How do NFL Point Spreads Work?

how to bet on nfl point spreads odds

(The Spread) - Are you wondering how do NFL Point Spreads work? The 2012 NFL regular season is almost here as bettors can hardly wait to get in on the action. The NFL is one of the biggest sports to bet on as it offers multiple betting options, like betting on the point spread, the over/under and picking the moneyline winner. In this article I will explain how NFL Point Spreads work.

This is basic information that you must know in order to make informed bets. A Point Spread is a range of numeric outcomes expressed in points and the bet is whether the outcome will be above or below the spread. This is where the pay-off is based on the accuracy of the wager, rather than a simple "win or lose" outcome, such as fixed-odds (or money-line) betting. The point spread is essentially a handicap towards the underdog. The wager becomes "Will the favorite win by more than the point spread?" Instead of a win or lose scenario. The spread is intended to create an equal number of wagers on either side for the bookmaker, where the implied probability is 50% for both sides of the wager.

Here is how the point spread works. Say the New England Patriots are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL oddsmakers have New England as -4 point favorites over the Steelers. This is how that would look on a betting website.

New England Patriots -4 (-115)

Pittsburgh Steelers +4 (+105)

This means if you pick the Patriots (-4) to cover the spread, the Patriots would have to win by more than four points. If the total at the end of the game is Patriots 25 Steelers 15 you would win. If you picked the Steelers (+4) to cover the spread, the Steelers would have to come within four points of the total score at the end of the game. So if the score at the end is Patriots 25 Steelers 24, you would win. Spreads are frequently, though not always, specified in half-point fractions to eliminate the possibility of a tie, known as a push. In the event of a push, the game is considered no action, and no money is won or lost.

The numbers in the brackets beside the NFL Spreads in the example above represents the amount you’d have to bet and the amount you would win. Since the Patriots are “The Favorites” you would have to bet $115 to win $100. If you picked “The Underdog” Steelers to cover the spread, you would have to bet $100 to win $105.   

Doing some research before making a bet is smart and advantageous. If a certain team is an underdog, but is on a winning streak, you might want to go with the underdog where you bet minimal money to win big money. There’s nothing like the feeling of picking the underdog and winning, especially if they’re up against a heavy favorite. Sometimes talented players get hurt and will miss a game or two. This can also help you in your decision. Research when the last time this player, or players, where last out of the lineup and see how there team did. Did they lose or win without them?

Betting on sports is never a “Sure Thing” but doing your homework and analyzing team and player stats can definitely increase your odds.

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