Earlier this week we explored betting strategies for late season NFL games (December-February). That prompted a question from John on Twitter.

Great question and the type of betting theory that can be tested using Bet Labs. There isn’t a filter that tracks if a team has been eliminated from playoff contention but we can get a rough estimate based on a team’s win percentage.

For this system, we will target teams that have won less than 40% of their games. It is Week 14 in the NFL, that means all teams that have won four or fewer games would qualify. While only four teams are officially eliminated from the playoffs, if your favorite franchise has won four or fewer games this year its highly improbable that they reach the postseason.

Looking at all regular season games, betting the OVER when bad teams (<40% win rate) play has a winning record: 211-198-6 (51.6%). If John from Twitter is correct, the win rate should improve late in the season.

Unfortunately, it does not.

The OVER is 52-67-2 (43.7%) when bad teams play each other in December or January. John theorized that a lack of motivation could work against defenses, the same could be true of offenses as well. Whatever the reason, there is no value betting the OVER when bad teams play.

The UNDER has been profitable in these games going 67-52-2 (56.3%), +11.53 units since 2003. One game matches in Week 14: Texans vs. 49ers (total 44).

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