Sports Betting 101: Poisson Distributions For Football Props

The biggest key to making a profit betting on football is to ultimately learn how to find value based on the sportsbooks lines. One interesting approach to finding value is to use the Poisson distribution system, which has become a lot more popular in recent years among expert NFL handicappers. Here is a look at how to apply Poisson distributions for football props and sports betting.

What Is Poisson Distribution?

A Poisson distribution is basically a method of quantifying the probability of random occurrences over a period of time. It can only be used if an average number of occurrences over a period of time are known, and each occurrence is entirely independent of the others. Poisson distributions are most accurate when the expected number of occurrences is small while the opportunity for occurrence is large. The average number of occurrences must also be proportional meaning if the time interval doubled so would the number of occurrences expected.

Caution For Poisson Distributions

While Poisson distributions have been used a lot more frequently in approaches to football wagers over the years it’s very important to make sure that each bet meets the following criteria. The opportunity for occurrence has to be large. The actual number of occurrences must be small. Occurrence must happen one at a time. Each occurrence must be independent and random. If you use these criteria then you could effectively apply Poisson distribution to NFL betting concepts. The Poisson distribution strategies also require a substantial amount of math, which means it isn’t for everybody. You have to be able to understand how the system works and then actually be able to apply the strategy with some potentially complicated math equations to work out.

The Poisson Distribution Strategy

The Poisson Distribution can be applied to anything from betting on NFL touchdown futures to team win totals. While it’s definitely a helpful system, it requires a good amount of time to invest in the basic strategy behind it and to learn how it works. It certainly helps to be good at math and understand how to apply the numbers in each area. For a complete guide to the actual numbers that need to be included when applying the Poisson distribution to NFL bets you could read the following article in full:


With all of the different strategies out there for betting on the NFL it’s impossible to find just one strategy that works. Beating props in the long term requires making smart bets and finding value based on the individual lines. While some people think that luck is the biggest factor in profitable sports betting, those that actually invest the time in to betting on the NFL seriously understand that is simply not true. The Poisson distribution system is very complex and it certainly isn’t for everybody and it very well might not be for you if you aren’t very good at mathematics. However, if you are serious about making money and you are up for the challenge of understanding Poisson distributions and how they work then it is definitely worth taking the time to get to learn it in an effort to more consistently make money betting on NFL lines.