How to Read NFL Bets and Odds 1

How to Read NFL Bets and Odds


NFL betting is one of the largest markets in the betting world. With the game’s increasing popularity and the availability of stats and scores globally, millions of people are wagering NFL bets. The terms and vocabulary may seem foreign to people new to the betting world, but they are easy to understand once you get the hang of it. So, let’s learn about NFL lines, spreads, and odds and how to interpret them.

How to calculate NFL betting odds

NFL odds are represented as numbers against the teams. The odds are displayed with a negative or positive sign. The minus sign denotes that the team is the favorite, meaning there are more chances of winning. The positive movement in odds indicates that the team is the underdog. In simple terms, NFL odds are the payout frame of the game.

NFL Bets

You must bet that amount to win $100 when the odds show a negative sign. For example, if the odds are -140, you must bet $140 to win $100. If you win the bet, the total amount after the win will be $240. A plus sign states that you are betting for an underdog and can win the featured amount after betting $100. For example, if the odds are +130, you will wager $100 to win this amount. When you win the bet, you will get $230.

NFL betting spreads

Two types of numbers are displayed adjacent to the teams: odds and spreads. The NFL spreads a number for the team to score to win the bet. For example, if the spread is -5.5, the team needs to win by 6 points for you to win the bet.

How to calculate NFL point spreads.

The sportsbook sets a number as the point spread by calculating the difference between the favorites and underdogs to balance the unequal teams. Let’s learn how the NFL point spreads are calculated with an example.

Point Spread
Team A
Team B

The above table shows that Team A is the favorite and Team B is the underdog.

If you bet team A to win at -3.5, it will have to win the game by 4 points or more to cover the spread.
Now, if the final score of team A is 27 and the final score of team B is 30, team A wins because 27+3.5 is greater than 30.
If the final score of Team A is 32 and Team B is 28, team A wins as 32 minus 3.5 is still greater than 28.

If you bet on Team B to win, the score of 3.5 is added to their final score by the scorebook. They must either win or lose by less than 3.5 points to beat the spread.
If the total score of team A is 33 and the total score of team B is 34, team B wins as 34 plus 3.5 is greater than 33.
If team A scores 33 and team B scores 3, 30Team B still wins as 30+3.5 is greater than 33. Since the losing score was less than 3.5, you win the bet.

How to read NFL betting lines


Moneyline is one of the most popular and easy forms of NFL bets. All you must do is choose your team and bet if the team wins or not. The money line favorites are listed as a negative number, and an underdog is a positive number. You will have to bet that mentioned amount to win the set bet. For example, if the odds are -400, you must bet $400 to win $100. Or if the odds are +500, you must bet $500 to win $100. The NFL odds range from -110 to -600. Reading NFL lines can be confusing for beginners. So, let’s learn how to figure out money lines in NFL betting lines. The team names are written against the NFL point spread, odds, and total points scored. The favorites are represented by a negative number and the underdog by a positive number. The better is then required to evaluate if the odds reflect the game’s real value. Then, bet on the number of points the team will win or lose by.

Betting totals (over/under)

In this type of betting, The bet is placed on the combined total score of both teams. The oddsmaker estimates the total combined score. The user is then required to bet over/ under or totals. Betting under means the player bets that the total score will be under or less than the predicted score. I am betting over, which means the player bets the total score to be more than or above the expected score.

How to find the best NFL betting lines

Money lines

Check the predicted winner of the game. If the team is very popular, it’s not ideal to bet on it, as the odds will come to -200 or lower. Focus and target underdogs when going with Moneyline betting. Inspect if the underdog has any positional advantage or is in better form. Keep tabs on undervalued teams.


Check each team’s tempo, Analyze the scoring opportunities, and Check if the predicted total aligns with each team’s playing strategy. Avoid going for under when the total is really low.


I am a writer, financial consultant, husband, father, and avid surfer. I am also a long-time entrepreneur, investor, and trader. For almost two decades, I have worked in the financial sector, and now I focus on making money through investing in stock trading.