NFL Key Numbers

by | Last updated Feb 25, 2023 | nfl

If you’re betting on NFL football games and serious about winning, you need to be familiar with key numbers and what those numbers are. This article can and will increase your chances of beating the NFL point spread should you decide to implement this advice into your sports handicapping arsenal. Enjoy!

Key numbers are common final score margins in the NFL. By knowing what the key numbers are, you can avoid getting duped into betting a bad line, and if you’re good at reading between the lines, you can see which way the oddsmakers want you to bet on the game.

As most already know, “3” is the most common margin of victory in NFL football games. Many games come down to the final minutes and are won by a field goal, as are games that go into overtime. While the implementation of the two point conversion has created more variance, knowing key numbers is still a valuable asset to your betting arsenal.

A handicapper named Andy Iskoe did a study and researched over 17 seasons consisting of around 4000 games to see what the most common final score margins were. To nobody’s surprise, 3 was the most common margin to the tune of 15.1%. It’s no surprise that 7 was the second most common margin, as this is how many points a team is awarded for a touchdown plus extra point. What was a surprise to us, is that it comes in more than two times less than the 3, to the tune of 7.1%.

What do you think the next most common margin is? I’d have guessed 4, which is close, but no cigar. The third most common margin was 6; which is somewhat of a surprise. A six-point margin happened six percent of the time.

The other two key numbers of note are 10 and 4 which came in at 5.9 and 5.8% respectively.


Now that we’ve established what key numbers are and which to pay attention to, you may be getting crafty and wondering what would happen if you bought a half-point on some of them.

We once read a study that showed that:

Buying Underdogs up from +2.5 to +3, +3 to +3.5 and +9.5 to +10 have all increased profits. On the flip side, buying favs down from -2.5 to -2, -3 to -2.5, -3.5 to -3 and -10.5 down to -10 have all resulted in making for a better bottom line. Keep in mind that this is over a long span, including all games and the sportsbooks aren’t dumb charging a premium for buying up or buying down from the listed line.

If you’re an astute handicapper that picks and chooses his spots, a half-point buy can be a huge asset to your sports betting arsenal.

As we stated earlier in the article, once you’re familiar with key numbers, you can use them to your advantage in helping you pick or pass on a game because you can literally see which way the book wants the public to bet. We all know that the book wins long term, so there’s nothing wrong with being on the same side as them!

This means that you as a rule of thumb (this does NOT apply to all spreads, just most!) should avoid laying -2.5, -6.5, -9.5 and -3.5. These numbers are inviting you to bet on spreads that appear to be allowing you to win on key numbers. The book isn’t in this to pay you money. They’re offering easy, cheesy lines because they believe just the opposite is going to happen.

Furthermore, you want to avoid wagering on lines such as +3.5, +7.5, +10.5 and +4.5 because this is just the opposite of the inviting favorites. They’re inviting you to make picks on underdogs! The book isn’t going to put out an opening line and let you land on a key number so easily. Do you really think they’re going to let you put the odds in your favor? No way. Steer clear of these opening lines unless you have sound/solid reasoning for fading them which does happen, but not often.

If you take heed to this article, you have just increased your NFL winning percentage by 3% or more. Believe it!

Best Teasers

3 Team: 6 pt Teasers 6.5 pt Teasers 7 pt Teasers
1.8/1 1.65/1 1.5/1
1.65/1 1.5/1 1.35/1
1.6/1 1.5/1 1.35/1

Best Parlays

2 Team Parlay 3 Team Parlay 4 Team Parlay
sportsbetting 2.64 to 1 6 to 1 12.3 to 1
Bovada 2.64 to 1 5.95 to 1 12.3 to 1
Mybookie 2.64 to 1 5.95 to 1 12.3 to 1