It should come as no surprise that NFL betting players are, or should learn to be, good with numbers. The sport itself is very much driven by numbers, analytics and trends, and you would do well to get yourself familiar with the key numbers that you will see in the NFL before you head off to your sportsbook to make a pick.
The big numbers that you really have to concern yourself with are three (3) and seven (7). What are these numbers, you ask? They are the numbers that are associated with how you score points in the NFL. A field goal is worth 3 points, and a touchdown, while worth only six (6) points, goes to seven points with the extra-point attempt. The extra-point attempt throws a wrinkle into these numbers as the NFL moved it back a couple yards in 2015, in order to encourage teams to go for two points more often. They succeeded as teams were worse in converting their extra points, so they did end up going for two more, however, seven remains a major number at the sportsbook.
Studies have actually show that 3 and 7 are the margins of victory that we will see the most in the NFL, and by a significant margin (10 points is next). These are the major benchmarks that you will see in the sportsbooks, and that is when you will hear the term, “shopping around for the best line”. A lot of players will look around for a line of -3.5, something that will avoid a push in the sportsbook, which is essentially a tie and you get your money back. A lot of the time, the sportsbook itself will add a half-point to the line as they also want to avoid a push. But if they can keep a line at 3, either way, the sportsbook would love to keep it there. It is just close enough to draw in players on both sides, and you always have to remember that is the main objective of the sportsbook: to bring in enough money on both sides.
This is also when you might run into the option of buying points. Buying points is when you decide to buy that half-point that the sportsbook did not want to put down. You can only go a maximum of 1.5 points in either direction, and the half-points will usually cost you an extra ten cents. However, the half-points will indeed cost you more if you are trying move off the line of 3 or 7, usually up to 25 cents more because as was said before, the sportsbooks love those numbers and they want you to bet on them. You cannot buy points for halftime lines, so keep that in mind. You can also buy points with totals, not just spreads, and the same rules apply: 1.5 points maximum, 10 cents per point, although there is no magic number for totals that will require you to spend more.
Once you do enough football betting, you will actually see that 3 and 7 are the most common margins of victory and you will see why the sportsbooks will want you to lay money on those numbers. It is there that you have to come up with your strategy to get around those numbers, whether it is shopping around for betting lines, or buying the points. It can be a complicated aspect of the betting game, but once you come up with your strategy, it makes football wagering in the NFL much more entertaining, and potentially, much more profitable.