Hero Mobile Football NFL Point Spread

NFL point spread betting explained

In American football, NFL point spread betting online is the go-to market and the most popular form of betting. Its popularity comes from the level playing field that it creates between favorites and underdogs, changing the way we watch the game. NFL point spreads are synonymous with NFL betting.

What is NFL point spread betting?

An NFL point spread is a way to create a near-even handicap between two teams. Teams will have to win by (or not lose by) a specific number of points that are set by the sportsbook. An example of a point spread is Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) at New York Giants (+5.5). The better a team is deemed to be than its opponent, the higher the point spread will be.

The reason for a points spread is to give bettors a chance at a near-even money bet as both teams have similar odds in an NFL point spread bet. NFL point spread betting online has become the most popular way to bet on the NFL.

Unlike a moneyline bet, a team can win the game and still lose the point spread bet. Likewise, a team can lose the game but win the point spread bet. Winning a point spread game is called covering against the spread and only one team can cover per match. In our example above, if the Cowboys win by more than 5.5 points then they cover the spread.

Like other moneyline, total , and/or prop bets, spreads can be parlayed together to create a bet with a higher potential payout.

How to place an NFL point spread bet

In spread betting, you have two options: the favorite or the underdog. The favorite will be displayed with negative odds, which is a minus symbol (-) followed by a number (-5.5). The underdog will be displayed with positive odds, which is plus sign (+) followed by a number (+5.5).

Spread betting sounds confusing, but it really isn't. If the Dallas Cowboys are -5.5, they need to win by six points or more to win the bet. If the New York Giants are +5.5 on the spread, they can’t lose by more than five points to win the bet. If the spread numbers are both 5.5, there is no middle ground for both teams to win/lose.

Here’s how it would be displayed online:

Dallas Cowboys -5.5-110
New York Giants. +5.5-110

Using the above example, if we wager $100 on the Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) with odds of -110 and they win the game 27-21, we would profit $90 because they won by six or more points. If the spread was -6.5 and they won the game 27-21, we would lose our $100 wager because they didn’t win (cover) by seven points or more. At -5.5, winning by six points or more is good and winning by five points or fewer is bad.

With underdogs, it’s a little different. If we wagered $100 on the Giants (+5.5) at -110 and they lost the game 27-21, we would lose our $100 bet because they lost by six points or more. If the spread were +6.5 and the Giants lost 27-21, the +6.5 would win (cover) because the Giants didn’t lose by seven points or more. At +5.5, losing by five points or fewer is good and losing by six points or more is bad.

American odds can be confusing, but our odds calculator can help us determine how much we’d win based on the amount we wagered.

American odds always use $100 as a default stake too, but NFL point spread bettors can bet any amount they feel comfortable with and is within their limits.

NFL point spread FAQs

How much money can I win on points spreads?
Why does a point spread have half numbers?
How does point spread work in football?
What percentage of NFL favorites cover the spread?

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