NFL Betting Lines

NFL Betting Lines

Betting lines are the basic forms of wagering that are given to bettors on any of the online sportsbooks. When it comes to the betting lines for the NFL and the matchups, there are always three basic types of bets that are used; Point Spread, Money Line, and Total Points. Before betting, a sports bettor should know what each type of bet is and how they work. For the purpose of the examples, we will be using American odds.


Point Spread

As the name would suggest, the odds given for the point spread represent how many points must be won by, or not lost by. They are represented as:

Indianapolis Colts +10 -115
Chicago Bears -10 -105

Based on the information, the Bears are favored to win the match, while the Colts are the underdogs. The Bears must win the match by more than 10 points, thus the (-10), and if they accomplish this, then the bettor will get $105 for every $100 wagered.

The underdogs, the Colts, must either win the match or keep the final score within a 10 point spread (+10); in other words, they cannot lose by more than 10 points. If the underdogs accomplish either of those tasks, the bettor will get $115 for every $100 wagered. Being the underdog, the payout is slightly higher.


Money Line

The Money Line is just the bettor picking which team they think will win the match. This bet is represented as:

Dallas Cowboys +175
New York Giants -205

The Giants are favored to win, determined by the (-205), while the Cowboys are the underdogs, determined by the (+175). Let us say that the bettor wagers on the Giants to win, they would get a $100 payout for every $205 wagered; the payout is much less than what is wagered simply due to the fact that the Giants have such good chances of winning the match.

However, let’s say the bettor decides to go with the underdogs. Having less chances of winning, the bettor would get a bigger payout. If the Cowboys win the match, the bettor would get a $175 payout for every $100 wagered. Notice the difference in amounts.

Note: The “+” and “-” signs represent two things, who the favorite and underdog are, and how the payout is determined. If there is a “+” sign, it means the bettor will get the amount in front, based on a $100 wager; this represents the Underdog. If there is a “-” sign, it means the bettor needs to bet that amount, in order to win $100; this represents the Favorite.


Total Points

At any online sportsbook, a bettor is given a certain number, which is determined to be the total amount of points that is predicted to be scored, combining both team’s scores. It doesn’t stop there; the bettor also must determine if that amount is lower or higher than what they predict will be scored. This is called betting Over or Under the total; if the bettor thinks the score is too high, they bet Under, if they think it is too low, they would bet Over. It is all represented as:

Philadelphia Eagles

Ov (Over)



Cleveland Browns

Un (Under)



If the bettor determines that the total amount scored will surpass 37 points, they would bet on Over, but if they think the teams will be unable to score 37 points, they would bet Under. The payout would be the same regardless of the bet; it is just a 50-50 chance of getting it right. The bettor that wins the Total Points bet would get $110 for every $100 wagered.

These three betting types are what is found on the NFL betting lines, and are determined by the current or upcoming matchup.


Example of NFL Betting Lines

The NFL betting lines that are shown are based off of the BetOnline sportsbook. This is just a piece of what can be found at this online sportsbook, or any other for that matter. This is to be used as an example, since odds change daily and as the matches approach their game day.

Sunday, Sep 09, 2012 – NFL Football Schedule and Lines



Money Line

Total Points

01:00 PM

Indianapolis Colts

+10 -115


Ov 42 -110

Chicago Bears

-10 -105


Un 42 -110

01:00 PM

Philadelphia Eagles

-9 +100


Ov 41 -110

Cleveland Browns

+9 -120


Un 41 -110

01:00 PM

New England Patriots

-6½ -110


Ov 47½ -110

Tennessee Titans

+6½ -110


Un 47½ -110

04:25 PM

San Francisco 49ers

+5½ -110


Ov 45 -110

Green Bay Packers

-5½ -110


Un 45 -110

This is how an online sportsbook would show the odds and the NFL betting lines. It seems overwhelming, but just remember what each type of bet means, and what the numbers represent, and everything else is a piece of cake.

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