NFL Odds

The National Football League is far and away the most popular form of sports betting within the United States.  However, popularity doesn’t mean that betting on the NFL is easy.  NFL betting is among the most challenging sports to wager on in the world of sports betting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be profitable when you do it.

Once you are able to navigate through the many different ways you are able to bet on the sport, you should begin to see more success as a bettor.  With 256 games played every regular season and 11 playoff games – opportunity is ripe from September to February every year to win and win big.

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Point spread betting, also known as betting against the spread or ATS for short, is the most common means of betting on the National Football League. The overwhelming majority of bets on professional football involve a point spread and while this type of betting is the most common, it can also be slightly confusing for a first-time bettor.
Point spreads serve as a means to “equalize” a given matchup to allow for a more realistic means to make a game a virtual coin flip. As is the case in any sport, professional football constantly has matchups between teams with a noticeable talent discrepancy. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers quickly realized that when a Super Bowl caliber team was facing off against a team with better hopes of securing the No. 1 draft pick than a playoff spot, that a simple win or loss proposition would leave them going bankrupt in a hurry.
Enter the point spread. A point spread gives a reason for any given bettor to risk money on either side. For example, if the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs were playing the 2019 Miami Dolphins, most bettors wouldn’t think twice about betting everything under the sun on the Chiefs simply winning the game. However, when introducing a point spread, that bet is far less cut and dry than it would be otherwise.
A sample look at what a point spread for this matchup may look like is as follows:
Dolphins (+13.5)
at Chiefs (-13.5)
So now if the Chiefs need to win by two touchdowns or more, more bettors may be inclined to think the Dolphins keep it respectable and lose by less than 13 points, as the Dolphins can lose along the lines of 34-21 and still win your bet.
To expand this out even further, the better team in a given matchup is considered the favorite. The team deemed the favorite will need to win that matchup by a number larger than the point spread itself.
The favorite in any given matchup regardless of sport will always be indicated by a minus symbol (-) preceding that point spread. The team considered to be the “worst” in any given matchup is simply referred to as the underdog, or “the dog.” Underdogs are notated as such by having a plus symbol (+) in front of their point spread. A bettor wins if the underdog wins the game straight up or loses by an amount of points within the range of a given point spread.
The “juice” on the game (also known as the vig) is indicated in parentheses next to the point spread, and will typically start anywhere from (-105) to (-120). The vig is simply the cut a sportsbook or bookie takes in order to place your wager.
The scale most commonly used in sports betting is based off the idea of what you need to risk in order to win $100, or what you would win on an underdog if you wagered $100.
In this instance, when you see the juice has a minus symbol in front of that number, that is the number you would need to risk in order to win $100. Conversely, when you see a plus number in front of the juice, this is the amount of money you would win if you wagered $100.
Here is an example to show this in action:
Lions +6.5 (+105)
Packers -6.5 (-115)
Using the above example, if you wished to bet on the Packers to win by a touchdown or more and wanted to net a $100 profit, you would need to risk $115 to do so. If you believed the Lions would keep the score within 6 points or win the game outright, you would win $105 on a $100 wager.
Another thing to mention here is that despite the scale working off the idea of betting to win $100, this can actually be adjusted to work with any dollar amount. If you wish to win $10 on the Packers, you would risk $11.50. If you wish to win $5.25 on the Lions, you would risk $5 and so forth. Always be sure to only gamble what you can afford to lose. Bankroll management is the ultimate key to long term success when it comes to sports wagering.
If you don’t want to mess with point spreads and are just looking to pick who you believe will win the game, money-line wagering is for you.
Unlike point spread wagering, moneyline wagering is very straightforward. All you simply do is pick the side you think will win the matchup and bet accordingly.
The concept of moneyline wagering itself is incredibly simple, however as with anything gambling related, there is a caveat to this form of wagering.
In the same way oddsmakers look to even up matchups by adding a point spread to any given matchup, money-line wagering also carries with it additional cost to alleviate the risk posed by offering a simple win/loss proposition. In the same manner that “juice” was incorporated in point spread wagering, so to goes money-line wagering.
For example, if the 2019 Patriots were hosting the 2019 Bengals, a moneyline wager may look like so.
Bengals (+900)
Patriots (-1000)
Essentially, if you thought the Patriots would win straight-up you would need to wager 10x the amount you would win. Conversely if you felt the Bengals would shock the world, you would win 9x the amount you risked.
Moneyline wagering is a potentially great way to maximize your profits if you are able to identify underdogs that can pull off an upset. Conversely, it could also deliver a hefty blow to your bankroll if the heavy favorite you back happens to lose.
Over/under betting, also referred to as totals betting, is where bettors simply choose whether the total number of combined points scored by both teams will be above (over) or below (under) the set total of points to be scored.
For example, using the above Bengals-Patriots example, a game total may look like this:
Bengals U45.5 (-110)
Patriots O45.5 (-110)
If you believe the Bengals and Patriots would combine for 46 points or more and were working off betting units of $100, you would wager $110 on the over 45.5. If you believe the opposite would happen and the two teams would score less than 45 points, you would wager $110 on the under 45.5.
In the event a combined total is an even number without a half point in the line (also known as the hook) and the game ends with that exact total, the bet would be considered a “push” and the bettor would simply get the money they wagered back.
A parlay is a single bet that involves two or more teams each winning their individual bet.
Parlay bets carry with them the temptation of a juicy payout with a smaller wager as opposed to picking each game individually.
Parlay bets pay out larger amounts because it is significantly more difficult to get a sequence of bets correctly than it is to bet a single outcome.
Because of wrinkle, parlay bets are often seen amongst professional bettors/sharps as a losing proposition if you continually go that route. A study done by the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV confirms this hypothesis as sportsbooks win over a third of all parlay bets. By comparison, they did not win more than 7% of any other form of wagering.
Now, this information isn’t being put out there to entirely turn you away from dabbling with parlay betting but rather to inform you of the risk and general difficulty at consistently winning these types of wagers. Beware of any sportsbook/oddsmaker that constantly trumpets bettors that win gargantuan parlay payouts, for these are the exception and not the rule.
With all that being said though, parlays can be very valuable if you have identified a couple of wagers you really like. For example, a parlay in NFL betting may look like so:
49ers -5
Saints -9
Chargers +7.5
In order for you to win this parlay, the 49ers would need to win their game by 6 points or more, the Saints would need to win their game by 10 or more and the Chargers would either need to lose by 7 or less or win the game straight up. In the event any of these games ends precisely on the number (i.e. the 49ers win 21-16) – then that game is deemed as a push and your parlay decreases by one game. However, be sure to double check that your sportsbook does not deem your parlay to be a loser in the event one of your games happens to end in a push.
Another variant of parlay betting includes money-line wagering that we touched upon above. An example of this may look like so:
49ers -180
Saints -300
Chargers +350
In this example for your parlay to be a winner the 49ers, Saints and Chargers would all need to win their games straight up.
A parlay payout from picking multiple money-line underdogs can be very hefty. On the other hand, the allure of throwing in multiple large money-line favorites into a parlay can also be very enamoring and appear to be a “lock”, but it should be noted that winning either type of parlay is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
The easiest way to think of a teaser bet is to consider it as the sister of the parlay bet.
Like a parlay, a teaser is a wager made by selecting two or more events to occur. And identically to a parlay, each event selected in a teaser must happen in order for your bet to win.
Any multi-event wager has the potential for large payouts, simply because of the difficulty that comes with winning one of those bets, but teasers do not payout the same as a parlay, due to the reason that you are altering point spreads and are essentially buying points to get a total or point spread that is more favorable than what was originally offered.
The overwhelming draw to teasers, particularly for first-time bettors, is that they seem easier to win on the surface. However just like a parlay bet, you are getting larger payouts for a reason when you win one of these bets – they come with much more risk than a singular straight wager.
The biggest difference between a teaser and a parlay is that a bettor gets to alter point spreads and totals anywhere between 6 and 7 points. There are additional teaser options with larger point purchasing options (see ‘sweetheart teasers’), however these vary from sportsbook to sportsbook.
In terms of NFL betting, the most common amount of points “teased” is 6 or 6.5, but you are also able to tease a line 7 points in the direction of your choosing. An example of a teased line with 6 points may look like so:
Original Lines: Cowboys (-7) vs. Redskins; Patriots (-7) vs. Bills
Teased Line: Cowboys (-1) vs. Redskins; Patriots (-1) vs. Bills
As mentioned before, winning multiple wagers, no matter how many points you may have adjusted the line by, is never as easy as it sounds. With that being said though, bettors usually feel more confidence betting teaser bets as opposed to parlay bets because of the perceived simplicity with these wagers.
Teaser payouts from the sportsbook usually hover around the 2 to 1 mark, but this also varies based on sportsbook, the points of the teaser and the amount of teams in the teaser.
Here at OddsUSA, our experts have you covered (no pun intended) with the latest news and information to help you profit the most. Good luck and happy wagering!