Before the National Football League and American Football League officially merged in 1970, creating the modern NFL, pro football was primarily a Sunday afternoon thing. Although the NFL has also hosted a limited number of late-season Saturday afternoon games.
League brass had been flirting with the idea of a weekly prime-time game and inked a deal with ABC to launch almost a full season of Monday Night Football games in 1970. Part football and part entertainment the Monday Night Football concept has endured, airing on ABC from 1970 to 2005 before ESPN took over. ESPN Monday Night Football games are still some of the league’s most-watched.
However, the NFL still held the majority of its games on Sunday afternoons from the 1970s through the early 2000s and it still does to this day.
ESPN did air a single prime time Sunday game each week from 1987 to 2005 when it took over the broadcast rights to Monday Night Football. NBC Sunday Night Football took over the broadcast rights to the Sunday night game after that.
Plus, the NFL Network started airing a package of games that included Thursday prime time games in 2006. Thursday Night Football, outside of Thanksgiving Day games and the season kickoff, became a part of the weekly NFL schedule in 2012.
Add it up, and while the NFL still owns Sundays, it has also become a sport that plays on three and sometimes four days a week.
All that NFL action spread throughout the week creates several unique betting opportunities and is at least one of the reasons why Americans bet on the NFL more than anything else.
Read on to see how you can take advantage of NFL betting opportunities on more than just Sunday afternoons, how weekday and primetime games have impacted NFL betting, and why you now need to consider scheduling when making your own weekly NFL picks.
Monday Night Football began airing weekly on ABC in 1970, and it has become an NFL institution over the past 50 years. The games now air on ESPN.
Monday Night Football games present a unique betting opportunity because playing on Mondays usually means teams have an extra day to rest and recover from injury.
With the advent of the internet, NFL lines are often released well ahead of even the previous week’s games. Then, the lines are adjusted almost immediately after each team plays. Then, throughout the week, injury reports and any news impacting the game adjust the odds. Additionally, betting action on the game moves the line.
There is no difference with Monday Night Football lines. Although, the prime-time scheduling of the game means all eyes are on it and there may be more props and other betting lines available for Monday Night Football games than most others.
You might also find more Monday Night Football betting specials or Monday Night Football odds boosts available at Michigan online and mobile sportsbooks when these products launch sometime during the 2020-21 NFL season.
When it comes to betting on current Monday Night Football games you should be aware that the myth surrounding Monday Night underdogs is just a myth.
Underdogs enjoyed a higher winning percentage than favorites on Monday Night Football in the 1970s and 1980s, but have come back down to Earth since then.
Some teams have historically done better than others on Monday night.
The Chicago Bears have won more Monday Night Football games since 2010 than any other team. The Bears boast a 12-5 Monday Night Football record, but the team’s 17 games are also the most played by any other team since 2010.
Over that same period, the San Francisco 49ers have gone 11-3 in 14 games, and the New Orleans Saints have gone 11-5 in 16 games, putting them in a tie for the second most Monday Night wins.
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers have put together 10-2 Monday Night Football records since 2010. The .833 Monday Night Football winning percentage both teams enjoy is the best in the league right now.
The Monday Night Football modern futility record belongs to the Washington Redskins, who are 2-13 and sporting a .133 winning percentage in 15 games since 2010.
The 2020-21 NFL season is Monday Night Football’s 51st.
ESPN plans to broadcast 17 games on 16 Monday nights throughout the season, starting with two games in Week 1. Here’s the complete 2020 Monday Night Football schedule (all games start :
Sunday Night Football began airing weekly on ESPN in 1987 and moved over to NBC in 2006. NBC Sunday Night Football is now one of the most-watched NFL games every week. The league’s flexible-scheduling system allows NBC to choose a different game for the final seven weeks of the season if one game is more intriguing or includes more playoff implications than the originally scheduled game.
These days, NFL lines get released even before the previous week’s games. Sportsbooks will adjust the lines after each team plays and when injury reports and news regarding the game are released throughout the week. Of course, the betting action on either side of the line will move the line as well. This process remains the same for all NFL games, including SNF games.
NBC Sunday Night Football is now considered the feature game of the week in the NFL, which means you may find more props and other betting lines available for SNF games than many others.
Michigan sportsbooks are also likely to offer more betting specials and odds boosts available surrounding SNF games.
Some teams fared better in prime time games than others, while some teams simply play more prime time featured games than others. Be mindful to take historical stats like these with a grain of salt. In the span of 10 years, a roster undergoes a complete overhaul, so the same players who won in prime time in 2011 are not around in 2020.
The Dallas Cowboys have both won and lost the most SNF games in history, boasting a 24-23 record in 47 games. The New England Patriots have won the second-most Sunday Night Football games in league history, just one behind the Cowboys at 23. However, the Patriots’ winning percentage is much higher, as they’ve played only 38 times on Sunday night, losing just 15 of those games.
When it comes to the winning percentage of teams that have played at least 20 SNF games, the Seattle Seahawks are best. The Seahawks have a 19-8-1 record on Sunday night and a .833 winning percentage.
Remember, the 2020 NBC Sunday Night Football schedule can change with the league’s flexible-scheduling system allowing NBC to choose a different game for the final seven weeks of the season. In the meantime, here’s what it looks like:
Thursday Night Football began airing on the NFL Network in 2006 as a part of its Run to the Playoffs package, including late-season Thursday and Saturday night games.
Thursday Night Football games have aired weekly beginning with Week 2 of the NFL season since 2012. The Week 1 NFL Kickoff Game on Thursdays and the prime time NFL on Thanksgiving Thursday games are broadcast as a part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football contract with the league.
Thursday Night Football presents some truly unique betting opportunities because teams are forced to play after a short week of practice. Injuries can have a bigger effect on Thursday games.
NFL lines are first released before the previous week’s games, and Michigan sportsbooks will adjust these lines after the team’s play and throughout the days before the Thursday Night Football games as injury reports and various news comes out.
Thursday Night Football games are considered among the most unpredictable in the league. This is because of the short week.
The primetime schedule and the fact Thursday Night Football is the only NFL game on that day may allow Michigan sportsbooks to offer more odds boosts than the average Sunday afternoon NFL game.
Betting on current Thursday Night Football games requires you to pay strict attention to injury reports and understand how the short week of practice will affect teams. The short week generally means less time to recover from injuries and more difficulty in implementing intricate offensive game plans.
Statistics show some teams have fared historically better under these conditions than others.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Dallas Cowboys all share the record for the most Thursday Night Football wins with nine. Although, the Steelers win percentage is slightly better because they’ve played one less game at 12.
The New England Patriots own Thursday Night Football’s best winning percentage at .875, boasting an 8-1 record in nine games. However, as the NFL’s prime time kings, the Seattle Seahawks are close behind with a .857 winning percentage and a 6-2 record in eight games.
Of the teams that have played at least 10 Thursday Night Football games, the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers share the worst winning percentage at .333. The Rams are 3-7 on Thursday night and the Panthers are 4-8. Those eight losses are the most of any NFL team on Thursday night.
Here’s a look at the Thursday Night Football schedule for the upcoming 2020-21 NFL Season:
The NFL plans to host more Saturday games than ever in 2020.
The 2020 NFL schedule includes two possible Saturday triple-headers with the option to reduce these to double-headers if there aren’t enough big games.
The multi-game Saturdays are scheduled for Weeks 15 and 16 with a plan to flex in the best possible games. At least two games will be played on each of Saturday. The three-time slots include 1 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. ET and 8:15 p.m. ET. The 1 p.m. ET time slot will be dropped if the league can’t find three compelling enough games.
All games will air on the NFL Network, except one streaming exclusively on Amazon and over-the-air TV in each team’s markets.
The NFL will be picking two or three games for Saturday, Dec. 19 from the following five scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 20:
The NFL will also be picking two or three games for Saturday, Dec. 26 from the following five scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 27:
The NFL says it will pick the games at least four weeks ahead of time, which would mean sometime in mid-November.
This is the 49th time in 50 years the NFL has held at least one Saturday game. The league traditionally schedules Saturday games once the college football regular season is over.
The entire NFL schedule is moved to Saturday when Christmas lands on a Sunday. However, if six Saturday games are played in 2020 it will mark the most NFL Saturday games in over a decade.
Teams playing on Saturday will likely have to do so with one less day of practice than usual. A short week usually means less time to recover from injuries and more difficulty in implementing intricate offensive game plans. However, the loss of a single day of practice will not have the same impact as the loss of several days teams must endure playing Thursday games.
Betting on these Saturday games will require you to pay a little more attention to injury reports during the week. Michigan sportsbooks may also run Saturday NFL betting specials including odds boosts, props, and single-day parlays for these games, giving you more betting options.
Lines should be released ahead of the previous week’s action and adjusted after the previous week’s games and following any injury reports or news.
Despite the expansion into prime time on Monday and Thursday, the NFL still owns Sundays, hosting up to 13 Sunday games every week throughout the regular season.
There’s so much to bet on throughout the average NFL Sunday, it remains the best day of the week to bet football.
Since one of the games is held on Sunday night each week gives you the chance to bet parlays with the Sunday Night Football game as the final leg. This can mean a chance to hedge your bet, which is betting the other side of the final leg of a winning parlay to guarantee yourself a profit.
Single-day Sunday NFL multi-game parlays can offer some of the largest payouts you’ll find at Michigan sportsbooks, but they are difficult to win.
A scientific study from 2018 claims most NFL teams perform better during prime-time games.
The study suggested players are less likely to get injured, turn the ball over, and make mental errors in night games as opposed to afternoon games because they are more alert at night.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claimed the difference was because higher body clock or circadian-regulated alertness.
While the results of the study won’t exactly tell who to bet on in the Sept. 13, 2020, NBC Sunday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, it suggests both teams will be at their best under the Sunday night lights. It is up to you to decide if a peak Dallas Cowboys team will be better than a peak Los Angeles Rams.
You can take advantage of scheduling to help you predict the outcome of NFL games and bet accordingly to find success.
The key is to perform a good amount of research ahead of time and look for obvious edges.
Watch the previous week’s games for the teams on a short week playing on Thursday Night Football. Those games will give you a good idea of what kind of shape a team will be in with just a few days of practice and rest heading into Thursday’s game.
Watch these games and use what you see to book bets on the early lines before oddsmakers have had the chance to react to injury reports and other news.