NFL Live Betting Week 9: How We’re Live Betting Eagles-Texans On Thursday Night Football
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Teagan Quitoriano (center).
But as Al Michaels reminded viewers before Thursday's game, anything can happen in the NFL. And at halftime, we have ourselves a ball game.
On the plus side, this one created some very clear live betting scenarios — not necessarily based on the pace statistics we normally leverage, but because of how both team's generally approach games.
Here's how we're live betting Eagles-Texans on Thursday Night Football.
The Live Bet We've Made on Thursday Night Football
Houston Keeps It Close: LIVE BET MADE
On the off chance Houston was able to keep this one competitive, our attention was going to be on the over.
Given what we know about Philadelphia — that they'll attack until building up a comfortable lead — the rough assumption was the Eagles want to go up at least three scores before slowing things down.
Therefore, in a perfect world, the total would fall to less than the Texans' score +21. That's not a hard and fast rule, though.
While it's a bit scary given the relatively slow pace of this game so far, this game lines up perfectly with our first half analysis on taking the over. Unfortunately, we arrived at a close game by Houston's offense outperforming expectations rather than their defense. That's driven the total up to 51 heading into the second half.
We're betting on Philadelphia's second half scoring average so far this season being low because of big leads — which they don't have tonight — rather than offensive struggles. That seems like a safe bet to make, and we'll sprinkle a little something on a live bet of over 51 total points.
And remember, we're not alone in live betting the NFL's biggest primetime island games. At halftime of Thursday and Monday Night Football each week, my predictive analytics colleague Nick Giffen is live on "Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!"
The Other Live Betting Scenario We Were Watching For
Eagles Control The Game
Almost every Eagles game this season has followed a similar storyline. Philadelphia plays aggressively in the first half, scoring points and getting out to a commanding lead. Their 21-point first half scoring average leads the NFL by a wide margin; they're averaging just seven points per game in the second half.
Then, once off to a comfortable lead, they play ball control football the rest of the way, running behind their excellent offensive line. This is reflected in their pace stats. They rank second in first half pace of play, and 31st in the second half.
Therefore, most of the scoring in the second half would have to come from their opponent. That didn't seem likely this week, with an already miserable Texans offense set to play without top wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Houston ranks 31st in offensive DVOA coming into this game.
All things considered, this would have been a pretty clear under scenario at or around halftime.
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.