Understanding NFL Betting Odds

Betting on NFL games has become America’s true pastime. It is estimated that $8 billion is wagered on the Super Bowl odds alone every year. With so much money being wagered on the outcome of NFL games, it is important for every sports bettor to understand the betting odds that are offered by sportsbooks.

Why Have Betting Odds In The First Place?

Sportsbooks produce betting odds to generate public interest in each NFL game and to attempt to get an even amount of wagers placed on each team. This will help ensure that the sportsbook makes money no matter who wins.

Besides, if the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins, you pretty much know who is going to win that game. But if the sportsbook makes placing a bet on the Dolphins seem like a good idea, then the money will come rolling in.

Point Spread
The most common form of odds is the point spread. Each game will have a favorite and an underdog. In our example, the Patriots will be considered the favorite because they are most likely to win the game.

When you look at an NLF odds sheet the favorite will have a number beside it that begins with a negative number. In our example, let’s say the Pats are favored to win by 11.5 points. The odds sheet with show “New England -11.5” which means that the Patriots must win by more than 11.5 points in order for you to win.

In contrast, the Dolphins entry will look like this, “Miami +11.5.” If the Dolphins win the game outright or lose by less than 11.5 points, those bettors who picked Miami will win.

The moneyline is also divided into favorites and underdogs but it is expressed differently. Instead of giving or subtracting points from a team, whichever team wins the game pays out. Like the point spread, the favorite is given a negative number and the underdog is given a positive number. But in this case, the number refers to the amount of money you have to bet to win $100 or the amount of money you will win for betting $100, respectively.

In our example, New England may be listed as a -325 favorite. This means that you must wager $325 in order to win $100. By contrast, Miami may be listed as a $275 underdog. In this case, if you bet $100 and Miami pulls the upset, you will pocket $275.

Understanding the odds is important. You also need the best, up to date information possible if you want to make an informed wager. Sites like Covers.com provide NFL bettors with the most up to date information and odds.