A general view of Gillette Stadium prior to a game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.
A general view of Gillette Stadium prior to a game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.

How to Bet Win Totals for College Football and NFL

Thanks to how easy it is to understand, win totals are becoming a popular bet in the futures market. You are simply betting on whether a team will win go over or under the projected mark provided by the sportsbook.

While it might be easy to comprehend, there is a lot that goes into betting each win total. This guide will not only help you understand the basics of this wager, but the strategy you should employ when betting win totals before each season.

What are Season Win Totals?

The name says it all. You are wagering on the number of wins a team will have at the end of the season. Online sports betting sites set a line for how many games a team will win, while the bettor wagers on the team going over or under that mark.

The betting line is designed to get the most action for bets over and under that number. Keep in mind that this is a regular-season win total and does not include the postseason.

How to Read Season Win Totals

Now that you have an idea of what a win total is, let’s figure out how to read a betting line. The Kansas City Chiefs currently have a win total of 10.5 entering the 2022-23 season.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Over 10.5 (-120)

  • Under 10.5 (+110)

In this example, the Chiefs have a win total of 10.5 games with the over juiced to -120. This means a bettor would need to wager $120 on the over to win $100, while the under bettor could wager $100 to win $110.

If the Chiefs win 10 or fewer games this upcoming season, the under would ultimately be graded as a winner. If Kansas City recorded 11 or more victories, the over would be graded as a winner.

Advantages of Betting Win Totals

Similar to any futures bet, there are a number of advantages to betting on win totals at your online sportsbook.

  • As we have already covered, this market is extremely easy to understand.

  • Because you are betting on a team’s regular-season win total, this can provide a rooting interest for the entire season. 

  • You are not limited to betting on one team, so feel free to shop around and place a bet on multiple teams and lines.

Disadvantages of Betting Win Totals

While betting on win totals can be fun, there are also some disadvantages to know about this specific aspect of wagering: 

  • Because these are long-term bets, your money will be tied up for a whole season. This is important to note in regards to bankroll management.

  • After placing a bet on win totals, there are factors out of your control that could negatively impact your wager. These factors include injuries or trades.

Tips for Betting Season Win Totals for College Football and NFL

Before you blindly bet on a win total for the upcoming season, make sure to do your homework. You will want to research some of these factors to help get a bigger picture on a team’s status ahead of the upcoming campaign.

  • Coaching staff — Was there any changes to the staff in the offseason? If not, how has the current staff been operating?

  • Free Agency — Did a team many any notable acquisitions or were there any significant departures from last year’s team? 

  • Reflect — Look back at last year’s results, and try to identify if there are any regression statistics (positive or negative) that you can use for the following year.

  • Schedule — When the schedule is released, take a deep dive on each slate. It is more than just strength of opponents, as factors like number of road games along with rest (advantages and disadvantages) can come into play.

  • Price — While the market shouldn’t necessarily make your decision, consider how other bettors are attacking a win total. Getting the best price can help improve your chances of making a smart wager.

Strategy for Betting Season Win Totals for College Football and NFL

While the above tips are important to consider before placing a wager, there is an advanced approach to betting on win totals.

Because football is so popular, sportsbooks tend to release point spreads for select games in the offseason. Some online sportsbooks have projected spreads for every game of the upcoming NFL season, which helps illustrate what the market thinks of the league.

You can use these spreads to get a better idea of expected wins for a given team. For example, if a team is favored in only three games while having a win total of 7.5, then you know a team would have to win some games as a short underdog to cash an over ticket.

That is a basic way of getting closer to the range of expected wins for a given team, but the process should help a bettor identify the right side of an over/under.

Conclusion

Betting on win totals can be a lot of fun! Sure, the downside is that your money will be tied up and that could prevent you from making more bets over the course of a season.

But a big part of betting is being invested in games you otherwise might not care about. If you bet over on the Buffalo Bills’ win total, however, you would be rooting for them in each game over a 18-week schedule.

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