4 Tips for Betting on NFL Season Win Totals

By in NFL on
6 Minute Read

Get your bankroll ready…the NFL season is full of ups and downs – and quite frankly, more downs, if you’re like most.

For those who prefer to play the long game, the over/under team win totals is the perfect bet to make in order to get in mid-season form. With a schedule that includes fewer games than any other league, every single matchup matters when you’ve got some skin in the game.

In this article, I’ll go over what you need to know in order to make the most out of betting on NFL team over/under win totals.

1 – Research Roster Moves

Each season there are countless players who find themselves on a different roster than the one they were on when the previous season concluded. Even the most diehard NFL fans have to admit that most of these transactions and player moves go unnoticed. Simply put, the vast majority of people don’t have the time to dedicate to finding out which third-year outside linebacker got traded, or which veteran left guard got picked up in free agency.

Before you try to predict how many victories each team will have come season’s end, you need to know what you’re working with. I’m not just talking about looking over the roster – that’s not nearly enough. Rather, I’m suggesting that you should find a resource online that will explain all the players each team gained and lost from last year to this year.

Of course it’s important to consult a team’s record from the previous year, but if you see that they’ve lost three offensive lineman and their best cornerback, that might cumulatively add up to an additional loss – all else being equal (which of course it never is, but you get the idea).

The good news is that there are plenty of websites that can give you the insights you need when you’re in this phase of the decision-making process. Futures bets are all about research, and getting an edge on the public is certainly achievable if you’re willing to put in the time.

Finally, don’t forget that the draft can have major implications if a team has drafted a new quarterback specifically. Rookie QBs are obviously unpredictable – but one thing you can count on is that the team’s win total will almost certainly be different than it was the year before.

On the other hand, you have to be careful not to read too much into the hype surrounding high draft picks. Even the best college players usually take a season or two before they make a huge positive impact in the NFL.

2 – Check the Schedule

Keeping with the obvious, you should always be sure to go through each game on a team’s schedule before you bet the season win total. It’s commonly-known that even NFL players themselves go through their schedules when they’re released and mark a win, loss, or “can’t call it” beside each game.

If you have some type of knowledge of the NFL, you should be able to accurately predict 8-10 games without any hesitation. Then you’ll probably have 4-5 that you feel strongly about one way or another (even if you’re not entirely sure), the remaining two or three will be complete toss-ups. With the “toss-ups,” my recommendation would be to split them 50/50 in terms of wins and losses.

Since the first step of evaluating a team’s quality is looking through the roster, wouldn’t that mean you’d need to do that for every team’s opponents as well?

The answer is: it depends on the team.

For example, if you’re thinking about betting on the win total for the Kansas City Chiefs, you probably don’t need to do a deep dive on the Jets or Jaguars roster in order to feel confident marking it down as a win. On the flip side, if you’re considering the Jaguars play, you don’t need to do heavy research to know that the Monday Night Football game at Lambeau Field is probably not going to go in favor of Jacksonville.

Suffice to say that when you don’t know which way a game is going to go, then you may want to consider doing some recon and matching the teams up side by side. The more work you put in the better you do, but you probably don’t need to spend all night breaking down a week 10 matchup – too much will happen before then that will likely make your research void.

3 – Beware of Injury History

Star players returning from a season-ending injury is an annual occurrence in the NFL. But not all returns are equal.

When a player goes out with a broken arm, collarbone, or hand injury, the damage from the previous year probably isn’t going to have a lasting impact during the current season. However, if a player is returning from a major injury like an ACL tear for a running, a rotator cuff injury for a quarterback, or a broken ankle for a receiver, you might not get the same production until the injury is even further in the rearview mirror.

I recognize that the health of one player (quarterback notwithstanding) probably won’t determine the type of season a team has. But could a Pro Bowl running back playing at 65% instead of full-strength result in one extra loss? I think that’s reasonable.

Just about every single team is going to have a player in this returning-from-injury scenario. As a bettor, your goal should be to assess two things: first, if the player is important enough that their health is worth a win, and second, if a player is still going to be impacted by the injury they suffered the previous season.

4 – Be Selective (And Consider Alternative Lines)

The NFL has 32 teams with over/under win total odds every season. That does not mean that you need to be betting on 32 different numbers.

Not to get “handicapper-philosophical,” but sometimes the best bets are the ones you don’t make. I know that there are no “sure things” in the world of gambling, but you should feel confident that the bets you’re making have a reasonable chance of hitting. If you lock it in and think, “Hmm not so sure about that one…” you’d have been better off just moving on.

If you find a bet that you really feel confident about and want to take things to the next level and increase the value (and of course, the risk), try finding an NFL sportsbook that will offer alternative lines.

Alternative lines – if you’re unfamiliar with the term – change the numbers of the bet, sometimes dramatically. For the most part you’re going to be looking at -110 odds on most of your future win totals bets, but for the value-seekers like myself, that’s just not good enough.

For Example:

Let’s say the LA Rams have a win total over/under of 9.5 and -110 odds. After looking at the schedule you feel extremely confident that they’re going to win 11, 12, or maybe even 13 games during the season. You could bet a huge amount on the 9.5 play, or increase the value by looking at an alternative line.

An alternative line might look like 10.5 at +125, or 11.5 at +200. Obviously you’re increasing the risk of losing the bet, the financial side starts looking much more appealing. It is all about the odds, after all.


If you want to follow a few teams all season long and artificially give yourself a rooting interest that you’ve never had before, betting on the NFL season win totals is for you. Oh, and I guess there’s a financial stake in there somewhere as well.

At the end of the day there it’s important to recognize that you are going to lose some of these plays due to an unfortunate injury, more-than-likely will win some that you might consider lucky, and your only goal should be to get one or two more right than you get wrong. Oh…and don’t forget there are 17 games in the 2021-22 season.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

View all posts by Michael Stevens
Email the author at: [email protected]