2018 NFL Betting Guide –
Pro Football Gambling Lines
An estimated $95 billion was wagered during the 2017 NFL and college football seasons, making football the most wagered on sport in the country. When it comes to sports betting, the NFL is king.
Even fans who know little about wagering on football still find a way to get involved in their office pool or play fantasy football with their friends and family in hopes of making a few extra bucks every week and at the end of the season.
When trying to beat the house and gain an edge on lines and oddsmakers, you must first know the basics. The NFL is by far the most popular bet of all major American sports, culminating with the most popular game of the year, the Super Bowl. In Las Vegas, gamblers wagered a record-breaking amount of money on SB52, a whopping $158.58 million.
When placing a wager, do your homework. Betting isn’t for suckers and nobody is paying you to lose games. So do yourself a favor and study, and actually handicap the games. Don’t make blind picks based on your gut feeling or who your favorite team is.
Types of NFL Wagers
NFL odds do not stop at the point spread and total. There are numerous ways to bet on football these days, including the NFL money line, futures, along with first half and second half betting lines. Throw in fun fantasy-style prop bets and live NFL betting and the importance of understanding how NFL odds work has never been greater.
NFL Point Spread
Fancy new betting options may come and go and live NFL betting is the wave of the future. But the good old NFL point spread remains the king when it comes to wagering on pro football. Also known as the line or spread, a common misconception is that sportsbooks set the spread as a predicted margin of victory. In reality, it’s a number that oddsmakers feel will be a good balance between people who want to bet the underdog and those who want to bet the NFL favorite.
Like many high scoring sports, NFL wagering is dictated by the point spread. The spread is a type of side bet that equalizes the chance of winning a wager. The line offered for any given team will be accompanied with a – or + symbol to indicate whether a team is a favorite or an underdog.
A negative value like -11.5 next to a team indicates that they are favored by 11.5 points. So deduct 11.5 points from their final score and see if they still won the game. Conversely, a positive value on the same game would be +11.5. In NFL betting, the favorite must win by at least 12 points to cover the NFL spread. The underdog can lose by 11 points and still cover the spread.
When you see a moneyline value associated with the point spread, it is the percentage amount you must pay in order to book the bet. Commonly referred to as the juice, if you see -11.5, -115, it means you have to risk $115 to win $100, a 15 percent commission. The underdog may see a value such as +11.5, +105. This means you bet $100 to win $105 if your team covers the spread.
If you see the point spread is -9 on Monday and -10.5 on Wednesday, this is a line move. It occurs when too many people are betting the same side of the game and sportsbooks move the line to balance action. That means encouraging more people to bet the other way by making the line more attractive.
NFL moneyline betting continues to grow in popularity as many begin to understand the value of moneylines, especially in betting small underdogs. There is no spread to beat, so your team needs only to win the game straight up, not win by a certain number of points. As with most betting numbers, a negative value indicates the favorite and a positive one means underdog.
If you envision the number 100 sitting in between these two values, it helps explain how an NFL moneyline works. If you want to bet that -140 favorite, you must risk $140 in order to win $100. To back a +120 underdog, you bet $100 and win $120 if the dog wins outright. In many cases, betting money lines offer better value and can provide a bigger profit for less risk.
NFL Total or Over/Under
The concept of betting on totals, or over/under, is quite simplistic. The bettor wagers on whether the total points scored in a game will fall over or under a pre-determined number set by the sportsbook. Much like the point spread, game totals can be swayed by public opinion.
If you bet the under 37.5, you’re hoping for a defensive battle and expecting the offenses to struggle. Conversely, if you bet the over, you are hoping this will be a high-scoring game. You are wagering that the combined total score will be more than (over) or less than (under) the total.
NFL totals betting has become the bet of choice for fans in many games, especially where the point spread is very tight. It also becomes more popular if matchup or injury situations point to a certain style of game. Rain, wind and cold weather can also change the total and make it a more preferable bet than the spread.
Futures bets are exactly what they sound like, a wager placed on an event that will occur in the future. Will the Denver Broncos win the next Super Bowl? You can place bets at any time on the future Super Bowl champion. This is known as NFL futures betting.
Oddsmakers set lines and change them during the season, depending on a team’s success or lack thereof. For example, a first-place team in November may be +200 to win the title. This means a $100 bet would pay out a $200 profit if they go on to win the title. However, a 1-8 team may be +2000, where a $100 wager would pay $2,000 as a longshot. They can be profitable and it’s always fun to predict the winner early in the season.
Naturally, Futures are not limited to simply who will win the big game. Much like prop bets for any particular contest, you can place several futures bets on potential outcomes, from who will win what division to who will win the league’s MVP. But bet wisely. Betting a large amount on an NFL future bet ties up your money for a long time.