The stadiums are empty now, so it's good time to do your research.
The stadiums are empty now, so it's good time to do your research.Project 290 on Unsplash.

How To Read NFL Odds – How NFL Lines & Point Spreads Work

Every punter who engages in NFL betting must understand the mechanism of odds and point spread. This article will put you through the basics.

When betting on NFL football, you must learn how to read and understand the functionalities of odds straightforwardly and plainly. This is fundamental knowledge that you must have to place well-informed wagers.

You’ll need to understand the meanings of terms like the point spread, rotation number, money line, and the balanced over/under option. These terms can be referred to by different names depending on the region, but they all have the same meaning. The rotation number is commonly called the rotation mark or the number value, whereas the money line is referred to as the line. The point spread is referred to as the spread, and the over/under feature is the total. So, when it comes to NFL betting, these key terms are what we can categorize as odds.

In this article, we’ll look into the details of how you can read NFL odds and how NFL lines and point spreads work.

How To Read NFL Odds

To set the balance between teams, bookmakers utilize odds to even out bets and encourage gamblers to stake on either side playing. You’ll find teams that are good (haves) and teams that are have-nots, even though there is overall parity.

For example, Indianapolis may be on a higher level than Cincinnati Bengals, but the bookmakers do well to convince nearly a third of their active punters to back the Bengals on their odds when the two teams meet. This protects the sportsbooks by ensuring they earn a profit on almost every game.

This trick may be advantageous on the part of the betting company but could easily take a newbie in the game out of business. So, learning to read, understand, and practice is important.

Definition Of Terms

These are the definitions of some important terms as they relate to NFL betting.

1. Rotation Number

The number of rotations varies from one football betting site to another. When reading NFL odds on a sportsbook, you’ll find details of the match date and time on the left, followed by two numbers attached to the names of each team. The franchise names are next to one of the two numbers on the right-hand side.

The rotation number is the name given to the number. It’s a kind of abbreviation. This number acts as a means to call out the team information without saying the team’s name.

In addition, using the rotation number aids in arranging games in line with a numerical order. It’s essentially a system for keeping track of every game posted in a day for the entire game week. This system makes it possible for both the bookie and bettor to benefit easily.

We will consider a match between Colts and Bengals. The Bengals are at home in our case scenario. Therefore they will be listed last, while as visitors, the Colts will be listed first on the odds slip. The visitor’s rotation number would be 101, and the Bengal’s rotation number would be 102. You would specify the number of the team you wish to bet on rather than the name while placing a live bet station or over your mobile phone.

The various forms of odds are listed by the side of the team’s name. In most cases, the spread will come first. The money line feature, which most books keep separate on different slips, may follow, then the over/under comes after. As a result, the primary odds are displayed on the spot, making them accessible once in view.

2. The Point Spread

The most popular bet is the point spread, which shows the favorite team using a negative sign and the underdogs with a plus sign number. Both teams will be shown as PICK or EVEN if neither is favored.

Points are deducted from the team’s final score with the negative sign that’s the most likely to win, while points are added to the score of the dog with the plus sign. To pay off, the favorite must cover the spread, which means they must win above the negative figure. If the underdog wins outright or loses with a unit below the spread, the underdog pays off.

In our scenario, we will consider the Colts at -10.5 while the Bengals sit at a +10.5. Staking on Colt’s odds at -10.5, implying they are most likely to win, a win must be above 11 points or more to count. If you bet on Cincinnati, the Bengals, you will win by an outright point or lose by below 11 points.

When it comes to NFL odds, it’s not uncommon to see a spread listed as a full number. Fractions and decimals are frequently used instead. In our example, if the spread is adjusted to 10 and the Colts remain favorites, a win by 10 declares the game a tie, which is known as a stalemate in betting jargon.

3. The Moneyline

The moneyline isn’t the same. It pays out to any winning team after the game. There are no points awarded or deducted. With the moneyline, how possible is it for bookies to level the playing field? They achieve this by requiring bettors to stake a reasonable number of bets on the favorites to win less while enabling them to wager less on the dog to win more.

A negative sign to a number is used to indicate the favored. That figure denotes the money the player must stake for a $100 win. The opposite indicates fewer favorites, having a plus sign in front of their number. When a punter bets $100, this figure shows how much they win.

Using the same matchup and odds as other points, the Bengals will be at -380, and Cincinnati will be +355. An active punter would have to put $380 in favor of the Colts, who are favorites, to win $100. A $100 bet on Bengals, the underdogs, can turn into a $355 profit.

4. The Over/Under

The total, commonly referred to as the over/under, is the last basic bet you’ll see listed while looking at NFL odds. They are the probabilities of how many points the two teams will sum up. The total is normally stated as a decimal or a fractional figure, just like the spread.

The over/under in NFL odds might fluctuate, but it’s normally in the 35-47 points range. Let’s say the total for the game between the Colts and the Bengals is 37.5. If the Colts secure 27 points and the Bengals score 13, the total will be 40, and the over will win. However, if the Colts score 35 points and keep the game close, they’ll win.

In cases where the total is outlined as a whole, the outcome may be a tie. For example, the first team secures a point of 24 and the other of 13, which adds up to 37. All bets are closed and converted into a push, seeing that the point total is the same value as the bet number.


You’ll have a simple knowledge of what you’re wagering if you can comprehend NFL odds and understand phrases like point spread, rotation number, moneyline, and over/under-represent.

Before placing a wager, check out the main NFL book that contains all of the most recent odds from the leading online sportsbooks. Keep in mind that the oddsmakers are seeking to balance the wagers on each game. To win money, a sports bettor must assess games in the right order and place bets accordingly.

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