Total Points System

The NFL Total Points Bet

For those avid fans and sports bettors of the NFL and its current season, should all be very familiar with the Total Points bet. The bet simply consists of a value, a number given by the sportsbook to the best of their abilities giving an average amount of points they believe could be scored during any given match. What the bettor has to do with this information is decide if they want to put a wager on the Under or the Over bet.


The Under bet is wagered on when the bettor believes the total points scored, by both teams, during a particular match is going to be less than the value given at the sportsbook. On the other hand, if the bettor believes that the final total score is going to be more than the value given at the sportsbook, they will wager on the Over bet.

It seems straight forward, but what kind of information should a bettor use in order to determine whether the match is going to end with more, or fewer points than the points given at the sportsbook. This is a quick guide on how to become more proficient at calculating the possible total points and be able to predict which bet to wager on.

The Total Points System

This particular system is used when a bettor wants to get a more accurate reading on a certain NFL matchup’s total points scored. Many bettors simply use the amount of points that each team has scored over the span of the current season, but that is just not enough information to more accurately predict the total points that could be scored. This system works best after a few matches have been played, so that the teams involved have some data which the bettor can use.

The Information Needed

There are two basic pieces of information a bettor needs to acquire, the average points scored and the average points scored against of both teams. However, there has to be a distinction between the information gathered.

For the Home team, the bettor would get the average points scored and the average points scored against while playing at home. In other words, simply gather the data of the matches that were played on their home turf, and ignore the rest.

For the Away team, the bettor would get the average points scored and the average points scored against while playing on the road. Look up the information of the matches they have had while on the road, and record the data.

Using the Information

Once the pertinent information has been gathered on the two teams in the upcoming matchup, the next steps are how to use the information in order to get a well predicted, total points scored. For the following steps, the calculations shown are not what will happen, but simply the highest chances of what might happen. Remember, no system is 100% accurate.


Average Points Scored

Average Points Scored Against

Team 1 (Home) 25.6 Points 21.3 Points
Team 2 (Away) 23.7 Points 24.8 Points

Step 1: The Minimum Score

In order to find the minimum amount that these two teams could possibly score during the match is calculated by taking the two lowest values from the table and they are simply added together.

21.3 + 23.7 = 45 Points

This means that the lowest possible score in a matchup between these two is predicted to be 45 points.

Step 2: The Maximum Score

To find the maximum score that could possibly happen in this particular matchup is found by adding the two largest values from the table.

24.8 + 25.6 = 50.4 Points

So in this matchup, the maximum amount of points that could possibly be scored is 50.4 points.

Step 3: Finding the “True Average”

What I like to refer to as the “true average” is simply put, the average amount of points that could be scored between the two teams in a specific matchup. This value cannot be used for any other matchup, as it uses specific information gathered from both teams, which after the match will no longer be useful.

To find the “true average”, the bettor needs to take the minimum and the maximum values that were found in the previous steps, add them together, and then divide by 2 in order to find the average.

(45 + 50.4) / 2 = 47.7 Points

The “true average” for this particular matchup is of 47.7 points.

Using the “True Average”

Now that the bettor has found the true average, all they have to do is compare it with the Total Points bet on their favorite sportsbook.

Bet on Under

The bettor would place their wager on the Under bet if the “true average” value is lower than the sportsbook given average.

Bet on Over

The bettor would most likely place their wager on the Over bet if the “true average” value is larger than the sportsbook given average.

Real World Application

This system is very simple and easy to use, and it should help a bettor make a smarter decision on whether to wager on Over or Under. Let’s see how it would fare against a real world example.


From the betting line we can already tell that the sportsbook average is 47 points. We want to check and see which bet we want to wager on.

Team Information

We gather the team information that will be used during the calculations.

Average Points Scored

Average Points Scored Against

Seattle Seahawks (Home) 16.0 Points 20.0 Points
Green Bay Packers (Away) 22.5 Points 20.0 Points

*Note: were using the Green Bay Packers home scores as they have not played on the road until this matchup.


Minimum Points 16 + 20 = 36 Points
Maximum Points 22.5 + 20 = 42.5 Points
“True Average” (36 + 42.5) / 2 = 39.25 Points

Comparing the Averages

The sportsbook average score is of 47 points and the “true average” value is of 39.25 points. From just this information, the bettor would most likely pick the Under bet, since the “true average” is below the sportsbook average.