How to Read NFL Odds: Point Spread, Totals, Moneyline Explained

When betting on the National Football League (NFL), you must learn to read odds and understand their function. This is the fundamental aspect of any sports betting. When you know enough information, you can make informed wagers.

Thus, you must understand how point spreads, totals, and moneylines are utilized as well as what each of those terms means. Once you understand better, you’ll truly enjoy a traditional NFL spread when wagering on football. Regarding betting in this sport, NFL spreads continue to reign supreme and are a fan favorite with seasoned gamblers.

Yes, a novice like you has a lot of ground to cover before becoming proficient. However, there’s no need for you to be worried because an explanation of how point spread, totals, Moneyline works, and much more, with an emphasis on the NFL, can be found in this article. So, read on!

NFL Betting

When it comes to wagering on the NFL, the sheer amount of different bets that gamblers can place adds extra excitement to the experience of just watching a game. In addition, a game in the NFL is unlikely to end in a tie and gives up a wide variety of betting markets.

Moreover, people not accustomed to betting could initially feel a little lost while looking at NFL lines because of their unfamiliarity. The only challenging aspect of betting on football is improving one’s skill level to the point where one can make a profit. Besides, a few things are essential for you to understand. However, they’re the sorts of things that will remain in your mind once you’re made aware of them.

What is Point Spreads?

The point spread represents the projected difference in final scores between two teams. It’s expressed as a positive and a negative number; if the spread is three points, it will appear as +3 and -3. The favorite is the one with a negative symbol, while the underdog takes the one with the positive sign. However, if you ignore the signs, the actual figure will still be the same for both sides. This is because this is the predicted margin of victory.

If three points favor Team A over Team B, then Team A must win by a margin of at least three points in order to “cover” the spread and win the bet. Team B can “cover” the spread by either winning the game outright or losing by a margin of one or two points.

In this scenario, if the final score is exactly three points, it’s a push, and you’ll receive your money back. However, neither you nor the house will win the bet. Thus, in order to prevent such ties from happening, sportsbooks frequently add “the hook” to a point spread (.5). Therefore, if the point spread is 4.5, the favorite must triumph by more than 4.5 points, which in actuality implies by five or more points, since you cannot score a half-point.

What are Totals?

This is also referred to as NFL over/under betting, where it’s the number established by bookies to represent the estimated total number of points earned by both teams. Then, bettors must guess whether there’ll be more or fewer points than the “total” of the NFL game.

For example, if you bet on the 38.5 UNDER, you anticipate that the offenses will struggle to score points and expect the defenses to control the game. Conversely, when you bet on the 38.5 OVER in an NFL game, you anticipate that many points will be scored.

NFL totals wagering has gained popularity in many football matches, particularly when a narrow point is spread. It’s also even popular if the matchup suggests a particular style of play. However, the weather can have a significant impact since wind, rain, and freezing temperatures can influence the total and render betting on the spread less dependable.

What is Moneyline?

Moneyline wagering on NFL games continues to grow in prominence as more people become aware of the potential rewards offered by such wagers, particularly when placing wagers on long shots.

In this form of wager, the only criteria are that your chosen team should win the game straight-up, regardless of the points they must earn in order to win. The gist is the only number that truly matters with Moneyline, where a negative sign signifies the favorite (-150) and a positive sign represents the underdog (+130).

To further elaborate, the favorite is indicated by a negative sign followed by a number. This denotes the money you must bet to win $100. In contrast, the underdog is displayed with a positive sign beside its number. This number indicates the amount a bettor wins while wagering $100.

For instance, if you wish to bet on the favorite with an odds of -150, you’ll have to put up $150 to win $100. Likewise, to place a wager on the +130 underdog, you’ll need to wager $100 to win $130 if the underdog wins the game outright.


Betting can be fun as it adds excitement and thrill to the sport, especially in NFL betting. More so if you already have a solid grasp of how odds and betting types work. Worry not, as the odds in NFL wagering are straightforward to comprehend and easy to master. A bettor with only a few months of experience can have the same familiarity with odds as one with decades of experience.