Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends – bet percentages and money percentages – is vital to making intelligent sports wagers. This is the place you’ll find these trends each week for the 2023-24 NFL season. We will also be tracking how the public’s picks do all season—you can see how they fared last year against the spread below.
NFL public betting splits above are updated hourly; the data presented in the public betting chart is an average of the NFL public bets and NFL public money from multiple North American and global sportsbooks.
Here is what we’re seeing from the money bet on Super Bowl 58 between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs:
|Public’s Record Against the Spread
The public got a win in the first game of the season, as they sided with the Lions, who were getting four points. Detroit won the game outright and the public is off to a 1-0 start against the spread to the 2023-24 NFL season. They continued their heater into Sunday, where the public went a scorching 12-2 against the spread. The public would lose their MNF bet on the Bills, but still finish the week a red hot 13-3 against the spread.
Sadly, Week 2 was a losing week for the public, going 6-7-3 against the spread.
Here is how the public has fared against the spread in games where more than 75% of the money is on one side (a pick they are very confident in) at closing:
Here are some quick stats looking back to the public’s 2022-23 record against the spread:
Online sports betting sites are very good at bookkeeping. Every single bet they take from a customer is recorded and stored in their system. Using all these financial transactions, we can sew together NFL betting percentages based off the total number of bets placed and total amount of money bet on any given game, whether it be the moneyline, spread, or total. This data can help inform your decisions on any NFL betting apps you’re wagering with.
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In my opinion, the money percentage is the more important of the two NFL public betting percentages. You’ll often hear money percentages referred to as the “% of handle”. First off, the betting handle is simply the total amount of money wagered on an event, often broken down by bet type.
The money percentage simply pools all the money wagered on any game together, first sorting it by the type of bet (moneyline, against the spread, or over/under), and then breaks down what percentage of the handle is bet on each side.
The money percentage (obviously) tells you which side the money is on, and can give you a better picture of who the sharper bettors are siding with.
Though I don’t value betting percentages as much as money percentages, they still vital in helping to paint the full picture of NFL public betting. Bet percentages are frequently referred to as “% of tickets” or “% of bets”. Tickets are just a term used for all the bets placed – when you make a bet, a ticket is created.
To get the bet percentage, you look at all the bets placed (regardless of the amount of money risked on each one), again, sorting first by the type of bet, and then look at the percentage of tickets on each side of the game.
This is a more square way to look at NFL betting trends, since a $1 throw-away bet holds the same weight as a $1,000+ play.
As mentioned, ticket percentage does not consider the amount risked on each ticket, and just counts each bet placed. If we compare the bet percentage and money percentage of the same team (for the same bet type), you’ll know something is up if they are not relatively similar.
For example, if Team A has 78% of the tickets bet against the spread, but only has 50% of the money, we now know the bets being placed on Team A are quite small – or the bets being placed on Team B are quite large.
A large difference between a team’s bet and money percentages can help signal sharp action. In order to calculate this, just subtract their bet percentage from their money percentage. If the result is a positive number, you’ve got larger bets being placed on this team. If the result is a negative number, you’ve got larger bets being placed on the other team.
This is not 100% accurate in signaling sharp action, however. It does provide an early sign, but you’d need to know the total handle bet on the game to properly sniff out sharp action. For example, if a game only has $1,000 wagered on it, you can throw out the idea of sharp action.
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The answer changes from season to season. In 2021, betting against the public resulted in a winning record (140-137-4) but because of the juice (usually -110) it was not profitable. With a standard -110 vig, bettors need to win 52.4% of their wagers to make a profit. Last year, betting against the public only resulted in a 50.5% win rate.
Over the past ten seasons, favorites have only covered 48.2% of the time.
Looking for something to follow blindly? SBD's NFL score predictor is 51-36-3 ATS all-time and is up 23.38 units on upset picks, i.e. when it predicts the betting underdog will win straight-up. To see its projections, go to SBD's NFL odds page, find the matchup you're interested in, and click FULL GAME STATS. The ensuing page will display the predicted score.