NFL Lines


NFL Lines

The most exciting way to bet on sports is through the weekly NFL lines set for every game of the week. From the opening line to closing line, the NFL odds can experience a lot of change in a span of seven days. As bets come in, adjustments are made, so knowing how to spot value and when to expect this type of movement can get you an edge and set you apart from the average sports bettor.

On this page, we’ll explain how to read the NFL betting lines, where they come from and what causes line movement. Sportsbooks like Bodog are always trying to balance lines, so with a little understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll be able to anticipate things. With the regular season starting so soon, now’s the perfect time to deepen your understanding of what goes on behind the lines and become a more successful sports bettor.

What are the NFL lines and when do they come out?

Also known as the gamelines, NFL lines are the NFL betting odds for the three ‘straight bets’ released weekly for every upcoming NFL week. Straight bets are the spread, moneyline and total. The spread is a win or loss margin that teams must cover in order for bettors to cash in. The moneyline simply asks you to pick the team that will win, with no spread involved. Lastly, the total has you guess if the total number of points scored in a game will be higher or lower than a prediction. NFL lines are posted as soon as the results from the previous week are established.

Who is responsible for determining the NFL Odds?

Every reputable sportsbook has a designated oddsmaker who posts and updates odds. Most of the time, the opening odds from all major sportsbooks are very close, if not identical. Many factors go into determining the odds for point spreads, moneylines and totals. Beyond the skill difference between two teams in a game, home team advantage is a major consideration and typically adds three points to a spread to compensate.

Injuries are another consideration. Often, if there’s a key player with health concerns, such as the team’s starting quarterback, the odds for the upcoming game will be held back until there’s clarity on their status.

One under-rated factor that goes into creating the perfect set of NFL odds is weather. Warm weather teams playing up north will have a harder time adapting to the change in temperatures, especially as the season nears its end.

In the end, it’s a person, or set of people, coming up with the lines—not computer programs using statistical data. This makes it possible to incorporate nuance and up-to-date information in the numbers, but it also means there can be times when sharks find imperfect odds and jump on them.

What makes NFL lines move?

If you check the NFL lines when they’re first posted and again before they close, you’ll almost certainly notice a change in the odds. As you’ll see in the next section, oddsmakers are always trying to reduce exposure by balancing the action on both sides of a bet. This is done by tweaking the odds or vigorish (payout) to make the under-represented side more appealing to bettors.

For example, if the Dallas Cowboys, who have a large fanbase, go up against a team with a smaller fanbase, like the Arizona Cardinals, people will bet disproportionately on Dallas. All of those Dallas bets will prompt bookmakers to move the lines in the direction of Arizona. This movement is entirely the result of bets coming in. However, lines can also move when up-to-date information is released that impacts a team in play. For example, if a significant player returns from injury in time for the weekend’s NFL games, the line will move to reflect the change.

One thing to note is that line movements don’t impact your bet. The odds you see when you place your bet are the odds used to determine payouts.

Do the sportsbook balance the action?

All reputable sportsbooks will look to balance the action on the betting line. Failure to do so could result in exposure that could harm the sportsbook. Action is balanced in a couple of different ways. For one, the odds can change; a 4-point spread on a team getting lots of action could move to 4.5 or 5 points. On the moneyline, the favourite’s NFL odds could go from -175 to -185. Conversely, the underdog could offer larger payouts by going from +150 to +175.

Adjusting the vigorish is another way to balance the action. Vigorish is the percentage of the bet that goes to the sportsbook and is often $10 for a $100 bet (illustrated as -110). If the sportsbook doesn’t want to change the odds, perhaps because they need just a slight tweak, they may opt to change the vigorish from say -110 to -115, or -110 to -105. All of these little changes help bring in bets on the less-represented side. If a sportsbook has done everything perfectly, both sides of a bet will have even money, and the sportsbook simply needs to pass the losing side’s money to the winning side.


Is there any way to beat the sportsbook’s NFL odds?

One common misconception that people have is that they’re betting against the sportsbook. In reality, people are betting against other bettors and trying to jump on the NFL odds when they’re most favourable. As mentioned, sportsbooks are constantly adjusting NFL lines to balance action between two sides, so there should be sufficient bets on both sides of the equation to compensate winners.

One way to look for maximum value is to understand the type of bet that you want to make and know where the majority of the betting public’s money will go. Betting sharks are usually the first ones to act, while recreational bettors typically place their wagers later on in the week. If you want to bet on a team that everyone will be betting on, chances are the value will be best at the opening line. However, if you want to bet on a team that you know won’t pull in as much action, you could wait for the rush to finish and see if the betting line moves in your team’s favour closer to kickoff. It’s all about timing the market and being able to recognize value.

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Do I have more chances to win betting on Spread, Moneyline or Totals?

The Moneyline emerges as a top choice for NFL wagering, offering a prime chance to profit from games without considering point spreads or totals. Elevating the excitement further, parlays allow you to select two or more teams competing on the same day, opening up the potential for substantial winnings!

Are there many differences between NFL lines from one sportsbook to another?

Yes, there are differences in NFL lines across different sportsbooks. These distinctions may encompass differences in point spreads, moneylines, and over/under totals, even for the identical NFL matchup.

What does negative odds mean?

Negative odds are assigned to the favourite. The underdog has positive odds.

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