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NFL Betting Strategy Guide Part 3: Totals

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“If you score more points than the other team, you’re going to win the game most of the time.” – John Madden, probably. In what is another ridiculously obvious statement: the objective for both teams is to score as many points as they can. Even defensive players WANT to score points for their team. So what should you consider when you’re looking at a total? Read below to see a few different things to consider before placing a bet.

Weather and Injury Reports

Weather can impact a game more than anyone single player. If a quarterback has to throw into crazy wind, it makes it harder to have crisp passes and get the ball where it needs to go. Snow is even worse for offenses. If you’ve watched heavy snow games it almost always is a ton of handoffs and that’s the entire offensive gameplan. You’ll see a lot of bad weather games close with a total in the 30s, which is crazy for today’s offensive-focused NFL. It is always good to see what is at least predicted. Rain, to me, is not as big of a deal unless it is a complete downpour. The gloves the players wear now are unreasonably sticky and allow them to grip passes and throws with ease, even when wet. Additionally, check the injury reports because you never know who is practicing and who isn’t. That will give you a bit of insight into who is going to suit up on Sunday and how much they may be used in the game.

Passing Percentages vs. Run Percentages

This doesn’t always tell the full story, because teams that have a big lead tend to run the ball more so they can milk the clock, but if they have a big lead, that means that a lot of points are scored. I prefer to look at this to see who is throwing more than passing, it usually means that they either have a high-quality quarterback/offense or are losing because they give up a ton of points and need to throw to keep pace with their opponent. This usually can help give you an idea of how you play the point total.

Defensive Yards Allowed

Perhaps most importantly is knowing just how bad the defenses are in a game. In fairness, most of that will be incorporated into the line before it is posted, but perhaps there is a really good wide receiver going against a terrible slot cornerback. This would indicate chunk yardage and a higher probability of points. There can be some outlier games that inflate numbers, so be sure to check game logs as well as just the averages. Betting isn’t just a quick thing to do. You need to take time and research many different angles to see if everything aligns then make a decision. One big trap to avoid is trying to find stats to support your theory. Interpret the stats THEN make a decision based on the information.

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Written by David Troy

David is a marketing professional and former adjunct professor from Chicago, IL, husband, and father. He is an avid sports lover that has turned his focus to sports betting after originally developing a love for risk, statistics, and gambling from the Texas Hold'em Poker boom. He loves interacting with people and talking about pop culture, and obviously sports. When he isn't watching sports, he's probably coaching his kids, drinking tequila, or watching movies and tv. David may not always be right, but he will give you reasons why he is doing what he does.

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