NFL Live Betting Week 10: How We’re Live Betting Falcons-Panthers On Thursday Night Football

NFL Live Betting Week 10: How We’re Live Betting Falcons-Panthers On Thursday Night Football article feature image

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield (left), PJ Walker (right).

NFL Week 10 Thursday brought us a divisional matchup between NFC South rivals, as the (tied-for) first place Falcons look to keep pace in the division with a win over the last place Panthers.

Carolina is executing a fairly blatant tank this season, firing their head coach and trading away star running back Christian McCaffrey. Yet they were still just 2.5-point underdogs.

That told us a lot about the expected quality of football. On the plus side, this one had some obvious live-betting scenarios and could be a good one for player props as well.

The Live Bet We've Made on Thursday Night Football

Unders With A Panthers Lead

Either team leading is a bit of a challenge here. Atlanta ranks 32nd in pace when up by seven or more … and 32nd when down by seven or more. Therefore, it's up to the Panthers to dictate any speeding up or slowing down of game flow.

Fortunately, they provide some opportunity. They rank 26th in pace of play when up by seven or more, despite top-10 ranks in both overall and situation neutral.

They're also the inferior rushing team by DVOA, so the Panthers shifting to a more run-heavy attack should lower the game's overall offensive efficiency. On the Atlanta side, they're a better running team — and would (in theory at least) be throwing more when playing from behind.

Since we're getting both a slower pace and less projected efficiency, this is a pretty clear spot. Hopefully Carolina gets out to their lead with a few quick scores, driving the pregame number up.

While we were hoping Carolina’s lead would accompany a higher score, they’re still up double-digits heading into half time. They also get the ball to start the second half, so we can be relatively confident that this game will be played with them in the lead for the immediate future.

Therefore, the under 36.5 line at Caesars is the play. It would take 24 second-half points to go over – in a game where the total was just 42.

However, it’s also reasonable to wait to see how the Panthers first drive of the second half plays out. If they score again, there could be an even better number posted.

The Other Live Betting Situation We Were Watching For

Second Half Overs — Especially In A Close Game

Given the state of these offenses, taking any kind of over bet is a scary proposition, but stick with us here. First, both teams have played roughly two seconds faster in the second halves of games this season.

While a lot of that (especially for the Panthers) is due to the fact that they're normally trailing in the second half, it can't be a negative game script for both teams.

If the total has dropped significantly from the pregame 42 or so, the over is worth considering in most game scripts. However, what we're really looking for is a close contest.

Both teams' pace in close games is about three seconds faster than their situation neutral pace. That tells us they both slow down more than usual with a lead, and speed up less than usual when playing from behind.

The thinking is that the pregame total (inadvertently) adjusts for both team's situation neutral pace — since on aggregate, it's a neutral script. Since both teams should exceed that in a close game, that creates opportunity on the over.

Of course, we need to weigh how long we expect this one to stay close. If the leading team is set to have consecutive drives before and after halftime, that's a situation to avoid (since they could pull away). We also, as always, will be looking to get a better line than the pregame 42, ideally one in the 30s.

And remember, we're not alone in live betting the NFL's biggest primetime island games. At halftime of Thursday and Monday Night Football each week, my predictive analytics colleague Nick Giffen is live on "Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!"

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.

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