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What are NFL odds?

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NFL odds are the probability of an event occurring in a football game, expressed as a ratio or fraction. These odds are used by sportsbooks to determine payouts for bets placed on NFL games. Understanding NFL odds can be confusing for a beginner, but with a little knowledge and practice, you can learn to read and interpret them like a pro.

Types of NFL Odds

There are three main types of NFL odds: point spreads, money lines, and over/under totals.

  • Point spreads

Point spreads, also known as “spread”, are used to even out bets on both teams in a game. The favorite gets a negative points spread, meaning it must win by more points than the spread for a bet on it to win. The underdog gets a positive point spread, which means he can lose with fewer points than the spread and still win the bet. For example, if the New England Patriots are a 7-point favorite over the New York Giants and the Patriots win the game by 7 points or more, a bet on the Patriots would be a win. If the Giants lose by 6 points or less, a bet on the Giants would be a win. If the Patriots win by exactly 7 points, the bet will be considered a push and the original stake will be returned to the bettor.

  • Money line

Moneyline odds are used to determine the payout for a straight bet on a team to win the game. The favorite gets a negative money line while the underdog gets a positive money line. The Moneyline represents the amount of money that must be wagered to win $100. For example, if the Seattle Seahawks are a -150 favorite against the San Francisco 49ers, a bet on the Seahawks would require a $150 stake to win $100. On the other hand, a bet on the 49ers as a +130 underdog would pay out $130 for every $100 if they won the game.

  • Over under
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Over/Under Totals, also known as “Totals”, are used to bet on the combined outcome of both teams in a match. The sportsbook sets a total and bettors can bet on whether the actual combined score will be over or under that number. For example, if the total points for a game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions is set at 47.5 points, an over bet would be a win if the two teams’ combined scores are 48 points or more. A bet on Under would be a win if the combined score is 47 points or less. If the combined score is exactly 47.5 points, then the bet will be considered a push and the original stake will be returned to the bettor.

In addition to these three main types of NFL odds, sportsbooks also offer a variety of prop bets, which are bets on specific events or player performance within a game. Some examples of prop bets are bets on which team will score the first touchdown, which player will throw the most touchdowns, and which player will have the most rushing yards.


Reading and interpreting NFL odds can be intimidating at first, but with practice and some basic knowledge, you’ll be able to place bets with confidence. It’s important to do your research and understand each team’s strengths and weaknesses before placing bets and always remember to gamble responsibly.