Guide to Understanding NFL Betting Odds
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md. Associated Press Photo/Julio Cortez

Guide to Understanding NFL Betting Odds

The Divisional Round of The NFL Playoffs star Saturday.

For the seasoned gambler, NFL betting is great fun but for newcomers, the odds can seem quite confusing. You should never place a bet on a sport without a full understanding of how the odds and markets work. There is no point in trying to guess what they mean, as you will only end up losing your money. That is why we have created this short guide to understanding NFL betting odds, beginning with the moneyline.

The Moneyline

The moneyline is simple and the odds are easy to understand. You will find a full selection of moneyline odds at most mobile betting apps, such as BetRivers, which is arguably the most popular IN betting site. When betting on the NFL using moneyline, you are selecting the team you think will win the game. As opposed to many of the other NFL markets, the moneyline odds are different for the two teams, such as in the example below.

Dallas Cowboys +250

Cleveland Browns -300

The odds will differ depending on how strong the sportsbook believes the favorite is for the game. The stronger the favorite, the greater the gap will be between the two sets of odds. So, in this example, the Cleveland Browns are the favorites and if you backed them you will need to wager $300 to win $100. However, if you backed the Dallas Cowboys for $100, who are the underdogs, you would win $250.

Moving on and next in our guide to understanding NFL betting odds, we come to the points spread.

The Points Spread

This is the most popular of all the NFL odds and is often referred to as line betting. The odds for this market are set by deciding the points by which the favored team should win. To have a wager on the points spread, you are betting on whether the favorite will win by more than the stated number of points, or if they will win by less. There is also the potential the outsider will win.

Dallas Cowboys +4.5 -110

Cleveland Browns -4.5 -110

In the example above, the Browns are the favorites by 4.5 points and if they win by 5 or more points, a $110 wager would see you win $100. If you decide to bet on the Cowboys and they win the game or lose within 4 points, a $110 wager will see you win $100.

Finally, we come to the totals odds.

Totals Odds

The NFL totals odds are based on the total number of points scored by both teams combined come the end of the game. The odds are presented as below.

Over 49.5 -110

Under 49.5 -110

So, if the game between the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys ends with the score 36-21, that is a total of 57 points. If you bet on the over 49.5 odds, you would win $100 for a $110 wager. However, if you bet on the under 49.5 odds, you would lose.

It is important to point out that you do not have to make a $110 wager each time you bet; this is only to make things easy in the examples. You are entitled to wager the amount you wish, whether it be smaller or larger.

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