When it comes to NFL spreads, there are three main outcomes for any given game. The favorite can win and cover; the favorite can win, but not cover; the underdog can win outright.
Two of those things are good for underdog bettors, who are showing some serious profits in the NFL over the last five years. Yet the psychological pull of the betting favorite is so powerful that most bettors opt to lay points anyway.
NFL spread underdogs are in a golden age of betting value right now. Here are the numbers to prove it.
How Often Do Underdogs Cover NFL Spreads?
Over the past 10 seasons, NFL regular-season underdogs have gone 1304-1206-62 against the spread. That’s a 52% win clip. Bettors who bet every single favorite over that time period would have a 0.8% ROI.
The profits get far more lucrative when limiting the sample size to just the last five years, when NFL underdogs were 694-581-28. That’s a win percentage of 54.4%.
And as any professional NFL bettor can tell you, that’s a real, winning split. The ROI is nearly 5%.
There’s a reason advantage bettors emphasize the importance of betting on underdogs. It’s because it works.
2022 NFL betting update:
Underdogs: 38-55-1 SU, +10.4 units
Underdogs 55-38-1 (59%) ATS
Teams getting <40% of bets: 26-13 (67%) ATS
Unders: 57-37 (61%)
Unders in Primetime: 13-6 (68%)
Data per @Bet_Labs
— John Ewing (@johnewing) October 18, 2022
NFL Underdogs: Avoid Overreactions to Bad Performances
It’s human nature to be fickle and reactionary. When it comes to NFL betting odds, that often means that bettors – particularly public bettors – don’t remember much beyond the previous week.
This is a big mistake in handicapping, and it may be getting worse as more public bettors enter the betting markets. Point spreads are seeing more dramatic line movement, which has actually led to less efficient betting markets. I wrote about this with a bit more detail in my exploration of how often favorites win in NFL betting.
Teams after a loss often play harder and fix their mistakes. They may also just get luckier with the random bounces of the ball. This kind of natural regression to the mean doesn’t even account for the betting markets, which soften on most teams after a loss.
If you have the fortitude to buy a team after a loss, you’ll often be rewarded. The underdog ATS numbers are pretty clear.
NFL Point Spreads Are Like Stock Prices
For sports bettors who want to find success in the hyper-competitive NFL odds market, it’s important to stop thinking of teams in conventional sports terms.
Instead, envision the stock market. Every company has a stock, and every stock has a price. The price is somewhat arbitrary, set by the market, and constantly subject to change. There’s no reason that a given stock should be valued at any given price, other than that’s what everyone says it should be valued at.
What is it that makes Disney worth $89, or the Bills a 13-point favorite? There’s no absolute truth involved. It’s just what the market is willing to pay on that particular week.
There’s also human week-to-week variation to consider. No team is ever as good as its best win or as bad as its worst loss. That means another tried-and-true stock market stratagem is in play: buy low, sell high.
Keep that in mind when the market gets beyond the Week 1 NFL odds, when bettors and online sportsbooks start overreacting to everything they just saw.
Read More: How To Master Underdog Betting
NFL Betting Odds at BetMGM
BetMGM is the premier destination for NFL betting odds throughout the season.
Whether you’re a new bettor checking out weekly spreads, a casual fan tracking live NFL betting odds, or a longtime football building moneyline parlays, and more there’s something for everyone at the best online sportsbook.