2017 Pro Bowl Betting Analysis

The 2017 Pro Bowl kicks off this Sunday at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. After three years where teams were drafted by former NFL stars, the league announced that it would return to the conference format which had been used for the previous 42 years. The rosters were announced on December 20, with Jason Garrett coaching the NFC team and Andy Reid coaching the AFC team.

On Thursday afternoon, the NFC opened as 5-point favorites at 5Dimes, with the total listed at 74. Since 2004, the underdog has gone 10-3 against the spread (ATS) and 7-5 straight up (SU) in the Pro Bowl. Interestingly, no Pro Bowl spread has ever exceeded 5.5, but the NFC moved from -5 to -5.5 in early action.

Bookmaker, one of the market-setting offshore sportsbooks, posted their Pro Bowl line the following day with some major discrepancies. Although 5Dimes had listed the over/under at 74.5, Bookmaker opened their total 8-points higher at 82.5. They also listed the NFC as a smaller favorite, opening at -4.

The table below displays the performance of underdogs over the past 13 Pro Bowls.

Year Underdog Favorite Underdog Score Favorite Score Odds Result
2016 Team Rice Team Irvin 27 49 2.5 L
2015 Team Irvin Team Carter 32 28 2.5 W
2014 Team Sanders Team Rice 21 22 1.5 W
2013 NFC AFC 62 35 1.5 W
2012 AFC NFC 59 41 5.5 W
2011 NFC AFC 55 41 0 W
2010 AFC NFC 41 34 2.5 W
2009 AFC NFC 30 21 2.5 L
2008 NFC AFC 42 30 3 W
2007 NFC AFC 28 31 3.5 W
2006 NFC AFC 23 17 4 W
2005 NFC AFC 27 38 3.5 L
2004 NFC AFC 55 52 3 W

In terms of the total, the over has gone 7-6 since 2004 including four consecutive overs prior to the format change. Bettors always love taking overs, but that’s especially true for the Pro Bowl. There’s only been one instance in which the majority of bettors took the under, and that happened in 2008 when only 43% of bettors took the over. That was largely influenced by three consecutive Pro Bowls going under the closing total.

The table below displays the Pro Bowl total trends over the past 13 seasons.

Year Home Team Visitor Team Home Score Visitor Score Points Scored Odds Result
2016 Team Rice Team Irvin 27 49 76 74.5 Over
2015 Team Irvin Team Carter 32 28 60 68.5 Under
2014 Team Sanders Team Rice 21 22 43 89 Under
2013 NFC AFC 62 35 97 79.5 Over
2012 NFC AFC 41 59 100 75 Over
2011 NFC AFC 55 41 96 66.5 Over
2010 AFC NFC 41 34 75 57 Over
2009 NFC AFC 30 21 51 65.5 Under
2008 NFC AFC 42 30 72 62 Over
2007 NFC AFC 28 31 59 64 Under
2006 AFC NFC 17 23 40 67 Under
2005 AFC NFC 38 27 65 66 Under
2004 NFC AFC 55 52 107 51.5 Over

Historically there have been two main schools of thought for Pro Bowl bettors: take the underdog on the moneyline and pound the over. The reasoning is simple enough — neither team plays defense which leads to high-scoring games and unpredictability. This erratic scoring disproportionately favors the underdog since bettors would be receiving plus money. Our research confirms that has been an effective strategy.

The average closing total was 65.4 under the conference format and 77.3 under the fantasy draft format. Oddsmakers steadily increasing their Pro Bowl totals, and I would expect that this total will continue to climb as the inevitable influx of public money takes the over. If you’re interested in taking the over, it’s probably best to act now. If you’re interested in taking the under, it’s probably better to wait until the number is artificially inflated.

These numbers are subject to change before kickoff, so bettors should be sure to visit our free NFL odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more.

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David Solar

David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He specializes in sports betting analytics and creating data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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One comment on “2017 Pro Bowl Betting Analysis
  1. When i saw the under was 80.5 i was like i need to put my entire bankroll on this, my pre game prediction was no more than 50 at the most. Wish i had a million, easy 900k for all those high rollers.

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