NFL Handicapping Betting Basics on The Weather

NFL Handicapping Betting Basics on The Weather

Weather has a small affect in Major League Baseball games. Obviously if it’s raining, then the game won’t be played. But those early-season or late-season game in cold-weather cities can be affected by the wintry weather. However, no American sports league or betting lines are more affected by weather than NFL games. So if you don’t check the forecast for a game you might wager on, you could be throwing money away on the NFL betting lines.

A Look at the NFL Handicapping Betting Basics on The Weather


Keep in mind that NFL games are almost never postponed. Occasionally there might be a massive snowstorm that postpones a game. In late November of 2014, an AFC East game between the Jets and Bills in Buffalo could not be played as schedule on Sunday because of a huge snowstorm in the area. It was then moved to Monday night at the Ford Field dome in Detroit.

That was the second time in four years the facility hosted a neutral-site game. The last time an NFL game was moved to Ford Field unexpectedly, the 45,000 fans who did show up witnessed a bit of history. Brett Favre‘s streak of 297 regular-season starts ended that night — on Dec. 13, 2010 — when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the New York Giants 21-3. Favre was sidelined by shoulder and hand issues. That game was moved to Detroit because the Metrodome roof collapsed under snow.

You might also see an NFL game delayed because of lightning or a hurricane but those are very rare circumstances.

Nowadays, many NFL teams play in domes or in retractable roof stadiums. Those stadiums cost more to build but owners love them because it’s the best of both worlds. Fans can watch a game with the roof open on a nice day or it can be shut if weather is a factor. That said, you rarely see the roof opened for games at the Dallas Cowboys or Arizona Cardinals’ stadium, to name two.

Teams that play in domes are often built in a different way — less on size and more on speed. Think of those “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams that won the Super Bowl with a high-powered offense. Teams that play outdoors in cold-weather cities often rely more on physicality and need a strong running back in those winter days. Buffalo is one that currently comes to mind: it relies on a running game and defense.

For the most part, sportsbooks will set totals higher between two teams playing in the controlled elements of a dome than if they played outdoors in rain or snow or in the cold. Over the last decade games played under a dome averaged a little more than 46 points per game compared to around 42.5 for those played outdoors.

It’s hard for a quarterback to get a proper grip on a very cold day. The ball is like a rock. Just ask Vikings kicker Blair Walsh. In last season’s NFC wild-card game outdoors at the University of Minnesota on a bitterly cold day, Walsh, one of the league’s best kickers, pulled a 27-yard field goal wide left in the final seconds. Walsh, who hit 34 of his 39 regular-season field goal attempts in 2015, was the subject of national attention in the days following the game. He doesn’t miss that kick in a dome — and Minnesota moves into its new domed stadium this season.

But the most important factor that bettors should monitor is the wind. Teams that rely heavily on the pass will be most affected; those that pound the ball on the ground (like the current Seattle Seahawks) would have an advantage. Kickers also are more likely to miss on a very windy day. It’s very important in those games on who wins the coin toss because going in the right direction on the field in the crucial fourth quarter (assuming the wind is blowing in one direction and not swirling) is often the difference between winning and losing.