Props and live betting are grabbing more headlines and a bigger share of the betting market these days, but NFL point spreads remain the line of record and the favorite way to wager for many football fans. And why not?
While other new wager types involve knowing in-depth player stats (fantasy-style) or require you to get your bets down quickly in a live-wagering interface, the point spread is there as an old faithful friend – simple to understand, simple to handicap and, if you are lucky, simple to beat.
The NFL spread (betting point spreads is also known as betting ‘sides’ since you are picking one side to win the game) acknowledges that not all teams are created equal. If they were, we wouldn’t need NFL point spreads at all – teams would be so evenly matched that every game was a toss-up (or a pick em in football parlance). Simply picking the winner would be enough of a challenge.
But when you have a league with strong teams, weak teams and mediocre teams, you need to balance the books a bit. The first-place Patriots may be 13-point favorites against the last-place Bills. How does the oddsmaker arrive at that number?
He factors in stats, trends, injury situations, offensive and defensive power stats, head to head records and, most importantly, public opinion. In short, the -13 spread indicates that most believe the Pats are 13 points better than Buffalo, so they get a head start in the game.
For them to win ATS (against the spread), they need to win by 14 points because they start in a 13-point hole. It’s a simple concept and one that football bettors will probably always embrace as the staple of their NFL wagering diet, regardless of how innovative and creative sportsbooks become in adding new wagering product.
Check out the current live NFL pointspread details here at OddsShark.com, with updates by the minute as lines change and as fans make bets on their favorite pro football teams. You can also see moneyline and other odds types and use the NFL database to search on how teams perform as an underdog of 10 points or as a favorite of 6.5 points.