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Whether the weather matters for betting on Football



We all love winter football. The snow dropping heavily, the yard markers completely covered and the players breath blowing visibly in the air. The colder the weather, the tougher the players seem, and the games simply take on a different feel.


But how does the weather impact NFL games, and can we use this to help improve our bets?


With the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend, one common refrain one will hear is how will the cold weather negatively impact the warm weather 49ers?


We wanted to know if the weather truly does impact the outcome of football games, and if yes, does it affect different teams more than others?


What to analyze?


When analyzing the weather’s possible impact on an NFL game, one must look at temperature, wind, and precipitation.


The most discussed element is the temperature. If the game is in a dome or in sunny 60 degree weather, we would not expect the weather to have any impact at all. Yet, what if the game is played in freezing temperatures or the blistering heat?


The sportsbooks recognize that games in colder temperatures are likely to be lower scoring. The average total score lines for games in under 40 degrees is 43.8, while the average line for games with a temperature over 65 degrees is 46.5.


Nonetheless, even with the sportsbooks adjusting cold weather game’s (below 40) total score lines downwards, games in cold weather have a 15% greater chance to go under the points total than games in warm weather (65+ degrees). So, even though Vegas is adjusting these lines, they are slightly underadjusting them for cooler temperatures.


Do warm weather teams struggle in the cold weather?


We have all heard it before. Warm weather teams will struggle when they travel into the cold tundras of Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.


We know games in the cold do produce slightly lower scoring outputs, is this because the visiting teams struggle to adjust?


It turns out this is not only false, but warm weather teams score more points per game than cold-weather teams do, when they play in the cold on the road. Over the past 4 seasons, warm weather teams (list below) have scored 20.3 points per game in less than 40 degrees, while cold weather teams in less than 40 degrees on the road have only scored 17.6 points per game!


Clearly, warm weather teams do not struggle to go into cold weather games and adjust to the elements. Similarly, cold weather teams are not at a disadvantage while playing in warm weather (over 65 degrees). Cold weather teams actually outscore wam weather teams by .4 points in road games above 65 degrees.


Does wind have a large impact on NFL games? Wind absolutely has an impact on NFL scoring, but does not generally decimate a team’s chances of putting up points. Our statistical analysis of the impact that various elements of the weather have on scoring, shows that for each increase of a mile an hour of wind, the average team score will decrease by .33 points. Therefore, if the wind forecast for a game moves from an average of 5 to 10 MPH, one should estimate that each team will score 1.65 fewer points. Does Rain have a large impact on NFL games? Measuring rain’s impact on games can be difficult. Due to the fluctuation of rain during a game, the type of surface it is played on, and the exact amount/force of the rain throughout the game, narrowing down how a particular rainy day will impact a game takes alot of precision. However, it is clear that rain does have a large impact on overall scoring, lowering a team’s average point totals by 2-3 points. This is merely an average, so when taking rain into account, it is vital to look at the amount of rain predicted, and analyze from there. A light drizzle is unlikely itself to largely impact a game, but heavy storms could absolutely move the scoring downwards. Main takeaways Although presumed common knowledge is that when teams travel into weather they are not used to they will struggle, this is simply not the case. Therefore, look for lines that may underrate away teams playing out of their usual elements.

Further, although the sportsbooks do adjust game totals down due to inclement weather, there still seems to be a slight under adjustment here, leaving room to bet on the unders in many of these inclement weather games.


*Teams were divided into warm and cold weather locations based on average temperatures in November and December in their respective cities


**The Arizona Cardinals home stadium (State Farm Stadium), recently added a retractable roof


Tampa Bay

Warm

Miami

Warm

Jacksonville

Warm

San Francisco

Warm

Carolina

Warm

Seattle

Warm

Arizona

Warm

Los Angeles Chargers

Dome

Los Angeles Rams

Dome

Indianapolis

Dome

Dallas

Dome

Atlanta

Dome

Detroit

Dome

Las Vegas

Dome

New Orleans

Dome

Houston

Dome

Minnesota

Dome

Buffalo

Cold

Denver

Cold

Kansas City

Cold

Philadelphia

Cold

Green Bay

Cold

New England

Cold

Baltimore

Cold

Pittsburgh

Cold

Tennessee

Cold

Cincinnati

Cold

Washington

Cold

Chicago

Cold

Cleveland

Cold

New York Giants

Cold

New York Jets

Cold




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