one might approach that if they were betting them.
Here are the situations we're watching to live bet on Sunday.
The Sunday Night Football Live Betting Scenario To Watch For
Chargers-49ers: 49ers Spreads If The Chargers Lead — LIVE BET MADE
The pace splits weren't giving us a ton to work with here. The game was expected to speed up a bit with either team leading and play relatively neutral as long as it was close.
What we were watching for was an early Chargers lead so we could get a better price on the 49ers. They're seven-point favorites in this one, but we obviously prefer laying fewer points.
The reason why that's appealing is that the Chargers should struggle to run the ball, making holding onto a lead difficult. They have the worst offensive line matchup of the week by adjusted line yards and are generally hesitant to feed Austin Ekeler a ton of carries.
The 49ers have also been more efficient when forced to throw. They're a bottom-ten team in pass rate over expectation, but top-10 in DVOA. That gives them a solid chance to catch up if they fall behind, and then revert to playing run-first if and when they regain the lead.
It's not our favorite live-betting angle of the year, but we were looking to target spots with the Chargers ahead, and we got one. Dicker the Kicker’s second career field goal put the Chargers up 13-3 and sent the Niners to +1.5 on the live odds. While the total is interesting, at 46.5, it’s a bit high for our tastes.
San Francisco has run fairly bad, with a lost fumble and a drive that stalled on the Chargers two. I’ll take them and 1.5 points with potential back-to-back possessions before and after halftime. Keep an eye on the total as well, with an over bet incoming if it drops.
While we were looking at the over with the Chargers out in front, the six-point lead at half coupled with the 49ers getting the ball to start the third quarter makes this one much more of a "close game" scenario. The total is up to 48.5, making the under more interesting.
We expect Justin Herbert to be good to go in the second half, yet there's a non zero chance the new concussion protocols keep him out. That's enough to make the under worthwhile, since it's a coin flip at worst with Herbert.
The Live Bets We Made on Sunday Afternoon in NFL Week 10
Colts-Raiders: Watch The Game Script — LIVE BET MADE
With both teams underperforming expectation this season, this game had a pregame spread of around four. That meant we wouldn't be shocked to see either team control this one — though of course the favored Raiders are more likely.
If they do at some point — and by control, we mean lead by seven or more — that sets up nicely for live betting overs. The pace splits point us that way, with Vegas playing at the seventh-fastest pace with a lead. The Colts also rank higher/faster when trailing than leading, though it's relatively close.
On the flip side, if the Colts managed to get a lead, it would be an ideal under scenario. They play at one of the slowest paces with a lead — which makes sense when you have Jonathan Taylor. Vegas is also (relatively) a slower team if playing from behind as well.
As always, this also heavily depends on the number. The pregame line is 41. We'd only be playing these if we can get both a better line and our preferred scenario — though we should be flexible on pulling the trigger whenever that occurs.
While the Colts had a moderate lead at the break and also got the ball to start the second half, the 40.5 total was just a bit low in terms of taking unders. After a 15-yard sack and a narrowly missed field goal by Indy in the third, the Raiders got the ball back down six with solid field position. With the total dropping all the way to 36.5, we’re now showing value on the over. The best line is at DraftKings, where o36.5 is -125.
Saints-Steelers: Second Half Overs — LIVE BET MADE
The usual Pittsburgh pace splits were at play here, with the added bonus of some help from the Saints. Pittsburgh continues to pick things up in the second half, with a nearly three-second pace increase. This week, they're playing an opponent that has similar trends, with New Orleans quickening things by about two seconds after the break.
Astute readers might notice that much of this is due to the game script these teams have found themselves in. Trailing teams play faster then leading teams, and these teams have a combined 5-12 record. However, they can't both be playing from behind this time.
Additionally, both teams play faster (by ranking) in the second half than they do when trailing. That means it's a systematic choice to pick up the pace, more so than just a reaction to game script — though of course that helps.
From a pace standpoint, it didn't much matter which team is leading. However, New Orleans is worse defensively against the run, with Pittsburgh worse against the pass. We were going to bet this (assuming a solid number) regardless of which team was ahead, but it would have been even better if it was the Steelers. Them having a lead would get both teams playing to their matchup strengths offensively.
The pregame line was right around 40 for this one. If we were able to get a significantly lower number in the second quarter or beyond, we were ready to pull the trigger; there was no need necessarily to wait until half time and potentially get the worst of it from a late first half score.
Unfortunately, a late Saints touchdown drove this total back in the neighborhood of the pregame total at 39.5 at the half. That also hurt because we preferred this line with the Steelers leading. Still, given the first half that we saw, another 20 points in the second half was a reasonable ask. The best line was at DraftKings and Caesars at -115.
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.
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.