2014 NFL Betting Against the Public Report
Before every season, the team at Sports Insights publishes a series of Betting Against the Public articles which highlights the sweet spots for contrarian betting. The ideal range differs from sport to sport, however, for NFL betting we have frequently discussed the 80/20 rule which encourages bettors to take the most lopsided bet games on the schedule. This contrarian philosophy has been a key component of our Best Bets strategy.
Since the start of the 2009-10 NFL season, our Best Bets have gone 234-196 (54.4%) for +20.5 units won. That means by simply following these bets a $100/game bettor would be up $2,050. The table below displays the year-to-year breakdown of these picks.
|Year||Record||Winning Percentage||Units Won|
As you can see, our NFL Best Bets have been profitable in each of these seasons and our betting against the public philosophy has been a large part of this success. The NFL attracts a large number of “square” or “public” bettors, and these largely uninformed individuals can help create artificial line value for sharp bettors.
We’ve noticed that outside of baseball, home field advantage seems to be largely overvalued by bettors. While fans anticipate that a loud crowd will impact the road team, baseball is the only sport where home teams have a tangible advantage (teams constructed to utilize unique ballpark dimensions and last at-bats).
Using our Bet Labs software, we were able to quickly learn that NFL visitors have gone 1386-1331 (51%) ATS. Although this edge is not enough to cover the vig at most sportsbooks, it gave us a good starting point for our betting against the public system.
The table below displays how road teams have fared for various public betting ranges.
|Betting Percentage||ATS Record||Units Won||ROI|
It’s interesting to note that visitors receiving less than 25% are actually more profitable than our highly discussed 80/20 system. Since 2005, teams receiving between 0 and 20% of spread bets have gone 96-75 for +16.17 units and a 9.5% return on investment (ROI). If you focus solely on visitors, the system produces a 13-8 ATS record with +4.16 units won and a 19.8% ROI. While it’s nice to see the ROI more than double, the small sample size is a definite red flag.
The screenshot below, which is taken directly from Bet Labs, highlights the value of betting on visitors receiving less than 25% of public bets.
Over the past months, we have added a number of new and informative filters to Bet Labs. One filter we have added simply asks the question, “Did this team make the playoffs in the previous season?” Since we always advocate that bettors buy on bad news and sell on good, we chose to examine teams who missed the playoffs in the previous season. This addition led to a 52-32 ATS record with +17.07 units won and a 20.3% ROI.
At the time of publication the Tennessee Titans (+7) were receiving just 22% of spread bets as a road dog in their Week 4 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. Considering the fact that Tennessee hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008, they look to be the only current game match this weekend. To keep tabs on all of this week’s action, make sure to visit our new free NFL odds page to view odds, public betting trends, injuries and more.
If you are interested in building your own data-driven betting systems, please contact our Customer Service Department at 877-838-2853 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free live demo of our Bet Labs software.
10/6/15 Update: This system went 1-4 during the 2014 season and has gone 1-0 during the 2015 season. Overall it has gone 54-36 ATS with +14.74 units won and a 16.4% ROI.