NFL betting splits data on VSiN lays out a map for success
It was about mid-season last year that I set out to study the college football betting splits data provided on VSiN.com by DraftKings. I felt that a book like DraftKings, known for servicing all levels of recreational bettors, providing this type of data would offer a ton of great betting opportunities if savvy bettors knew how to interpret the numbers. As it turns out, I was right, but by somewhat different means than I thought I would find. Majority bettors weren’t nearly as bad as I figured, and actually produced solid results when choosing to go against the grain. When they didn’t, most often it was a good opportunity to fade them. With 13 solid principles in place for navigating the 2023 CFB season, it was absolutely necessary that I take a closer look at what the NFL DraftKings Betting Splits data offered. You will see below in analyzing the overall results and the new systems I’ve come up with that I’m ecstatic that I did.
You’ve probably seen the newsletters, promos, and VSiN show hosts, touting the Betting Splits Data from DraftKings, and rightfully so, as we believe it to be a fantastic resource for bettors. These are the pages on VSiN.com that we have built utilizing the data that DraftKings so graciously provides to us detailing the breakdowns of the money and ticket splits for point spreads, money lines, and totals.
Why is this Betting Splits information so valuable? Well, most specifically, it lets us see which games are the most publicly supported each week. We all truly believe that the “betting public” does not win over the long haul, and with the amount of money DK spends on acquiring customers, you have to assume that most of the bettors that play there would be considered “public”. In other words, the collective opinions of this group of recreational bettors are right out on display for all of us to analyze and take advantage of.
With more and more states becoming sports betting regulated each passing year, this information is more valuable than ever. In the “old days,” offshore sportsbooks would share this type of information, but bettors had no way of knowing the type or volume of clientele these groups were taking on. Let’s just say it made the betting percentage data these places offered convoluted. With the DraftKings data, we know their customer strength is in numbers, and that is exactly what we are looking for with this type of analysis.
Before digging into some of the system data, I was able to uncover during the 2022 NFL season, identically to college football, I should start you off with two common betting generalities for recreational players that wager at places like DraftKings. That is the majority bet favorites on point spread and Overs on totals. The numbers are staggering. According to the final ticket/HANDLE numbers last NFL season, majority wagers were on favorites in 217 of 284 games, or 76.4%, and on totals to go Over in 201 of 284, or 70.8% of games. These numbers are far more dramatic than the college football dichotomy, and a huge reason to why fading the majorities in the NFL was far more successful.
As a little background on this exercise, I basically tried to analyze the records of the “majority bettors” at DraftKings and the side/total they preferred for games. I also broke it down further sometimes by the percentage of majority, and by some various team statistics. There are two fields of analysis for each wagering option that DraftKings shares the data for both sides and totals: 1) HANDLE and 2) number of BETS. These can produce varied results, but in general, I would subscribe to the theory that the total handle is a little less “public” than the total number of bets.
These were the overall records of the majority bettors for the full 2022 NFL season in games, using the key terms HANDLE, number of BETS.
- Majority HANDLE on point spreads: 123-153 ATS (44.6%)
- Majority number of BETS on point spreads: 119-155 ATS (43.4%)
- Majority HANDLE on totals: 126-150 (45.7%)
- Majority number of BETS on totals: 132-148 (47.1%)
As you can see, in all four categories, the majority wound up well under-.500 and in negative unit territory. On top of that, I also found that of the 19 weeks (18 plus all playoffs combined) majority bettors “won”, or had a winning record, in only five of the 19 weeks for point spread HANDLE and number of BETS, and in only seven of the 19 weeks for the two totals’ measures.
With these significant result measures loaded up, it gave me a fantastic starting point for developing 12 systems for using these betting splits breakdowns for the 2023 season. If you haven’t been using this data in recent NFL seasons, I highly recommend adding it to your handicapping arsenal for this season, particularly the ultra-success systems I outline below.
Before I reveal the 12 systems, a quick note. All of these angles will be tracked and qualified for VSiN Pro Subscribers each week in our upcoming VSiN Analytics NFL Reports.
DK Betting Splits system #1: When more than 65% of the HANDLE was on a particular side of an ATS wager, this majority group was just 35-53 ATS (39.8%). The number for this “super-majority” in college football was closer to 80%. In other words, if you see 2/3 of the handle backing one side in an NFL game this season, it’s best to fade it.
DK Betting Splits system #2: The percentage breakdown can be expanded a bit for the number of BETS. When 63%+ of the number of BETS were on a particular side of an ATS wager, this majority group was just 66-92 ATS (41.8%). The NFL is the most public of all bettable sports. If 63%+ of the bettors at DraftKings like a particular side, fade ‘em.
It's safe to assume that you don’t want to be part of the supermajority of DraftKings bettors on ATS wagers.
DraftKings bettors were at their absolute worst last season when analyzing divisional games:
DK Betting Splits system #3: In NFL divisional games of 2022, DK majority HANDLE bettors were absolutely awful, as this majority group was just 36-64 ATS (36%). With the obvious generality that public bettors love favorites, it’s clear that they don’t value the stakes of these rivalry games and what they mean for the competitors.
DK Betting Splits system #4: Similarly to #3 above, when the majority number of BETS staked its side in an NFL divisional game last year, this majority group was just 37-60 ATS (38.1%).
DK Betting Splits system #5: When the majority HANDLE and number of BETS were on ROAD FAVORITES for an ATS wager, these majority groups were just 36-52 ATS (40.9%) and 35-53 ATS (39.8%) respectively. Both are losing propositions, and most often, these majorities match up.
Now, for a rare winning angle for majority bettors:
DK Betting Splits system #6: When the majority HANDLE and number of BETS were on ROAD UNDERDOGS for an ATS wager, these majority groups actually produced winning records, 26-25 ATS (51%) and 34-32 ATS (51.5%) respectively. This matches up somewhat with the logic I used in explaining some college successes. When the public goes “against the grain,” they win. In this case, mildly.
This next system involves specific days of the week games were played on
DK Betting Splits system #7: When the majority HANDLE and number of BETS backed a team in an ATS wager in the higher-profile, non-Sunday afternoon games, these majority groups were just 28-44 ATS (38.9%) and 29-44 ATS (39.7%) respectively. This set of games includes all the Thursday, Saturday, Sunday night (SNF), and Monday night contests.
This final ATS angle focuses on the won-lost records of the teams in a game.
DK Betting Splits system #8: In another rare winning record, when the majority of the HANDLE backed the team with less season wins in a 2022 NFL game for an ATS wager, this majority group was 26-22 ATS (54.2%). This is another situation where going against the grain paid off.
These next four systems involve totals.
DK Betting Splits system #9: The average NFL total last year was 44.2. In games where the totals reached 46.5 or higher and oddsmakers thus expected them to be a little more explosive, majority number of BETTORS struggled, going 28-53 ATS (34.6%). Not surprisingly, they sided with the favored team in 59 of the games.
DK Betting Splits system #10: When 56% or more of the HANDLE was on the Under in an NFL game total, this majority group was quite sharp, 26-18 ATS (59.1%). This number for a “super-majority” in NFL is quite low, evidence of how rarely the betting public bets the low side of a total. Incidentally, the same majority figure for the number of BETS produced a 23-17 record.
DK Betting Splits system #11: Quite the opposite of #11, the magic mark for the supermajority on HANDLE for betting Overs was 64% or higher, and this group performed miserably last season with a record of 38-63 (37.6%). To me, this has been a long-standing belief, but when the Over looks too obvious, it usually loses. On number of BETS, this same super majority percentage produced a slightly improved 41-52 record.
DK Betting Splits system #12: Call this one the Over trap, but when a super-majority (>=64%) of HANDLE was on the Over, and DraftKings moved the opening total lower throughout the week, this majority group lost big, going just 9-29 (23.7%). Almost as if they were trying to bait more people into taking the Over. This is a classic example of where those behind the counter are smarter than those trying to cash the tickets.
The BETTING SPLITS on VSiN.com are essentially running live and will change in the days and hours before game time. If you adopt any of these strategies this season, be sure to visit VSiN.com for the latest numbers. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have redesigned and expanded the VSiN betting splits page, the most popular destination on VSiN.com.
The data, which we get directly from DraftKings Sportsbook, is now updated every five minutes instead of 10. We ping the DK database and see what data has changed and then indicate the change with an arrow next to the percentage.
Also, if you want to see the opening line and the line history, click on the visiting team’s logo. The updates are timestamped. A nice new touch is that if the game is over, you will get a summary that includes the final score, Total result, and season Over/Under record for each team, and you can compare the result to what Steve Makinen’s estimated score was.
Unlimited access to betting splits is available to VSiN Pro subscribers.