The thing to watch out for is when point spread is either a key number or just over or under a key number. Once you get used to all the key number in NFL, you will automatically view the point spread through the lens of ke numbers.

One important thing to remember is that key numbers are not some magic formula to winning sports bets. Bookmakers are well aware of key numbers too and set their lines accordingly.

Instead, we should think of key numbers as one of many important factors that we consider as smart sports bettors, like odds. They are not a cheat code, but understanding them will absolutely make you a more successful bettor. Here are some practical strategies involving key numbers:

Key Numbers and Point Totals in NFL Football

In the NFL, key numbers in point total betting are also determined by the value of the scores and their various combinations. The most common total points scored, and therefore key numbers for point total betting, in order of importance are:

  • 41, 43, 37, 44, 51, 33, 47

Just like in the point spread, the key is to look for times when the point total line is a key number. Generally, point total betting is a simple way to bet. Do you think the total points will more or less than this number? Simple.

However, key numbers are still extremely relevant for these bets. Let’s see why.

Tips and Strategies for Using Key Numbers in Point Total Betting

Betting over/unders on point totals is a staple of sports betting and as we mentioned in the previous section, key numbers can guide your betting decisions. Here are some easy to follow tips for factoring key numbers into your totals bets.

Shop Around

It is worth repeating that key numbers are not a cheat code but they do give you another factor to compare when shopping for the best odds at different sportsbooks.

If you think it will be a high scoring game, it is as simple as checking which bookmaker has the lowest over/under point total bet available, along with the best odds. When one book’s total is just over a key number and you want the under, it’s a great opportunity.

  • When betting the under, look for totals lines that are just over a key number.
  • When betting the over, look for totals lines that are jsut under a key number.

This sounds simple but being a good sports bettor involves plenty of simple and methodical actions like actually doing the legwork of checking around for the best price.

Get On the Right Side of Key Totals Numbers

A slightly more complicated situation arises if you have a very specific prediction for your point total bet, maybe from predictive betting software. Take our example again:

New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles

  • Over 41 (-110)
  • Under 41 (-110)

Say your model predicted that the total score will be 40.7. Without understanding key numbers, you might think that betting on the Under here is a good bet, according to your prediction. However, we know that of the seven most common point totals, five are over 41 and two are under. In light of that, the under doesn’t sound quite so good.

Now imagine your model predicted that the total score would be 41.3. Since you know about the key numbers, the Over 41 suddenly looks a very attractive bet based on the most common outcomes.

Without knowing the key numbers, the two bets above might be equally attractive.

Depending on the odds, it may be possible to buy a point total closer to a key number which makes sense for your prediction, which you would pay for with slightly worse odds. Or, perhaps you could simply find a better points total by shopping around. Either way, understanding key numbers in points totals gives you a much deeper understanding of when you should bet them.

Differences Between Key Numbers in NFL and College Football

In general, everything we have covered so far applies to college football as well as the NFL. The most common winning margins in college football are 3, 7 and 10, and the strategies for keeping an eye out for key numbers are the same.

There are some differences between the two, however.

One is that NFL is generally more competitive than college football, meaning that the games are often closer. College football is less predictable, meaning the key numbers are less reliable.

Since college football is less competitive, more points are scored on average. This means that the point totals tend to be higher. The most common total points scored in college football, and therefore key number for point total betting, in order of importance are:

  • 55, 51, 45, 59, 58, 52, 41

These numbers are based on the last five years. The strategies to use theses numbers are exactly the same as in the NFL, just be aware that the numbers are different.

Key Numbers in NBA Basketball

Since basketball has smaller increments for scoring, and there’s a lot more scoring overall, key numbers are significantly less useful in the NBA than the NFL. However, they still play a part and bettors should be aware of them.

The value of the scores available in basketball are 2 and 3 (and 1 for free throws). This is what determines the most likely winning margin in close games.

The most important key number in NBA betting is 7. This is because when there are 7 points between the teams, the game becomes a three possession game. If this is the case with close to a minute left, teams will frequently stop fouling and simply let the game run out. Basically, if there are seven points between the teams and the game is almost over, the losing team will just accept that the game is over, resulting in a 7-point margin of victory.

After 7, 2 is the next most important number. The reason for this is that for any differential in score from 0-5 with a minute left to play, the greatest number of scenarios leads to an outcome of a two-point differential.

The other most common margins are, in order:

  • 5, 6, 8, 3 and 4

However, it should be noted that the distribution of outcomes for allthese numbers is very similar. Unlike 3 and 7 in NFL, key numbers in basketball don’t come up as often.

Tips and Strategies for Using Key Numbers in NBA Betting

The idea behind point spread betting and key numbers is exactly the same in the NFL and the NBA.

  • A point spread of 7 is the most valuable.
  • Shop around for this value or buy a point to move on or off 7 in favor of the team you’re betting on.
  • The same is true for a spread of 2, if you think the game will be especially tight.

To make it more attractive for bettors, bookmakers will typically not charge an extra premium to buy points around the number when you’re betting on basketball, since they are not as in the NFL.

Regarding point total bets, key numbers in basketball simply do not play a role in these predictions in the same way that they do for point total bets in the NFL. Making a good point total bet in the NBA relies way more on team, player and game factors.

Overall, while not as important in the NBA, key numbers are something all bettors should be aware of. Sports betting is a game of fine margins, and the more information available the more ready you will be to capitalize on those margins.

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