How to Read Betting odds
Do all the numbers confuse you? What is the spread, total and sportsbook juice for each NFL matchup? Don’t worry, I’ve broken it all down for you to understand.
Share this infographic with your buddies. It makes NFL odds easy to understand.
NFL Odds Numbers Meaning
Let’s break each line into steps to understand the numbers.
Step 1: The Basics
- 09/01 is the game date. 1:00 PM is the game time. You must bet before game time!
- NYC and LA are the teams. 100 is NYC’s rotation number. 101 is LA’s rotation number. These numbers are used interchangeably at sports books. You could ask for a $200 bet on 100, meaning NYC. Or a $200 bet on 101, meaning LA.
Step 2: What’s the spread?
- -6½ means NYC is the 6½ point favorite at Book 1. LA is the +6½ point underdog.
- -7 means NYC is the 7 point favorite at Book 2, LA is the +7 point underdog.
Step 3: Why ½ Points?
- ½ point means no tie bets. 6½ rounds up to 7. Therefore, NYC must win by 7 or more at Book 1.
- NYC must win by 8 or more at Book 2. A 7 point win ties the spread. Tie bets are returned.
- Oddsmakers use ½ points strategically to avoid pushing players. This ensures the bet either wins or loses.
- ½ point spreads are commonly offered for the Super Bowl, because it is the last game of the season. Bookies would rather not return Super Bowl bets because players will have no further football bets to make.
Step 4: What’s the total?
- The total is the greater of each book’s numbers. “u” means Under, “o” means Over.
- Book 1 predicts a total under 43½ points.
- Book 2 predicts a total over 44 points.
- ½ point total means no ties just like ½ point spreads. Tie total bets are returned.
Step 5: Sportsbook Juice
- Numbers to right of spread and total indicate sportsbook juice. Also called vigorish or vig. It’s the fee charged for a bet.
- Put 1 before any two digit number. -19 becomes -119. +20 becomes +120.
- Negative numbers indicate how much risk to win $100.
- Positive numbers indicate reward for risking $100.
Step 6: Juice Example
- Betting NYC or LA risk $119 (-119) to win $100 at Book 1.
- Book 1’s under 43½ total rewards $120 for $100 risked.
- Unmarked numbers assume -110 or a “dime line”. Lay $110 to win $100.
Tip for comparing betting odds and finding value
Given two equal point spreads or totals, take the Book with less juice. A lower commission means you won’t have to risk as much to bet on the favorite.
Also shop positive juice numbers. Under 35 +118 at one book is less profitable than +120 at another. You’ll get an extra $2 reward for making this bet at the other book!