Every year right around the draft the NFL releases its regular season schedule. While football fans will start the process of penciling-in the wins and losses for their favorite team, the Oddmakers in Las Vegas will assign an actual projected win total for all 32 teams that will become the basis for one of the most popular betting futures among NFL bettors today.
Once a projected win total has been set, the sportbooks will then set a money line for betting the OVER and the UNDER on each team based on that number. For example, the win total for the Green Bay Packers might be set at 10.5 and it would cost you -$165 to win $100 on the OVER, while you would stand to make $135 on that same $100 bet if the actual number of regular season wins stays UNDER 10.5.
As the betting money starts to come in, the money line on both sides of this futures bet will change to reflect where it is actually going. If the early money on Green Bay starts to pile-up on the OVER, then that money line will go up. Conversely, if a large amount of money is bet on the UNDER 10.5, then that number will come down. The sportsbooks know that betting win totals is based more on an emotional reaction by the betting public as opposed to being heavily steeped in fact so you really need to study the numbers to find the best value on the board.
One strategy to betting win total futures is to go game-by-game of any team’s regular season schedule and handicap the wins and losses, but at best you are coming up with an educated guess. The best NFL handicappers are shooting for a winning percentage of 60 percent or better during the actual season picking games against the spread and it would be fair to say that the general betting public would have a hard time hitting a 60 percent winning percentage picking winners straight-up before the season even gets underway.
Historical trends may be a better way to bet win total projections. Going back to the Packers, they have won 11 games or more in five of their last nine seasons. If you break this trend down even further, you would find that they have exceeded this number in three of their last five seasons adding value to the money line odds for the OVER in this future. At the other end of the spectrum is a team like Cleveland. The Browns have not won more than five games in seven of their last eight seasons so if the win total for the upcoming season happened to be set at five you would have to take a strong look at the money line odds for the UNDER.
Another strategy for betting win totals is looking for losing teams that you believe are poised for a breakout season. Every year we see a few ball clubs go from worst to first in a league that is dominated by parity among a large percentage of its 32 teams. It is a much bigger challenge for a team like Green Bay to win 11 or more games than it is for a team like Jacksonville to eclipse a projected win total of five or six games.
As far as betting NFL win totals in general, a good way to increase your chances to win is to spread out your bets over a handful of teams with a favorable money line. This way there is a chance that you can still end up ahead of the game even if you lose more bets than you win.