NFL Live Betting Week 11: How We’re Live Betting Thursday Night Football
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow before the Bengals’ Week 11 Thursday Night Football game against the Ravens.
For the first time in what feels like years, we have a Thursday Night Football game with not one, but two competent NFL-level quarterbacks. The 46.5-point total doesn't exactly scream shootout, but there should at least be some action in this one.
With that said, it's not an ideal game for live betting purposes, for reasons we'll get in to below. Still, there could be some angles at play if we know where to look.
The Live Bets We're Targeting on Thursday Night Football in NFL Week 11
There's not much to backing this live under, but it looks like Joe Burrow is going to miss the rest of this game and backup quarterbacks typically aren't great for scoring.
Here is how we previewed live betting this game before kickoff:
As alluded to in the intro, there's not a clear pace-based scenario that is likely to appear here. The Bengals play at a pace right around one second below league average in all scenarios, but they more or less behave as expected. That means speeding up when chasing points while slowing things down with a lead.
Unfortunately, so do the Ravens. They play … about a second slower than average, at least when games are close or they take a lead. Baltimore is the only NFL team yet to run an offensive play while trailing by eight or more — though they have played a bit faster than average when trailing by smaller amounts.
That gives us a slight lean toward overs if Baltimore trails. That's furthered by the fact that Baltimore's excellent defense is easier to beat on the ground than through the air. However, that's counteracted by similar splits from the Bengals defense, which makes this one tough to invest in. We'd need the start to align with a significant dip in the total, a Bengals lead, and some bad scoring luck before considering that side.
On the other side, a close game or one in which Baltimore takes over should be a bit slower than other scenarios, while also being more likely. We run into a similar issue as above, though, where Baltimore's top-ranked rushing offense by DVOA is attacking the Bengals' 29th-ranked rushing defense. Even if the Ravens go slow and run-heavy, a long touchdown run or two hurts the case for the under.
On the positive side, Baltimore's pass defense ranks second in the league, and the Bengals will be without number-two wideout Tee Higgins. It's possible to envision the wheels falling off for Cincinnati if they fall behind, with the Ravens selling out to stop a banged-up Ja'Marr Chase on a short week.
On top of that, primetime unders, second half unders, and divisional game unders have all been profitable trends recently. We should be defaulting to the under when live betting island games, particularly around halftime.
Of course, we could just make that bet pregame — either the full game under or the second half under. The only edge from waiting to bet live is if the number moves, which will be a firm requirement in this one. If it stays at or around the pregame line, the sharpest move might just be to pass on this one entirely.
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.