When considering betting on point spreads and point totals, it may be difficult to picture what is being projected. A useful tool to help clear the air is implied point totals, or simply the projected final score.
For many, looking at a scoreboard (or a projected one) can help contextualize the spread and over/under totals. This will ultimately help you make more informed bets.
You can calculate implied point totals with simple math using the over/under and point spread set by sportsbooks. Here, we’ll teach you how.
Conference Championship Implied Point Totals
|Team||Implied Team Total||Opponent||Location||Spread||Over/Under|
|Chiefs||31||Bengals||Kansas City||Chiefs -7||54.5|
|Bengals||24||Chiefs||Kansas City||Bengals +7||54.5|
Conference Title Game Point Spreads
How to calculate implied point totals
To figure these, you’re going to need to apply some math, but don’t sweat – it’s simple.
First, we’ll need to take the projected point total (over/under); for example, the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 showdown has an over/under set at 52.5 points. Take the total and divide it in half. This puts our current implied score at 26.25-26.25.
Next, consider the spread. The Chiefs are favored by six points in this matchup, implying that they will beat the Browns by six points in Week 1. Divide the point spread in half, to give you three points.
Take the halved point spread and add that number to the favored team (Chiefs) and subtract that number from the underdog (Browns). The implied score for this Week 1 matchup is Chiefs 29.25, Browns 23.25.
Of course the NFL doesn’t operate in fractions, so we can view this as a cleaner 29-23 implied score.
How to apply the numbers
Once you have your implied point totals, you can better evaluate point spread and point totals given by sportsbooks. Many sports handicappers work in reverse, starting by setting a point total for each team based on their metrics. If handicapping isn’t your thing, no worries– you can still apply implied point totals to your betting strategy.
For example, take the Ravens-Raiders odds from Week 1:
- Ravens -4.5 (O 50.5)
- Raiders +45. (U 50.5)
By using the above steps, we get an implied score of Ravens 27.5, Raiders 23. The Ravens finished 11-7 against the spread a season ago and 7-11 against the point total (due in part to a robust defense). If a bettor believes Baltimore can hold Las Vegas to under 23 points or is capable of scoring 28 points or more, then it will lead them to take the Ravens -4.5 (-110).
Similarly, if a bettor sees the Ravens capable of scoring 28 or more points and believes the Raiders can score 23 or more points, then they would bet the over.
This technique can be applied to all sports using the same process. However, the implied total is best-suited for football and basketball, since the point spread and point totals tend to vary more than baseball, hockey, and soccer.
DFS And Fantasy Football Application
When considering Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) plays, implied totals is a great tool. Win or lose, teams that score lots of points have valuable players for DFS, including many quarterback-receiver “stacks” that may give players an advantage.
For example, the Colts and Seahawks Week 1 matchup has an over/under of 52 points and an implied score of Colts 27.25, Seahawks 24.75. Even though Seattle is projected to lose, they have the 11th-most implied points for the week (highest among underdogs).
With a high implied point total, DFS players should look to Russell Wilson as a possible target and stack with leading receiver D.K. Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.
Implied point totals can also be used when evaluating price and value on players. For example, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert may come with a high DFS price tag Week 1 against Washington thanks to his impressive rookie season. However, the Chargers have just a 22.75 implied point total– 18th on the week. With just a maximum of three implied touchdowns scored, Herbert may be worth fading.
The same can go in reverse: Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan may come at a bargain after struggling in 2020. However, their teams are projected for 27.25 (fifth) and 25.75 points (ninth), respectively, for Week 1.
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