How to win with NFL betting splits:

The NFL is king when it comes to sports betting. No other league comes close in terms of public interest, viewership, and most of all, tickets and handle generated. The vast majority of bettors who wager on the NFL are considered “public” bettors, which means they are largely making picks based on gut instinct and favoritism. Most public bettors will gravitate toward favorites and overs, as they prefer to bet on “good” teams and root for high-scoring games littered with big plays and touchdowns. In the end, this is a losing strategy because it plays right into the sportsbooks’ hands, who set razor-sharp lines that are hard to beat and prey upon public bias.

One of the best ways to improve your NFL betting results is to leave your bias at the door and instead make wagers based on cold, hard data. This means learning how to study and analyze the betting market so that you can make data-driven bets based on your head and not your heart.


Top NFL Resources:

At VSiN, our No. 1 goal is to help bettors make the smartest, most informed bet possible. One of our most popular resources, and most viewed page on our website, is our VSiN Betting Splits, which come from DraftKings and are updated every five minutes. 

If you already incorporate betting splits into your handicapping, consider this a refresher. If you are totally new to Betting Splits, here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting the NFL.

Go Contrarian

It’s no secret that the NFL is the most heavily bet public sport. It’s also no secret that the sportsbooks generate millions in revenue every football season because, in the end, the public loses more often than they win. If betting the NFL were easy, Average Joes would become millionaires, quit their day jobs and bet full time. But that just isn’t the case. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. In the end, betting with the masses is a losing endeavor. Instead of being with the herd, savvy, data-driven bettors look to go against the grain and back the unpopular side. In doing so, they can bet against public bias and capitalize on undervalued lines. 

The easiest way to go contrarian using VSiN Betting Splits is to focus on the “bets” column listed next to the spread. This refers to the percentage of spread bets each team is receiving. Because spread bets are the most common bet type in the NFL, you want to focus on the spread tickets specifically because that is where the most public bias exists. 

Next, set a line of demarcation of 65/35. This means focusing on games in which one side is receiving 65% of spread bets or more and the other side is receiving 35% of spread bets or less. The team getting 65% or more would be considered the “public” side (red flag) while the team getting 35% or less would be the “contrarian” side. You would then want to bet on the unpopular teams getting 35% or less. 

In the screenshot shown, here would be the top contrarian plays: 

Chiefs -3 (only 24% of bets)
Packers +1.5 (only 24%)
Colts +1.5 (only 17%)
Falcons -2.5 (only 31%)

Keep in mind that going contrarian is even more profitable in primetime games due to the increased public participation and higher ticket counts. This means leaning on teams getting less than 35% of tickets on Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football.

Bet vs. Dollar Discrepancies

Going contrarian is a foundational pillar for data-driven bettors as it assures you are betting against the public and placing yourself on the side of the house, who always wins. However, it’s only one piece of the puzzle when trying to place a smart wager. The second ingredient is making sure you are also on the sharp side, which means you are betting with the wiseguys who win at a high rate, not against them. One of the easiest ways to look for sharp action is to compare the percentage of bets to the percentage of dollars (or handle). The goal is to identify teams who are receiving more money than bets (ideally at least 10% or more). This means that they are taking in a larger share of money, which is likely to come from wiseguys with deeper pockets. 

Once again, focus solely on the spread “bets” and “handle” column, as the spread is the most popular bet type. If a team is receiving 30% of spread bets, but 50% of the handle, that signals smart money in their favor. However, if a team is receiving 50% of bets, but only 30% of the handle, that is a red flag which means they are likely generating mostly public support.

Remember this phrase: “Low bets, higher dollars.” 

In the screenshot shown, here would be the top bet vs dollar discrepancy plays:

Cardinals +7 (only 54% bets but 85% money)
Giants -1 (only 50% bets but 93% money)

Line Movement

The beauty of bet splits is that they allow bettors to quickly identify where the public is as well as where the sharp action is leaning. However, bet splits shouldn’t be used in a vacuum. The last piece of the bet split puzzle is to study the line movement for each particular game and see how it lines up with the bet split data. Simply put, the bet splits show the current snapshot of the game and how it’s being bet in the market. But you need to be aware of how the line opened and how it moved to better understand the overall story. Has the line risen, fallen or stayed the same? This is critical information that can better inform your decision-making process. 

In order to pull up the line history for each game, simply click the “Expanded Splits” tab in the top right corner of the VSiN NFL Betting Splits page. Then click “History” in the bottom left corner of any particular game. It will then open up another box that shows a snapshot of the betting market from beginning to middle to end. The key is scrolling down to the very bottom and isolating where the line opened at. Then you can quickly see which direction it is moving by comparing the opener to the current odds. 

One of the best ways to identify sharp action is through Reverse Line Movement (RLM), which is when the betting line moves away from the popular side and toward the unpopular side. To identify RLM, look for games where the line is moving away from the team getting a majority of bets and toward the team getting the minority of bets. If that team is also receiving a “low bets, higher dollars” bet split, even better.

For example, maybe a team is receiving 30% of spread bets but 60% of spread dollars and has moved from +7.5 to 7. Or maybe a team is getting 35% of bets but 50% of money has moved from -3.5 to -4. The ultimate goal is for the line to be moving in the direction of the team getting low bets and higher dollars. 

Lastly: when it comes to bet splits, take the early numbers with a grain of salt, as they are subject to change. The numbers you see on a Tuesday could be vastly different by the time you get to Sunday, especially since the public tends to bet later in the week anyway. As a result, lean on the percentages when they are the strongest, which is closer to game day. 

For more information on how to read the betting market and make smart data-driven bets, stay tuned right here at