Betting On Key NFL Football Playoff Numbers

Betting on an NFL pointspread is all about the actual numbers given the unique scoring increments in this sport. You get three points for a field goal and seven points for a touchdown and extra-point conversion. Throw in a pair of two-point plays (safety and two-point conversion) and this is why all of the betting lines for the games revolve around these limited scoring increments.

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A three-point, seven-point and 10-point spread are the three most common betting lines you will see for the games. Past research has determined that 15 percent of all NFL games end with a three-point margin of victory. Most online sportsbooks tend to keep their betting lines wrapped around these three numbers (3,7 and 10) with the addition of a half-point either way to keep games from ending in a tie, which is also known as a PUSH where no money exchanges hands. Another tactic by the books is to increase the commission or juice on a pointspread to move money in one direction or the other. In last week’s Atlanta at Philadelphia game, you could get Atlanta minus the three points at the standard -110 juice, but you need to pay -120 commission to get the Eagles and the three points.

Betting the numbers in NFL games can often mean the difference between winning big and losing your shirt. The spread in Sunday’s New Orleans at Minnesota game had the Vikings favored by five points for most of the week. The spread moved to 5.5 points at some online books which was the difference between a New Orleans’ cover and a PUSH in that crazy 29-24 Minnesota victory on a last-second 61-yard touchdown.

The current pointspreads for this Sunday’s AFC and NFC title game are each a perfect case in point when it comes to betting on key NFL numbers. Staring with the early matchup in the AFC, New England opened as a 9.5-point home favorite against Jacksonville. Most of the books have held steady on this number, but you can find a few nine-point spreads with heavier juice on Jacksonville.

The Patriots closed as 13.5-point home favorites last Saturday night against Tennessee and they covered with ease by winning that game 35-14. Going back over New England’s last seven games, it has closed as a double-digit favorite in five of those contests and it has gone on to cover that large spread four times. When it comes to Sunday’s game, the Patriots are looking extremely attractive at 9.5 points, but there would be some value lost if this line does move to 10.

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If you like New England, now is the time to lock things up since nine points or lower will not hurt your position. If you like Jacksonville, this becomes a ‘wait and see’ situation until you get closer to kickoff to see where this line goes.

The NFC title game is a rare NFL anomaly with the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles opened as 3.5-point home underdogs against Minnesota because of the team’s situation at quarterback. Starter and MVP candidate Carson Wentz was lost in Week 14 of the regular season with a knee injury and journeyman backup Nick Foles has taken his place.

The opening betting line has also held steady in this matchup which could actually add some value to the Eagles given the added half point on the field goal spread. Any home team getting points in a game of this magnitude adds some value to the numbers, but if I was leaning towards a play on Philadelphia, I would pull the trigger now. Minnesota money could push things to four points as the week wears on, but the key number in this betting scenario is still three points.