Live On Air

Streaming Now: A Numbers Game

play Watch Live radio Listen Live

Doing the math on NFL Season Win Totals

July 24, 2019 12:20 AM

With the sports betting calendar fairly limited in late July, you’re now hearing a lot of predictions for the coming pro football season. Be careful placing too much weight on them.

Regarding NFL “Regular Season Win Totals,” it’s not uncommon to hear a pundit say something like “if they win all their home games, they’ll only have to win two or three on the road to cash the ticket.” Like, it’s that easy to win all your home games in a parity-packed league.

It’s much harder to go 7-1 or 8-0 at home than many realize. Only five teams managed it last season (New England, Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles Rams), three the year before (Philadelphia, Minnesota, New Orleans). None of those were duplicates.

The key here is that too many casual fans and pseudo-experts equate “being favored” with winning the game. Even a team that’s favored by point spreads in seven or eight home games won’t be expected to win that many.

Imagine a team that’s a 60% favorite to win every home game. Will they go 8-0 because they’re always favored? Believe it or not, that projects to 4.8 wins and 3.2 losses. (Easy math, eight games times .60 is 4.8).

A team that’s a 70% favorite to win every home game is projected to finish with 5.6 wins and 2.4 losses. Seventy percent is a high number, and we’re nowhere near 7-1 or 8-0 yet.

Even an 80% favorite in every game would be projected to finish with 6.4 wins and 1.6 losses. At 80% we’re not even “rounding” to 7-1 yet, let alone 8-0.

A team must be 82% in every game to “round” up to seven wins, 88% for a solid seven.

How many NFL teams do you believe are 88% to win each of their home games?

If you’re not used to thinking in percentages, let’s do it with point spreads. In standard point spread to moneyline conversions, a 3-point favorite is about 60% to win the game, a 6-point favorite is about 70%, an 8.5 or 9-point favorite is about 80%, and an 11.5-point favorite is about 88%.

Whenever you hear somebody say they believe an NFL team is going to go 7-1 at home, ask them if they think that team will be about a 10-point favorite in every home game? They’ll probably say “No, that’s crazy.” But…in market terms it’s the same thing. Assuming up front that the team you’re betting will go 7-1 at home is crazy except for super elites (who still have to stay healthy).

Don’t assume your sleeper pick is going to win all of its coin flips. Assessments must reflect real-world math, or you’ll just be gambling on whether or not you get lucky. Sharps bet edges and let luck take care of itself.

back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

View All
• Top NFL Week 4 survivor pool picks

There was a lot of point-spread drama in Week 3, but NFL survivor players in need of straight-up wins had only one true sweat. The Baltimore Ravens needed...
• MLB daily notes: Betting preview for Tuesday's games

This column will bring you the quick-hitting stats, tidbits and factors you need to know to evaluate today's landscape of MLB games. No narratives,...
• Tuley's Takes Today: NFL Week 3 recap; Contest updates; Tuesday pick (9-28)

NFL Week treated us well in the Tuley’s Takes home office, but it ended on a sour note as we had the Eagles in their 41-21 loss to the Cowboys on...
• Tuesday MLB Sharp Report

The MLB playoff races are heating up with only one week left in the regular season. Lucky for us, we have a loaded 16-game  baseball...
• CFB situational betting spots for Week 5

Sometimes a bad scheduling spot can be enough of an equalizer to not only help a team cover the spread but sometimes even pull the outright upset. The...
• Best bets for the Dodgers-Braves NLCS

The Los Angeles Dodgers steamrolled an overrated San Diego Padres offense in the NLDS, and they face another overrated NL team in the Atlanta Braves this...
• Kramer: A bettor's guide to Week 5 in college football

In a normal season, which is normally anything but normal,  this  is the time when a Heisman campaign starts to take shape. For the favorites...
• Behind the box score: CFB betting lessons from Week 4

Week 4 was a crazy one with Bowling Green over Minnesota, Clemson going down again, a lot of games with spread or total drama and a whole lot of box score...
• Three early Week 4 NFL lines I like

The life of a point spread starts long before the week of the game. NFL lines for every regular season game were posted over the summer and updated lookahead...
• Best Monday Night Football bets: Eagles-Cowboys

The Philadelphia Eagles travel to Dallas to play in the third Monday Night Football game of the 2021-22 NFL season. Our team of experts at VSiN has...
• MLB daily notes: Betting preview for Monday's games

This column will bring you the quick-hitting stats, tidbits and factors you need to know to evaluate today's landscape of MLB games. No narratives,...
• Tuley's Takes Today: NFL and contest recaps, Monday pick (9-27)

There’s an old saying in the Las Vegas sportsbooks: “Win on Saturday, lose on Sunday; lose on Saturday, win on Sunday.” It basically...

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!

VSiN+ FREE TRIAL

• Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
• Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
• 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
• Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
• All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on VSiN.com

LISTEN LIVE!

It's totally free