When most sports bettors talk about betting on the NFL, they immediately default to talking about the pointspread for any particular game. The spread in any football game is an Oddsmaker’s tool for evening out the betting edge between one team as a favorite and the other team as an underdog. A pointspread has little bearing on a predicted margin of victory in a game, rather it is solely designed to even out the money that is bet on either side of a matchup.
Along with betting on the total line for the combined score of NFL games, betting on the pointspread generates the most betting action at online books. You can bet on first half spreads and totals or even by specific quarters at some online sports betting venues, but it still comes down to an attempt to even the playing field between the two teams from a betting standpoint.
Online sportsbooks make their money on the 10 percent commission that is charged for every losing bet. If you bet $100 on Dallas to cover by seven over Washington and it does, you win $100. If you bet on the Redskins to cover with the seven points and they do not, you owe the books $110.
One of the best betting values for NFL games is the moneyline bet if you know where and how to look. The moneyline is another way that the Oddsmaker will attempt to level the playing field between the favorite and the underdog in a particular game. The moneyline for that same Dallas vs. Washington game might read -300 for the Cowboys and +250 for Washington.
This type of bet all comes down to a risk/reward proposition. You can bet the Cowboys straight-up to win $100 on a $100 bet, but if they were to lose that game SU, you would owe the book $300. If you think that the Redskins can win that game outright, your $100 bet would be worth $250 if they pulled off the upset.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to betting on NFL moneylines at your favorite online sportsbook. The first is to bet on favorites that you believe are a ‘lock’ to win their game SU. The major flaw in this strategy is the simple fact that there is no such thing as a ‘lock’ when it comes to any form of sports betting. That is why they play the games. If you have a very high confidence level in a favorite winning SU, then the added risk in betting the moneyline in that game might make sense.
The other school of thought with betting NFL moneylines is to boost your overall return if you feel very strongly that the underdog is going to win SU. Looking at sample betting lines for a close NFL matchup, you might find Green Bay listed as a slight two-point road underdog against Minnesota on a pointspread bet. The corresponding moneyline for that game might have the Packers listed at +110 and the Vikings listed at -120. If you have the Packers winning that game, your return jumps to $110 on a $100 bet. Also remember that you are only risking $100 on the moneyline bet as opposed to the $110 you would owe on a losing using the pointspread.
Sometimes the value on a moneyline bet is there and sometimes it makes more sense to lay or take the points on the spread. There is always some built-in value in betting underdogs on the moneyline given the betting public’s tendency to lean towards favorites. The next time you are ready to bet the pointspread for a particular NFL game either way, take a quick look at the corresponding risk/reward on a moneyline bet before you pull the trigger.