The National Football League or NFL, is among the few leagues that capture the attention of fans and gamblers. With its high-octane action, passionate fan base and unpredictable outcomes, NFL games provide an excellent platform for those interested in placing wagers. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a newcomer looking to dip your toes into the world of football betting, understanding the basics is crucial.

To begin, it’s worth learning all about NFL betting lines, which are odds or spreads set by oddsmakers to create balanced action on both sides of a wager. These lines serve as a means for the sportsbooks to attract bets on all teams, ensuring they can profit regardless of the game’s outcome.

This article will cover the fundamentals, allowing you to make informed choices and enjoy the action on and off the field.

Point Spread Betting

Point spread betting is the most common form of NFL wagering. In this type of bet, oddsmakers assign a “spread” or handicap to each game. The favorite is denoted with a negative number (e.g., -5.5), indicating they are giving points, while the underdog is represented with a positive number (e.g., +5.5), meaning they are receiving points.

Your task as a bettor is to predict whether the favorite will win by more points than the spread (cover the spread) or if the underdog will lose by fewer points than the spread (beat the spread). Point spread betting adds extra excitement to NFL games, even those that might seem one-sided at first glance.

Moneyline Betting

The moneyline removes the point spread and focuses on which team will win the game. Each team is assigned odds, represented by a positive or negative number. The negative indicates the favored team, while the positive indicates the underdog.

For instance, if Team X has a moneyline of -200, you must bet $200 to win $100. Conversely, if Team Y has a moneyline of +150, a $100 wager on them would net you $150 in profit. The moneyline is straightforward and particularly appealing for bettors who are strongly convinced about the game’s outcome.

Over/Under Betting

Beyond point spread and moneyline bets, NFL betting includes the option to wager on the total number of points scored by both teams, commonly referred to as the over/under or totals bet. Oddsmakers set a line for the total points scored in a game, and bettors decide whether the combined score will be higher (over) or lower (under) than that line.

This type of bet doesn’t depend on the game’s outcome but rather on the offensive and defensive capabilities of the teams playing. It can add extra excitement to any NFL matchup, especially for those who enjoy a high-scoring affair.

Teasers and Parlays

For bettors seeking even more significant potential payouts, teasers and parlays offer an enticing option. Teasers allow you to adjust the point spread or totals line in your favor for multiple games, but you must win all the bets in the teaser to collect the payout.

On the other hand, parlays involve combining multiple bets into one wager. While parlays offer higher rewards, they are riskier since you must win all the bets to win the parlay. These types of bets can elevate the thrill of NFL betting, but they also require a good understanding of the teams and their performances.


Betting on NFL games can be an entertaining experience, adding a new layer of excitement to the sport you love. Understanding the basics of NFL betting lines, including point spreads, moneylines and totals, is key to making well-informed wagers. Whether you’re looking for a simple moneyline bet or want to explore teasers and parlays for more significant potential payouts, always approach betting with a responsible mindset and do thorough research to enhance your chances of success.