One of our favorite bets, and one where you can more importantly gain an advantage, is betting totals. Because you don’t have to pick a team and can just bet on the total number of points, it takes some of the guesswork, and heartbreak of an early blowout, off the table. But something that can really change the tempo and style of which the game is played is weather.
In today’s NFL, most teams throw the ball a lot more than they run, and the air attack is effected greater by weather than running. If it is going to be raining, snowing, or even windy, it will have a significant influence on the passing game.
There are plenty of sites now that will track the weather for you at every NFL game, so throw one of them in your favorites. Any advantage you can get when betting on football is good to have.
Sites To Track Weather
NFLweather.com is an easy one to remember and gives you the nuts and bolts of the weather. It lists if there will be precipitation, extreme temperature and wind. If you are wanting a more in-depth look, there are a few other sites, but this one does in a pinch.
Rotogrinders.com has a page dedicated to weather. If you are an analytic and statistical junky, this is the weather page for you. It breaks it down hour by hour, chance of precipitation, temperature, wind and dew point. This will give you a much better idea if the weather will be around all day or just for a portion of the game.
What To Look For
Remember from everything else you have read before, that you are going to want to avoid all of the public money. Weather should be a factor, but not the end-all for your decision-making. Just because the weather is going to be rainy and sloppy doesn’t mean automatically bet the under.
Now, you have probably heard that the under is generally a better bet than the over, and that is correct. People like points, and that means the average bettor wants to cheer for high-scoring games, meaning the majority of the money can go over.
If you combine that with an advantage such as a sloppy field, you might find some value in an under bet.
You will want to look at the offensive lines of the teams on a wet field. Games tend to be won or lost in the trenches when the field is wet. If one team has a good offensive line, it is going to be at even more of an advantage. They will keep the ball on the ground and eat up clock.
This does tend to lead to fewer points, as this combined with the difficulty of throwing the ball in the rain, combine for more running plays and a running clock.
The sloppy or wet field is actually an advantage to the offense because they know which way they are going to move. The running back or wide receiver knows which way he is going to cut, making him less likely to slip. The defense has to react, which is much tougher on a sloppy field.
Same idea for line play. Offensive linemen know when they are going to be getting off the ball, which is always an advantage, but much more so when you don’t have a solid surface under your feet.
Keep in mind that the oddsmakers have the same weather information, and the line has probably been adjusted for weather, at least on the surface. You will have to take a deeper dive if you want to gain an advantage.
If it is really obvious that it is going to be torrential downpours all game, the line has already been set to account for that. But, if you can get in early in the week and bet the under because there is a chance of a sloppy field, you can gain an advantage. Weather is pretty hard to predict in the future, which we all know by seeing how often meteorologists are incorrect in their forecasts, so this is a risk.
The most important factor, and one that affects the game even more than rain or snow, is wind. Wind will have a much bigger negative influence on the passing game than any precipitation.
This is where you can gain an advantage on the everyday bettor. If a team likes to throw the ball downfield, it will be much harder when the wind is blowing constantly at 20 miles per hour.
Think of your golf game, how hard is it to predict your ball flight with gusty wind?
If a team does a lot of short quick passes, it will not be as big of a factor. If the wind is really blowing, and you notice the line moving down, but both teams run short, quick passing games, jump on the over.
Never anticipate just betting the under because of the weather. Sometimes, because of the misinformation that the weather is going to really keep scoring down, you can bet the over and gain an advantage.
There isn’t a ton of data on weather and the exact statistical change, but I found a few good sources. This article on the Towards Data Science website has some really good graphs with the effects of weather.
The author is Josh Mancuso, and he also did one on precipitation, but it is much less decisive. It looks to the untrained eye that over 15 miles per hour seem to be where there is a significant drop off in quarterback performance.
His precipitation chart says snow is the biggest factor in dropping a quarterback’s fantasy points. Keep in mind that snow plays very little effect overall as very few games are actually played in the snow.
In his study, he says that you can’t make any direct correlations between precipitation and anticipated quarterback performance. Wind is the only factor where you can predict a drop or increase in quarterback rating.
It is a lot to take in when making your betting decision, but in the end, it is worth it. It is all about gaining an advantage, and knowing that wind can really affect the effectiveness of quarterbacks can help you win money, and that is what it is all about. The trick is getting on it early and beating the line movement, and the sharps will be looking for this as well.