How to Read NFL Betting Odds Online

min read
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BetMGM Aug 01, 2021, 9:56 PM

The Baltimore Ravens are 4.5-point favorites (-110) against the Las Vegas Raiders in NFL odds for the Monday Night Football opener and the de facto debut of the Raiders’ $1.9-billion Allegiant Stadium.

What does that mean? And what does the money line mean? Or the over/under total?

NFL betting is a unique and thrilling experience regardless of your football expertise and online sports betting experience. And it doesn’t take long to learn how to read NFL betting odds if you’ve never bet on the NFL or want a refresher.

What is the Spread?

How many points will a team win or lose by?

The spread, aka point spread, is the margin by which one team is favored, i.e., margin of victory, as determined by the sportsbook.

The spread for the Ravens-Raiders game is 4.5 points, meaning Lamar Jackson and the Ravens must win by at least 4.5 points to win the bet, whereas the Raiders must either win outright or lose by four or fewer points to win the bet. Spread odds are displayed as: Ravens -4.5 (-110) at Raiders +4.5 (-110).

If, for example, the Ravens win 31-24, the margin of victory is seven points and enough to cash tickets for those who bet on the Ravens. But if the Ravens won 31-29 after Derek Carr connected with Darren Waller on a last-second touchdown but missed the game-tying two-point conversion, they’d still win the game, obviously, but wouldn’t cash tickets.

If the ticket cashes, what’s the payout?

That depends on two things: the bet amount, aka stake, and odds. In this example, the odds are -110 for both sides of the spread, which is usually the case but not always. If you won the Ravens’ bet with a $110 stake, you’d receive a payout of $210 (including stake).

At BetMGM, the payout is automatically calculated on your betting slip. After adding a bet to the slip, you’ll see the potential payout if the ticket cashes.

What is the Money Line?

Who will win the game?

An NFL money line bet is a bet on the winner regardless of the margin of victory in regulation or overtime.

The Ravens are -250 money line favorites against the Raiders, who are +195 money line underdogs. And the potential payout is calculated in the same manner as spread betting. If you won a Ravens’ money line bet with a $250 stake, the payout is $350. If you wagered $100, the payout is $140.

The Raiders, meanwhile, have plus odds (+) as the underdog and would return a greater payout if they win outright. The payout on a $100 Raiders’ money line bet is $295. On a $50 bet, it’s $147.50.

What is the Over/Under Total?

How many total points will be scored by both teams in the game?

The Ravens-Raiders over/under total is 51.5. You can either bet they’ll combine for more than 51.5 points, i.e., over (-110), or fewer than 51.5 points (-110). If the Ravens win 31-27, the over would hit and return $210 on a $100 bet. If the Ravens win 24-20, however, the under would hit and return $210 on a $110 bet.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 21: Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders celebrates with tight end Darren Waller #83 after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown reception during the NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on September 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Saints 34-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Oftentimes, the over/under total is a whole number, e.g., 46. If the teams combined for that exact total, it’s a push, and all bets are refunded.

NFL Parlays

Parlays are the perfect way to take your NFL betting to the next level.

Parlay betting allows you to combine multiple bets, aka legs, into one low-risk, high-return bet that increases the potential payout without increasing the stake.

Perhaps while browsing Week 1 NFL odds, you spotted a few favorable numbers across multiple games:

  • Spread: Ravens -4.5 (-110)
  • Money Line: Rams -350
  • Over/Under Total: Colts/Seahawks Under 52 (-110)

You could place three $50 wagers on each bet and hold three separate tickets (for $150 total) with potential payouts totaling $255.19:

  • Ravens: $95.45
  • Rams: $64.29
  • Colts/Seahawks: $95.45

Or you could combine the bets into an NFL parlay and lower your stake to $50 total for a potential payout of $234.28. If all three bets hit, your payout is only $20 less despite lowering your stake by $100.

At BetMGM, you can bet online with updated NFL odds this week, live NFL betting odds, and more for the best online sports betting and mobile sports betting experience.

BetMGM $1000 Welcome Bonus Offer