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NFL Live Betting Week 3: How We’re Live Betting The MNF Doubleheader

NFL Live Betting Week 3: How We’re Live Betting The MNF Doubleheader article feature image

For the second week in a row, we have a pair of games on Monday night. The Eagles travel to Tampa for the early game at 7:15 p.m. ET, while the Bengals host the rams in a Super Bowl LVI rematch in Cincinnati.

Before we get into the analysis, note that we're operating under the assumption than Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is active for this game. The spread has swung back a bit to the Bengals on Monday, which indicates some optimism he'll play. He took snaps with the first team at Monday's walkthrough.

However, if he ends up ruled out, the game flow could be drastically different in that game, and we'd probably pass on live betting it.

The Live Bets We're Targeting on Monday Night Football in NFL Week 3

Bucs vs. Eagles: Second Half Unders — LIVE BET MADE, UNDER 40.5 (-135, DraftKings)

Baker Mayfield has turned back into a pumpkin as anticipated, and the Eagles offense got it together following some early hiccups. The total is just 40.5, but we'll still take the under with the expectation Philadelphia is content to slow this one down up 17. The best line is -135 at DraftKings.

Here's how we broke down the live betting scenarios for this game before kickoff:

We know how the Eagles like to play. Over the past few seasons, they've been an extremely aggressive team in the first half, building up leads through the air, before slowing things down once they lead by a comfortable margin.

What's a bit less clear is how the Buccaneers will operate under different scenarios. They've been surprisingly effective on offense through the first two games of the Baker Mayfield era, but they've faced two bad defenses in the Vikings and Bears. Last season, they were one of the fastest teams when trailing by at least a touchdown — but that was with Tom Brady at quarterback.

So far in 2023, they've yet to run an offensive play when trailing by at least a touchdown. They've also only run nine plays with a lead of seven or more, so we don't have much insight there, either.

Therefore, we're left to lean on the Eagles splits. They've played at the fifth-slowest pace when leading by seven or more this season. They also have played more than four seconds slower in the second halves of games than the first — as have the Bucs.

The halves splits are more a reflection of their records with both teams at 2-0, but it's notable how much Tampa has slowed down despite infrequently running plays with a big lead. Assuming enough scoring happens in the first half to keep this one at or above the pregame 44.5, we'll be firing in almost any game script.

Bengals vs. Rams: Overs With a Bengals Lead (And Vice-Versa) — LIVE BET MADE, OVER 34.5 (-114, FanDuel)

Cincinnati is trailing by three but driving late in the first half. Both teams have moved the ball better than the score indicated with three made field goals (including two in the red zone) and a field goal miss in the first half. We're assuming the Bengals score and make this into the scenario we were targeting, but even if they don't, some of those kicks should turn into six in the second half.

Here's how we broke down the live betting scenarios for this game before kickoff:

On the opposite end of the spectrum of teams like the Eagles, we have the Bengals. They had a top-10 pace last season when leading by seven or more, continuing to throw the ball deep into games. Unfortunately for them, they've yet to run an offensive play this season while leading by a touchdown or more, but the relative stability of their coaching and offensive personnel gives us no reason to expect that to change.

Los Angeles has also played extremely fast while trailing this season, running a play per 21 seconds (the league average last season was 25.55 seconds per play while trailing). They were a bit slower than average last season but seem more committed to the short passing game this year.

The big driver is the Bengals, though, who should keep the offense flowing. Additionally, the Bengals having a lead correlates heavily to Joe Burrow operating at or near full strength, which is another good sign for the over.

On the other hand, Burrow playing poorly correlates with a Rams lead — and thus a lower likelihood of points coming from the Bengals. The Rams were the sixth-slowest team when playing from the front last season, while the Bengals were the slowest team when trailing.

As usual, let's try to hit the sweet spot of a scenario that aligns with movement to the total, which is around 45 pregame, but likely to tick up further if and when Burrow is officially active.

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.

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