NFL Live Betting Week 14: How We’re Live Betting Sunday Night Football

NFL Live Betting Week 14: How We’re Live Betting Sunday Night Football article feature image

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Dak Prescott before the Cowboys’ Week 14 Sunday Night Football game against the Eagles.

It's another busy Sunday, with 12 total games on tap including Sunday Night Football. It's always nice to have options when selecting games to target for live bets, since not every game gives us the same edge.  Here's where we're looking in Week 14.

NFL Live Betting for Week 14 Sunday Night Football

Eagles at Cowboys: Overs In a Close Game or Eagles Lead

Two of the best teams in the NFL meet on Sunday Night Football, with neither team having too many glaring weaknesses. Both teams rank in the top 10 by DVOA in three out of the four phases (run/pass defense and offense), with the exceptions lining up nicely.

The areas that break those rules are the Eagles pass defense (21st by DVOA) and the Cowboys run offense (also 21st). That creates a fairly obvious set up here, where Dallas should be productive on offense as long as they continue to throw the ball.

Early in the season, the Cowboys were stubbornly insistent on establishing the run game. Prior to their Week 7 bye, Dak Prescott averaged just under 32 pass attempts per game. Since then, that number has risen to just under 37, despite far more positive game scripts for Dallas. Which is a round about way to say that Dallas should be throwing aggressively up until the (unlikely) scenario where they're winning this one comfortably.

On the Eagles side, it's technically a better matchup on the ground than through the air, but that's a bit misleading. Their most efficient runner of the football is Jalen Hurts, with plenty of that production coming on plays called as passes. Fortunately, the Eagles are one of the most aggressive teams in the league, trying to maximize points rather than play keep away from their opponents — which makes sense considering their leaky pass defense.

The pregame total here is 51.5, and we won't be too picky about getting a lower number. Ideally we get some redzone field goals or other fluky occurrences that push the total down — or at least a halftime score that's more than halfway to the live total at the time. Still, this is more of a "when" than "if" angle.

Our NFL Live Bets from Earlier

Colts at Bengals: Overs With a Bengals Lead or Close Game — LIVE BET MADE, Under 50.5 (-115, FanDuel)

It's a close game, but the total has risen over 50 in Bengals-Colts — which included a pick-six to get to that number. While the scenario points to the over, it's risen a bit too high for our tastes. However, if Indy can get a quick score and further raise the total (or even keep it in the same region with some time off the clock) we'll be looking to take the under in the second half.

Here's how we previewed live betting this game before kickoff:

This is a spot where the matchup and pace splits line up fairly nicely. They aren't perfect — but only because the Bengals defense is equally terrible against both the run and the pass. Cincinnati ranks 31st in yards allowed per run and 32nd in yards allowed per pass. While that takes away the angle of a specific scenario helping more than others, it also obviously favors betting the over.

However, the combination of the Colts' defensive splits and the Bengals playing with a backup quarterback certainly gives us a solid angle on the other side. Indy ranks 10th in DVOA against the pass but 24th against the run. Not an extreme split, but one that's somewhat hard to overcome with Jake Browning at quarterback instead of Joe Burrow.

All of that lines up nicely with the pace splits here. The Colts are a fast team overall — the fastest in the league in fact. However, the one spot they don't play (much) faster than average is when protecting a multi-score lead. The Bengals are a slow-paced team from an overall standpoint, but less so when trailing or in close games.

Cincinnati should be able to run the ball effectively here, and do so more often than they did with Burrow under center — unless they fall behind. The pregame line is a somewhat optimistic 44 (considering it's Jake Browning against Gardner Minshew), so we'll be fairly picky in waiting for a lower number before taking this one.

The inverse scenario (under with a Colts lead) is also in play. It's projecting as less of an edge, but if the total rises significantly that's an option as well. We'll also need to keep an eye on the play of Browning this week. He looked good last week on Monday Night Football, but could certainly turn back into a pumpkin here.

Seahawks at 49ers: Time the Under — LIVE BET MADE, Over 42.5 (-115, FanDuel)

Even though we were looking to time the under, the total has fallen enough and the lead is tight enough we're going to go the opposite direction. Let's take over 42.5 at -115 on FanDuel, and bank on Seattle mounting at least one more scoring drive.

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Here's how we previewed live betting this game before kickoff:

The 49ers are favored by nearly two touchdowns here, just two weeks after a 31-13 victory in the same matchup. That game was in Seattle, so in theory San Francisco should perform even better at home.

The general thesis here is that the 49ers will play aggressively in the first half (or so) until they get to a comfortable lead, then unleash backup running back Jordan Mason to run out the clock. They have an average margin of victory of 23.75 over the last four weeks, and it's hard to see any reason this changes now.

The specific matchups and pace in this game are less important when predicting a blowout, but for what it's worth, they also point to a lower scoring game with the 49ers in control. San Francisco is strong everywhere defensively but considerably better against the pass. Seattle is below average everywhere, but somewhat tougher against the run.

The total in this game is all over the place, with various books offering between 45.5 and 47. Outside of the win over the Eagles, all of the 49ers wins in this recent stretch have finished in the low 40s or below in total points. That gives us a bit of margin for error, but we'd obviously like to get a total into the 50s before making the bet.

If Seattle manages to put up a bit of a fight offensively, we'll likely stick with the same plan. In theory, Seattle putting up points will further elevate the total, giving us the same chance to take the under if and when San Francisco pulls away. We're unlikely to take the inverse scenario, unless sportsbooks are very conservative with raising the number AND Seattle keeps things reasonably close.

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 iswe're 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.

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