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NFL Live Betting Week 15: How We Live Bet Saturday’s Slate

NFL Live Betting Week 15: How We Live Bet Saturday’s Slate article feature image
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Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images.

The NFL is gracing us with a full weekend of football in Week 15 (and 16), with three Saturday games this week. While we won’t necessarily have a bet on each of the three games,  there’s at least an angle to watch for in each of them.

Fortunately, the games don’t overlap, so we can give them all the attention they deserve. First up were the Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings at 1:00 p.m. ET. Next, we were on to Ravens vs. Browns.

Finally, it’s time for a winter wonderland in Dolphins vs. Bills. Here’s how we’re live betting the Week 15 Saturday slate.

The Dolphins vs Bills Live Betting Scenario to Watch For on Saturday In Week 15

Dolphins-Bills: Overs, Maybe — LIVE BET MADE

This was the trickiest game on the slate, due to the extreme weather conditions in Buffalo. The total had plunged to 43 pregame — after opening at 47 — largely as a reaction to the weather.

Here’s the thing, though: snow can be beneficial for offenses. It’s much harder for defenders to react to ball carriers and receivers’ change of direction in the snow, which outweighs the challenge of throwing and catching.

With all that said, this one should slow down if the Bills dominate, but speed up in other scenarios. With three minutes left in the first half — and the Bills set to receive the kickoff — the live total was 53.5 (-106 at FanDuel). We’ve already seen 27 points scored in the first 27 minutes though, so clearly the weather isn’t an issue. This one should continue to be back and forth, and we’ll take the live over.


The Live Betting Scenario We Watched For Earlier

Ravens-Browns: Watch the Game Flow — LIVE BET MADE

We didn’t have nearly as clean of a setup for the Ravens-Browns game as we did the early game (or so we thought; see below for more on that). Depending on how this shook out, we could see this game play much faster or much slower than average.

Additionally, weather was likely to be a factor here. Therefore, we were looking to lean toward scenarios where we could bet the under. From a pace of play standpoint, this one should be slowest in a close game — both teams are relatively conservative run-first offenses, especially without Lamar Jackson. A Browns lead would similarly produce a slow game, though the splits aren’t as drastic there.

The only scenario where taking overs could potentially have had value was if the Ravens take a commanding lead. That would quicken the pace, as well as allow Baltimore to lean more heavily on the run. That’s important without their starting quarterback, and because Cleveland has the 30th-ranked run defense in the NFL.

The pregame total for this game was just shy of 40. While the total has already dropped significantly to 29.5, that seems too optimistic given the conditions at play in this one. We wanted the under in a close game, and we’ll stick with that analysis even if the total is down. We’ll take this live bet on the under at 29.5 (-110 at BetMGM).

Colts-Vikings: Overs if It Stays Close

Despite the records of both teams, bettors were expecting this game to stay reasonably close. The 4-8-1 Colts were just 3.5-point underdogs as they travel to Minnesota to take on the 10-3 Vikings.

That seemed as if it would work out perfectly for us, as both teams follow similar pace trends. The Vikings play at the third-fastest pace in games within a touchdown, while the Colts are seventh. Both teams play at average or below in every other scenario, making this a clear case for the over.

We wanted to keep an eye on this one throughout the entirety of the game, with the idea being that the combination of lower total and close game could happen at essentially any point.

Instead, the Colts absolutely trounced Minnesota in the first half, blowing our live betting script out of the water.

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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