NFL Consensus Numbers: Who is the Public Betting On?

You’ve heard of the terms “sharp” and “square” before for sure if you’re a seasoned bettor. The best way to tell whether you’re making a sharp play or a square play every week in the NFL is to analyze the NFL public consensus percentages.


Every week at BetVega and various other sites, we have a listing of all of the games on the docket and what percentage of total bets are coming in on both sides of the game. Just because you see that one team has a massive percentage of the bets though, doesn’t mean that you can just assume that that is the square side, though it is often a good indication.

You also have to consider how early in the week it is, as well as what has happened to the betting lines and whether it makes sense for those line moves. Early on in the week in the NFL, it doesn’t take much in the way of big bets to move the betting lines. This is the same when considering how quickly Super Bowl Odds move, then normally stay flat leading up to the game.On top of that, line moves often fall in place with what we should be seeing based on the algo that all oddsmakers work from.

If a team moves from -2 to -3, you would think that over 60 percent of the bets would be on one side of the game. That’s what we see quite often, especially early in the week before lines tend to settle down a bit and move far less often.

There are also certain circumstances where lines move and you have to be aware that they might not mean as much as it seems like. Especially in the NFL, when a team goes from -6.5 to -7, it’s a big time move. It’s not such a big move to go from +9 to +7.5. Sometimes, sportsbooks will get a little cute and move a game from say, -3 (-120) to -3.5 (+105). You would think that the NFL Consensus numbers would insinuate that a line move was warranted. Instead, there really isn’t all that much of a line move in actuality, and what we’re getting is a bit of a false line move that amounts to be virtually nothing.

That said, any time you see a line that isn’t moving or is moving in the opposite direction of what the NFL consensus numbers suggest, you know that a play is one to watch out for.

We see this all the time, especially with short road favorites or with big underdogs who have been playing terrible football. Teams that are big dogs beyond two touchdowns are often only garnering 30 percent of the betting action. However, when we see the line move from, say +16.5 to +15 and yet all of that betting is on the favored side, you know that the underdogs are sharp.

Keep in mind that you’ll see favored teams as sharp teams at times, but it isn’t all that often. Usually, it occurs with small favorites who are at home and playing against what is perceived to be a better team.

NFL public betting numbers are always your friend, as you know that you can figure out who the sharps and big bettors are betting on just by looking at the movement.