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Betting Pro Football Totals
The Fatman Rocks
by Ernie Kaufman

Sportsbetting is currently taking quantum leaps in popularity throughout all of North America. A consequence is that the public requires more varied forms of wagering in their sports gambling.

Totals (over/unders) have furnished us with a unique form of action in the sportsbetting realm. It is completely different from betting on individual teams to win or lose the ball games that they play. Betting totals is fun and very simple to handicap. Generally speaking, all intradivision pro football games will demonstrate a strong tendency to go under the totals and conversely all non-intradivision pro football games will have a tendency to go over the totals. The sports handicapper can expect intradivision games to go under, and the non-intradivision games to go over, between 53% and 56% of the time during any given lengthy (six years or more) time period.

We can theorize that this happens because intradivision games are more important to pro football teams than non-intradivision games, and thus are played more conservatively.

Tracking the Individual Teams
The totals player should always be aware of just which teams are going over and under, both at home and on the road. In 2001, the Cleveland Browns had seven overs and one under out of the eight games they played on the road. It is not dif-ficult to spot obvious team trends early is the season and bet them accordingly. However, it will be necessary for the totals player to maintain a running chart on the weekly over/under information for all pro football teams. Note that many teams will generate an over/under direction that continues through many seasons.

The Flip-Flop Theory on Totals (Over/Unders)
Bet on all intra-divisions teams to split their over/under direction in the two games they play against each other. For example: If Philadelphia and Dallas go over in their first meeting of this current season, then we would expect these two teams to go under in their second meeting later in the season.

The flip-flop approach should generate between 56% and 61% winners over an extended period of six or more years.

Average Number of Points Per Game
One of the key elements in getting a handle on totals betting is to always be aware of the average number of points (ANP) scored per game in the NFL. This will require computing the ANP at the finish of every football week. Simply divide the total number of points scored during the season to date, by the total number of games played during the season. This should give you a number somewhere in and around the 40. The ANP will fluctuate from season to season in direct correlation to the NFL rule changes and the league’s basic style of play. Either a more conservative (defensive) or more wide-open (offensive) style will prevail. The style will greatly influence the number of points scored per game. Once the sports gambler is aware of the ANP, he/she can apply the following general guideline to his/her totals handicapping:

Generally, you are getting the best of it if you are looking to bet over a relatively low total and under a relatively high total. A high and or low total would be the current ANP plus or minus six points (six points just happens to represent one touchdown without a successful point-after conversion, or two field goals). Now you have an excellent starting point for your totals play this season. Any questions? Call or write me.

This story was first published in the October - November 2002 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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