The NFL continues to build an audience in the UK, with fixtures set to continue in London until at least 2016. NFL betting market in the UK are also growing, and whilst many punters tend to concentrate on the obvious markets - such as 'money lines' and 'total points' - potentially one of the most profitable areas for NFL betting is the 'player props' markets.
Generally, these markets focus around three particular areas: passing yards for quarterbacks, rushing yards for the running backs, and receiving yards for wide receivers and other members of the offensive line. American sports value statistics highly, as demonstrated in last year's Hollywood baseball film, Moneyball, and there is a huge amount of historical data that can be used to analyse such markets.
The first thing to look at is overall team statistics. Some teams focus their offensive game around keeping the ball on the ground and running the ball up the pitch. Other teams instead prefer to give the ball plenty of air, allowing their quarterback to throw the ball regularly. Similarly, we find different teams have different strengths defensively, with some teams good at stopping the opposition running game and others being strong at stopping throwing games.
Immediately, we would expect to find the NFL 'player props' lines to reflect these team traits, which typically hold true. However, once we look at team news, there are often subtle influences that can change a team from the lines that you would usually expect.
For example, if a team often likes to keep the ball on the ground and run the ball regularly, we would expect to see relatively high lines for the 'total rushing yards' for the team’s running backs, while the lines for the 'total passing yards' might be lower. However, if that team has its first choice running back injured, then the team may well have to play a slightly different system.
As a result, it might be possible to find value in the 'total passing yards' market. If the quarterback is likely to be throwing the ball more, rather than relying on his running backs, then it is certainly worth looking at backing the overs on the line.A related market in the same situation is the 'total receiving yards'. Naturally, if we are expecting the quarterback to be throwing the ball more often than usual, then we must expect at least one of the wide receivers to be catching the ball more often than usual.
Another factor to bear in mind is the weather. Generally when the weather is worse, teams look to keep the ball on the ground more regularly. In heavy rain and swirling wind, throwing the ball to receivers becomes incredibly difficult, even for the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Therefore, in poor weather, it is often worth looking at backing the under lines on the 'total passing yards' and similarly, looking at the over lines on the 'total rushing yards'. The bookmakers also take the weather into account but often underestimate the effect it can have.
Indeed, if the weather changes unexpectedly just before the start of the match, these lines can be completely wrong, resulting in excellent value for betting on the NFL 'player props' markets. Visit Paddy Power Sports for NFL betting, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather!
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