This article takes a closer look at how oddsmakers adjust the NFL totals over the course of the regular-season. The goal was to find any significant patterns that we can use to help predict future totals.

Keep in mind that we are not advocating simply wagering blindly on an over or under based only on which week it is, but we do hope to find some logic behind the trends so that we can use it to our advantage when handicapping the NFL in future games.

Here’s a look at the over/under results on a week-by-week basis for the last 15 NFL seasons (since 2002).

How Oddsmakers Adjust NFL Totals Week by Week (Last 15 Years)

WeekOver-Under-Push (Over %)Avg. Total
1113-122-5 (48.1%)42.6
2111-119-9 (48.3%)42.6
3116-111-3 (51.1%)43.0
4116-96-2 (54.7%)42.9
5117-90-3 (56.5%)43.0
6111-97-2 (53.4%)43.6
7105-100-4 (51.2%)43.3
8102-99-4 (50.7%)43.4
9105-93-6 (53.0%)43.3
10111-93-5 (53.1%)43.3
1191-130-8 (41.2%)43.3
12110-222-5 (47.4%)43.3
13120-117-2 (50.6%)43.3
14109-129-7 (46.8%)43.0
15218-217-5 (50.2%)43.0
16118-118-4 (50.0%)43.1
17112-126-2 (47.1%)42.4
Overall1,885-1,879-56 (50.1%)43.1

As you can see, there’s not a big difference in the average total from the first week of the season to the last over the last 15 years. Just about every week comes in around 43.0 points. Not what I was expecting, given how the weather goes from good to bad over the season.

It turns out the books would have been wise to make the totals a little higher early on. That is with the exception of weeks 1-3, where the total hit at just a 49.1% clip. However, it gets better in a hurry. From Week 4 all the way to Week 10, the over is a hitting at a 53.3% rate. If you would have bet the over in every single game during this time, you would have built up quite a bankroll.

Weeks BET
1-3Under – 50.9% (No Value)
4-10OVER – 53.3%
11-17Under – 52.3%

The key is to make sure to take your foot off the gas once Week 11 rolls around. In fact, this has been the most profitable week to back the under, as it’s hitting an impressive 58.8%. From Week 11 until the end of the season, the under continues to be the way to go. Note that Week 11 typically comes right around the middle of November, which to no surprise is about the time we start to see a lot more colder weather in the forecast.

Rising Totals in Pro Football: When to Bet the Over & Under

Last 5 Seasons

WeekOver-Under-Push (Over %)Avg. Total
139-38-3 (50.6%)45.3
237-39-4 (48.7%)45.4
341-38-1 (51.9%)45.3
440-32-1 (55.6%)45.2
535-35-1 (50.0%)45.6
646-25-2 (64.8%)45.7
735-36-1 (49.3%)45.7
836-31-2 (53.7%)45.8
937-26-3 (58.7%)45.8
1032-35-2 (47.8%)45.8
1126-43-2 (37.7%)45.5
1236-38-3 (48.6%)45.4
1339-39-1 50.0%)45.6
1436-44-0 (45.0%)45.3
1538-42-0 (47.5%)45.3
1637-41-2 (47.4%)45.3
1732-47-1 (40.5%)44.9
Overall622-629-29 (49.7%)45.5

As you can see, there’s been quite a spike in the average total over the last 5 seasons. The 5-year average of 45.5 points is almost a full 2.5-points more than the average over the last 15 years (43.1).

WeeksBET
1-3Over – 50.4% (No Value)
4-10OVER – 54.3%
11-17Under – 54.6%

The important thing to note, is that while the totals are getting higher, the results aren’t all that different. In fact, it’s got better as far as the trends are concerned. The over is up to 54.3% in weeks 4-10, while the under hitting at 54.6% after week 10 and 62.3% in Week 11.

Last Year’s Numbers (2016)

WeekOver-Under-Push (Over %)Avg. Total
17-7-2 (50%)45.1
28-7-1 (53.3%)45.2
39-7-0 (56.2%)45.2
48-7-0 (53.3%)45.6
57-7-0 (50%)45.6
69-6-0 (60%)46.4
76-9-0 (40%)46.1
89-4-0 (69.2%)46.6
98-5-0 (61.5)46.5
107-7-0 (50%)46.2
113-11-0 (21.4%)46.1
128-8-0 (50%)46.0
137-7-1 (50%)46.0
147-9-0 (43.8%)45.3
157-9-0 (43.8%)44.0
1612-4-0 (75%)45.2
179-7-0 (56.2%)41.9
Overall134-122-4 (52.3%)45.6