Primetime NFL betting markets can be tough to beat. This is especially true when dealing with spreads and totals. Luckily we’re aware of this phenomenon, and it inspired us roll up our sleeves and dive into one of the darkest, dustiest corners of the market that practically nobody looks at. Yes, I’m referring to Punts. Here’s what I found:
@FastMoneyLabs' Best Thursday Night Football Bet - 10/6
Week 5: Colts @ Broncos
Since 2021, Denver’s defense is forcing 4.27 punts per game at home (median value 4.0), up from 3.10 on the road (median value 3.0). The difference chalks up to home field advantage, an edge they hold tonight.
Looking at 2022 only, they're forcing 4.5 punts per game overall (9th most) and 6.0 at home (tied for most). Both opponents (Houston and San Francisco) punted 5+ times in visits to Denver this season.
Enter the Colts, whose offense ranks dead last (#32) in Football Outsiders’ DVOA tables and will be without star running back Jonathan Taylor tonight, and I like Denver’s chances of forcing 5+ punts again at Mile High.
If I’m right, then the Combined Total Punts prop line for tonight’s contest is a tick too low at the 7.5 number listed at Draftkings Sportsbook right now. I fully expect 5+ from the Jonathan Taylor-less Colts; and to split the difference, we just need 3+ from a Broncos offense that is also struggling and missing firepower (star RB Javontae Williams tore his ACL on Sunday).
@FastMoneyLabs' TNF Best Bet
Icing on the cake: I pulled the data for Thursday night games dating back to 2012 (when the weekly event went live). To make the dataset more meaningful, I adjusted to exclude Week 1 and any games where teams were coming off a bye week. The intention of these adjustments is to isolate spots where teams were coming off a short week and had minimal prep time. Here’s what I found:
- Those games saw an average of 9.1 combined punts per game (median value 9.0)
- Betting these Thursday Night games to finish over 7.5 combined punts is 89-55 (61.8%) in that period
- Excluding 2020 (year with empty stadiums due to COVID), it’s 85-48 (63.9%)
This might be the least exciting bet we could possibly root for tonight, but my analysis strongly supports it. Feed me 8+ punts @ -125 odds Draftkings (bet down to -140).
The pick: Over 7.5 Total Punts (-125)
Odds via Draftkings Sportsbook
$FML Best Thursday Night Bet
IND/DEN OVER 7.5 TOTAL PUNTS @ -125
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