Betting on game totals is frequently overlooked by football handicappers, who regularly opt to place their bet on the points spread. But when carefully thought out, totals are just as profitable as points spreads, and maybe even more.
Sure, just like any other wager bettors can lose a wad of dough if they’re not careful, so we have put together a list of five things to consider when handicapping football totals.
First, handicappers betting on totals need to look at the team matchups. A team’s offense can only perform as well as the opposing defense will allow them. Often times if two football teams have high-powered offenses, handicappers systematically play the over, which may not always be the best option.
Take for example a run-heavy offense facing a stingy run defense, or that same run offence eating up time, keeping the other side’s pass-first offense off the field, consequently limiting the points they can score.
Second, handicappers need to look at how the betting public is weighing in on a particular game. While we don’t suggest following Joe Public blindly, it’s still a good idea to look at the trend. It could affect the points total that is set.
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Commonly, the public bets the over in most situations, especially when two well-liked teams with strong offenses are squaring off. But we know from the tip above that doesn’t matter. So, if the bets are heavy on the over, there may be good value on the under, as odds makers have set the line higher to compensate for all the action.
Next, handicappers need to spot the teams that are usually on one side of the total more consistently.
It’s not always true that great offensive teams will go over all of the time, and if a team has gone over multiple games in a row, then bettors really need to look at how they are doing it, and if they can keep doing it.
Bettors also need to be aware that most teams only go over the total by an average of less than four points per game, or go under by the same margin. So, if a team is well outside of those margins then they can expect an adjustment from odds makers.
Finally, handicappers betting on football game totals need to take into consideration how weather and key injuries can affect the overall total of the game.
Game time weather is often overinflated for point spreads, but not totals. Bad weather can wreck havoc on a the way that football team’s play offense, making it harder for them to score a lot of points.
Injuries can also impact totals, as a missing key player, especially a quarterback, or combination of players, can significantly decrease the ability of a football team to score.