If you’re serious about betting on football, then understanding NFL key numbers should be an extremely important aspect in your overall sports betting philosophy. Getting a good grasp of what they are and how they can be interpreted can make a significant difference (positively) in your overall win percentage.
Simply put, NFL key numbers are the most common margins of victory. In a study that tracked 17 years of NFL final scores, it was found that there are about five extremely common NFL key numbers that were landed on about 41% of the time.
In other words, the difference between the two teams final scores in this study were decided by one of these five key numbers nearly 41% of the time. Trust me, this is extremely important information to know.
If you’re an avid fan of football, then you probably know that the most common NFL key number is 3, deciding just about 15% of all games. The other important key numbers following 3, are 7, 6, 10, and 4. As I said before, just those five key numbers (margins of victory) alone make up the difference in nearly 41% of all NFL games.
NFL Key Numbers to Avoid
Now that we have an understanding of the most important key numbers, we now need to find out how we can use them to our advantage when betting the NFL. It really comes down to knowing why line movement is happening right around a key number and whether it’s to your benefit to buy a 1/2 point and move the spread on or off a key number.
The oddsmakers and sportsbooks are very smart when setting NFL betting lines. They know that when they set the line for a favorite at -2.5, -3.5, -6.5, and -9.5, that most bettors will be pounding it because it looks so enticing. Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly what they’re wanting you to do.
They will do the exact same thing with underdogs as well. When the oddsmaker or sportsbook sets the line for an underdog at +3.5. +4.5, +7.5, +10.5, they know they can entice more people into betting the underdog when this probably isn’t the smartest side to be on.
I typically always try to be on the same side as the book because they possess so much more information than the everyday handicapper (there’s a reason why they have those billion dollar casino’s in Las Vegas).
I would highly encourage you to stay away from these opening lines listed above for both favorites and underdogs unless you have some kind of overwhelming evidence to go against them. Do not fall into this trap, because that’s exactly what it is. As I said before, you always want to try and be on the same side as the book.
NFL Key Numbers – When to Buy Points
There really is no set in stone rule that says when you should or shouldn’t by a half point to move the line off or on a key number. In the same study as mentioned above by Andrew Iskoe, there were some very interesting trends discovered.
It was found that if you buy the half point for underdogs and move the line up from +2.5 to +3, +3 to +3.5, and +9.5 to +10, they would have proven to be profitable in the long run. As for favorites, it was shown that buying the half point from -2.5 to -2, -3 to -2.5, -3.5 to -3, and -10.5 to -10, ended up in profitable results as well.
Since this study was looking at hundreds of NFL games, I put a lot of credence into what the results show. Purchasing the 1/2 point for certain NFL key numbers as listed above is definitely something to consider when handicapping a game.
If your serious about betting on professional football then understanding line movement and NFL key numbers is absolutely crucial. Any edge that you can get over the sportsbook is always worth the effort.
Even a small increase in your overall winning percentage can make a huge difference over time, especially when it’s as easy as spending a few extra minutes studying NFL lines. I would highly encourage you to always look for key numbers when handicapping games.