At first glance, NFL odds and line types can appear confusing, particularly to bettors who are accustomed to wagering on other sports. With most online sportsbooks offering NFL prop bets, futures and all sorts of other exotic wagers, attempting to understand everything can be a tall order, and placing a simple bet can be a headache.
Fortunately, making sense of NFL odds and line types is actually not that confusing when the concepts and terminology are explained correctly. Here is a glossary of some common NFL odds and betting line types to help bettors out this season. For more information, click on the NFL wagering term in question or visit one of our recommended sportsbooks.
Odds & Betting Lines
American odds refer to the way odds are typically set in the United States (or internationally when dealing with an American sport such as NFL football). American odds might look confusing to the un-initiated, but the truth is, the concept is simple – everything is related to a $100 wager.
For example, say the favorite is Oakland (-125) and the underdog is Tennessee (+105). A $125 wager on the Raiders wins $100, while a $100 wager on the Titans wins $105. American odds are often used interchangeably with moneyline odds, but this is not always accurate, as American odds can be attached to point spreads while moneyline bets cannot.
As NFL grows in popularity in European markets, we are increasingly seeing decimal odds used for NFL lines. Commonly known as “European Odds” or “continental odds”, decimal odds require a bit of math, but are easy to comprehend. An example of decimal odds would be Green Bay 1.83 at Chicago 2.05.
In this situation, the number to the right of the team is multiplied by the bet to determine the pay out. A $100 bet on Green Bay would result in $183, for a profit of $83. A $100 bet on Chicago would bring in $205, for a profit of $105.
Known as British odds, fractional odds can be seen in sportsbooks across the commonwealth and racetracks across the globe. Increasingly, fractional odds are also being used for NFL wagering, particularly when it comes to futures and prop bets.
Fractional odds are listed as a fraction, with the first number representing the return and the second representing the bet. If Jacksonville is 3/2 (15/10), a $100 bet will win $150. If they are 2/3 (10/15) the opposite is true. Outside the United Kingdom, one of the most identifiable uses of fractional odds is with NFL futures (ie Philadelphia Eagles are 8-1 to win the Superbowl).
As the name suggests, the futures market involves betting on future events. For the purposes of NFL futures, this is often (but not always) related to winning the Superbowl. Every team will be given odds relative to their expected chance of taking home the Lombardi Trophy.
For example, the 2018 season could open with the favorite Patriots at 7/1, the middle of the pack Seahawks at 40/1 and the cellar dwelling Dolphins at 150/1. Futures bets can also be made over division titles and conference championships.
NFL player props are a popular form of proposition bet related to the performance of an individual player, rather than that of his team. Player props can vary wildly depending on the sportsbook, but are commonly related to a player obtaining a specific result.
Player props can cover a quarter, a game or even an entire season and are often listed as over/under or yes/no bets. For example, a bet might ask whether Marshawn Lynch will rush for over/under 75 yards against Seattle, or whether Marshawn Lynch will rush for 10 TD’s over the season (yes or no).
Player props can also pit players against one another – ex. who will throw for more yards Week 1, Newton/Brees.
NFL team props are a popular form of proposition bet related to the performance of a team. Like player props, the type of team props offered can vary wildly depending on the sportsbook, but are commonly related to a team’s performance and results during a set amount of time, such as a quarter, a game or a season.
Prop bets are typically geared towards casual fans rather than pro gamblers. An example of a team prop would be an over/under related to the amount of turnovers a team commits, or a yes/no bet related to a rare event, such as a safety or onside kick.