Why You Need To Know NFL Key Numbers

15% of NFL games are decided by a field goal. (Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / CC BY-SA)

When it comes to NFL betting lines, not all numbers are created equal.

Since 2003, more than a quarter of NFL games have been decided by either 3 or 7 points.

3 is the most common margin of victory for NFL teams, occurring approximately 15% of the time. 7 is the margin of victory 11.5% of the time.

Anyone know why this might be? Anyone? Anyone?

It’s simple, really. 3 is the value of a field goal, and 7 is the value of a converted touchdown.

It’s no coincidence that Proline tie rules make any NFL game decided by 3 points or less a tie. How often have you seen teams kick a game-winning field goal in the final seconds, rather than going for the touchdown?

These trends make 3 and 7 the most important NFL key numbers for football spread picks. (4, 6 and 10 are also important, each occurring as the margin of victory more than 6% of the time since 2003.)

There is a HUGE difference between a 3-point favourite and a 3.5-point favourite on the NFL betting lines. There is nearly as big a difference between a 7-point favourite and a 7.5-point favourite.

Consistently getting -2.5 instead of -3 with your favourites and getting +3.5 instead of +3 on your underdogs can make or break your NFL spread picks.

Turning the occasional losses into pushes and the occasional pushes into wins can make the difference between having a profitable 55% season or having a losing 52% season.

Here are 3 tips that can help you do that.

1. Have accounts with several different sportsbooks


Pinnacle is an essential sportsbook for NFL betting, since it has the best NFL odds. Accounts at Bodog and Sports Interaction are also valuable because they occasionally inflate NFL lines on underdogs.

NFL key numbers are also important to remember for NFL live betting. If you do a lot of NFL live betting, having accounts at Bet365 and William Hill is a good idea because they may offer differing NFL lines during live betting.

2. Use Teasers To Cross Key Numbers


If you like a favourite but can’t find -3 or -7 at any of your sportsbooks, consider playing an NFL teaser instead.

Teasers allow you to move the NFL lines in your direction (typically 6 points, but you can also tease games by 6.5 points, 7 points or more), enabling you to get around these NFL key numbers.

Check out our 5 Great NFL Teaser Strategy Tips article to make sure you’re using NFL teasers to your full advantage.

3. Buy Half A Point (Or Pass On The Game)

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A popular strategy to avoid NFL key numbers is to “buy” half a point.

Instead of laying -110 on the NFL lines, you can lay approximately -135 to turn a 3.5-point favourite into a 3-point favourite.

Remember, however, that this also affects your break-even percentage. Unless you feel really strongly about the game, you might be better not to bet it if you can’t get on the right side of a key number.