One of the first rules of thumb that you learn when handicapping the NFL, is to shop for the best odds. Having multiple online sportsbooks at your disposal will increase your chances of profiting.

When it comes to wagering on the spread in football, most are familiar with the key numbers to look for. For those that don’t know, your top 3 are 3, 7 and 10. These are the most likely margin’s of victory. Here’s it’s easy to see the significance of getting -2.5 instead of -3.5.

What about the over/under? Do you know what the most common output is for two teams? You might be able to throw a guess out there, but chances are you have no idea. That’s okay. You won’t be lacking the knowledge for long.

Handicapping Pro Football Over/Under Lines: Most Frequent Final Scores

I’ve went back over every game dating back to the start of the 2000 season and compiled the data. As it turns out, the most likely total for two teams is 41. It’s occurred in 4.03% of all matchups during this stretch. Not too far behind is 37 at 3.90%.

For those of you struggling to picture 41 as the most common total, just think of the different ways to get there. The most common being 24-17, 21-20, 27-14, and 31-10.

Magic Number of 41

Given the direction football is going with the advanced passing attacks, you might think 41 is a bit low for the top result.

It turns out the ability to predict if a game will reach 42 points is a key to picking the correct side of a total. Dating back to 2000, all matchups that had 41 or fewer points scored went UNDER a staggering 91.8% (1893-170-36). At the same time, all contests that featured 42 or more points went OVER at a 86.2% (2037-326-50) clip.

Recent History (Last 5 Years)

Given how the game has changed to favor offenses and more teams passing the ball, I wanted to see how things changed if we only looked at the last 5 years.

It turns out quite a bit. While 41 is still a top figure, it’s no longer at the top. In fact, it’s now 4th on the list at 3.45%. The more recent results show 44 (4.12%), 43 (3.82%) and 47 (3.60%) as the top 3. You can see for yourself by just clicking on the sort feature on the “Games (Last 5 Years)” column.

You can use this data to take advantage of lines that have moved across an important number or when teasing NFL totals to make sure you are crossing as high of percentage of numbers as possible.

Key Numbers for Betting NFL Totals

Points ScoredGames% of All GamesGames (Last 5 Years)% of Games (Last 5 Years)
411824.03%463.45%
371763.90%423.15%
441703.77%554.12%
511623.59%453.37%
431593.52%513.82%
401453.21%423.15%
471433.17%483.60%
331393.08%392.92%
481312.90%382.85%
301262.79%362.70%
551212.68%392.92%
341172.59%392.92%
451152.55%302.25%
271122.48%251.87%
381022.26%261.95%
231022.26%171.27%
50992.19%403.00%
36992.19%372.77%
52962.13%312.32%
54901.99%322.40%
31881.95%161.20%
39841.86%332.47%
29821.82%161.20%
46801.77%302.25%
49781.73%272.02%
57771.71%231.72%
58761.68%231.72%
35721.60%181.35%
61701.55%261.95%
53691.53%191.42%
26671.48%221.65%
65621.37%251.87%
62601.33%161.20%
42601.33%181.35%
32591.31%191.42%
59561.24%151.12%
69461.02%171.27%
16420.93%30.22%
24410.91%40.30%
22390.86%90.67%
66370.82%141.05%
64360.80%120.90%
19360.80%110.82%
56350.78%161.20%
28320.71%110.82%
63310.69%120.90%
25310.69%40.30%
20300.66%90.67%
68280.62%80.60%
73250.55%80.60%
60240.53%120.90%
71220.49%100.75%
21190.42%00.00%
13190.42%30.22%
17180.40%20.15%
72170.38%70.52%
75160.35%50.37%
70160.35%60.45%
67160.35%90.67%
15160.35%30.22%
80100.22%30.22%
79100.22%50.37%
77100.22%10.07%
76100.22%40.30%
7490.20%40.30%
1270.16%20.15%
7860.13%20.15%
960.13%00.00%
8550.11%20.15%
8350.11%10.07%
1040.09%00.00%
8930.07%20.15%
8730.07%10.07%
8630.07%20.15%
8230.07%10.07%
1830.07%20.15%
9620.04%00.00%
8820.04%00.00%
8420.04%00.00%
8120.04%20.15%
10610.02%00.00%
10110.02%10.07%
9910.02%10.07%
9110.02%00.00%
9010.02%00.00%
1410.02%00.00%
810.02%00.00%
610.02%00.00%
310.02%00.00%

More Sources: