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NFL Betting Guide for Sportsbooks

NFL betting can be rewarding and fun, but it isn't always easy, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet. We’ve put together some very important factors to help you pick winners. We’re focusing on the NFL in this article and breaking down the differences in betting NFL vs betting College Football. We will talk about betting point spreads, betting line movements, and more in the coming articles.

Any Given Sunday - Betting NFL and College Football are NOT One in the Same

Betting on the NFL can be quite different from betting on College Football. One big difference between NFL and college football betting is that NFL lines are normally much smaller. College football can have point spreads of over 50 points or more. The NFL rarely has point spreads greater than 14 points. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at NFL lines or point spreads. First, these are true professionals and masters of their craft. NFL players are the best in the world. Even though some NFL teams have bad records, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have bad players.

Be careful when evaluating Favored NFL teams. Sports media can hype these favorites after big wins or impressive player performances from prior week/s. If you heard that a team is primed for a big win on ESPN, then so has the rest of the world. Consequently, the lines will reflect that. However, it's very possible for a team with a bad record to upset a team with a stellar record in the NFL. Unlike college football, where it’s possible for top-10 teams to beat mediocre teams by 40+ points, NFL results are typically closer. Top-division teams may only be favored by a few points over low-ranking teams. The NFL’s motto is, “Any Given Sunday,” because, on any given Sunday, anything can happen in the NFL. Any team can be upset. That’s why there has only been one NFL team to have a perfect season (72’ Miami Dolphins).

Understanding Point Spreads:

  • Chicago Bears +7 (-110)

  • Green bay Packers -7 (-110)

Here is an example of the bookmakers placing a 7-point spread between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Bettors can then pick which team they would like to bet on. The goal of the bookmakers is to set a line that will bring in an equal amount of money wagered for each side. The game’s favorite is the Green Bay Packers at -7 points, with the underdog being the Chicago Bears at + 7 points. What this means is that the Green Bay Packers must win by 8 points in order to be a winning ticket. The Chicago Bears are the underdog in this matchup, as indicated by the positive sign next to its spread. This means the Bears can actually lose by 6 or fewer and still be a winning ticket.

However, there is also a world where the Bears could lose the game by exactly 7 points. This would be called a “push” and the bet would then be voided for both the Packers and the Bears tickets. Whenever a “push” occurs, the original bets are then returned to your sportsbook account. You will notice that the point spread will always be the same for both sides, the only difference is who is giving points as the favorite (-7), and who is getting points as the underdog (+7).

In part two we dig into comparing various sportsbooks and shopping their promos.


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