NFL Prime Time Games Betting Strategy & Trends

NFL prime time betting strategy

Going to bet on NFL Prime time games today or this week? Yes, there is a good betting value here. Read our short guide on the trends and strategies, check US best and legal sportsbooks.

History was made and the NFL landscape changed forever on September 21st, 1970, when the New York Jets faced the Cleveland Browns in the NFL’s first-ever Monday Night Football Game. The Browns beat Joe Namath and the Jets 31-21 in that first night game, played at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.

Monday Night Football quickly grew to be appointment television and it was clear that the NFL had hit on a real winner with this concept.

Nearly 50 years later, it’s not only as popular as ever, it’s expanded to include Thursday and Sunday NFL prime time games, and these night football games have also proven to be prime time for football bettors.

Big Handle

Prime time NFL games betting tend to be bet with more frequency than day games, simply because they are the only action available at the time they are being played. This fact of life especially holds true during Sunday and Monday night games, as frustrated bettors who may have taken a bath on the day games look to recoup their losses.

A larger handle generally means more favorable betting odds, and that can work to a bettor’s advantage. Plus, with one game to zero in on, a bettor can laser focus on specific trends to follow in that game. 

NFL Prime Time Betting with BetAmerica Sportsbook

By going to a sports gambling site like BetAmerica, you can look through the various live in-play betting options that the sportsbook has on offer on a prime time NFL games and find bets that will enable you to turn a quick profit in a matter of minutes.

A Favorite Pursuit

Prime time NFL football is a betting favorite and it also favors the favorites, especially home favorites.

According to Pro Football Reference, home teams have won 57.6 percent of all prime time NFL games straight up since 1990. That’s a sample size of over 1200 games, so going to a sportsbook like FanDuel, bet365 or William Hill and playing a moneyline wager on the home team in a night NFL makes a lot of sense.

Twenty of the 32 NFL teams show an above-.500 record at home in prime time games since 1990.

Over the past three seasons, home favorites have also been killing it in against the spread wagers during prime time NFL contests. Home favorites are 56-40-6 against the spread over that span, a 57.8 percent winning ratio. 

Thursday Throwdown

If you’re going to bet on prime time NFL games, then Thursday night is the prime time to do so. 

The home favorite edge on Thursday Night Football is incredibly dominating, creating one of the best ATS wagers in the NFL. Home favorites are 20-7-1 in Thursday prime time games since 2016. And they’ve covered the spread by an average of 13.23 points per win, so it wasn’t even close. 

When the Los Angeles Chargers went to Arrowhead Stadium and beat the 3.5-point favorite hometown Kansas City Chiefs 29-28 in the final Thursday night game of the 2018 NFL season, it ended a 10-game winning streak by home favorites on Thursday Night Football.

In Week 4 of the 2018 season, the Minnesota Vikings lost 38-31 at the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams were favored by seven points, making that game a push.

Exactly why the road team finds winning Thursday NFL prime time games to be such a chore isn’t all that difficult to explain. Thursday night games are a tough chore for any team to face. They’re going on short rest, generally just three days to prepare for the next game rather than the usual six. 

Now factor a road trip into that equation and the lack of rest and lack of prep time is magnified even further. No wonder road teams take it on the chin so frequently on Thursday nights.

Monday Night Mania

Since 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks are the kings of Monday Night Football. Both teams are 8-2 straight up for an .800 winning percentage. 

The San Francisco 49ers (93, .750), New England Patriots (8-3, .727), and Baltimore Ravens (7-3, .700) are also solid Monday Night Football moneyline plays.

On the other hand, stay away from the Washington Redskins (2-12, .143), Miami Dolphins (2-7, .222), Cincinnati Bengals (2-6, .250) and Los Angeles Rams (2-5, .286) when making a Monday Night Football moneyline wager. The Buffalo Bills (0-3) and Cleveland Browns (0-1) are winless on Monday Night Football over that span but in the case of both teams it’s a very small sample size.

In against the spread and total betting, there’s been little to choose from since 2016. Favorites and underdogs during NFL Prime time games are dead even in that time period at 24-24-3. The under holds a slight 25-24-2 advantage on the over in the past three seasons of Monday Night Football.

Sunday Sensations

Like Mondays, Sunday night prime time NFL games offer little difference between favorites and underdogs. Since 2016, the underdogs own a very slight 25-25-4 edge. 

The over carries the night when it comes to total wagering. Twenty-eight of 53 games have gone over.

As with Monday Night Football, the Seahawks are kings of Sunday night prime time games. Seattle is 5-0-1 straight up since 2016 on Sunday nights. 

Even more impressive, the Seahawks are a solid 5-1 against the spread. Three times in that span Seattle has won outright as an underdog. 

Is There A Monday Night Hangover?

A popular NFL betting trend is to wager against a team playing on Sunday following a Monday Night Football game but does this theory hold water?

Tabulating results since 1999 shows that yes indeed there is a disadvantage to the team playing on the short rest. Teams coming off a Monday Night Football game are 255-274 against the spread over that time period. That means if you were in New Jersey and you were to go to PointsBet and play a wager against the team that just played on Monday night, you’ve got a .518 chance of winning on that bet.

There are ways to increase those odds as well. Teams that are coming off a Monday Night Football loss are 101-146 ATS in their next game, a .409 winning percentage. 

On the flip side, teams that win on Monday Night Football tend to carry that momentum well into their next game. Those clubs are 154-134 ATS since 1999, winning at a .535 clip. 

Some coaches make the Monday-Sunday transition better than others. The ATS records of Andy Reid of the Chiefs (16-11, .592), Bill Belichick of the Patriots (13-9, .591) and Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints (11-7, .611) indicate that all outstanding at getting their team prepared to play on short rest.

On the other hand, you’ll want to stay away from ATS short-week wagers on Jason Garrett and Dallas Cowboys (1-6, .143) and Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers (1-5, .167). Or at least, bet on their opponents that week.


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