The expansion of the regular season to 17 games means there are now even more NFL point spread bets you can place each year. Massachusetts sports betting has recently been approved, and the industry is expected to rollout in the BaY State in the coming months. In anticipation of that happening, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about betting on NFL point spreads.
What Are NFL Point Spreads?
NFL points spreads are some of the most common wagers out there. Prior to any given NFL game, sportsbooks determine the favorite and the underdog in the game. The point spread refers to the number of points the favorite is expected to win by. The favored team is followed by a minus sign (-) and the point margin. Conversely, the underdog is followed by a plus (+) symbol and the point margin.
If you place a bet on the favored team, they would need to win by more than the listed amount of points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the underdog, you would need them to either win the game outright, or stay within the listed amount of points for you to win the bet.
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. When the sports betting industry launches in Massachusetts, new users will be able to sign up for some great MA sports betting bonuses.
Once you have created your account and deposited your desired amount of funds, you are ready to place your wagers. To find NFL bets, simply select the NFL tab on the main page of the sportsbook. Then, you will be able to see the odds and lines for all of the upcoming games. Most NFL point spread bets are listed with -110 odds, although they can slightly vary.
Best Sportsbooks For NFL Point Spreads
Because NFL point spreads are extremely popular among sports bettors, you’ll have little trouble finding them at Massachusetts sportsbooks. Once sports betting is live in Massachusetts, Bay State bettors will have access to some of the top sportsbooks in the industry. Here is a quick list of the top platforms to use when betting NFL point spreads:
Boston-based DraftKings Sportsbook offers one of the largest online sportsbooks in the United States. That didn’t happen by accident. DraftKings has one of the best sports betting platforms in the industry, as the app is filled with impressive features, but also simple enough to let you get in on the action whenever you want. The betting menu is clean-cut and lets you get around with ease. The betting market is vast, and football fans will have no problems finding plenty of alternate spreads and totals to bet on
BetMGM Sportsbook is another online gambling leader in the US. Football 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. The BetMGM Sportsbook app has a great layout for available NFL bets, and the “Edit my bet” feature is available once a wager goes live.
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. FanDuel also tends to have some of the best odds on underdogs. The app features incredibly smooth software, and there is a massive menu of NFL player props.
Caesars Sportsbook is a big name in gambling, and that’s even more of the case now that its online sportsbook is climbing the ranks in the industry. A simple platform with competitive odds is always appealing, as is a steady stream of NFL betting promos all season long. Other options at Caesars include competitive odds, a large menu of alternate spreads, and regular boosts and 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. Professional 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.
When Is The Best Time To Place NFL Spread Bets?
Point spreads for the NFL care originally released well in advance of game time. In general, you can expect to see them as the current slate of games is winding down. But, the lines and odds can change throughout the week up until kick-off. This gives NFL bettors a decision to make: bet point spreads early in the week and maybe get a better number, or wait until later in the week when more information is available.
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, or 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?
In a word, no. NFL 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 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.
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 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, or “push,” 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 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.