Gaming Events

NFL Betting 101-The Point Spread, Money Line, and Over-Under

NFL football is arguably America’s most bet on sport. When it comes to NFL sports betting, there are three basic types of bets that gamblers can place. The first two, the point spread and the money line, are based on the outcome of the game, while the over/under focuses on the total number of points scored by both teams.

Point spread

The points spread is a fixed-odds bet, keeping the odds constant. It is also said to be an even bet, which means that if you win, you will get back double the bet dollar-for-dollar. However, this is not true. The even odds are actually slightly less than even. Usually, for every $11.00 wagered on this fixed odds bet, you will receive $20.00 back. If this were a true even bet, betting $11.00 would result in a return of $22.00. The question is, what happened to that other dollar you put down?

The missing dollar was what gamblers call “vig” or “vigorish,” a Yiddish term used in sports betting to describe the bookmaker’s commission. Essentially, it’s how gambling sites make their money and make sure they make a profit on every bet. It is a fee that you pay to use the bookmaker’s services. So the point spread actually pays about 1:0.90 and not 1:1.

The point spread is used by bookmakers to create a level playing field, making it more difficult for bettors to pick the winner and encouraging betting on both sides of the ledger. The underdog gets points from the handicappers and the favourite gets points taken away. Point spreads are often listed as fractions, which causes one NFL team or the other to win, negating a potential draw. Draws are usually discouraged due to the fact that they result in a “push” where all bets are returned.

Here’s a typical point spread:

+7.5 for the Cleveland Browns

When the spread is mentioned in sports betting, the home team is at the bottom. Home advantage between two equal teams usually results in the home team being listed at minus 3.5 points. In our example, Cleveland is the decided underdog, as it is the home side and got 7.5 points. That means if you bet on the Browns and they win or lose by less than eight points, you win your bet. If you put your money on the Pats, they must win eight points or more before you can collect it. If they win by less than eight, you lose. So if the final score is Patriots 35 and Browns 30, Cleveland, at plus-7.5, is worth it, as their adjusted sports betting score is 37.5.

Money line

If you are new to the money line, you may find it confusing. If we revisit the Pats and Browns, this is what that NFL game might look like if it were listed on a sports betting site.

+135 for the Cleveland Browns

The first thing to realise is that betting on a money line does not involve giving or taking away points. The actual winner of the game results in a payout. If you bet on New England and they win the game by one or 100 points, you will win your stake; the same goes for Cleveland.

On the money line, the team that is minus is the favorite, and the club that is marked with a plus is the underdog. In our example, the Pats with minus-140 are considered favorites, and the Browns with plus-135 are considered to be at a disadvantage. To win $100 on New England, you have to risk $140. On the other hand, if you take the underdog Cleveland Browns, a $100 bet offers a payout of $135. The riskier bet costs less and pays more.

Is there vig in the money line? It’s there; it’s already included in the calculated payouts. It’s just harder to see. To take their share, bookmakers simply charge a little more for you to bet on the favourite team and pay a little less on the underdog.

Above and Below

The over/under bet pays basically the same as a bet on a money line. You will often see it displayed like this:

Cleveland Browns O/U 36-110 New England Patriots

If the game results in a total of 37 or more points scored and you bet the over, your $110 bet will yield a profit of $100. If the total points scored added up to 35 or less and you took action, you would win $100 for every $110 you put down. If the point total is 36, then it is a push and all over/under bets will be returned. To avoid the push, you often see the over/under as a break.

In sports betting, those are the basic NFL bets and their payouts. A full NFL betting line at a sportsbook would look like this:

O/U Moneyline is distributed by teams.

New England Patriots-7.5-140

O/U 36-110

Cleveland Browns +7.5 +135

NFL sports betting can be fun, exciting, and profitable. Before placing a bet, always take the time to research each team. To make consistent profits, sports bettors need to make intelligent decisions.