What’s Betting Line on NFL Games?

If you're looking to bet on the NFL and you see the betting line, you might be confused as to what that is. Let's take a look at the betting line in NFL games as well as some other terms to know.

What’s Betting Line on NFL Games?
Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-03-14

In the thrilling world of NFL betting, the betting line reigns supreme. Who is the favourite, and who has to fight back as the underdog. But what exactly is this mysterious line, and why does it hold such power over the realm of sports wagering? Let's embark on a journey to unravel the secrets behind the betting line and understand its significance in NFL games.

Understanding the Basics

At its core, the betting line in NFL games serves as a mechanism to level the playing field between two opposing teams. It's not merely a random number; rather, it's a calculated estimate of the point differential between the two teams. This estimation aims to attract equal betting action on both sides, ensuring balanced wagers for the sportsbook. So if the Chiefs were -7, they are 7 point favourites over the opposition.

The Purpose of the Betting Line

Imagine an NFL matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets. On paper, the Chiefs might appear significantly stronger than the Jets. Without a betting line, most bettors would likely flock to wager on the Chiefs, resulting in an imbalance of bets. Herein lies the importance of the betting line – it encourages betting activity on both sides, irrespective of team strength. Also remember that Patrick Mahomes is a beast in the fourth quarter, but that’s another bet. 

The Evolution of the Betting Line

The concept of the betting line dates back to the early 20th century when bookmakers sought a means to regulate betting activity. Over time, advancements in statistical analysis and technology have refined the methodology behind setting betting lines, making them more accurate and reflective of team dynamics. Also early bookmakers got sick of seeing teams get trounced in fair games, so they wanted to make things ‘interesting.’

Components of the Betting Line

When you encounter a betting line for an NFL game, it typically consists of three primary components: the point spread, the moneyline, and the over/under (total points). Each component offers a distinct avenue for bettors to explore, catering to a diverse range of preferences and strategies. For the sake of the point spread, we’re looking at that + or - number that sets out who is favoured to win. If the team has a minus sign, they are odds on to win.

Deciphering the Point Spread

The point spread is perhaps the most widely known aspect of the betting line. It represents the projected margin of victory for the favoured team and serves as the basis for many NFL wagers. For instance, if the Chiefs are favoured by 7 points against the Jets, bettors can choose whether they believe the Chiefs will win by more than 7 points (covering the spread) or the Jets will lose by less than 7 points (beating the spread). Given the 2023 season, you would be smart to bet on the Chiefs, and not on the Jets. But who knows what 2024 holds?

Embracing the Moneyline and Over/Under

In addition to the point spread, the moneyline and over/under offer alternative avenues for NFL betting enthusiasts. The moneyline presents a straightforward option – bettors pick the outright winner of the game, regardless of point differentials. Meanwhile, the over/under challenges bettors to predict whether the combined score of both teams will exceed or fall short of a specified threshold. Add all of those three together, and you have yourself a little parlay, giving a bettor a bigger payout for the bigger risk of picking the outcome of the game with greater accuracy.

In the intricate tapestry of NFL betting, the betting line stands as a cornerstone, guiding bettors through the labyrinth of odds and probabilities. By understanding its purpose, components, and evolution, bettors can navigate the betting landscape with confidence and strategy, enhancing their NFL wagering experience. So, the next time you place a bet on an NFL game, look at the odds, listen to some pundits, and know what the betting line for each NFL game is that you’re looking for.

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What is NFL moneyline betting?

NFL moneyline betting is a type of wagering where you bet on which team will win the game outright, without considering the point spread.

How do I read NFL moneyline odds?
Negative odds indicate the favourite, showing how much you need to bet to win $100. Positive odds represent underdogs, indicating the potential profit on a $100 bet.

Are there differences between NFL moneyline and point spread betting?
Yes, point spread betting involves predicting whether a team will win by a certain margin, while moneyline betting focuses solely on the outcome of the game.

How do I determine which team to bet on in NFL moneyline betting?
Consider factors like team performance, injuries, home-field advantage, recent form, historical matchups, and strengths/weaknesses.

Can I bet on NFL moneyline outcomes for individual quarters or halves?
Yes, many sportsbooks offer moneyline bets for individual quarters or halves, allowing you to focus on shorter periods of play.

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.

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