NFL Live Betting Week 2: How We’re Live Betting Thursday Night Football
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: The Eagles’ D’Andre Swift.
For the second week in a row, we're fortunate to have a Thursday night game between two contending teams, both of whom are returning most of their coaching staffs and key offensive personnel.
Unlike last week, we're lucky enough to not have a major injury to a key player on one team — a scenario that muddied the waters heavily last week.
More importantly, we also have one of our favorite live betting teams in the Eagles. They broke tendency a bit last week thanks to a somewhat surprising surge from the Patriots, but we know how they want to approach this one.
Thursday Night Football Live Betting Scenario to Watch For
Close Game Overs — LIVE BET MADE: OVER 41.5 (-105 at DraftKings)
We said before the game we’d need a lot pointing in that direction to consider taking the over in this one. So far we’ve had a fumble at the goal line, a missed field goal, and tow more turnovers around midfield. Plus, it’s a close game with the trailing Vikings getting possession to start the second half. It’s scary given how ugly both teams' offenses have been, but we’ll take the over at 41.5 (-105) on DraftKings.
Here was our pregame analysis for this scenario: Both teams played faster than average during close games last season, attempting to attack until they got a comfortable lead. The concerns about the Vikings' ability to throw effectively that we discuss further below made this one a bit shakier, but we knew there were some outcomes that could lead us in this direction.
We were needing a tight game and a drop on the pregame total of 49 or so. Beyond that, like we said above, we also needed some fluky non-scores that indicate both teams can move the ball.
We'll also have some mild interest in the Vikings spread if this one stays close but the spread stays around a touchdown. Minnesota +5.5 was somewhat interesting before the Eagles' field goal to end the first half. We're expecting Minnesota to have success on the ground, and the Eagles were the NFL's luckiest team in Week 1.
Second Half/Eagles Lead Unders
Regular readers of this space knew this one was coming. Philadelphia has consistently shown themselves to be one of the most adaptable teams in football, attacking aggressively to build leads, before throttling down and playing ball-control once they get them.
One of the reasons this approach was so effective last season was their elite passing defense. They were the top-rated defense in passing DVOA last season, while middle of the pack against the run. This incentivized them to attack early — forcing their opponents to become more pass happy — which they do/did effectively.
Of course, the Eagles lost some key members of their secondary from last season, and rank No. 15 against the pass in 2023 after Week 1. They'll finish much better than that, though. Their ability to generate pressure from the front seven is arguably the bigger component of their passing defense success, especially in the interior, where Minnesota is weak.
All of which is to say that Minnesota will likely struggle to move the ball while playing catchup, allowing the Eagles to slow things down on offense. With Philadelphia favored by roughly a touchdown, there's a strong chance we see this scenario play out at some point — hopefully with the total driven up into the 50s.
We'll also keep an eye on the live interception line on Kirk Cousin should the Eagles have a lead around half time. Cousins threw 14 interceptions last year and was still lucky based on his 14.13 expected picks. Paired with the Eagles' ability to generate turnovers, this could be an attractive spot.
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.