Being successful in NFL betting or wagering on any other sport does not happen overnight and requires much dedication and time to know these things backward. Contrary to the popular belief that being successful in sports betting has more to do with luck than with skills and knowledge, having a good understanding of the sport is a must in order to guarantee long-term success.
Punters who are looking to dive into the sports betting world should know that placing informed bets is the key to a fruitful NFL betting session, and this does not only have to do with knowing how the various bet types work or constantly keeping track of the performances of the teams.
Learning the fundamentals of NFL betting is something total novices should not lose sight of if they want to capitalize fully on their real-money bets, and the way odds work is among the first things they should pay more attention to. Ignoring them is ill-advised, and if gambling aficionados do not know how to read them, they will not be able to find value, estimate their potential returns, and calculate probabilities.
In this article, we will provide a lowdown on the NFL betting odds and lines in order for gambling enthusiasts to ensure that they will be able to place sharper bets.
The Ins and Outs of NFL Betting Lines
One of the main reasons why many punters dive into wagering on American football and the National Football League, in particular, is that most of the time, they are presented with a wide variety of markets to bet on. Getting a proper knowledge of what each of these markets means can be challenging for total novices, all the more so when we throw odds into the mix.
The numbers are undoubtedly the most confusing part about betting on sports, and the first thing, which might grab the attention of punters, is that next to the name of each team, there is a positive or negative sign and a number when American odds are used.
The favorite in the game will be odds-on to win it, while the underdog will be expected to lose the game, and bookmakers level the playing field and guarantee that both teams will attract an equal betting action by adding an additional requirement. When it comes to spread betting, punters’ wagers on the favorite will win only if the team wins the game by a preset number of points. Yet, they will not get a payout if the favorite fails to cover the spread or the other team wins the game.
When they introduce odds, bookmakers determine the favorite and the underdog in the match, and the handicap sets the line between the contending teams, according to which the only possible outcomes of the game are a win and a loss. In this way, the parameters according to which bets are accepted on the particular match are determined.
Let’s assume that gambling enthusiasts are about to place a spread bet, and one of the teams is listed as 20-points better than the other one. The bookmaker will create the line bet by handicapping the team by 20 points, thus giving gambling aficionados two options to decide between. They can either bet on the favorite to come first in the game by more than 20 points or place a bet on the underdog to get within 20 points. No matter which option punters will settle on, they will notice that there is no difference in the odds of both outcomes to occur.
What NFL bettors should remember about odds is that the main purposes they serve are to indicate the returns they will stand the chance to collect, as well as what the chances of an event to occur are.
The payout NFL bettors can collect if their bet is settled as winning one will be determined by the value of the odds the sports betting site has introduced at the time when they wrap up their bets. Thus, the amount gambling enthusiasts might get will be relative to the bet amount and will be more handsome when the odds are higher. Yet, the chances of winning will be less. When the odds are lower, it will be more probable for punters to make a correct pick.
Let’s provide a simplified explanation of the way odds are designed. If we imagine that one of the top-ranking NFL teams plays against a lower-ranking team, it stands to reason that bookmakers will consider that the first team will be more likely to triumph in the game. Thus, the odds for the first team to win over its opponent will be lower, while the odds of the second team to win in the game will be higher in order to reflect the slim chances of being placed first.
How to Read NFL Betting Odds
Although moneyline, spread, and totals are the three most used and well-known bet types, today, there are plenty of other ways to wager on American football as bookmakers also allow placing bets on the first half, the second half, and future bets, to name a few.
Moneyline betting is the most straightforward way to wager on sports, but this is not to say that it is employed exclusively by total novices as it is just as well-liked by seasons NFL bettors. With this bet type, the team gambling aficionados have chosen needs to win the game straight up in order for their bet to be resolved as a winning one.
Apparently, spread betting is one of the most common ways of wagering on the NFL, and it works well not only for seasoned punters but for novices as well. Depending on the sign, which stands after the name of the team, gambling enthusiasts will be able to tell whether this is the favorite or the underdog and on what occasions their bets will win. With spread betting, the favorite and the underdog are given a specific number of points they are required to meet in order for punters’ bet to be settled as a winning one.
NFL totals or over/under is yet another way of wagering on American football the lion’s share of bookmakers offers. Going for this bet type means that punters need to decide if the total number of points that will be scored throughout the game will be over or under the number the bookmaker has introduced.
How Are NFL Odds Displayed
While betting on sports over the Internet, punters are normally allowed to decide between several formats to view the odds in. Decimal, fractional, and American odds are the three most widely used odds displays, but it is not excluded to see bookmakers that allow their users to see the prices using Malaysian, Hong Kong, and Indonesian formats, as well.
No matter which of these options punters will be given a choice from, they should remember that all odds displays are used to represent the same thing and their choice of a format will not have an impact on the payout they will be in for. Chances are that while placing their bets over the Internet, gambling aficionados will stumble upon betting platforms that offer all three formats or only some of them, which is the reason why they should learn the ropes of all odds displays.
Odds Conversion Table
Converting odds from one format into another takes only some basic calculations, but if punters want to save themselves the hassle of doing this math, they should simply use one of the odds converting tools available across the web.
American Odds Format
In simple terms, American odds or moneyline odds as they are also referred to, will indicate NFL bettors what amount they will win for $100 they stake or the amount they need to wager in order to get $100. What the case is is determined by the positive or the negative sign, which stands together with the odds value.
NFL bettors should consider that as the chances of the favorite to triumph in the game increase, the difference in the odds of the two contending teams will widen to reflect this change.
At this point, you might wonder why odds are displayed in 100. The explanation is rather simple as a 1:1 ratio is used, which is to say that for every $1 punters decide to stake, they can collect $1. The availability of a positive or a negative sign to the name of the team gambling aficionados are about to bet on is what makes the difference as when there is a negative sign (punters bet on the favorite), they will need to stake more than $100 to collect a payout of $100. When there is a positive sign, gambling aficionados will collect more than $100 after placing a bet of $100.
Let’s assume that the odds for the Cleveland Cavaliers are +150, while the odds for the Milwaukee Bucks are -110. If punters decide to bet on the Milwaukee Bucks, they need to stake $110 to potentially get $100 if the team wins. In the event that they prefer to have a flutter on the Cleveland Cavaliers, sports bettors will be in for a payout of $150 if they stake $100 and the team wins.
The positive sign points to the amount sports bettors might bag for every $100 they stake, while the negative sign indicates the amount they need to risk in order to get a payout of $100 .
An important thing to note is that no matter which side punters decide to bet on, when their bet hits, they will get the amount of their initial wager back along with the amount they have won.
Decimal Odds Format
Decimal odds also go by the name European odds and allow punters to work out the payout they will stand to collect in a walk as their value represents the payout that might come their way for $1 they stake. Decimal odds cannot have a negative value and, most of the time, only have two decimal places.
With this odds display, it will be exceptionally easy for gambling aficionados to identify the underdog and the favorite, and to do so, they will not be required to make any calculations or think which sign tells what, which was the case with American odds. The higher the decimal number is, the higher the potential payout will be. It might be tempting for punters to place such a bet but what they should not forget is that they will be less likely to receive this payout, which is to say that the risk they will need to face will be higher.
Decimal odds indicate what amount NFL bettors will snatch for every $1 they put at a stake.
In order for NFL bettors to calculate their potential payout while using the decimal display, they need to multiply the odds value by the amount they are going to stake. Thus, if we assume that the odds for Las Vegas Raiders to win a game against Jacksonville Jaguars are 1.80, and gambling aficionados have decided to stake $100, the payout they will possibly get will be $180.
Punters should remember that this total payout includes the amount they have initially put at a stake. Thus, in this case, their net profit will be $80 (total payout of $180 – the initial bet amount of $100).
Fractional Odds Format
Also known as traditional, UK, or British odds, fractional odds are displayed using a hyphen or a slash and can be found at most sports betting sites across the web. This odds display indicates the ratio of the amount punters will stake and the potential return on this bet. Thus, if the fractional listing NFL bettors see is 8/1, for example, this means that they will collect $8 for every $1 they stake. In other words, in addition to the amount they have staked, which is $1, gambling aficionados will get a profit of $8, which makes for a total payout of $9.
Fractional odds indicate the ratio of the profit punters have received to the wager they have made.
As you can see, in addition to the profit of $8, you will get the amount you have initially wagered, which in our case is $1. Staking $10 at odds of 6/1 could bring punters a total payout of $70, where $10 is the initial bet amount, while $60 is the potential profit.
If we assume that the odds for Las Vegas Raiders to win a match are 13/5, while the odds of Jacksonville Jaguars to win the game are 9/2, this means that Las Vegas Raiders are expected to triumph. In the event that punters decide to bet on Las Vegas Raiders, they will collect $13 against every $5 they put at stake, while if they decide to bet on Jacksonville Jaguars, they will stand the chance to get $9 against every $2 they bet.
Odds and Probability
Even though most NFL bettors might think accurately predicting what will happen during the matches is all it takes to be successful, they should know that there is more to it when it comes to persistently getting profit. To ensure that their betting session will be lucrative, gambling enthusiasts should gain proper knowledge of probability and implied probability and how these are related to NFL betting.
The Ins and Outs of Implied Probability
In simple terms, probability indicates how likely or unlikely an event to occur is, and it can be expressed as percentages or decimals. When the probability is expressed in decimals, the number can only range between 0 and 1, where 0 means that there are no chances that this event will take place, while 1 shows that the event will certainly happen. Calculating probability with precision is only possible on certain occasions, and this is the case with the roll of a dice and the coin toss.
Since there are so many different factors that have an impact on the way NFL games can pan out, it makes sense that calculating probability with such accuracy as in the above-mentioned examples is quite impossible. As punters might already know, bookmakers set odds in their favor, but this is not to say that it is not possible to tilt the scales in their favor.
To do so, punters should get familiar with expected value and implied probability. In order for gambling enthusiasts to calculate implied probability while wagering on the NFL, they are required to divide 1 by the odds value. Thus, if we assume that the odds of the New York Jets winning a match are 1.50, the implied probability will be 0.67 or 67%.
To calculate implied probability, punters need to divide 1 by the odds value.
The Intricacies of Expected Value
Expected value, on the other hand, is used to measure the return gambling enthusiasts might collect after making a bet. Now, if we pay attention to the game in which the New York Jets play, and assume that we want to bet $10, if our bet hits, we will be in for a payout of $15, in which the initial stake of $10 is also included. As we saw already, the implied probability of this bet is 67%, which is to say that gambling enthusiasts will be paid $15 67% of the time. They will lose $10 33% of the time they make such a bet.
(probability of winning x amount won per bet) – (probability of losing x bet amount) ﹦expected value
(67% x $5) – (33% x $10) ﹦$3,35 – $3,3 ﹦ $0,05
In basic terms, expected value will show NFL bettors how much value the bet they have decided to place will potentially bring them down the line. What punters should remember is that they will invariably break even when the expected value of their wagers is zero, whenever they assume that implied probability accurately reflects real probability.
NFL bettors should remember that the real probability is lower than the implied probability.
Because of this, some NFL wagers will have a negative expected value, meaning that if punters decide to stick to such, at the end of the day, they will lose money. Thus, in order to guarantee themselves payouts over the long run, gambling aficionados should look for NFL bets that have a positive expected value. Still, punters should not be left under the impression that when placing bets for which they think the real probability is higher than the implied probability invariably guarantees them success as they might still be wrong about their predictions.
It is essential to note that value is a matter of opinion, and it all depends on the way gambling aficionados assess the probability of the team winning or losing or what the chances of another event to occur are. In other words, what one punter might consider a good value NFL bet might not be considered a worthwhile bet by other gambling enthusiasts.
How to Find Value in NFL Bets
As likely as not, while inspecting the NFL betting sites, gambling enthusiasts have noticed that oftentimes, the odds bookmakers have introduced on the same event vary. Thus, punters might see that one bookmaker prices one team to win a match at -110, while another might give the same team -120 odds of winning.
As we said already, odds reflect the likelihood of a certain event to happen, but if we need to be more precise, they indicate how likely an event to occur is according to bookmakers. This is exactly the reason why betting odds are variable. NFL bettors should also remember that the betting action one side might take will also have an impact on the value of the odds. This is to say that betting odds should not necessarily represent the chances of an event to take place accurately.
In order for NFL bettors to ensure that they will consistently turn a profit and guarantee such over the long term, they should learn how to predict the outcome of the games more accurately. As we said earlier, this takes a lot of knowledge, and in order for avid fans of sports betting to achieve this, they should first gain proper knowledge of the key aspects of the sports and how to properly bet on it.
Another way to ensure that gambling enthusiasts will get the most out of their bets when they hit is to narrow down their choice of betting platforms to the ones that offer the best odds on the events they are intrigued by. The best thing gambling enthusiasts can do to maximize their wins while wagering on the NFL is to register for an account at multiple betting sites that offer lines for American football. In this way, whenever punters decide to step up to the plate and place a bet on the game they prefer, they will simply take a look at the lines their bookmakers of choice have introduced and determine which one provides the most advantageous deal.
When gambling aficionados want to increase their chances to consistently get profit, they should not limit themselves to placing just one bet type. Diversifying your bets is crucial as success is to be had while wagering on the game totals, moneyline, the spread, futures, and even prop bets, provided that punters know the intricacies of all these bet types. When proposition bets are concerned, NFL bettors should keep in mind that in spite of their entertainment value, such wagers are more difficult to handicap, which is to say that they should not get carried away by their juicy payouts.
If punters want to maximize their success, they should not overlook options like live betting either. Future bets are also a good alternative but as is the case with prop bets, placing winning future bets is more challenging.
It is safe to say that placing bets on the underdog can bring punters handsome payouts but constantly placing bets on such teams does not guarantee that punters will invariably enjoy great success. NFL bettors should keep in mind that there is a reason why odds are so long, as while introducing prices, bookmakers follow a certain logic.
What Is Vig in NFL Betting and Is It Possible to Beat It
As gambling enthusiasts might already know, bookmakers and casinos are invariably at an advantage, and they make a profit in several ways. In order to guarantee that they will make money all the time, bookmakers set the right bet prices, and, more specifically, charge vig.
To ensure that the odds will invariably be in their favor, bookmakers include vig in the odds value, which is the built-in commission they take for laying wagers. This commission is also known as juice, vigorish, overround, or margin, but all these terms refer to one and the same thing.
Let’s use the coin toss in order to illustrate how bookmakers add their advantage. As we said earlier, calculating the probability of getting heads or tails can be done in a walk simply because there are no other possible outcomes. Seeing the coin fall on either side is equally likely, which is to say that each result has a probability of 50%.
If we assume that a bookmaker offers odds for this event, the price for each result should be 1/1 or 2.00 if the decimal odds display is employed and the true odds are listed. In the event that each result attracts an equal betting action, at the end of the day, this bookmaker will not get any profit. Thus, if 20 punters decide to stake $100 on tails and 20 decide to bet on heads, the total amount the bookmaker will collect will be $8,800.
When punters’ bets hit, they will get $220, $100 the initial bet, and $120 profit. Thus, whatever the result is, the bookmaker needs to pay out the same amount it collected earlier to gambling enthusiasts as winnings.
The vigorish is used in order to ensure that no matter the result of the coin toss or the NFL game, the bookmaker will invariably get a profit. If we return to the above-mentioned example with the coin toss, punters will not be allowed to place bets at even odds but at 10/11 or -110 instead in order for bookies to maintain their edge. No matter how insignificant this change in the odds might seem, NFL bettors should remember that it adds up over time and undoubtedly make a difference, especially if they bet on a regular basis.
The example we provided is rather simplified as we aimed at explaining the basics of the vig. As punters already know, while wagering on sports, there are many more variables, and the outcomes are rarely only two.