NFL Betting Against the Public 2003-09

In this article, we update our results for Betting against the Public” and taking NFL underdogs.  SportsInsights'(SIs) philosophy of finding contrarian value in the sports marketplace continues to add value in the NFL and all major U.S. sports.  Our research includes SIs’ exclusive betting percentages, which goes back to the 2003 season.

NFL Against the Public 2003-09

SportsInsights (SIs) has collected betting data for every major U.S. sport since the 2003.  We collect the opening and closing lines (and “line movement,” for various sportsbooks) as well as final scores — and perhaps most importantly, SIs’ proprietary “betting trends,”

Our research team also “cleans” our data with various systematic techniques — as well as “by hand” — to ensure our historical data is useful for our research articles and our Members.  SIs’ historical database for each sport is an important part of our research and value-added for our Members.  It is the backbone for our contrarian sports investing  methods and you can’t find this kind of data and information anywhere else!  

SportsInsights’ database for the NFL now includes about 2,000 games over the past seven seasons.  For the purposes of this article, we include the playoffs, but exclude the preseason.  Our database and contrarian methods are backed by tens of thousands of games across every major U.S. sport.

Betting Against the Public in the NFL

Similar to other sports, we present results for “Betting Against the Public” at different thresholds of betting percentage AND for home teams and visiting teams.

Table 1: Betting Against the Public (2003-2009 NFL Seasons)

Betting Percentage Home Team Visiting Team
< 40% 48.3% 54.3%
< 30% 50.0% 54.0%
< 25% 52.1% 54.4%
< 20% 54.2% 33.3% (few games)

Using the Table

  • In addition to overall “Bet Against” results, we have broken down how Betting Against the Public works for Home teams or a Visitors. 
  • For example, if a Home team has less than 20% of the public betting on them (Visitor has more than 80% of the public), this scenario resulted in a 54.2% winning percentage.
  • On the other hand, Visitors with less than 25% of the bets (more than 75% of bets on Home team), resulted in a 54.4% winning percentage.
  • Some members may try using Home teams at the 20% level and Visiting teams at the 25% level.
  • Note that the results are slightly better for visiting teams, suggesting that there is some value on NFL visiting teams.  Note that this is very moderate, but it is based on years of NFL results.

Take the Underdog?

Over the years,betting on underdogs has proven to have some “value.”  We have seen sports betting academic research that verify the bias towards underdogs in the NFL (as well as in other major sports).  Below, we combine the premise of betting on an underdog with “betting against the public.”  In particular, we studied taking underdogs getting at least 7 points, at various betting percentage thresholds.  The results improve on a straight usage of “betting percentages.”  If you like the information in our articles, please check out our series of Sports Investing books for even more research and betting systems. 


Table 2: Betting Against the Public on 7-Point or More Underdogs (2003-2009 NFL Seasons)

Betting Percentage Home Team Getting 7+ Points Visiting Team Getting 7+ Points
< 40% 54.6% 54.7%
< 30% 55.6% 54.7%
< 25% 53.3% 55.6%
< 20% 54.1% 40.0% (few games)

Members may want to focus on NFL underdogs of 7 points or more, at the 30% level. 

SportsInsights Betting Systems

SportsInsights’ handicapping tools use many of these indicators (including, but not limited to betting percentages, line moves, and combinations of these indicators) to help our Members improve their odds of success.  Premium Pro Members have access to analytical tools such as our Smart Money feature (that breaks triggers down by sportsbook) as well as our Best Bets feature, where we put it all together.

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we have found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself. We do not guarantee our data is error-free. However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.

The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.