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Street Talk Ready for NFL Betting?

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What You Need to Know About Moneylines, Point Spreads, and Over/Unders

As a die-hard Ravens fan and football watcher, you’re probably aware of the wave of newly authorized sports betting markets opening across the nation. Millions of Americans are finally getting a chance to bet on NFL games, thanks to an overturn of federal regulation in May 2018.

Those inexperienced with NFL betting may find the new landscape a bit overwhelming. Bettors seemingly speak their own language and there’s no shortage of ways to play odds on NFL games. 

In fact, there are dozens of different wagers offered by sites like FoxBet, but don’t worry. You don’t have to be an expert in every form of NFL betting to get in on the action. 

All you really need to know are three common bets, which is exactly what we’ll get you up to speed on here.  

Photo Credit: Paker Anderson

Point Spread Bets

Point spreads are a popular type of NFL bet, played by gridiron football fans around the world. The point spread is what a sportsbook determines as a minimum winning margin of points for the favorite team. 

Point spreads odds are expressed like this:

Arizona +7.5

New Orleans -7.5

When reading a point spread, the negative (-) sign indicates the favorite team and the positive (+) sign denotes the underdog.

The favored team must win by more points than the spread amount for a bet on that team to win. In our example, a bet on the Saints to “cover the spread” would win if they defeat the Cardinals by 8 or more points. 

A bet on the underdog is a bet for the Cardinals to win the game or lose by fewer than 7 points. 

When the point spread results in a tie, which would occur if the Saints won by 7 points, the sportsbook refunds your bet money. This is called a “push”.

Moneyline Bets

Moneylines involve a simple type of NFL game wagering where you bet on a team to win the game.

Betting on the favorite team to win requires a larger bet than taking the underdog. The amount you win is also less if you bet on the favorite and that team wins. 

Let’s see how money lines are presented and how bets and payouts work.

An NFL money line looks like this.

Seattle -175

Atlanta +145

The favorite in a moneyline will be the team with a leading negative sign (-) in the number. The Seattle Seahawks are the favorite in this example.

As you probably guessed, the underdog is the team with a leading positive sign (+) in their number–the Atlanta Falcons here. 

The number listed next to the favorite is the amount you would bet to win $100 when the favorite wins. In the Seattle-Atlanta game, a bet of $175 would win $100 and pay out $275, the bet and winnings combined.

The number listed alongside the underdog is the amount you win on a $100 bet when the underdog team prevails. If you wager $100 on the Falcons, and they beat the Seahawks, you walk away with $145 won and a $245 payout. 

Moneylines traditionally appear to the right of point spread odds on sportsbook listings. 

Over/Under Bets

In over/under betting, also known as totals betting, the sportsbook provides a points total representing the combined scores of both teams.

You can bet on whether the total points scored in the game will be over or under the total of the sportsbook. You must bet on the correct over or under outcome to win the bet. 

The over/under for a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills may look like this:

45.5 O/U

o: -110

u: -110

Here, bettors on the over bet $110 to win $100 if the Eagles’ and Bills’ combined score is 46 points or higher. Under bettors also wager $110 to win $100 when the total score is 45 or fewer points. 

As you can see, each bet discussed here captures a different aspect of scoring. We suggest trying out point spreads, moneylines, and over/unders for yourself to find your preference. The question now is which bet are you taking on the Ravens next game day?

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Michael O'Nair

About Michael O'Nair

Our sometimes Media Watchdog, Michael O'Nair enjoys keeping an eye on the happenings in local Baltimore sports airwaves. He also keeps an eye on the betting lines, letting you know when to hold, when to fold, and when to go all in on the Ravens. More from Michael O'Nair
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