NFL First Half Spread Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

NFL 1st Half ATS Standings

Table Legends

  • ATS: The team’s current record against the spread in the 1st half
  • Cover %: The percentage of games covered ATS in the 1H
  • ATS +/-: Average ATS margin in the 1H
  • Home: ATS record for all home games in the 1H
  • Away: ATS record for all away games in the 1H
  • Last 4: The team’s record ATS in the 1st half over the last 4 games
  • 2021: The team’s record ATS in the 2021 season plus cover %

NFL 1st Half Betting

There is no league more popular than the NFL when it comes to sports betting.

It is believed that over $12 billion was wagered on NFL football last year in the United States alone.

Because the NFL is so popular, sportsbooks must spend a lot of time and effort ensuring their NFL odds are sharp.

If the betting public recognizes a wrong number, you can be sure that money will come flying in to bet on it.

One approach that some successful gamblers like to employ for NFL betting is to focus on more niche bets.

The traditional point spread, moneyline, and over/under lines get so much focus from the betting public that operators spend most of their time and effort making sure those numbers are extremely accurate.

A sports bettor might find an edge or jump on a trend before the betting public recognizes it if they focus on just the first half bets offered.

First-half wagers don’t get the same focus from the betting public and therefore don’t get the same attention from the sportsbooks.

Below we dive into NFL first-half betting stats and strategies to help you make better decisions next time you place an NFL first-half bet.

If you like betting on the first half of NFL, you might enjoy betting on the NFL 1st Half O/U as well.

NFL First Half Scoring Statistics

2021 First Half Individual Team Stats

Team2021 1st Half PTS2021 Total PTS / GM1st Half %
Buffalo14 / 1st half29.8 / game47%
Kansas City15.5 / 1st half29.4 / game52.7%
Tampa Bay14.8 / 1st half29.9 / game49.4%
Dallas15.7 / 1st half30.4 / game52%
Indianapolis13.8 / 1st half26.5 / game52%

Our table above gives us a great illustration of what a sports bettor can expect when betting on first-half point spreads and totals (O/U).

The five teams listed above were some of the highest-scoring teams across the league. The majority scored slightly more points in the first half compared to their second-half scoring totals.

As a bettor, we can expect most teams to score slightly more than 50% of their overall points in the first half over the course of a season.

How First Half ATS Standings Work

If you are thinking of jumping into NFL first half betting, then BestOdds.com has to be a part of your weekly routine during the NFL season.

BestOdds will provide the first half against the spread (ATS) betting stats for all 32 NFL teams each week.

The standings page will be broken down by week and individual teams, allowing a bettor to easily search for all kinds of stats and trends.

Using First Half ATS Standings For Betting

There are several ways a bettor can take advantage of the first half ATS information offered each week at BestOdds.com.

2021 First Half ATS Standings

TeamFirst Half ATS RecordCover %
Bengals10-1050%
Buccaneers7-11-139%
Dolphins10-759%
Colts12-571%

Our table above has selected five teams from 2021 and provided their first-half ATS record.

Much like full-game ATS betting, most teams will finish close to 50%.

Interesting to note that the Cincinnati Bengals made it all the way to the Super Bowl and only finished 50% ATS in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts failed to make the playoffs, but they had the best first-half ATS record in the league last year.

Using the BestOdds.com first half ATS standings page will give a bettor a great individual team perspective to try and spot developing trends.

A bettor will also be able to use the first half betting standings page by focusing on league-wide trends and weekly results.

With the understanding that the expected amount of first-half overs vs. unders is very close to 50% on any given week, what happens when unders cash three weeks in a row?

A bettor who can spot this trend can dive into it even deeper.

Is there an opportunity to jump on a market correction and focus on some first-half overs?

The BestOdds.com standings page is a great resource when handicapping your first-half bet options.

First Half ATS Betting Strategies

Be Aware Of Teams Trending

The point spread is the great equalizer in betting on the NFL.

The sportsbooks will set the spread to try and get 50% of the bets placed on each team.

The spread is trying to turn a game that has an obvious outcome into more of a coin-flip occurrence.

When flipping coins, we know that over time, 50% of the flips will land heads, and 50% will land tails.

With this knowledge, we can focus on teams who have won or lost multiple games against the first-half spread.

We can dive deeper into the analytics to see if we can figure out if it’s a random occurrence or if there is something about a particular team that impacts first-half spreads.

Spotting teams who are streaking allows us to evaluate whether there is an opportunity to bet on teams to end their streak.

The Miami Dolphins covered seven of their last eight first-half spreads last year.

Do we expect Miami to cover at a rate of 88% moving forward, or is there an opportunity to start taking the other side?

Be Aware Of League-Wide Trends

The same philosophy applies to league-wide trends.

Suppose we can spot a trend showing that the first half unders have covered 75% of the games over the last three weeks league-wide.

In that case, we can evaluate whether sportsbooks are setting inaccurate spreads or whether this was a random occurrence that might be set to end or go the other way.

Being on top of individual team and league-wide trends is a great starting point for our weekly research, giving us the opportunity to focus on whether we believe those trends will continue or are due to end.

Always Shop Around

When we compare first-half point spreads, and over/under totals from multiple sportsbooks, we expect similar numbers.

However, there will still be opportunities to get extra half points with both point spread and O/U betting.

This extra half point becomes really important with the key number 3. Obviously, the number three is significant in football because it is the value of a field goal.

There is more of a chance that a 3-point spread results in a first-half push compared to a 2-point or 4-point spread.

However, just because one sportsbook has the first-half point spread set at three doesn’t mean they all will.

There is probably an opportunity somewhere else to find it at 2.5 or 3.5.

As sports bettors, our most significant advantage over the sportsbooks is our ability to shop around and play only the Best Odds that work for us.

If we aren’t shopping around to find the numbers and moneylines that work in our best interest, we are leaving profit on the table.

Looking for more stats? Check out the NFL Second-Half Spread stats for ATS betting.

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About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.