Point Spreads in NFL

point spreads in nfl

NFL point spreads are one of the most popular markets with which to bet on professional football. NFL point spreads are typically the first markets to open, the way even before the moneyline. This allows bettors to quickly get a pick in, although the lines can change leading to the game.



What Is NFL Point Spreads Betting?

NFL point spreads are how oddsmakers “level the playing field.” They assign a points handicap for each team. This allows bettors to place a bet on either team at equal or near-equal betting lines, as opposed to the more uneven lines on the moneyline.


These point spreads or handicaps are either added or subtracted from the team’s final score. If the team’s adjusted score still wins, the bet wins. Positive spreads like “+6½” or “+3” are assigned to underdogs while negative spreads like “-7” or “+4½” are for favorites.


In the event that the two teams are even, you will see the spread labeled “pk” (pick) meaning you are simply betting the team to win: it’s a no-points handicap.



Factors to Consider with NFL Point Spreads Betting

There are plenty of factors that can affect how NFL point spreads will play out today. It is best to look into these before placing a wager. Here are a few examples of these factors:



+ Playing at home or on the road can affect how a team performs, especially because each city and stadium has its own unique qualities. We also hear the term “home turf advantage”, but it does not always apply to spread betting.


+ The weather can impact how a team performs, specifically if the team is not used to certain weather conditions. Teams that play in a dome may struggle a bit when exposed to harsh winter or rain conditions.


+ Injuries will more than likely add or remove points off a team’s point spread. Keep an eye on the injury reports to see which key players are absent. A team missing a star running back may score fewer points than it usually does.


+ The day of the week and how many days of rest the team has can also alter their performance. Some teams may play better with a short rest, while some do better when they have more rest than their opponent.


+ Rivalries and team histories can also make for a chaotic experience when betting the spread. Sports are still played by people, and emotions can run wild when two teams or players with history face each other.


+ A team or player’s betting trends can also impact their spreads. If a team has been constantly beating their spread, they may start adjusting their lines and vice versa.


+ These are just a few examples of what can impact a team’s performance ATS or how their spreads are calculated. You can find plenty more with thorough research.


Also learn about Point Spreads Betting Tips and Tricks

Pros vs Cons


🔷 Pros:

🔹 Betting on point spreads allows bettors to bet on a favorite at a more affordable rate as opposed to the moneyline.
🔹 When betting underdogs, point spreads give more leeway to the team; underdogs can lose within a certain handicap.
🔹 NFL point spreads are usually the first to be released; bettors can bet early.
🔹 Point spreads can be parlayed with totals (over/under) and will offer a better return than moneyline bets.



🔶 Cons:

🔸 NFL point spreads can and will change, depending on the news; you will not get your money back even if the change is significant unless the sportsbook pulls the line off the board.
Prone to “bad beats”: when a game is well-decided and a team scores unnecessary points; this will ruin the spread.



NFL Point Spreads Betting Examples

You can bet on the NFL point spreads in many ways, be it for the game, by the quarter, or by the half. An NFL point spread looks something like this:


+ Falcons logo Atlanta Falcons +6½ -110

+ Buccaneers logo Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6½ -110


In this example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are handicapped by -6½ points, so these are deducted from their final NFL score. On the other hand, the Atlanta Falcons are given an additional +6½ points.


The Buccaneers defeated the Falcons 33-27. Going by the spread, the Falcons +6½ is the winning bet as 27 + 6½ equals 33½, which beats the Buccaneers’ 33 points. If you bet on the Bucs, 33 – 6½ equals 26½, it would lose to the Falcons’ 27 points.


In some cases, we have whole numbers for the point spread, such as this:


+Broncos logo Denver Broncos +3

+ Seahawks logo Seattle Seahawks -3


In this hypothetical game, the Seahawks defeat the Broncos 37-34. The bet will be considered a “push” or a tie, meaning there is no winner, as the result is the same as the spread of “3”. Wagers will be returned to the bettors.





NFL point spreads are popular for a reason: they allow players to wager on any team at relatively the same price. When wagering favorites, players can get a near-even payout, while underdogs are given more leeway and do not have to win outright. Spreads are adjusted as the public places bets (action) or through circumstances like NFL injuries, weather conditions, etc. Be sure to check updates and research frequently.




NFL Point Spread Betting FAQs

1. How to Read NFL Point Spreads?

NFL point spreads show up as either a positive number like “+3½” or a negative number like “-3½”. These are points added or subtracted from the team’s final score, respectively. The team with the positive number is the underdog, while the team with the negative number is the favorite.

2. How Are NFL Point Spreads Determined?

Oddsmakers, with help from computer algorithms, determine the point spreads to set a more “equal playing field” among NFL teams. Giving teams a points handicap allows bettors equal betting lines when picking either team.

3. How to Pick NFL Point Spreads?

Picking point spreads in the NFL is similar to picking a team to win. Select the team’s spread of choice, e.g. “Miami Dolphins -2½”.If the Dolphins win by three or more points (because 2½ will be subtracted from their final score), your bet wins.

4. How Are NFL Point Spreads Calculated?

NFL point spreads are calculated using a computer algorithm from oddsmakers. This algorithm factors in several data to determine the “most likely” betting scenario.

5. How Accurate Are NFL Point Spreads?

NFL point spreads are typically accurate but not always. The NFL is unpredictable. Check NFL team point spread records and history to determine which teams usually beat their spread.


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