Why are Key Numbers so Important in NFL Betting?

Because NFL teams most often score in multiples of 3 (field goals) and 7 (touchdowns + extra points), getting on or off these key numbers can have a significant effect on your winning percentage and units won.

For example, since 2003 there have been 2,670 NFL games played (including both regular and postseason games). 411 of these games (or 18.69%) have ended with a margin of victory of 3 points.

In games where the favorite won by 3, sharp NFL bettors who shopped for the best line to lay -2.5 or take the +3.5 turned potential pushes into wins.

As a result, we calculated the margin of victory for every NFL game since 2003 and the table below displays these results.

Margin of Victory # of Games % of Total Games
3 479 18.69%
7 294 11.47%
10 196 7.65%
6 176 6.87%
4 171 6.67%
14 153 5.97%
1 119 4.64%
2 117 4.56%
17 108 4.21%
8 104 4.06%
21 103 4.02%
13 102 3.98%
5 92 3.59%
11 84 3.28%
20 74 2.89%
18 72 2.81%
16 58 2.26%
12 49 1.91%
15 48 1.87%
9 46 1.79%
19 37 1.44%

As you can see, over 30% of games we analyzed finished with a 3-point or 7-point margin of victory, showing exactly why sharp bettors consider these to be “key numbers”.

While these margins are for all spreads, we delved in deeper to look at closing odds of +2.5, +3, and +3.5 to discover how many of those games landed exactly on a final margin of 3.

We encourage all NFL bettors to keep this chart handy in order to take advantage of key numbers this season.

6 comments on “Why are Key Numbers so Important in NFL Betting?
  1. This stats doesn’t show the reality. You’ve to consider also the line. If the line is 5 who cares if the team wins by 3 or 4?!

    Of the last 1722 game with a line of 2.5, 3 or 3.5 just 164 finished with the favorite win by 3 pts. about 10%

    Of the last 902 games with a line of exactly 3 just 86 finishes with the favorite win by 3 pts. About 10%

  2. So if over 18% of NFL games fall on 3, is it worth it to pay 20% of your wager and buy on and off of 3 while considering you will only lose that 20% of your wager half of the occurrences?

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