The Effects of Weather on Sports Betting

Extreme weather conditions will naturally affect your sports betting decisions and football games are no exception. Yet bettors often don’t bother considering the effects. In the NFL for example, point spreads and over / under lines rarely adjust for sudden changes in weather conditions.

What do you think happens in an NFL game that is played in poor weather conditions?

The general consensus amongst fans, commentators, even bookies and some handicappers, is that in cases of extreme weather and deteriorating conditions, the offense is helped more than the defence.

It’s not an illogical assumption. In wet, slippery, muddy conditions – the thinking is that defenses have to react to offenses and are therefore placed at a disadvantage. Yet this is not borne out by the facts.

If you look at the scores for games played in poor conditions, they are generally lower scoring than in fair weather match ups. If the offense really had an advantage in these scenarios, then scores in these games should be higher not lower. Yet if you look back through the stats, this is not the case.

Perhaps offenses are not as efficient in poor conditions as they would be in good conditions and it therefore makes it easier for defences to deal with the offensive threat.

Wind alone can affect a game more than you think, even without rain, snow and a deteriorating playing surface.


sports betting and weather

Wind would appear to have little effect on points totals below 15 mph – with aggregate totals staying constant at around 40 points per game. At 20 mph plus, things change dramatically, showing a definite downward trend. 

Weather can also be a great ‘leveller’ in any sport. In poor weather conditions, ‘unders’ are hit more often (assuming not too much of a spread adjustment has already taken place). Also, underdogs are reckoned to have a better chance because the talents of a superior team are often nullified.

Superior receivers can no longer jink around defenders without slipping over, QB’s find it harder to dance their way out of trouble. The game becomes simplified, slower, easier in some ways for the players to read. This can of course affect all major sports betting markets, ‘sides’,  ‘point spreads’ as well as ‘totals’.

The effect on teams can be regional too. Take a team from the sunny southern states coming up against teams from the colder states on their home turf. Or vice versa.

In extremely hot conditions, it can be very tough on players’ energy levels. It’s especially hard for defences. Offenses can pick and choose their attacking plays and even leave players out or bench them for a rest. Defences don’t have those luxuries and if an astute coach or QB can spot individuals in the Defence who are ‘gassing’ then they can target that player. Big men often tire in the heat.


What about Soccer?

How do weather conditions affect the biggest sport in the world?

Just like in the NFL, weather can have a dramatic effect. If you are a ‘long ball’ team… ‘route one’… that team may well struggle in windy conditions. Equally a team that relies on its wing backs to consistently put crosses into the box, might also find it difficult.

Rain does suit teams that pass the ball well. It’s why you see the sprinklers on pre-match in many top flight matches around the world. Yet too much rain causes pitches to become water logged.. favouring the underdog more.

Barcelona love to play when the ball is skimming off the playing surface, which is why Jose Mourinho, knowing that his Real Madrid side might be at a disadvantage, famously did not water pre-match when Barcelona came to visit!

In warm, dry or even hot conditions, however, there does not appear to be a marked difference in the number of goals going in overall, when compared to colder wet conditions.

Of course there are bigger factors than the weather to consider when making your bets, however, it’s still worth checking the weather reports before making any betting decision.

For my own sports betting, I like to pay particular attention to the weather in relation to the over / under markets in the NFL. Just be sure that the game you are analysing isn’t being played in a domed stadium / indoors, where the weather will of course have no effect on the outcome!

Good luck.

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