Best Tip for Betting on Totals: Don’t Just Wing It
Winning at betting on sports requires research and a good strategy. You can’t expect to make any money if you’re just throwing darts or betting the over because you’re hoping for a high-scoring game. There are so many factors you should take into consideration before placing a bet. Here are just some of the many factors sports bettors consider.
Variables to consider before making a bet
||Reason for Consideration
||Rain/snow often causes low-scoring games
|Recent Scoring Trends
||Are these normally high or low-scoring teams?
|General Public Betting Habits
||Is the public over-valuing the offenses?
||Good defense facing bad offense = low scoring
||Key injuries can limit an offense or defense.
||How motivated are each team?
Let’s take a look at these factors more in-depth.
Bad Weather Causes Poor Offensive Performances
Horrible weather such as brutal cold, rain, and snow can make even the best offense appear pedestrian. But some teams are accustomed to play in poor weather, so you have to do your research. Teams like New England under Bill Belichick, for example, are built for cold weather. Therefore, you shouldn’t automatically assume a low-scoring game just because the game time forecast calls for freezing temperatures.
But, generally speaking, you should expect scoring to be less than if the game was played under the hot sun. Early September games are often great spots to bet the over simply because scalding hot temps can cause defenders to cramp up and become exhausted.
What Type of Offenses and Defenses Do These Teams Have?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when two offensive juggernauts face off, it’s going to be a high-scoring affair. But some teams aren’t as explosive (or bad) offensively (or defensively) as their past results indicate.
So, what you should do is dig deeper into their results than just looking at points per game scored and allowed. Have they scored all those points against quality defenses? Or are the numbers inflated because they faced lousy teams?
Even mediocre offensive teams can score some points against horrible defenses. Dig a little deeper than just basic statistics before handicapping a game.
How Offensive and Defensive Units Match Up Against Each Other Matters
A high-scoring team facing another high-scoring team doesn’t always mean the over will hit. In some cases, those offenses can be slowed down by a talented defense. Take Alabama’s performance in the national championship game against Clemson in January 2019.
The Crimson Tide scored 45.3 points per game that season but were limited to just 16 in the championship game. Clemson certainly wasn’t the best defense in the country, but their defensive line was. And that led to stuffing Alabama in the red zone multiple times.
Conversely, a team that struggles to score because its quarterback is inefficient, might find success against a weak rush defense if they have a quality running back. There are certain games that appear a lock to hit the over or under at first glance, but when you look deeper into the match-ups you’ll discover your initial assumption was incorrect.
Key Injuries Can Change a Game
The Minnesota Vikings had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL when Randy Moss played in the Twin Cities. He was so talented and created such a mis-match against any defense that the Vikings scored at will. But when he was sidelined with an injury, the offense went from unstoppable to pedestrian.
Always check the injury report before handicapping a game. If one or both of the teams is missing key players, and that includes offensive linemen, that’s going to impact the amount of points scored.
For games where one team has a significant amount of injuries, you might find more value betting the point spread instead of the over/under. But injuries could also make betting the point totals easier.
Are Both Teams Motivated?
Professional football players are paid handsomely to go out there and give it their all on Sunday, every Sunday. And, in most cases, they do. But there are certain games, especially in NFL Week 17, where some teams simply just don’t care.
You should always consider the potential motivation for each team before wagering on a game. Some teams appear to be tanking late in a season to get a higher draft pick. Other teams have their playoff berth wrapped up the final week so they play mostly backups.
If the game is meaningless to both teams, you’ll likely get a sloppy, low-scoring game.