NFL: Best Bets - What to do when there’s a big number on the board?

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NFL Sports News


  • Through six weeks of the NFL season, there have been six double digit favorites listed at Michigan online sportsbooks.
  • What teams have been the best against the spread in the NFL this season? And why betting the under is still the play.
  • Average margin of victory is a key stat to evaluate while betting on the NFL.

You look at the NFL point spreads for the week and the big numbers are always attractive. In your mind, you think every NFL game is close, so how can an American sportsbook be making one team a two touchdown or double-digit favorite?

It is a sucker bet? Or are there strategies and tips that you can use?

DraftKings and BetMGM already have their lines posted on Week 7 of the NFL. For now, there are no double-digit favorites listed on either board, but let’s look at the sample size from the NFL this season to help you figure out if a bigger spread means a bigger win.

Is Bigger Better?

Through six weeks of the NFL season – not counting tonight’s Monday night game between the Chargers and Cowboys - there have been six double digit favorites. There were a handful of 9.5-point games, but for our discussion we only look at games with a spread of 10 or more.

In those six games, the favorite won straight up five times – the only loser was the Cowboys against the Cardinals in Week 3, and teams have covered the big spread four times. The only times the favorite didn’t cover with the big spread was that Cowboy game and this week the Bills didn’t cover a 15-point spread in a win over the Giants.

So the trend is big spread usually means big victory.

Who’s The Spread King?

Michigan sports betting fans are hot on the Detroit Lions and with good reason. After its 20-6 win over the Bucs on Sunday, the Lions are now 5-1 against the spread this season, one of two teams in the NFL that are 5-1 ATS. The other team is the Dolphins.
Denver and Carolina are each 0-5-1 against the spread.

Keep in mind that the average margin of victory in NFL games in the 2022 regular season was 9.7 points, the lowest in 90 years.

In Week 6 the average margin of victory (so far) is 9.2 points, which is lower than the last few weeks. Boosted by blowouts by the Saints, Lions and Niners, in Week 5 the margin of victory was 13.1, and in Week 4 it was a whopping 15.8.

Lesson here? If you like a team to win, believe they will win big.

The Under All The Way

The best bet through six weeks of the NFL season has been the Saints and the under. All six New Orleans games have hit the under. The Saints have a strong defense and a weak offense.
But in the grand scheme of things, more NFL games hit the under (110) than the over (74). The Vikings, Titans, Falcons, Raiders, Patriots, Giants and Ravens have all hit the under in five of their six games.

Who’s the team on the flipside? The Bears. Chicago is just 1-5, but they’ve hit the over in five of their six games, largely this is because of a bad defense that has allowed just under 30 points a game. NFL over/under totals are usually in the mid-40 range.

Betting the under is, we will just say it, a boring bet, but it’s obviously it’s still a winning play in the NFL.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.