NFL Betting Odds
The National Football League is by far one of the most famous sporting events, sort of like the Olympics for football specifically. Teams all over the US participate in pre-season, season and post-season matches that determine their place in the big league.
Still, what it all really comes down to is the one major game of the two finalist teams – the Super Bowl.
Technological developments in the past couple of decades have aided the phenomenon’s expansion tendencies, as information became available to the most remote places on Earth.
This sparked people’s interests about the NFL, as they began looking into the major teams, the best quarterbacks, and the top sportsbooks which offered prime odds. After all, viewing such a multi-billion dollar industry go through massive cash turnover can really tempt any sports fan to test their strengths against it.
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Sports bets on NFL games, teams and players are placed somewhat differently than what you might have imagined. Many fans are simply discouraged by the image of NFL’s betting lines and the fact that they make no sense to the everyday spectator. However, all there is to understand there is just the odds attributed to each game. Once you know what the numbers mean, you can use them to your advantage and make the bet that has the greatest potential to bring in profits. In an attempt to remedy the lack of knowledge which keeps people from making simple assessments and getting generous payouts, below is an elaborate description of NFL betting lines.
In order to learn about types of lines and odds, it is advisable to understand what they are. Betting odds are basically numerical representations of the team’s chances to finish the game with a certain outcome. The variety of these outcomes mainly determines the type of betting line, as some offer a range, others focus on win/lose results, while a third group of bettors would feel more comfortable betting on an exact score. Careful analysis of the odds for each of these scenarios, along with several other considerations as you will see later on, are the key to winning big while enjoying the art of professional football.
Point Spread Bets
If there ever was a triad of top bet types for the NFL, the point spread would definitely have earned their way in that union. A point spread bet is basically a range of points predicted for the final score of either of the teams playing the game. The team who appears to be the public’s favorite usually has a point spread marked with the negative symbol “-“ in front of the number, while the underdog has the opposite, plus sign. For the favorite, that means that they must win the game with more points than their spread, while the underdogs would need to lose by fewer points than their point spread. One additional point to bear in mind is that these are usually even bets, so you are basically doubling your initial wager amount.
Just for the sake of a practical demonstration, let’s say that there is a game tonight between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers being a favorite would determine that their point spread is marked with a minus, -5, while the underdog Dolphins have a point spread of +7. If you choose to place your money on the Steelers’ victory, you will need them to beat the Dolphins by 6 or over points. A bet on the Dolphins would mean that they need to lose by less than 7 points in order for you to get paid.
The second member of the trinity is the moneyline type of NFL bet, which is often considered synonymous with American odds in general. However, this is not entirely true as American odds can also be used for NFL point spread and totals bets (explained bellow). This connection is made based on the way that odds are presented, with a number preceded by a minus or a plus.
Moneyline bets are less stressful and volatile than the previous type, as your team may end up winning, but not with the exact number of points you had hoped for. If you want to have a fairer opportunity to hit a winning bet, choose one of the teams in the game and simply bet on one of them to end up victorious. The odds for the favorites are preceded by a minus once again, while the underdogs have a plus. The number representing each team’s odds is basically the amount that you would need to bet or your expected winnings, based on which team you have picked.
We can use the Steelers and the Dolphins from the previous example, the former being a favorite and the latter the underdog once again. The Steelers odds could roughly be around -160, while the Dolphins odds could be set at +150. In real life NFL betting, this means that you will need to bet $160 on the Steelers to win in order to get a $100 payout if this happens. Betting on the Dolphins with odds +150 means that you only need to bet a $100 and get paid $150 in pure profit.
Over/ Under or Totals Bets
And the final third of the most famous NFL bets are the totals. This is arguably the simplest type of bet, and maybe even one that gives even greater chances of payout to the bettors than the moneyline type. Over/under is another term used to refer to these bets, mainly because that is what you are supposed to predict.
Totals are bets expressed with a single number which denotes the best guess of the sportsbook regarding the final sum of points scored throughout the game. The number is not preceded by any type of sign and the payout odds are normally even, which means that you are simply looking to double the amount of your original bet. In a real-life example, we can say that the total for a game between the Steelers listed as favorites and the Dolphins – underdog, is 42. This means that during the game, the sportsbook claims that both teams will only be able to score a total sum of 42 points and invites bettors to challenge that claim. That is why in totals, bettors are supposed to choose between betting over the total (in this case 42) or under it. If the final total really does turn out to be 42, a push is declared and bettors get their wager amount back, no loss or gain.
A final guideline on how to make the most use of totals is to create a parlay of several such bets, or maybe a combination between totals and point spreads to increase your possible payout significantly.
This is a recently acquired advantage for NFL bettors, brought by the ability to gamble and place sports bets online. These in-play bets are only offered by such sportsbooks which have the ability to shift odds and accept bets during the actual gameplay, in real time.
One type of in-play bets are the interactive wagers, which can be placed at both land-based and online sportsbooks. Bettors are basically practicing their multi-tasking skills, as they need to pay attention to the flow of the action and at the same time check the odds for the bet that they have been meaning to make. Real live in-play bets are even more fun, so it is advisable to try it out if you have an online sportsbook that provides such entertainment. These bets include every game element as a possibility to bet on, and each move changes the moneyline and the amount you could win. Real live NFL bets can go to such detail so as to bet on a catch or a pass as the next move of your chosen team.
Other NFL Bet Types
Since we have covered the major triad and the latest invention in NFL sports betting, there is some room to ease things down and simply introduce you to a few more bet types. Some of these may not be as widespread as the previous ones, and some may even take a long time until they deliver some thrill and excitement. Still, it is important to know every option available to you in order to make the most of your NFL betting experience.
Even bets are simply bets which offer the bettor the same payout regardless whether they placed their bet on one team or the other. Still, this is a bet worth considering, especially by those who still need to get into the habit of bankroll management and loss control. This type of NFL bets allows you to regularly note the percentage of successful versus unsuccessful bets.
Props is a short term which stands for proposition. There are two subtypes of props bets, player and team props. The former type puts the emphasis on individual players and invites bettors to either predict the outcome to a Yes/No, Over/Under or Head-to-Head bet related to one or two players, or simply choose between each individual player in the NFL and their odds of becoming the season’s MVP. While this might seem as too easy, players are known for their inexplicable mood swings and tantrums, so you might as well place a few props to be on the safe side. The latter type of team props allows much greater freedom, as bettors can choose to bet something as major as identifying the winning team of the season’s Super Bowl to something as minute as the coin flip at a pre-season game.
One more type of bet stands out from the remaining options available to NFL bettors – futures. These are bets made on just about any segment of the NFL that has been discussed so far, with the sole difference that it is made months before the actual event takes place. This allows excitement to build up inside hopeful bettors who will know if they have won or not only after the results have been made official.
The Making of Betting Odds
The odds for a particular event turning out a certain way are the major segment of the betting line. Hence, you can easily conclude that they do make an important part of the overall NFL betting experience. NFL betting odds are created by specific in-house experts employed by the sportsbook, also known under the name oddsmakers.
Oddsmakers are in charge of analyzing every factor that could influence a team and a player’s performance in a particular game that they need to make odds for. In order to be as precise and close to the truth as possible, oddsmakers nowadays make use of all kinds of digital libraries containing stats and data such as NFL teams’ behavior when playing home or not or in cases when injuries were more or less frequent. Often, these odds are even seen as ominous, considering the fact that there have been multiple occasions when the final game score turns out exactly the same as they had predicted it.
Another thing which often interests bettors about the betting odds is how they are made to benefit the house. The trick here is that the odds have nothing to do with the sportsbook’s profit. These institutions charge a constant commission on each bet placed for the NFL. Other terms used for this commission are ‘juice’ or ‘vigorish’ (also known as ‘vig’ for short). The vigorish keeps sportsbooks afloat and running at all times, while the actual wager amount presents an even more interesting case. Namely, sportsbooks tend to set their odds at a reasonable numerical representation, so as to prompt bettors to place a fairly equal number of bets for and against the odds. That way, they aim to create a balance where every winning bet is paid out with the wager money of the opposite losing bet. While this can never be fully achieved, today’s sportsbooks show that there is great potential in that policy.
Tips to More Successful NFL Betting
Now that you know all about the types of bets you are able to place, the ways in which odds affect your winnings, and their most important features, there is rarely a thing that can stop you from running off to the nearest sportsbook or simply going online. However, it is advisable to stay tuned just a while longer and pick up a few tips that can improve your betting even more.
Do Your Research
Checking the odds and the general public opinion is often not enough to bring you that life-changing bet you have been waiting for. Although most serious NFL bettors do not recommend relying on such hits, there are a few ‘homework assignments’ that might bring you closer to the goal. Do your research on every aspect of the team and its players and keep up with all the latest news updates. It is often the most unexpected personal injuries or family events in a player’s life that can give you the much needed edge to win that bet.
Give the Top Teams a Break
When favorites are continuously supported and promoted by the public, it can have a generally negative effect on both their performance on the field and their odds at the sportsbooks. Bettors can significantly relieve the tension by letting a few victories go without as much fanfare or a couple of losses without any harsh public putdowns.
Practice Responsible Bankroll Management
This may be considered a general tip for successful gambling, but it is still worth mentioning in the context of NFL bets. The only way to maintain and increase your bankroll while still cashing out profit is to start little (like the example above, using even odds) and work towards greater goals. Being responsible and sober at all times is even more imperative, as it can lead nowhere but on the road to successful NFL betting.
Choose the Right Sportsbook
As you had the chance to see, sportsbooks go through a lot of trouble to make odds meet. Nonetheless, this fact does not guarantee that they are all equal – a quick pass through several bookies will prove you that they can have different odds and bets lined up for the same game. When going digital, you may need to be even more careful with your selection of a sportsbook. Bettors from the US may even end up in legal arguments if they are not well informed on their restrictions and possibilities. Take your time before making your decision – it will be worthwhile in due time.
Follow Your Intuition
As helpful or as damaging as it can be, every NFL fan has an occasional feel about a specific game. Experiences differ all over the spectrum, but most experts recommend doing what the love for the game tells you, even if the odds are against it. This is where the real thrill and payouts tend to hide.