Las Vegas has always been the mecca of sports betting and gambling. Even with globalization and the internet, Vegas is still the home of sports betting.
Sin City is still the place where the best oddsmakers live and where sportsbooks look when making their odds.
Other states where sports betting is legal still wait for Vegas odds to open. Nevada sportsbooks’ incomes are billions of dollars. The NFL is one of the biggest betting seasons of the year, so Vegas brings their a-game.
Let’s review what the NFL Vegas odds bring to the table so you don’t miss a bit of it.
When the statistician types “odds”, he refers to the probability of an event occurring divided by the chance that an event won’t occur. In math terms, odds = p/(1-p). That’s the scientific part.
In everyday conversations, the word odds is used by people with a different meaning. People usually refer to odds when talking about Las Vegas or gambling odds in day-to-day convos.
You will hear terms like 3 to 1 or 3 to 2. For example, a chance of 3 in 4 or 3 in 5 of a specific event to happen. But, what do bettors mean when they say odds are 3 to 1 or the chance is 3 in 4?
Let’s consider a probability of 0.5 (1/2= 0.5). In statistical odds, this equals 1 (0.5/(1-0.5)= 0.5/0.5 = 1). In Las Vegas odds, this would be a 1 to 1 probability. In other words, it is one chance for, one chance against. When exposed as a chance, it would be a 1 in 2 chance. This means one chance in two of winning.
Now, when a bettor says that the odds are 3 to 1, it implies there are 3 chances to win against one chance to lose. If a gambler says the chance is 3 in 4, that is 3 chances to win out of four total opportunities.
In other, simpler terms, it means the probability is 0.75, or 75%. The statistical odds are 3 (odds = 0.75/(1-0.75) = 0.75/ 0.25 = 3).
Another thing you will see is Las Vegas odds of 3 to 2. This is the same as saying 1.5 to 1, although you will never see it put this way by Vegas. Odds like 3 to 2 are another way of saying there are 3 probabilities of winning to 2 opportunities of losing.
If the odds are 3 to 2 as a shot of 3 in 5, that says it’s 3 chances to win in a total of 5 opportunities. Even if the odds given are 3 to 2 or the chance of 3 in 5, the statistical shot is one of 0.6 (3/5 = 0.6). Then, the statistical odds are 1.5 (odds = 0.6/(1-0.6) = 0.6/0.4 = 1.5).
The odds are engineered to attract equal action between both favorites and underdogs. The goal of Vegas oddsmakers is to receive equal betting volume on both sides. Oddsmakers rely on large teams of mathematicians and statisticians to come up with the betting odds numbers.
It is crucial for you to know how to read the Vegas odds. Let’s have a look at a typical Vegas betting line.
403. Cowboys. -8. -400
404. Chiefs. 42.5. +300
To learn how to read the Vegas betting odds, we have to divide what confirms the betting line into single sections.
Rotation Number: Vegas oddsmakers assign a specific number to each betting line they do. Bear in mind, Vegas has a multitude of sports and thousands of teams that appear on their boards.
The rotation numbers help the bettors and sportsbooks to avoid any confusion over the team you’re placing a bet on. For example, California has 19 professional sports teams, and nine of those are located in Los Angeles.
Teams: This is more straightforward. It shows the name of the team you wish to place your wager for. A Vegas betting board will display which sports leagues the odds are for. They put this information at the top of the tab. Make sure you read it correctly before placing any bets.
Point Spread: The point spread is the number a sportsbook projects a team will either win or lose by. The favorite will be given a minus (-) sign in front of their point spread. Meanwhile, the underdog will have a plus (+) sign.
Look at it this way:
New England Patriots -10
New York Jets +10
In this case, the spread is 10 points. The New England Patriots are the favorites to win by a projected 10 points against the underdog Jets.
To win a bet on this example, the Patriots need to win the game by more than 10 points. If you bet on the New York Jets, they must win the game or lose by less than 10 points.
If either team wins/lose by the exact margin of 10 points, the bet is labeled as a push bet or a tie. The wagers are ‘canceled’ and the bet amount is refunded to the bettors.
Over/Under, or Totals: This refers to the total number of points scored in a game. Bookmakers will study each team and come up with a number both teams are expected to combine for in scores.
If you consider the teams in question will score more than what the bookies think, you bet the over. Conversely, if you think the books placed a difficult number for the teams to achieve, you wager the under.
This part of the Vegas line usually uses the 0.5 system to avoid pushes between bettors and oddsmakers. The games normally equal the total odds sportsbooks provide.
Therefore, the oddsmakers add a half-point to the odds to counter it. As with the point spreads, if there is a tie-in totals because there was no half-point, the bet is a push. The wagers get reimbursed.
Moneyline: This refers to American odds. These odds factor in the favorites and the underdogs of a game.
The number shown in moneylines indicates the amount of money needed to win $100 of profit when betting for the favorite. They also show the amount of profit you’ll win if betting $100 for the underdog.
Straight: A straight or single bet is when a sports bettor makes a bet when it is on an individual event within a game.
Vig/ Vigorish/Juice: It’s the commission paid to the sportsbooks for making a bet under their banner. Sportsbooks usually add the juice straight into the odds and are defined in monetary form or as a percentage.
The juice is a dynamic stat the bookmakers change. They shift it depending on the odds in place. The standard vig will be of -110, although it’s not the only one, as talked about before.
Overround: The overround is closely related to the vig. However, they perform two different roles. The vig is what the bookmaker charges a gambler to place a bet. On the other hand, the overround appears when two implied probabilities in a game add to more than 100%.
Let’s say the Steelers have a 60% chance of winning a game. The Browns have a 44% probability of beating Pittsburgh. Add it up and it’s 104%. In this case, the overround is 4%.
If the oddsmaker changes the line, this will affect the overround, hence having a knock-on effect on the juice.
The winner is determined depending on the type of bet you choose to play. For example, the total bets don’t depend on the match outcome, but on the points scored between the two teams.
In other words, it doesn’t matter who wins the game, but whether they got over or under the set number.
As for the spreads, the winner is different. You could bet for Team A at -7. Team A could win the game, but if they didn’t cover the seven-point margin, you would still lose the bet. So to win a spread bet, not only does the team need the result, but they need to cover.
Moneylines is the easier bet to determine a winner. The team that wins the game straight-up is the winner bet as well.
Regular NFL betting odds are based on what the Vegas odds say, so the differences, if any, are minimal. The Vegas odds will come with the same favorites and contenders as regular odds.
The payouts may change a bit, but that happens with lots of other events. It is not a specifically related issue between Vegas and regular odds.
Kansas City Chiefs: Vegas Odds +500 vs. DraftKings Odds +500
The Chiefs are still riding high after getting to the last two Super Bowls. They are a possible dynasty forming in the AFC, being in the last three conference championship games.
With Mahomes still at the peak of his powers and a revamped offensive line, the question is not if the Chiefs can get to the Super Bowl.
The question is who can stop them. As for the odds, both Vegas and DraftKings have them at +500 to win it all.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vegas Odds +600 vs. DraftKings Odds +600
The reigning Super Bowl champions managed to retain their 22 starters. This means if there is a team that can accomplish the “run it back” theme is the Bucs.
With Tom Brady under center, a thing is for sure, the Bucs are a powerhouse. Once again, Vegas odds and DraftKings have the same payout for the champs at +600.
Buffalo Bills: Vegas Odds +1000 vs. DraftKings Odds +1000
The Bills went to the AFC Championship Game in 2020. Even though they fell short, at times they were the best team in football. Buffalo added new pieces for this year and just re-signed their QB Josh Allen. The contract is heavy, but they will keep their MVP candidate.
Another big season awaits for the Bills Mafia. The DraftKings sportsbook aligns with the Vegas odds at +1000.
Green Bay Packers: Vegas Odds +1300 vs. DraftKings Odds +1300
The Aaron Rodgers saga is over. The MVP will be the Packers’ QB one more year. Hence, a Super Bowl candidate rises once again. Green Bay comes off two consecutive years with a 13-3 record and NFC Title games.
They have scraped the possibility of getting to the Super Bowl. Can the third time be the charm? Vegas and DraftKings both think of the Packers at +1300 odds to win.
Baltimore Ravens: Vegas Odds +1400 vs. DraftKings Odds +1400
The Ravens have formed the most electrifying running game in a passing league. This means a change of game plans for the opponents. Baltimore reinforced their defense and has a solid ground game.
They added a couple of wideouts to improve their passing offense as well. They are a threat. Their odds across Vegas and DraftKings are set at +1400.
San Francisco 49ers: Vegas Odds +1400 vs. DraftKings Odds +1400
This is a team with a stacked roster. Their 2020 season was destroyed due to injuries. Now, they are healthy and ready to go. A brilliant offensive head coach will sort out the way to score points. Kyle Shanahan has a deep playbook, but their running game is one to watch.
Their defense has elite talent all-around and, if healthy, is capable of putting the brakes on any rival. Vegas and DraftKings don’t differ on their odds regarding the Niners. It’s a +1400 payout if they win the Super Bowl.
It is an easy step-by-step process. But, keep in mind, you have to be in Sin City to use official Vegas odds.
1. Decide which kind of bet you’re playing. Whether is a straight bet, a parlay/teaser bet, or another type of wager.
2. Find the sport you want to bet on. Then go to the match(es) you’re looking for using the Vegas betting line board.
3. Choose the criteria you want your bet to be based on. It can be point spread bets, moneylines, totals, or across many other markets.
4. Pick the amount of money you’re willing to bet.
5. When it’s your turn, approach the bookmaker.
6. Tell him the rotation number, the type of bet, the betting criteria you want to wager on, and the amount of money played.
Remember, you must be specific. Otherwise, the Vegas sportsbook will think as you were betting on the spread.
That’s why you need to state the agent which bet criteria you want to use. Each betting line has various opportunities, filter them so it’s easier for you and the bookmaker.