With mixed opinions on whether the NFL will resume its season or not, many sports bettors are searching for insight on how much wagering value to assign to the now-recovered 2019 NFL season. The most common number that comes up is 1.5 over for American football (also known as the “Super Bowl”), with multiple sources citing that point spread as fair value for the upcoming season. What does 1.5 over mean in terms of American football betting? Let’s dive into the details.
The Evolution Of American Football Point Spreads
The point spread has been used in American football for more than a century, with a point being awarded or taken from the combined scores of the two teams in a game. Early in its history, point spread betting on the Super Bowl was limited to a few select books, but today it is offered online throughout the country. The most common point spread for the Super Bowl today is 1.5, which can be interpreted as an under/over score of 15 points (e.g., New England Patriots (-1.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams). Some books will take slightly more conservative approaches and offer 1 over or 1.6 under scores for the Super Bowl (e.g., William Hill and Intertops). The main reason behind the wide variation in point spreads for the Super Bowl is that the event has a way of defying expectations. For example, in 1969 the Baltimore Colts were considered one of the best teams in the NFL, having won the previous three Super Bowls. However, their -13 point spread against the Minnesota Vikings was a sign that others saw this year’s Super Bowl as a clash of the titans.
How Is The 19th NFL Season Different From Past Seasons?
Last year was the first time that the NFL opted not to cancel the season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many point to this decision as the start of a new era for the NFL, with fans and team officials alike hailing the decision to play as a bold step forward. Will this decision lead to more adventurous wagering or is the NFL still a bit wary of placing big bets on a risky venture?
While it is too early to tell whether or not the decision to play last season was the right one, it’s important to look at how betting on the NFL has changed as a result of this decision. For one, the minimum bet size increased from $2 to $5, making NFL betting more accessible for the average Joe. In addition, sportsbooks were given the green light to offer customers a more competitive spread. In 2018 the average point spread for an NFL game was 0.7 points.
With the postseason already in full swing and more than 80 percent of the season already completed, it’s fair to say that the NFL is back and better than ever. This year’s slate of regular season games is arguably the strongest in recent memory, with no marquee matchups lacking luster. In fact, many books are now offering a whole different array of props and handicapping strategies, including over/under and total offense (yards) wagers. So as long as the pandemic doesn’t rear its ugly head again, it seems that there are plenty of opportunities for sports bettors to make some money this coming season.