The expansion of the regular season to 17 games means there are even more NFL point spread bets each year. If Massachusetts legalizes sports betting, the beloved New England Patriots will be a star attraction, but betting on the spread can be fun for any game. In anticipation of that happening, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about betting on NFL point spreads.
This week’s NFL point spreads
If sports betting becomes legal in the state, you’ll find the latest NFL point spreads from top Massachusetts sportsbooks in the odds feed below. Check back for updated odds as the week progresses. If you see a line that you like, click on it to go to that sportsbook.
How to bet on NFL point spreads
Betting on NFL point spreads is a simple process. The first step is to register at a legal online sportsbook. Such a sportsbook will likely have a bonus for first-time users. Follow these steps to create an account:
- Head to the sportsbook site and select the sign-up button.
- Follow the onscreen instructions and enter the info that the sportsbook requires.
- Create your account and make a deposit.
- Check out the NFL point spread odds and get set to bet.
Best sportsbooks for NFL point spreads
Point spreads are a popular NFL betting option, so you’ll have little trouble finding them at legal sportsbooks. Here are some of the top places to play that are likely to launch in Massachusetts if the state legalizes betting:
Boston-based DraftKings offers one of the largest online sportsbooks in the United States. That didn’t happen by accident. DraftKings Sportsbook has one of the best platforms in the industry. It’s filled with features, but also simple enough to let you get in on the action whenever you want.
- Clear-cut betting menu lets you get around with ease.
- Take your chances against other bettors with NFL betting pools.
- Plenty of alternate spreads and totals.
BetMGM Sportsbook is another online gambling leader in the US. NFL bettors should find more than enough to keep them occupied all season long. Add in regular promos throughout the season, and it’s not tough to see what all of the fuss is about.
- Great layout for available NFL bets.
- “Edit my bet” available once a wager goes live.
- Good spot for live betting and props.
FanDuel Sportsbook is at or near the top of the charts in all of the states in which it’s currently available. The easy-to-use betting platform also does well with same-game parlays, competitive spreads and a range of props.
- Massive menu of NFL player props.
- Make same-game parlay bets that include the spread.
- Incredibly smooth software.
Caesars is a big name in gambling, but that’s even more of the case now that its online sportsbook is climbing the ranks. A simple platform with competitive odds is always appealing, as is a steady stream of NFL betting promos all season long. Options at Caesars Sportsbook include:
- Big menu of alternate spreads.
- NFL spreads and odds are always competitive.
- Regular odds boosts and other promos.
Who sets NFL point spreads?
Point spreads generally come from the sportsbook that’s offering odds on the game, but some books may use an outside service. In either case, the oddsmakers behind the scenes get all of the possible variables together to help set the line with computers and algorithms doing a lot of the work.
Basically, if you can think of something that could impact the game, the sportsbook will factor it into the spread. Oddsmakers will consider the matchup, strengths and weaknesses on both sides, home-field advantage and much more to come up with a spread that aims to attract betting action.
After bets begin to flow in, the sportsbook may adjust the spread or odds in response as it tries to get the action even on both sides.
Differences between Vegas spreads and local NFL spreads
Once upon a time, everyone had to look in the same direction for the best NFL point spreads. Las Vegas had legal sports betting on lockdown in the US for some time, but that’s no longer the case. As online sports betting has opened up in more parts of the country, many bettors now have additional legal options.
Sportsbooks in legal states are dishing out odds that stack up right alongside what you’ll find in Sin City. You can certainly look to Vegas as a reference point if you want, but there’s a good chance you’ll find the same or similar sports odds in your area, if you live in such a state.
When should you place your NFL spread bets?
Point spreads for the NFL come out well in advance of game time. In general, you can expect to see them as the current slate of games is winding down. You can think of your options for when to bet as falling into three basic time frames:
- As soon as possible after the initial release.
- During the week but still well before kickoff.
- On game day before the whistle blows.
Here are some of the main pros and cons of each approach:
- Early betting
- Pro: You’re betting on the freshest possible spread straight from the sportsbook before it moves in response to betting action or other news.
- Con: The numbers can shift to more favorable levels after you’ve wagered due to public betting or other developments, such as a key injury.
- Mid-week betting
- Pro: The spreads and odds have responded to the initial wave of action, so you get the benefit of seeing the sportsbook’s number and resulting market reaction.
- Con: The initial spread could’ve been more appealing than where it is now, and there could still be more movement to come.
- Late betting
- Pro: All of the information and adjustments for public wagering are in at this point.
- Con: The spread is what it is at this point, and it could be less favorable than what you were hoping for earlier in the week.
As you gain experience with betting on NFL football spreads, you’ll get a sense of what works best for you. If you’re prepared enough to jump in early, you can do so, but you also have the flexibility of waiting it out to research and see how the betting market develops.
Are NFL spreads always the same?
Point spreads can vary slightly from sportsbook to sportsbook. There may be slight differences at the initial release, and betting action and other developments can also impact where the numbers ultimately wind up. For bettors, this is actually good news as you can pick and choose your spots.
For the most part, you won’t find massive differences, as NFL betting markets are very active and efficient. The spread could move by a half-point or more, while the odds can swing up or down a bit on either side. If there’s a spread that’s seriously out of line, sharp sports bettors will jump all over it and bring it back in line.
Before you place your bets, you should always compare the spreads and odds at several sportsbooks. When you find the spread that you want at the most appealing odds, that’s where you should be placing your bets for that contest.
What are the key numbers or tipping points for NFL spreads?
When you examine NFL betting spreads, there are key numbers to be aware of. Because of the way that football scoring works, certain numbers are much more important than others. Scoring in football works in threes and sevens for the most part, so you’ll notice that many spreads hover around those amounts.
A spread that’s exactly at 3 or 7 opens up the possibility of a tie for spread betting purposes. An extra half-point, such as 3.5 or 7.5, makes that a non-issue. When comparing spreads, don’t overlook small differences like that, as it absolutely can impact your results.
This can even hold true for bigger spreads, such as 10, 14 or 17 points. If you want a clear-cut result, you’re always better off shopping for the extra half-point. Additionally, when shopping around, a little extra cushion on the spreads that you’re interested in is a big plus. For example, if you like a team to cover at -4.5 and see it listed elsewhere at -3.5, it makes sense to take the lower number, for instance.
Why does an NFL point spread change?
NFL point spreads will generally move for one of two reasons: in response to betting action or due to a new development. Here’s how that can play out in both areas:
- Betting action
- There’s a heavy amount of betting action on one side.
- Oddsmakers could simply shift the odds to make the less-attractive side more appealing.
- They could also tweak the spread by a half-point or more in a bid to level it out.
- This process can continue right up until kickoff.
- New developments
- News that comes out after the spread is first available.
- Injuries to a key player — starting QB, offensive lineman, etc.
- Player trade or a coaching change.
- Potential weather issues — heavy winds, torrential rains, etc.
At the end of the day, sportsbooks are hoping to see the action as close to even on both sides as possible. Shifts in the spread can help them get there, but it doesn’t always work out in their favor.
What is the usual difference between opening and final spreads?
If the initial spread isn’t wildly off the mark, then it’s possible that the number could remain the same right up until kickoff. In cases such as this, sportsbooks will focus more on adjusting the odds on either side as necessary while they attempt to find the sweet spot for betting action.
A shift of a half or full point isn’t uncommon, while more dramatic swings will stand out. For bettors, the best advice is to at least check out the spreads at the initial release. From there, do your best to track the line moves so you can get a handle on market sentiment and sportsbook reaction.
Why bet on NFL spreads instead of moneylines or totals?
For many NFL bettors, the point spread is the top choice. The odds are generally in a very tight range on both sides, which makes it seem as if you’re getting a decent deal no matter what. The spread can make even the most meaningless game more appealing due to the betting angles.
Over on the moneyline, the odds can be all over the map. There may be games with decent odds on both sides, but also plenty in which the numbers for favorites or underdogs are less than attractive. As for totals (over/under), it’s similar to spread betting in terms of the odds on both sides, but there are other variables to consider beyond the covering aspect.
The point spread aims to level the playing field and make betting on either team a viable option. As always, your personal preferences should point you in the direction of what you want to bet on, but NFL point spreads remain one of the most popular attractions for legal online sportsbooks.