How to Understand NFL Betting Lines – An Overview

The NFL (National Football League) is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Every year, people from all over the world tune in to watch their favorite teams play live. With the 2019 NFL season just around the corner, sportsbooks are receiving huge volumes of wagers from people who want to bet on the games. If you’re new to wagering or simply want to understand the basics of NFL betting, you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding Odds And Lines

Many people think that sports betting is all about gambling and blindly following odds, but this couldn’t be more wrong. There’s a lot more to understanding odds and lines than just following them and hoping for a profit when your favorite team wins. You need to understand the types of bets available and which ones are best suited for your personal circumstances. The following will discuss the basics of NFL betting and how to use this information to optimize your wagering experience.

NFL Odds

The odds are one of the first things you’ll encounter when you enter an online sportsbook. These are the odds that the bookmaker provides for games within the NFL. Most online sportsbooks will list odds for a wide variety of sports, including the NFL, but they’ll only offer betting on the games within the NFL. Despite this, it’s still essential to understand the fundamentals of betting in general before you start betting on specific games or events within the NFL.

There are four different types of odds that you’ll typically encounter when betting on an NFL game. They are listed in order of betting odds, with the decimal odds at the top followed by the fractional odds, the flat odds, and finally the vigorish (also known as juice).

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are the simplest to understand. These are the odds that the bookmaker provides for a particular game. For example, the decimal odds for the upcoming Superbowl game may be listed as 7.0 for the San Francisco 49ers and 6.0 for the New England Patriots. This means that a $100 bet on the San Francisco 49ers will return $107.40 (7.0 x $100) if the Patriots win the game, or $103.40 if the 49ers win.

Decimal odds are usually the best option for people who are just getting started because they’re easy to use. All you need to do is multiply your stake by the decimal odds ratio and you’ll get the payoff. For instance, if you wager $100 and the decimal odds for the game are 7.0, your money will be returned as $107.40 if the Patriots win, or $103.40 if the 49ers win.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are quite similar to decimal odds in that they’re based upon the probability of an event. The main difference is that instead of using whole numbers to represent the probability, you’ll use a fraction. For example, half odds (½) would mean there’s a 50% chance of the event occurring. In other words, the fractional odds for the game may be listed as ½ for the San Francisco 49ers and ¼ for the New England Patriots.

Fractional odds are often preferred by people who like to bet on horse races and other long-distance or slower wagering events. The reason for this is that it’s easier to lose a lot of money when you back the wrong horse in a long-distance wagering event. Since NFL games are short in distance and fairly quick-paced, this type of bet usually works out well for NFL bettors. Just remember, you’ll need to use a fraction to represent your stake in order to earn a profit when you bet on an NFL game. For example, if you wager $100 on the San Francisco 49ers and they win, your money will be returned as $107.40 (100 x ½) if you use whole numbers to represent your stake, or $103.40 if you had used fractional numbers (50 x ¼).


Vigorish is similar to decimal and fractional odds in that it’s based upon the probability of an event, but it also includes an additional charge. This charge is sometimes referred to as the vigorish or juice and it’s used by bookmakers to make a profit. For example, New England may charge the San Francisco 49ers a vigorish of 10% (1.0) to bet on that team. This means that for every $100 you wager on the San Francisco 49ers, you’ll need to pay an additional $10 to the New England Patriots. In other words, the vigorish applied to the bet is actually 11.0% ($107.40 versus $100).

Vigorish is one of the reasons why people prefer to bet on the Superbowl rather than other NFL games. The reason for this is that the Superbowl is generally agreed to be the biggest sporting event of the year, with huge money wagered on it. The 2019 Superbowl is scheduled for Friday, February 7th and will be played in Atlanta, Georgia. The halftime show will be headlined by Taylor Swift, who will be performing for the first time at a Superbowl.

You won’t need to worry about vigorish when betting on the Superbowl because almost all sportsbooks charge this as a fee. While there’s no rule that says you can’t refuse this added charge when betting on other games, you’ll usually be better off avoiding this option.

Flat Odds

Finally, we come to the most complicated and controversial type of NFL odds, which are known as flat odds. Unlike the other types of odds discussed so far, these are not subject to any form of statistical manipulation or probability. Instead, the bookmaker simply lists the odds for a particular game. For example, the 2020 NFL season may start on September 25th and end on November 26th. During this time, the flat odds for every game may be 6.0 or 6.5. This means that a $100 bet on the Los Angeles Rams will return $107.40 (6.0 x $100) if the team wins, or $103.40 if the team loses.

People who like to bet on teams that they believe in tend to like to use flat odds, too. This is because you won’t be affected by the betting trends of the day when using this type of handicap. It is also the main reason why gamblers choose to wager on teams with home games during the week rather than on weekends, or vice versa. A team with lots of home games during the week has a tough schedule and their odds may be adjusted downward to reflect this. It’s also why you won’t usually see much in the way of public wagering on NFL games during the off-season, especially when teams are trying to make the playoffs.

Why Are NFL Odds Different?

You may be wondering why the odds are different for NFL games when compared to other types of sports. The answer to this is simple. There’s more than one reason, but the main factors include:

1. The Size of the Games

The NFL is the premier American sports league and, therefore, draws by far the largest audiences. This means that the games are often the most lucrative of the year, with larger bets being placed on them. For example, the Superbowl this year will be played on February 7th and will easily be the biggest game of the year. In fact, the odds for the Superbowl are 7.0, which is the same odds as for the entire NFL season. As a result, the Superbowl is usually the most popular game to bet on because more people are interested in seeing who wins the big game than they are in watching the regular season.

This is one of the main differences between the NFL and other sports. While some other leagues may have bigger draws than the NFL, the opposite is usually the case for horse races and other forms of wagering. This makes the odds for these types of events typically smaller than they would be for an NFL game. For instance, the Kentucky Derby is the most popular horse race in the US and it’s often one of the largest sporting events of the year, but the odds for the Kentucky Derby are only 1.94.

In other words, there’s more money to be made betting on NFL games than there is betting on other types of sports. The reason for this is that the games are usually more lucrative and, therefore, more attractive to sportsbooks. For this reason, the lines for NFL games are almost always inflated compared to the lines for other types of sports.

2. The Scheduling