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.
NFL Implied Point Totals
|Team||Implied Team Total||Opponent||H/A||Spread||Total|
NFL 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 Miami Dolphins at LA Chargers Week 1 showdown has an over/under set at 51 points. Take the total and divide it in half. This puts our current implied score at 25.5-25.5.
Next, consider the spread. The Chargers are favored by 3 points in this matchup, implying that they will beat the Dolphins in Week 1. Divide the point spread in half, to give you 1.5 points.
Take the halved point spread and add that number to the favored team (Chargers) and subtract that number from the underdog (Dolphins). The implied score for this Week 1 matchup is Chargers 27, Dolphins 24.
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 Monday Night Football odds from Week 1:
- Bills -2.5 (O 46)
- Jets +2.5 (U 46)
By using the above steps, we get an implied score of Bills 24.25, Jets 21.75. Of course, NFL scores don’t operate in fractions, so we can better express this as Bills 24, Jets 22. If a bettor believes Buffalo can hold New York to under 22 points or is capable of scoring 25 points or more, then it will lead them to take the Bills -2.5 (-110).
Similarly, if a bettor sees the Bills capable of scoring 24 or more points and believes the Jets can score 22 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 are 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 Bengals and Browns Week 1 matchup has an over/under of 47.5 points and an implied score of Bengals 25, Browns 22.5. Even though Cleveland is projected to lose, they have the 14th-most implied points for the week, one of the higher numbers among the underdogs.
With a decent implied point total, DFS players can look to Deshaun Watson as a possible sneaky target and stack with leading receiver Amari Cooper.
Implied point totals can also be used when evaluating price and value on players. For example, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts may come with a high DFS price tag Week 1 against New England thanks to his massive rushing touchdown total in 2022. However, the Eagles have just a 24 implied point total – tied for eighth. With just a maximum of three implied touchdowns scored, Hurts may be worth fading if you think he’ll be popular.
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