How to Read NFL Betting Odds Online

min read
(All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons)
BetMGM @ Apr 20, 2022, 8:32 PM

The Baltimore Ravens were 4.5-point favorites (-110) against the Las Vegas Raiders in NFL odds for the 2021 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 moneyline 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 was 4.5 points, meaning Lamar Jackson and the Ravens needed to win by at least 4.5 points to win the bet, whereas the Raiders needed to 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 won 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 you placed a winning bet, 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 Moneyline?

Who 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 Ravens are -250 moneyline favorites against the Raiders, who are +195 moneyline underdogs. And the potential payout is calculated in the same manner as spread betting. If you won a Ravens’ moneyline 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’ moneyline 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 was 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). If the Ravens won 31-27, for example, the over would hit and return $210 on a $100 bet. If the Ravens win 24-20, however, 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.

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 in 2021, 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