NFL at Night: Prime-time systems for TNF, SNF and MNF

October 12, 2022 03:35 PM
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The NFL offers at least three primetime games a week, single-game windows on national TV that are, naturally, highly wagered games. Most bettors, sharp or otherwise, choose to partake in these games, if for no other reason that they are going to watch them. 

I have always stood by the belief that if you are going to wager on a game, it should be an educated wager, and understanding the tendencies in these high-profile games is a big part of that. I dug into my database to study some of the recent trends that have formed in the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games. I looked at all TNF, SNF, and MNF games since the start of the 2019 season. The data sample contains 48 TNF games, 57 SNF games and 61 MNF games. Those sample sizes are enough to draw some conclusions to take advantage of for the rest of this season. 

A few key notes: 

— The TNF study only includes night games, not the day games played on Thanksgiving.

— The SNF study only includes Sunday night games, not other games covered by the NBC crew.

— The study only includes regular-season games.

Before digging into the details for each set of games (TNF, SNF and MNF), here are some of the basic trends you’ll want to understand off the bat:

— Since 2019, TNF home teams own a record of 26-22 SU and 18-29-1 ATS (38.3%). Fittingly, totals have gone 19 to the Over, 29 to the Under (60.4%).

— In that same span, SNF home teams own a record of 33-24 SU and 30-26-1 ATS (53.6%). Unders have the edge on totals at 33-23-1 (58.9%).

— MNF home teams own a record of 32-27 SU and 29-30 ATS (49.2%). On totals, Unders again hold the edge at 36-23 (61%).

If you consider the general TNF, SNF and MNF data above, it makes some foundational sense that the biggest home-field advantage would come on Sunday night. The teams playing on SNF are typically the league’s best, while the TNF and MNF games are designed to ensure all 32 teams get the chance to play in primetime. Also, the trend of Unders on all three nights is eye-opening. Overall, Unders hold an edge of 98-65, good for 60.1%, which is a boon for the sportsbooks as most public bettors prefer Overs. 

Consider these concepts as you analyze the merits of these trends and systems. Use these for your handicapping benefit or to just show how well-informed you are with your sports-betting friends.

Thursday Night Football

Here are some Thursday night angles you might want to consider:

— Since home teams last won three straight ATS on TNF in September 2020, road teams have been on a roll, going 16-16 SU and 21-11-1 ATS (65.6%), including Indianapolis’ win and cover last week.

— There’s some interesting data regarding the first and second halves of the season in terms of Thursday night games. In Weeks 1-8, home teams have gone 15-13 SU but 7-20-1 ATS (25.9%) since 2019. However, in Weeks 9-16, home teams have gone 11-9 SU and 11-9 ATS (75%). Going back even further, since 2016, TNF home teams in Weeks 9 and later are 27-15 SU and 27-13-2 ATS (67.5%). There seems to be a fundamental edge to playing at home with less rest late in the season.

— Home underdogs on TNF have really struggled of late, going 2-10 SU and 3-9 ATS (25%) in their last 12, scoring just 15.4 PPG. In terms of totals, nine of the last 10 games featuring a home dog went Under.

— Home favorites of 7 points or more are on a 26-2 SU and 19-7-2 ATS (73.1%) run since the start of the 2014 season.

— A long-running trend of home-field advantage being crucial in TNF divisional games has turned, with these hosts going 11-10 SU but 6-15 ATS (28.6%) since the start of the 2019 season. Prior to that, divisional hosts were on an amazing 17-2-1 ATS run. 

— A wild trend has developed over the last 3+ seasons regarding TNF road teams coming off a home loss the prior Sunday, as they have rebounded with a 12-10 SU and 17-4-1 ATS (81%) record, including Indianapolis last Thursday. Washington fits the bill for this system on Thursday night at Chicago.

— Home teams coming off a loss in their most recent game have been a brutal bet over the last 3+ seasons, going 15-18 SU and 11-21-1 ATS (34.4%).

— As one might expect, short turnarounds after bad defensive performances have not changed fortunes, as teams coming off a game in which they allowed more than 31 points are just 7-10 SU and 5-10-2 ATS (33.3%) in their last 17. This includes Seattle’s loss last Thursday.

— More on totals: In 29 TNF games since 2012 with a total of 50 or more, the Under hit at a 21-8 rate (72.4%).

Good TNF Team Trends

— Cleveland 5-0 SU and 3-1-1 ATS L5

— Green Bay 6-2 SU and 6-1-1 ATS L8

— Kansas City 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS L4

— New England 7-2 SU and 6-2-1 ATS L9

— Seattle 9-2 SU and 7-2-2 ATS L11

Bad TNF Team Trends

— Arizona 0-5 SU and 1-3-1 ATS L5

— Atlanta 1-4 SU and 1-4 ATS L5

— Carolina 2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS L8

— Houston 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS L9

— N.Y. Jets 0-4 SU and 0-4 ATS L4

— Pittsburgh 0-3 SU and 0-3 ATS L3

— San Francisco 2-6 SU and 2-6 ATS L8

Over the Total TNF Team Trends

— N.Y. Jets 5-1 Over L6

Under the Total TNF Team Trends

— Atlanta 6-0 Under L6

— Cincinnati 6-2-1 Under L9

— Miami 7-2-1 Under L10

— New Orleans 11-0 Under since TNF debuted in 2012

Sunday Night Football

Here are some Sunday night angles you might want to consider:

— Home underdogs have been competitive on SNF, going 14-13 SU and 16-9-2 ATS (64%) since 2017.

— The biggest home favorites on Sunday nights, or those laying 7 points or more, have gone 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS (72.7%) in their last 11. Prior to that, they were on a 5-13-1 ATS skid.

— Home favorites of less than a TD have gone the opposite direction, showing a record of 7-8 SU and 4-11 ATS (26.7%) in their last 15 after going 40-18-2 ATS prior to that.

— In games pitting nonconference opponents (AFC vs. NFC), home teams are just 16-20 SU and 13-21-2 ATS (38.2%) in the last 36. The Under has gone 17-11 (60.7%) in the last 28.

— Home-field advantage has been big in divisional games of late, with hosts owning a 15-6 SU and 14-6-1 ATS (70%) record since 2019.

— Teams coming off of a loss have struggled to rebound, going just 5-12 SU and 5-12 ATS (29.4%) in their last 17 against teams off a win.  

— Momentum has been big both ways for home teams. SNF home teams coming off a loss are just 6-9 SU and 5-9-1 ATS (35.7%) in their last 15, but those coming off a win are 7-1 SU and 7-1 ATS (87.5%) in their last eight.

— Strangely, the league’s highest-scoring teams have not fared well on SNF of late. Those scoring 30+ PPG are 7-6 SU but 3-10 ATS (23.1%) in their last 13 against teams scoring less than 30 PPG.

— More unusual stat angles: The best defensive teams, or those allowing less than 19 PPG, have gone just 4-16 SU and 6-14 ATS (30%) against teams allowing 19+ PPG since 2019. In this week’s matchup, both Dallas and Philadelphia allow fewer than 19 PPG.

— In NFC East showdowns on SNF, 11 games over the last 3+ seasons had an undefeated team against a team with at least one loss. In those games, the undefeated team is 3-8 SU and 2-9 ATS (18.2%), including four straight outright losses. Philadelphia is 5-0, while Dallas is 4-1.

Good SNF Team Trends

— Baltimore 5-1 SU L6 and 5-2 ATS L7

— Buffalo 3-0 SU and 3-0 ATS L3

— New England 7-2 ATS L9

Bad SNF Team Trends

— Chicago 0-6 SU and 0-6 ATS L6 (all by double digits)

— Cincinnati 0-7 SU and 2-5 ATS L7

— Denver 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS L8

— Detroit 1-5 SU and ATS L6

— Green Bay 7-0 SU and 7-0 ATS L7 (scoring 38.1 PPG)

— Houston 1-4-2 ATS L7

— L.A. Chargers 1-5 ATS L6

— Pittsburgh 2-8 ATS L10

Over the Total SNF Team Trends

— Green Bay 12-4 Over L16

— Indianapolis 10-1 Over L11

— Kansas City 12-5 Over L17 (combined 55.7 PPG)

Under the Total SNF Team Trends

— Cleveland 3-0 Under (combined 28.3 PPG)

— Dallas 13-3 Under L16

— Detroit 4-1-1 Under L6

— L.A. Rams 6-1 Under L7

— New Orleans 5-1 Under L6

— N.Y. Giants 6-0 Under L6

— Philadelphia 5-0 Under L5

Monday Night Football

Here are some Monday night angles you might want to consider:

— Home underdogs on MNF are on a run of 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS (80%) dating to September 2021. The last eight of those games have gone Under the total, producing just 31 PPG.

— Laying 7 points or more has been a bad strategy for a long time on MNF, as those teams are 40-8 SU but just 17-29-2 ATS (37%) since 2012. Kansas City won but didn’t cover in this scenario on Monday night.

— In games pitting nonconference opponents (AFC vs. NFC), home teams are 16-16 SU but 9-25-1 ATS (26.5%) in their last 35.

— In non-divisional conference matchups, home teams are on an 11-9 SU and 15-5 ATS (75%) surge since 2019.

— Home teams have enjoyed little advantage in divisional games of late, going 10-12 SU and 8-14 ATS (36.4%) in their last 22. The Week 6 game fits the bill, with the Chargers hosting the Broncos, a second straight AFC West showdown on MNF.

— Not surprisingly, road teams coming off a loss are on a 3-15 SU and 3-11 ATS (21.4%) slide in their last 14. Denver will be in this situation Monday night.

— Blowout wins have been great momentum builders for road teams, as those coming off wins of 20 points or more have gone 9-1 SU and 9-1 ATS in their last 10.

— In concert with the theme of big underdogs faring well on MNF, teams scoring 17.5 PPG or less have gone 5-5 SU and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 against teams scoring more than 17.5 PPG.

Good MNF Team Trends

— Dallas 6-2 SU and 6-2 ATS L8

— Green Bay 8-1 SU L9

— Kansas City 10-3 SU and 10-3 ATS L13

— San Francisco 10-4 SU and 10-4 ATS L14

Bad MNF Team Trends

— Denver 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS L6

— New Orleans 3-11 ATS L14

— N.Y. Giants 0-7 SU and 3-4 ATS L7

Over the Total MNF Team Trends

— Baltimore 6-2 Over L8 (combined 57.7 PPG)

— Indianapolis 6-2 Over L8

— Tennessee 6-1 Over L7

Under the Total MNF Team Trends

— Arizona 6-1 Under L7

— Chicago 8-2-1 Under 10

— Cincinnati 4-1-1 Under L6

— Cleveland 4-1 L5

— L.A. Chargers 6-2 Under L8

— Minnesota 10-2 Under L12

— New England 6-1 Under L7

— Philadelphia 8-2-1 Under L11

Primetime Overall Trends (TNF, SNF, MNF combined)

If you’ve noticed that some teams are consistently doing well or poorly in the three sets of games, or are going Over or Under regularly, you’re right. Here are some overall primetime trends you’re going to want to consider:

Good Primetime Team Trends

— Baltimore 17-9 SU and 16-9-1 ATS L26

— Buffalo 7-2 SU and 7-2 ATS L9

— Dallas 6-1 ATS L7

— Green Bay 12-0 SU and 12-0 ATS L12

— Indianapolis 8-1 ATS L9

— Kansas City 12-5 SU and 13-4 ATS L17 on road

— Tampa Bay 8-12 SU and 6-14 ATS L20

Bad Primetime Team Trends

— Carolina 6-12 SU and 5-13 ATS L18

— Chicago 0-8 SU and 1-7 ATS L8

— Denver 5-16 SU and 6-13-2 ATS L21

— New Orleans 0-5 ATS L5 at home

— N.Y. Giants 2-18 SU and 8-12 ATS L20

— N.Y. 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS L7

— Pittsburgh 8-16 ATS L24

— Washington 8-19 SU and 7-19-1 ATS L27

Over the Total Primetime Team Trends

— Kansas City 15-5 Over L20 on road

— Pittsburgh 6-1 Over L7

— Tennessee 11-4 Over L15

Under the Total Primetime Team Trends

— Atlanta 10-0 Under L10

— Cleveland 16-5 Under L21

— Denver 12-2 Under L14

— L.A. Rams 10-3 Under L13

— Miami 5-0 Under L5

— Minnesota 18-8 Under L26

— New England 0-6 Under L6

— New Orleans 3-15 Under L18 on road

— Philadelphia 9-1 Under L10

— Seattle 6-1 Under L7

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