Betting When NFL Team Travel

By Malcolm Darnley | May 16, 2022 2:25 PM

With the understanding that Luka Doncic is a truly special human being right now and the NHL playoffs are providing some incredible first-round drama, today we are talking NFL and specifically the release of their upcoming 2022 schedule.

Most of us are very familiar with the migration patterns of the Atlantic spotted dolphin, which swims an average of 80 miles per day.

What you might not realize is that it would take our spotted dolphin friend almost 315 days to travel the same distance the Miami Dolphins football team will cover this year (25,178 miles) in their eight road games.

One would expect that after 315 consecutive days of swimming 80 miles, a spotted dolphin may not perform to the best of its ability.

However, since most sportsbooks are not yet offering odds on a dolphin’s daily performance, that is of little concern to us.

What would be interesting is to get an understanding of how the travel requirements of some land-based NFL teams will be impacted by their rigorous upcoming travel schedule.

For this information, we turn to our reliable friend, Data_Josh.

Travel vs. Team Total Wins

Specifically, we wanted to tackle the question of how teams perform in comparison to their pre-season win total when they are forced to travel great distances during the regular season.

Our hypothesis going in was that maybe there is value in blindly betting Team Total Unders for all those squads forced to travel further than most.

Data_Josh took it over from there.

The graph above shows us that our hypothesis of blindly betting against the teams who travel the most was just another urban gambling myth.

Over the last five years, the teams who have traveled the most distance have exceeded their win totals more often than not.

With only 25 games tracked, our sample size is small, but it appears there is no edge betting Team Total Unders.

In fact, of the five teams who traveled the furthest distance last year, our table below shows us four of them went Over their Win Total number.

Does our data tell us the sportsbooks are over-correcting the totals for teams forced to travel a lot or is a 25-game sample too small to draw conclusions from?

Good question. Hit me up at with the right answer, please.

Onside Kicks

Apple recently announced that after 20 years of quality service, it was discontinuing its iPod brand. Launched in 2001, there were an estimated 450 million iPod units sold.

The Detroit Lions managed to make the playoffs just 3 times and won exactly zero playoff games during the iPod’s 20-year life span.

Over the last 3 seasons, the New York Jets have won a total of 13 games, or an average of 4.3 wins per season.

You can understand our surprise when our friends at BetRivers released some numbers around the betting handle for NFL Team Totals this year.

Of all the money wagered, 31% of the handle has been placed on either the Jets or the Lions to go Over their win total.

It’s a crazy world, people. Let’s be careful out there.