With the playoffs insight, it’s a perfect time to share some of our most profitable late season (December-February) betting strategies.
There is incredible power in understanding how teams, players, leagues and markets have reacted to various scenarios. Using Bet Labs massive database of proprietary sports betting information, you can easily build and explore data-driven betting systems. Our database goes back to 2003, the trends include all games in that time frame unless otherwise mentioned.
Fade Elite Teams
Contrarian bettors buy on bad news (injuries, teams off a loss, fading the public). They also sell high on teams and a great opportunity is wagering against the league’s best late in the season.
After a dozen games, casual fans know which teams are elite (Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Vikings). Winning squads attract a disproportionate amount of recreational action, which leads to lopsided betting. Oddsmakers account for this and inflate the line for the NFL’s top tier.
Bettors can profit by simply going against teams with a winning percentage of greater than 80%. If we eliminate games where two elite teams play each other and focus on just teams getting less than 50% of spread bets, fading elite teams has gone 91-64-2 (58.7%) ATS, +21.55 units since 2003.
Games that match:
Panthers vs. Vikings: 70% of spread tickets are on Minnesota who opened as 1-point road favorites. Sharps bought back on Carolina (+3) triggering reverse line movement bet signals at Sports Insights. The Vikings are currently 2.5-point favorites.
Rams vs. Eagles: This is a critical matchup between two of the NFC’s best in the battle for a first round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs. The Rams are favored by 2-points at home but less than 30% of spread bets are taking Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Bettors are unfazed by the Eagles’ flop against the Seahawks.
Dolphins vs. Patriots: Miami snapped a five-game losing streak with an impressive 35-9 victory on Sunday but oddsmakers aren’t giving them any credit for beating the putrid Denver Broncos (lost eight in a row). New England is favored by 11-points on the road and at the time of publication 77% of spread bets are on the Pats.
Ravens at Steelers: This game technically does not match this betting system. While the Ravens are facing the Steelers (.833 win percentage), Baltimore is getting a majority of spread bets as 6-point underdogs. It’s early in the week and the betting percentages are likely to change, keep checking the free odds page for updated line movement.
Large Home Dogs
Home field advantage is overrated. Teams playing in friendly confines late in the season (after November) are 587-599-32 (49.5%) ATS. That all changes if you look at underdogs, and big dogs at that.
In December and January, home underdogs are more profitable than home favorites. Large home underdogs (more than 7 points) really start to howl as the playoffs approach and in the postseason.
- September–November: 51-46 (52.6%) ATS
- December-January: 43-26-1 (62.3%) ATS
Games that match:
Dolphins vs. Patriots: The Pats have won eight in a row and a defense that had allowed 32.0 points per game in the first month of the season has yielded just 11.9 points per game during its winning streak. The bookmakers and the public love New England -11. This trend points to the Dolphins being undervalued and for what it’s worth, double-digit underdogs at home after the calendar flips to December have gone 23-7 ATS since 2003.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Brr! It’s cold out here. With Christmas nearing, Jack Frost is beginning to nip at your nose. Casual bettors believe that freezing temperatures lead to low scoring games but that’s not true.
Since 2003, the OVER is 131-108 (54.8%) when the temperature is 32 degrees (F) or lower. The win rate improves if you look at games with low totals – this may seem obvious but it’s easier for a game to go OVER if the teams playing have to score fewer points.
OVERs are 104-73-4 (58.8%) in low total games when it’s cold outside. This betting strategy has started 2-1 in 2017.
Games that match:
Bengals vs. Bears: This game has the lowest total in Week 14 (37). Cincinnati and Chicago are in the bottom ten in scoring this year. A low total, cold weather and poor offenses make the OVER the ultimate contrarian bet.
Browns vs. Packers: The total opened 41 at Pinnacle and is down to 40.5. Green Bay could do the heavy lifting in this game as improved play by Brett Hundley (3 TD, 1 INT) has helped the Packers average 27 points in its last two games. Cleveland is allowing the 6th most points per game this season.
Steelers vs. Ravens: The total for Pittsburgh-Baltimore opened 43.5. When AFC teams match this system the OVER is 37-28-2 (57%).
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