NFL Live Betting Week 4: How We Live Bet Bucs-Chiefs on Sunday Night Football
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Travis Kelce.
As the NFL season rolls on, we can begin to identify which teams are playing similarly this season as they did last year and which are changing.
That’s helpful for live betting, though we don’t want to overreact to a small sample size. I’ll still be looking primarily to teams with fairly stable situations from last season for my live bets.
Week 4 has an excellent situation to take advantage of, with teams who’ve exhibited similar trends in 2021 and 2022 facing off. That gives us a cleaner path to live betting their game, since we can be more confident the play calling is by design and not a quirk of early-season results.
Below are the spots we’ve targeted for live betting in Week 4 on Sunday Night Football between the Chiefs and Bucs and the logic behind our strategy heading into the game, as well as the live bet we made earlier Sunday and a brief explainer on how we approach live betting in general.
How We Have Live Bet NFL Week 4 Sunday Night Football Between the Bucs and Chiefs
This game opened with a total of 49, before being bet down to around 45.5 as of Sunday morning. That’s notable, given the quality of the offenses — or at least quarterbacks — involved. Of course, Tampa has been extremely limited offensively with injuries/suspensions to all of their top receivers, but that looks to be changing in Week 4.
Therefore, I was looking for any excuse to bet the over in this one. Based on their pace splits, this game should play slightly faster in the second half than the first. It should also speed up if either team gets up by seven or more — both teams’ slowest split last season was when games were within six points.
In keeping with our pregame analysis, this game should speed up with either team out to a commanding lead. The Chiefs certainly have that. They likely respect Tom Brady and the Bucs enough to keep their foot on the gas pedal. Additionally, the Bucs stout run defense forces opponents to the air, even with a big lead.
That all added up to us taking the live over on 57.5 total points scored (-110 at FanDuel) in the second quarter.
Thanks to the prolific Chiefs offense, this one ended up being an easy cash, despite what might have seemed like a daunting line at the time.
How We Approach NFL 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 long look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.
The NFL Live Bet We Already Made (And Won) Sunday
1 p.m. ET: Steelers-Jets
From a pregame betting standpoint, I was all over the first half under in Steelers vs. Jets. That was nearly an entirely pace-based play, though the return of Zach Wilson (who I’m expecting to be a downgrade from Joe Flacco, at least initially) helped as well.
The corollary to that is that we’d be looking to take some overs at half time, particularly if the first half was low scoring. Why?
Pittsburgh has continued its trend of playing faster in the second half of games than the first. In 2021 they played about 4.5 seconds faster in the second half; this season it’s just over five seconds.
The Jets have had similar splits, though theirs are likely a function of generally playing from behind in the second half over the past two seasons, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in them in a vacuum. However, as three-point road underdogs, they are likelier than not to be trailing here as well.
This is almost a blind bet somewhere around half time regardless of game script; the lone exception would have been a lopsided first half that drives the total up while putting one team well ahead.
As expected, it was a low scoring first half in Pittsburgh, with just 16 total points scored. There were, however, 260 total yards of offense, so both teams have been (somewhat) more effective than the scoring totals would indicate.
Sticking with our pregame analysis, this is a fairly obvious over live bet situation. The total is now 36 at PointsBet (with the over -107), solidly below the pregame line of 41. As usual, we’re operating under the assumption the pregame line is the more efficient of the pair, so the over was showing value.