NFL Second-Half Totals (O/U) Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

The 1987-88 Super Bowl was played between Washington and the Denver Broncos.

The game is most remembered for Doug Williams throwing four touchdown passes in the second quarter and Washington scoring 35 points in those 15 minutes of football.

The teams combined to score 45 first-half points, with Washington leading 35-10 at the break.

Second-half O/U bettors might not remember the five second-quarter Washington touchdowns, but instead that both teams combined to score only seven points in the second half.

That means bettors with a second-half Under bet easily cashed their tickets, despite 52 total points being scored in the game.

Betting on second-half totals is obviously very similar to betting on full-game totals, but there is a difference.

If you are looking for an edge and some insights on how to effectively bet NFL second-half totals, we have you covered below.

What Is NFL Second-Half Totals (O/U) Betting?

Most of us are already very familiar with betting on NFL totals.

Sportsbooks will set a number for the combined score of a game. Whether the combined score is Over or Under the number set by oddsmakers determines who wins the bet.

When it comes to betting on NFL second-half totals, the method is the same, but the number assigned by the sportsbook will be different.

If sportsbooks set a total of 44 points for a full game, a bettor can expect the second-half total to be close to 22 points, which is obviously half the full game number.

However, there is a good chance the number won’t be exactly 22 points.

2022 NFL Week 7 Odds:

MatchupFull Game O/U1st Half O/U2nd Half O/U
Saints vs. CardinalsO/U 43.5O/U 21O/U 21.5
Browns vs. RavensO/U 45.5O/U 22O/U 22.5
Falcons vs. BengalsO/U 47O/U 23O/U 23.5

Our table above is an excellent example of what you can expect the second-half total to be, based of the O/U for the complete game.

The fact that the second half is consistently higher than the first-half total tells us that operators believe the second half is slightly higher scoring than the first.

NFL Second-Half O/U Betting Odds

Now that we understand the second-half O/U total will be somewhat higher than 50% of the complete game total, we need to look at how the moneyline associated with those odds impacts our decisions.

Entire Game O/U Example

  • New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Total 43.5
  • Over 43.5 | -115
  • Under 43.5 | -105

In our example above, we can see the total set for the Patriots vs. Buccaneers game is 43.5.

However, when we look at the moneylines associated with each side of the bet, we can see that our profit return would be greater if we bet the Under.

By setting a moneyline of -115 for the Over, oddsmakers have declared a favorite and an underdog for this bet.

In our example above, the Over (-115) is the favorite, and the Under (-105) is the underdog.

Whether you are betting full-game total or second-half total, it is not uncommon to see one side more juiced than the other.

It is important to be aware of the moneyline odds associated with second-half O/U bets, as they impact our ROI and might impact our strategy.

What Is The NFL Second-Half O/U Standings Page?

When it comes to finding relevant stats and developing trends for NFL second-half totals betting, there are not many great resources dedicated to this specific bet until now.

BestOdds.com will update the NFL second-half O/U standings page each week so a bettor can see individual second-half results for all 32 NFL teams.

Suppose you are interested in second-half totals betting and enjoy doing some research and analysis before deciding on your bets.

In that case, you will want to ensure the BestOdds.com standings page is a regular destination for you during the entire NFL season.

How To Use the NFL 2nd Half Totals Standings For Betting

The first thing we can do with our second-half totals standings page is analyze results for each individual team we are interested in betting on or against.

This isn’t to say that if the Miami Dolphins have gone Over their second-half total four games in a row, then we must bet the Dolphins to go Over again.

But it is to say that knowing Miami is on a four-game Over streak is definitely helpful information.

Now we can dig into why that is. Are Tua, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle tearing apart NFL secondaries, or did the Dolphins benefit from some defensive and special teams touchdowns?

The betting public will most likely know the Dolphins are scoring points in the second half, but they won’t know how or why.

The longer a streak plays out, the more the betting public will jump on it.

Knowing when to take the other side of a streak is a skill set that is tough to master.

The NFL second-half standings page also allows us to analyze league-wide trends as they develop.

Each week, how many second-half totals go Over or Under the number?

What happens after outlier weeks where one side wins a large percentage of the games? Can we expect a market correction?

Should we be looking at taking a lot of second-half Unders if the Overs go 12-4 in Week 3?

NFL Second-Half O/U Betting Strategies

Find The Signal Through The Noise

As sports bettors, many of us enjoy the handicapping and analysis aspect of making a wager almost as much as watching it play out.

However, one of the skill sets that can be important for bettors of all levels is separating good information from bad.

An example of “bad” information could be something that tells us how a franchise has performed in a specific situation over the last 30 years.

Let’s pretend the Pittsburgh Steelers have been great on Monday Night Football for 30+ years.

Let’s pretend that is a sample size of 22 games, with a winning record of 17-5 on MNF.

Are we to assume that games played when Neil O’Donnell, Kordell Stewart, and Tommy Maddox were starting QBs are somehow relevant to how this year’s Steelers team will perform?

Maybe that stat isn’t quite as helpful as it might first appear.

As a bettor, developing reliable information sources and determining which trends and stats are relevant and applicable compared to which stats should be considered throwaway information is key.

There are many great resources on the internet to help guide us and provide relevant information on a particular game or sport.

There are also a lot of misinformed ones as well.

Create A Game Script

Betting on second-half totals is the same mentality as betting on full-game totals, in the sense that a bettor needs to develop a script of how they believe the game will play out.

There are many reasons why a second half can go Under the total.

  • An offense struggles with execution and can’t score points
  • A defense plays exceptionally well and outperforms expectations
  • Weather
  • Missed field goals and extra points
  • Penalties, Injuries, poor officiating

We know Unders have traditionally occurred at slightly above 50% of the time.

As a bettor, you should be able to visualize why when taking a second-half over or under the total. 

Of course, it can be multiple reasons.

A potential habit to develop could look something like this:

  • Create your game script and visualize how you expect the game to play out.
  • Make your appropriate bet based on the odds provided in combination with your game script.
  • Document your bet information AND document your game script.
  • Watch the Game!
  • Review the game outcome and how the game actually played out compared to your projections. Make notes of where you were right and where you were wrong.
  • Repeat.

The data you collect on your betting history and your theories behind the bets are extremely valuable.

One of the reasons we like to preach tracking and analyzing all our bets is that we can visually see what we did right and wrong.

Many bettors believe tracking bets are done only to monitor your overall performance or profitability.

But tracking your betting history and game scripts is a great way to educate ourselves and make better decisions.

Always Shop Around

There are many reasons why we enjoy making a sports bet. For some, it adds a little more drama while watching your hometown team take on their next opponent.

For others, it’s a hobby, where the goal is to go head to head with the sportsbooks and see if we can somehow end up ahead.

When we start sports betting, most of us believe our superior sports knowledge will be enough to overcome the books.

In time we learn there is value in understanding things like bankroll management and line shopping, along with sports knowledge.

MatchupSportsbook 1Potential Profit
Falcons vs. BengalsOver 47 | -115$86.96
Steelers vs. DolphinsOver 45.5 | -118$84.75
Seahawks vs. ChargersOver 50 | -115$86.96
Total $258.67

Above is a table with three Week 7 NFL Over bets and the profit each of them would pay out for a $100 bettor.

Below is a table that has the exact same Week 7 Over bets, but because we were line shopping, we found them at slightly better odds.

MatchupSportsbook 2Potential Profit
Falcons vs. BengalsOver 47 | -107$93.46
Steelers vs. DolphinsOver 47 | -105$95.24
Seahawks vs. ChargersOver 47 | -107$93.46
Total $282.16

We can see that by line shopping and winning three bets, we made an extra $23.49 in profit.

With the expanded 18-week regular season and the playoffs, there are more than 20+ weeks to bet on NFL football.

It doesn’t take long to look over your NFL betting history and see over 100 bets or more during a single season.

Suddenly, our additional $23 in profit from our first three winning bets becomes a lot larger than a number when we recognize how quickly bet totals add up over a season.

There is no more significant edge when going head-to-head with sportsbooks than the ability to shop around and find your Best Odds.

Looking for more stats? Check out the NFL First-Half Totals (O/U) stats for betting.

Latest update: 3 hours ago
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About the author

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