NFL betting is the most popular way to gamble on sports in America in terms of the amount wagered each week. And one of the most popular types of NFL bets is the NFL point spread bet. Each Sunday, Monday and Thursday throughout the season, bettors place wagers against the spread to test their NFL knowledge and potentially win some money in the process. In this guide to NFL point spread betting, find out what the point spread is and how it works.
TThe first question bettors should ask when dealing with NFL pro football odds is what the point spread is in the first place. The point-spread is a handicap that is applied to the number of points scored for the team a bettor is wagering on. The amount of that handicap can vary depending on the NFL lines for a given week, which are based on the matchups between each team. Unlike a moneyline bet, which asks bettors simply who will win, bettors have to keep the point spread amount in mind when placing these bets.
An easy way to remember how NFL game odds work is to remember that points are subtracted from the favorites and added to the score of the underdog. This is meant to level the playing field between the two teams involved in an NFL game, even if one team is perceived to be vastly superior to the other.
The reason that NFL spread betting is as popular as it is is the fact that it is closely tied to the goal of every NFL team heading into each week: winning. NFL over/under betting can vary without impacting the outcome of a game. Prop bets can also vary without impacting the outcome, as individual performances in props do not necessarily alter the result of a contest. But point spread betting directly correlates to which team will win a given game, which makes it a very popular type of bet.
The best way to understand NFL point spread betting is to go through an example of a point spread wager in pro football. In this example, let’s say that Team A (Packers) is playing against Team B (Cowboys). Team A (Packers) is a three point favorite against Team B (Cowboys), which means that three points will be subtracted from Team A’s (Packers) score at the end of the game to determine a winner in the point spread betting market. Alternatively, three points can be added to the score of the underdog, Team B (Cowboys).
In this example of the NFL spread market, there are three possible outcomes that can take place in the game. The first outcome is that Team A (Packers) can win the game by more than three points and win against the spread. The second outcome is that Team A (Packers) can win by exactly three points, which would result in a tie when the point spread is applied. This is known as a push. And the third outcome is that Team A (Packers) can win by under three points, lose the game or tie. In those instances, Team B (Cowboys) would cover the spread.
It is worth noting that not every NFL spread this week will deal in only full points. There is also the possibility of half points being involved in these wagers as well. In the event that a game has a spread with a half point, such as a 3.5 point spread, a push would be impossible, as the half point would break any potential tie one way or the other. This half point is often referred to as a hook.
Throughout the course of the week leading up to an NFL game, NFL betting lines can change and shift depending on a number of factors. The first of these factors is the amount wagered on a game throughout the week. While NFL game odds are initially set by a bookmaker, they can move based on the amount of action on each side. Bookmakers aim to set a number that is as accurate as possible, with too many bets on one side or the other often telling them that an adjustment is required.
Another reason for changes to pro football odds is the presence of injuries in an NFL game. The NFL is the most physically demanding sport in the world. And those physical demands can result in players getting hurt. When a key player is found to be unable to compete in an upcoming game, that can have a significant impact on the point spread, as a team without one or more key players will not be as effective.
When it comes to Las Vegas odds or any other NFL betting lines, bettors should keep the key numbers in mind for point spreads. In the NFL, the key numbers that bettors should be aware of revolve around threes and sevens. This is because field goals are worth three points while most touchdowns are worth seven. Margins of victory that are a combination of those two amounts, such as three, seven, 14 or 10 are more likely to happen than margins that are a multiple of two.
Key numbers should not be relied upon always, of course. The number of games that finish right on a key number is not significant enough to make it worth buying points to get to a key number. But bettors should look to get on the right side of those key numbers when possible and let the offense and defense of the teams they back make those decisions pay off.
Placing a point spread bet on an NFL game is relatively easy depending on the sportsbook that a bettor uses. Bettors first need to navigate to the NFL section of their preferred sportsbook, where they can browse through the list of games going on that week. From there, bettors can select the game they want to bet on and pick a side against the spread. Bettors are then able to choose the amount they want to risk and finalize their selections.
NFL spread betting is something that requires strong bankroll management to have success. When choosing an amount to risk on each game, bettors should choose a set percentage of their bankroll to risk each time. Doing this will limit their liability and make it more likely to turn a profit over a large sample size of NFL bets.