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|‣||How Football Spread Betting Works|
|‣||How The NFL Point Spread Is Set|
|‣||Strategies For Winning NFL Point Spread Bets|
Look, betting moneylines in the NFL is alright, but when it comes to favorites, not very profitable. That’s where NFL spread betting becomes crucial for you to make some money in a quicker way.
Betting on the spread means you wager on a team to either win by a set point margin or not to lose by more than the set margin.
The spread is the way for oddsmakers to level a mismatch on a sporting event.
It’s actually simple. The favorite team not only has to win but cover the points handicapped to get the payout.
As for the underdogs, they “get” the points. So, for bettors to cash with them, the underdogs can either win outright or lose by less than the point spread.
Sometimes, NFL betting spreads will have a half-point (0.5) attached to them. This is also known as a hook. The hook’s purpose is to make sure there can’t be a push bet (a tied bet).
When a push happens, the amount wagered goes back to the bettor’s bankroll. However, read your sportsbook’s terms and conditions. Push terms may vary.
If the spread is seven points for a game, it means the underdog is getting seven points, noted as +7 on the odds. A team posted at -7 is the favorite and is laying seven points.
For example, let’s say the NY Jets (+5.5) are playing the New England Patriots (-5.5). If you bet on the Jets, they don’t have to win, they just have to lose by 5 points or less. If you bet on the Patriots, they have to win by at least 6 points.
In a spread bet, the odds are usually set at -110 on both sides, depending on the sportsbook and state. That means whether you bet the Giants -3 or Texans +3, you’ll win the same amount of money if you win the bet.
If Dallas Cowboys is +2.5, that means they are the underdog and have been spotted or given 2.5 points. If the Cowboys loses by two or fewer points, then it is a winning bet. If the Cowboys pull off an outright upset, then that is also a winning wager.
Betting odds and lines from a sportsbook can be confusing at first. When you see a +1.5 in front of a team’s name, that means that they are 1.5-point underdogs in that matchup.
Now, let’s take an in-depth look into football spread betting.
Spreads are made to attract bettors to both sides of an NFL game. Most of the time, in a football game, there is one consensus favorite. Without a spread, bets would be one-sided. This is not very profitable for bettors or the sportsbooks (unless underdogs win).
Spreads open up shortly after Sunday football calls it a day. Of course, Week 1 operates with more preview as the window is wider. To create the spreads, oddsmakers try to read how the public will lean into the game and teams.
Not only this but stats, math, storylines, and team trends are involved.
The oddsmakers are not gamblers. They don’t ride on one team; they collect the juice—or vig—on each game. When wagering on spread bets, both teams will often have a -110 payout. For every $110 wagered, the bettor gets $100.
Thus, if the money is split, the sportsbooks pay the winners the money collected from losing bets. The bookmakers pocket the remaining 10%—a win-win situation.
For example, let’s say the New Orleans Saints face the Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) and assume the money splits evenly.
So, the bookmaker takes 1,000 bets of $110 for the Chiefs to cover. Another 1,000 bets of $110 go to the Saints. In this case, each bettor wins $100 if their team covers the spread because of the -110 odds.
– New Orleans Saints bets: 1,000 x $110= $110,000
– Kansas City Chiefs bets: 1,000 x $110= $110,000
Let’s suppose the Chiefs blow the Saints out, winning 38-14, covering the -6.5 spread. The 1,000 bettors who wagered $110 on the Chiefs win $100. Meanwhile, the Saints bettors leave empty-handed, and their bets go to the bookmaker.
– Money paid out to Kansas City bettors: 1,000 x $100= $100,000
– Money collected from New Orleans bettors: 1,000 x $100= $110,000
Looking at this, the bookmaker ends up with a juicy profit ($110,000 – $1000,000= $10,000). This is in just a single game. The biggest sportsbooks are most likely taking more than 1,000 bets on each game.
This results in lots of money as profit. This is why the sportsbooks like to include hooks in the spread because pushes get them no profit at all.
The spread changes because oddsmakers need to adjust to new coming in or an injury. A spread changes throughout the week if one team is gathering more money than the other. Bookmakers want to have the most evenly split bets.
So they will alter spreads to encourage bettors to wager on the other team. Why do they want to split bets? Easy, to mitigate losses. Look at the following example:
– Arizona Cardinals +5.5 (-110)
– Tampa Bay Buccaneers -5.5 (+110)
Let’s say the Buccaneers’ starters look great during preseason games. Due to this, bettors lean heavily into that Tampa Bay +4.5. The first move the bookmakers do is adjust the odds to -120, and even money for Arizona.
This means bettors need to wager $120 to win $100 for Tampa Bay, but only bet $100 to win $100 with the Cardinals. However, if the money is too inclined, the spread may increase to -6.5 or -7 for Tampa Bay. This is to encourage the bettors to place their money on Arizona.
Another reason a spread may change is because of injuries. Sometimes, oddsmakers will release the spreads until the injury reports are available. If a player’s status is unknown, bookmakers will wait to see what will happen with that player.
If a star player is ruled out, the bookmakers change the spread immediately. This way, they prevent savvy bettors from getting their bets with favorable spreads hoping to beat the line.
So there is no formula to always win spreads. If it ever appears, we got you. But for now, we are giving you strategies to make the most of your spread bets to get bigger profits.
A heads up, when a game is between two even teams, the spread will often open at 3, favoring the home side. Simply put, home-field advantage equals three points to the oddsmakers.
Of course, if public bettors incline to one team, spreads may change.
1. Where’s the game? In the NFL, home-field advantage exists; it’s very real. If the bookmakers consider them, you should too.
2. Is it a divisional or rivalry matchup? Such as home field, rivalries can change a lot in an NFL game. Divisional matchups are raw and intense, and logic is thrown out the windows. These also tend to be closer games.
3. What happened the previous week? Time zones, travels, primetime games, trap games… All those factors can affect a team’s form due to less rest and practice. Check it out before placing your bets.
4. Don’t make last-second bets! Don’t wait until Sunday morning to place your bets. If you do, you’re missing opening lines and favorable odds.
5. Check the injury reports! Look, the bookmakers check them for a reason. If a player is missing, it can change the landscape of the game. It’s more than just trusting the lines and looking for the QBs.
6. Individual matchups matter! Sometimes, one guy has another guy’s number. Teams do too. Miami has pulled miracle wins over the Patriots, for example.
7. Do your research about the teams! Know their strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge their popularity to see how lines shift in favor or away from them.
8. Beware of parlays and teasers! We know their big payouts can be tempting, but study the games you’re betting on parlays and teasers. As much as the payouts are big and juicy, the chances of winning those are very slim. Remember, bankrolls grow in straight bets. Teasers and parlays can help every once in a while but shouldn’t be your go-to bet.
Following these tips isn’t a guarantee of winning every time, but they will help you a lot for you to get a better winning rate.
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