NFL Standings Explained
Prior to the start of the NFL season, and as it progresses, teams are ranked by their wins and losses, also known as the standings. The information is important to sports bettors, even if it is just one piece of the entire puzzle. Once bettors understand the different symbols and numbers used, the NFL standings become a very useful tool. Just like with virtually all sports, the standings determine who goes to the playoffs and who goes home. Current standings, updated after each game, will also provide insight into how the season is shaping up.
NFL Team Standings Basics
Every NFL team belongs to a division within one of two conferences – the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Both conferences contain four divisions, resulting in the NFC North, NFC South, NFC East, NFC West, and the same four in the AFC. That leads to football fans and bettors being able to see both NFC and AFC standings, as well as division standings.
NFL teams are ranked in the standings not just by their overall performance against other teams in their own conference, but also by how well they perform against teams in the same division. The most basic numbers listed in the standings are found in the win-loss column, which tells viewers how many games each team has won and lost. However, the other numbers listed in the standings, such as PF (points for), PA (points against) and the others, are also invaluable for bettors.
Reading NFL Football Division Tables
Often expressed as W – L, wins and losses are presented next to the NFL team’s name in the standings. The team with the most wins is listed at the top, with the other teams following in the order of the number of wins and losses. There is also a “T” column for the number of tied games and, in some cases, a “P” column for the percentage of wins versus losses.
For example, if twelve games have been played and a team has won nine of them, the winning percentage is 0.75, or 75%. The teams with the highest winning percentage win their respective Divisional titles and, in the rare case that two division teams have the same percentage, the NFL has tiebreaker rules in place to determine the winner. In most cases, however, the winning percentage prevails.
In addition to the PF and PA columns mentioned previously, there are also Home and Away columns to denote the team’s record playing home and away games. It is also possible to find in-conference and in-division numbers, as well as winning or losing streaks in the NFL standings charts. Home and away records are valuable for bettors, as these show how well a team typically performs on the road or at home. However, bettors also have to take into consideration the team that will be faced.
A team’s performance against conference and division rivals is a strong indicator of its ability to succeed in the postseason, should they make it that far. A team with a lot of wins against non-divisional opponents, but not so many against same-division teams, has better chances of postseason elimination. However, a team that continuously wins against same-division teams can be expected to perform well in the postseason.
Making the Most of NFL Standings Numbers
The standings charts are tools that can be used for handicapping pro football games because they contain valuable details that can be used to develop a solid NFL betting strategy. For example, comparing the PF and PA columns of two teams before a game will give bettors a good idea of the outcome of a game between those two teams. Likewise, comparing home wins and losses to those for road games for two teams scheduled to play can help bettors develop their technique.
Despite the value that the NFL standings have for bettors, they are not the only criteria that should be considered. Things like player injuries, drastic weather changes (a blizzard in Buffalo will impact a game involving the Miami Dolphins) and other factors can change the dynamic of the game. However, the standings are a great place to start and should be included when analyzing sports wager possibilities.