How Do NFL Odds Work? How to Read NFL Betting Odds Online

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Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
BetMGM @ May 24, 2023, 4:00 PM

Spread, moneyline, and over/under total are the most popular types of NFL odds at the online sportsbook:

Spread: The point margin by which a team must win or lose.
Moneyline: Picking the winner of the game.
Total: The number of combined points scored by both teams in the game.

Odds are set by the sportsbook for thousands of events each year, including all NFL preseason, regular season and postseason games.

What’s the Spread in NFL Betting?

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 a Colts-Bills game might be Bills -6.5 points, meaning Josh Allen and the Bills must win by at least 6.5 points (i.e., seven points or more) to win a bet on the Bills’ spread. 

Conversely, Jonathan Taylor and the Colts must lose by fewer than 6.5 points (i.e., six points or fewer to win a bet on the Colts’ spread).

Spread odds are displayed as: 

Colts +6.5 (-110) at Bills -6.5 (-110).

If, for example, the Bills won 31-24, the margin of victory is seven points and enough to cash tickets for those who bet on them.

If the Bills won 31-29, they’d lose against the spread. 

Spread Payout Calculator

If you placed a winning bet on the spread, 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 Bills’ 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’s the Moneyline in NFL Betting?

Which team will win the game?

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

The Bills might be -280 favorites against the Colts, who are +220 underdogs. And the potential payout is calculated in the same manner as spread betting. 

If you won a Bills moneyline bet with a $250 stake, the payout is $339.29 (including stake). 

The Colts, meanwhile, have plus odds (+) as the underdog and would return a greater payout if they win outright. The payout on a $250 Colts’ moneyline bet is $880. 

What’s the Over/Under Total in NFL Betting?

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

The Colts-Bills over/under total might be 51.5. You could’ve bet they’ll combine for more than 51.5 points, i.e., over (-110), or fewer than 51.5 points (-110). 

For example, if the Bills won 31-27, the over would hit and return $210 on a $100 bet. However, if the Bills won 24-20, the under would’ve hit and return $210 on a $110 bet.

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.

At BetMGM, you can bet online with updated NFL lines this week, Same Game Parlays, and more for the best online sports betting and mobile sports betting experience.

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