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Understanding NFL Betting Lines and Odds

Entering the world of NFL betting can take the excitement of American football to a whole new level. Do you think you’ve got what it takes? Don’t wait any longer and turn your predictions into potential profits.

In this article, you will learn how to interpret NFL betting lines and odds to develop your own winning strategy when wagering on the American National Football League.

How Do NFL Bets Work?

Success in NFL betting involves a combination of knowledge, statistics, and, of course, luck. Understanding the standard betting markets—point spread, money line and total—, can improve your chances of winning. They include different game predictions, such as team victories, winning margins and points scored.

That’s why getting to know players and teams and their performance during the season, can significantly impact your ability to predict a game's outcome. While fortune won’t always be on your side, betting on American Football allows you to take advantage of your love and knowledge of the sport to win some cash.

Now let’s find out more about these betting markets, how you can read them and why they are so popular nowadays.

The Most Popular NFL Bets

Your path to successful NFL betting begins with understanding all the betting options available. Let’s explore what these are.

Point spreads

Point spread bets are based on the expected margin of victory by one team. Oddsmakers set this number to level the field between two mismatched teams.

You will find that the favourite team has a negative point spread (for example, -10), while the underdog has a positive spread (for example, +10).

Let’s take a look at an example:

  • Kansas City Chiefs -10 (-110)
  • Houston Texans +10 (+110)

These odds show the Chiefs as the clear favourites: the betting market believes they can win this matchup by at least 10 points.

In this case, Chiefs bettors will secure a win if the team prevails in the game by at least 10 points. If, conversely, the Chiefs lose or win by a smaller margin of points, Texans will have “covered the spread,” and those who wagered on the Houston Texans will take home the prize.

If you’re wondering what that (-110) in the odds is, it is called the “juice” or vigorish. This represents the commission charged by the sportsbook for accepting your bet.

In the case above, a -110 odds means you would need to wager $110 to win $100 profit.  If you cash in your bet, you get your original $110 back plus the $100 profit, totalling a return of $210.

Money lines

Money lines are probably the most straightforward NFL bets, and thus, they might attract many beginner gamblers. The approach is simple: you just have to predict the winner.

Point spreads don’t count, as the focus is only on which team wins the game. Each team will have money line odds displayed next to their name. These odds represent the potential payout you'd receive if your chosen team wins the matchup, considering the sportsbook's commission.

Money line odds are typically displayed in American format, using numbers with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign.

Let’s look at an example:

  • Dallas Cowboys: -130
  • Philadelphia Eagles: +110 

The negative odds indicate that the Cowboys are the clear favourites. You’d need to bet $130 to win $100 in profits for a total return of $230. Conversely, if you bet $100 on the Eagles, you’ll get $110 in profit, totalling $210.


Over/under bets (also known as “totals”) have become popular side bets. They can apply to almost any statistic in any sport, such as American Football, tennis, or NASCAR racing.

In NFL betting, you could bet on how many touchdowns a particular player will score, which team will score the opening points of the game, or even on which side the coin toss will land—heads or tails.

Let’s look at an example of over/under odds:

Imagine a matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals. You will be betting on total fumbles in the game:

  • Over 2.5 Fumbles (-120)
  • Under 2.5 Fumbles (+100)

The negative sign indicates the Over is favoured. To win $100 profit on this bet, you would need to wager $120. The positive sign indicates the Under is considered less likely. A $100 bet on the Under could potentially win you $100 profit (resulting in a total return of $200).

How to Read NFL Odds

Now that you understand the basics of each of the most popular bets, let’s do a quick review of how to read NFL betting lines and odds.

Reading Point Spread Odds

Let's say the point spread for the Packers vs. Lions game is Packers -7.

  • Packers -7: The Packers are favoured to win by more than 7 points. If they win by 8 or more points, you cash in your bet on the Packers.
  • Lions +7: The Lions are the underdog. If they win the game outright or lose by 6 or fewer points, you win your bet on the Lions.

Reading Moneyline Odds

  • Packers -120: You would need to bet $120 to win $100 in profit if the Packers win the game.
  • Lions +100: A $100 bet on the Lions would potentially earn you a $100 profit, with a total return of $200.

Reading Over/Under Odds

  • The Over/Under line will be displayed as a number, for example, Over/Under 48.5 points.
  • This number represents the sportsbook's prediction of the total combined score (or side bet) for both teams.

If you are new to NFL betting, new concepts can easily get confusing. Check out our guide on sports betting terms and examples to get the answers you need and bet with confidence.

Tips to Bet on NFL Games

Now that we have covered the most critical bets and terms you need to know, let's move on to some advice that can help you increase your chances of getting a payout.

Pay Attention to Where the Game Is Played

The NFL is played in different time zones. Weather can positively or negatively affect teams, so consider this when placing your bets.

Is sweltering hot weather expected? It may negatively affect the visiting team’s performance, whose players are not used to the warmer temperatures.

Diversify Your NFL Bets

Dividing up your budget into different bets can be important to achieve success. Explore all possibilities and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Stay up-to-date with NFL News

It never hurts to be aware of what's going on in the world, but knowing what's happening in American Football will give you an edge when betting. After all, information is power. And in this case, it could be money too.

On our website, you can check out the latest American football analysis and news to make informed decisions when placing bets.

NFL Betting Trends and Statistics

Here are some useful strategies for further maximising your odds of winning at NFL betting.

  • Teams that get “away wins” have a chance to be contenders to win the league. The home advantage can be very strong.

  • When the season starts, it can be smart to bet on teams with veteran players, as they know how to win those early games.

  • Taking into account the history of results between two teams can provide valuable insights into the potential outcome of the match, as well as information on injuries and line-ups.

  • Statistical evaluation of offensive points, passing yardage averages, and pass completion percentages helps understand team and player efficiency.

  • Nearly 30 percent of games are decided by 3 or 7 points, so picking the -2.5, +3.5, -6.5 and +7.5 numbers can be decisive.

Mastering the Game: Understanding NFL Betting Lines and Odds Is Key

Ready to start betting on the NFL like a pro? Visit our online sportsbook and put your newly acquired knowledge to the test. You can choose to bet on American Football, Soccer, Baseball, or any of your favourite sports!

Sign up, cash in your welcome bonus and start betting. Remember that, at the end of the day, the main objective is to have fun!

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