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Will New NFL PAT Rule Affect Bettors?

Will sports bettors be praising or cursing the NFL's new single point rule during the 2015 season? How the rule change affects the game - and specifically the game score - will be something to watch in the preseason and the start of the regular season.

For 2015 the NFL has moved single-point converts back to the 15-yard line, making it a 33-yard attempt for kickers. Last season a single point was only a 20-yard kick and the results were almost automatic as teams made 99.3% of those attempts, missing just eight of 1230 on the season.

Single Point No Longer Automatic?

But single-point converts won't be as automatic in 2015, according to the historical data. Over the past 10 seasons NFL kickers have hit 91.6% of their field goal attempts from 33 yards, while that number rises to 94.4% over the past three seasons. If teams made just 94.4% of their single points last season they would have missed on 69 attempts.

In the NFL's preseason opener at the Hall of Fame Game Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh made both of his single-point attempts in his team's 14-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's not a lot of data, but more can be found up north thanks to the Canadian Football League.

NFL Bettors Can Look to the CFL

For this season the CFL moved its single-point converts back 20 yards to make it a 32-yard kick. Back in 2014 the nine CFL teams made 99.4% of their single-point attempts, missing just two of 335. Through the first seven weeks of the 2015 CFL season the nine teams have missed 14 of 107 single-point attempts, for a rate of just 86.9%.

That's led to the two-point convert being a more viable option in the CFL this season. In the NFL in 2014 two-point converts (which will still be attempted from the two-yard line in 2015) were successful on 27 of 56 tries, or 47.5% of the time.

So NFL head coaches will be doing a little more math on the sidelines this season and those watching a tight spread in hopes of an ATS payday will be doing a little more sweating after teams score touchdowns, especially late in the game.

But will it affect your NFL bets?

But how will it all play out for bettors? Ben Eckstein, the founder and host of AmericasLine.com, is taking a wait and see approach.

"Gotta see some concrete numbers before jumping out and saying that the new rule would have a substantial effect on the scores, the totals, or the lines" said Eckstein in an interview with OddsShark.com.

"If guys are making like 94%, or better, of the kicks from 33 and in, and that holds, the effect will probably be minimal. Where we could start to have some fun is the 'in-game' betting. Of course everything would be predicated on the score, the time left and a coach's tendencies, but man, that world might start to shake some."

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