NFL Picks: In-Depth Analysis of Weather's Impact When Betting Totals

David Lawrence

Saturday, July 18, 2015 5:42 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 18, 2015 5:42 PM UTC

We often talk about weather & how it impacts NFL betting but is it really that big of a deal? You should keep an eye on the weather reports since that factors could helps or hurts totals in the NFL.

If we start seeing snow for a game at around 11:00 AM ET, then the total starts to drop as everyone piles in on the under expecting a sloppy game. However, the bigger total killer is actually the wind. Teams avoid the pass, focus on the run and games get very conservative. Ground crews do a great job of preparing the fields these days – even if there is snow.


Wind: The Over Killer
When you’re handicapping for weather, the one thing you want to keep an eye on more than anything else is the wind. That’s what factors more than anything else. A study was done where the numbers from 2003-2013 were crunched and it showed that games that had winds of 15+ miles per hour were significantly more likely to have a lower total than games with slower wind. Games where the wind was between 15-19 miles per hour saw the average points hang just under 40 while games where there was a wind of 20+ miles per hour saw an average score of about 36 points. When you compare that to when there was no wind or mild wind (0-4 miles per hour), that was a 5-7 point difference.

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The Best Setup For An Over: Indoor Games
The ideal setup for an over is an indoor game. There’s no wind and there is no inclement weather. If you’ve heard that indoor games are higher-scoring and thought that it’s an old wives tale, you’d be wrong. When you take a look at the numbers from 2003-2013, the average final score of games played in a dome or a retractable roof stadium with the roof closed was 46.2. In that same timeframe, the average combined score of games played outdoors was 42.4. That clearly shows that indoor games are higher scoring. However, you have to remember that NFL odds makers know that too, so they are likely adjust indoor games to start off with higher totals.


Your Best Bet
It looks like the best NFL pick for overs is outdoor games with mild wind. Indoors, the games are shaded with higher totals as odds makers understand the numbers. They know that historically, these games play to larger combined scores than most outdoor games. And if you look at our numbers from above, outdoor games can actually hold some good value. What you’ll want to do is look for outdoor games where both the weather and wind is mild. If the wind isn’t blowing too hard then you’re likely to see a lower total for that matchup since it is outdoors (compared to if those same teams played in a dome). That way you’re getting better value on the total and the historical averages are not against you.

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