Key Numbers In Sports Betting

Key Numbers In Sports Betting

Sportsbetting is a game of numbers, with virtually every aspect of it—be it moneylines or point spreads—dealing with figures of some sort. The importance of these numbers is more profound when we are shopping for the best online betting lines from our sportsbooks. So if all numbers are important in sports betting, what then are the key numbers in sports betting?

Generally speaking, “Key Numbers” is a term that is loosely used in sportsbetting circles to refer to the most common margins of victory in sports. Given that these key numbers tend to be cyclic and repetitive in nature, they present the most desired point spreads for bettors to use as a guide when online betting on those sports.

Here’s a Closer Look At The Key Numbers In Sports Betting


Needless to say, nearly all sportsbooks are well-aware of these key numbers in sportsbetting, no wonder they often charge a premium, commonly known as juice, on either side of these key numbers. In order to beat your bookie, you must therefore study the key numbers and know when it is in your best interest to buy points off the key numbers. Below is a brief look at some of the key numbers in sports betting and their implications in the sportsbooks odds, with special focus on American Football and basketball, which are the most popular sports across the world.

Key Numbers in Football Betting

In American Football, 3 is the most common number. For starters, the general homefield advantage for a home team that is nearly similar in strength with the visiting team is 3. A home team favored by less than 3 points is generally considered as weaker than the road team while one that is favored by 3-plus points is arguably stronger (or deemed so by the betting public).

Based on studies conducted until 2015, nearly 15 percent of football games end with a 3-point margin. This happens well-measured teams often trade points in back-and-forth tight encounters with the games eventually ending with a field goal difference. The same goes for games that are tied until late or go to overtime, which often sees teams settling for an easily-achievable game-winning field goal rather than riskily going for a touchdown.

The other key number in football betting is 7, largely based on those games where teams win by a touchdown margin. Research has found that approximately 7 percent of games end by a 7-point margin.

Besides 3 and 7, here are the other key numbers you should note when betting on football games.

  • 6 – Six is a commonly occurring number in football games, and it often comes as a result of two converted field goals at the end of a game, or an unconverted touchdown.
  • 4 – Four is a number that mostly results as the difference between a touchdown for one team and field goal for another team)
  • 10 – Resulting from the addition of a field goal and touchdown as a margin for one team.

Notably, the numbers 4, 6 and 10 reportedly occur between 5.8 and 6 percent in football games, as per research.

Key Numbers in Basketball Betting

Handicapping basketball odds using key numbers is a bit more difficult, given the frenzied nature of finishes in college basketball and the NBA. Even so, research has it that 7 points is the most common number in basketball betting. A 7-point lead means a three possession game in basketball, which makes it difficult for comebacks. Teams often resort to fouling when another team is leading by less than 7 points down the stretch, but when the lead is up to 7 points (especially under the 2-minute mark), the game is considered out of reach.

Key Numbers in Other Sports

Soccer, hockey and baseball games tend to be close and low-scoring, so finding key numbers isn’t easy. That said, you can occasionally find good value in the point spread lines—goal handicap in soccer betting, goal handicap in NHL betting or run lines in MLB betting. If you have a case of a strong team playing a weak team, then you are better off wagering on the ATS lines of such sports, which is mostly -1.5, as it offers more value than when you bet on the money line. In the same way, when you have a strong underdog, then betting on the ATS lines equally offers a safe bet, especially when you are not sure if the underdog will win the game straight up.