NFL Point Spread Betting Explained

When the NFL season comes around, football fans love nothing more than cheering for their favourite teams and watching highlight-reel touchdowns. On top of the fun and excitement football brings, it also brings with it a myriad of betting possibilities. NFL Football leads all North American sports in wagering and betting on the “point spread” is a very popular option.

NFL Point Spreads change by the second, which entices bettors to strike early and often with their bets. Whether your team is a favourite or an underdog, trying determine the best pick is easier said than done. So, what’s the best way to move forward?

In this article we’ll explain NFL Point Spread betting. Hopefully once you’re done reading it, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions. No promises they’ll be the right ones though… 

Point Spread Betting

Here at Canada Sports Betting, we work with the top Canadian Sportsbooks to help you find the best odds for your point spread bets. But it’s hard to make a bet if you don’t understand what you’re betting on. Essentially, the point spread is a figure set by oddsmakers to determine the number of points a team is favoured to win by. By that metric it’s also applied to the underdog in as far as that “spread” is how much experts think they’ll lose by.

Point spreads exist as the great equalizer to the Favourite/Underdog conundrum. Betting on a favourite is obvious, but yields little in the form of payout. Betting on an underdog may have a great potential return, but will rarely come to pass. Point spread betting provides us Football fans an intriguing alternative to straight Moneyline wagers.

Point spread betting has been around for decades. It was invented in the 1940s by bookmaker Charles K. McNeil. McNeil was originally a math teacher from Connecticut who eventually developed an interest in gambling. A visionary in the sports betting world, he changed the way we look at betting forever by developing the concept of spreads.

Football Point Spread Breakdown

Whether it’s college football, the NFL, or the CFL there will always be football point spreads for fans to study up on each week. Oddsmakers will set lines well in advance and as teams play out the season, bettors will begin to shape a future game’s true outlook.

Reading point spreads in the NFL and gleaning insight from spread movements throughout the week is much easier than you might imagine. For example, say you’re considering placing a bet on a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons. 

You go to your favourite sportsbook and see that the spread currently sits at -5.5 for San Fran and +5.5 for Atlanta (maybe a little counter intuitive for newer bettors, but a negative symbol in this case is good, meaning that San Francisco is favoured to win by 5.5 points). What we can also see from a typical betting line like the one above, is that the line has shifted somewhat from it’s original number.

Opening at 6.5 in favor of the 49ers the line has gone down to 5.5, back up to 6 and then back to 5.5 in the time since the original line was set. This is caused by bets being placed on one side or the other. Since the spread aims to balance the scales, ideally we’d see close to a 50-50 split, if one team is getting too much love (or too little) the line will adjust accordingly.

In the current scenario for a bet on San Francisco to be a winner, the 49ers would have to win the game by MORE than 5.5 points.

A bet on Atlanta meanwhile would be a winner if Atlanta loses by FEWER than 5.5 points (including winning the game outright).

Finally you may be asking yourself “why the half point“? There aren’t half points in Football no, but the half point in spreads is designed to avoid a PUSH whenever possible. Lets say the line settles at 6, if San Francisco wins by exactly 6 or Atlanta loses by exactly 6 a push would occur and your original wager would be refunded.

Football Point Spread Betting Strategies 

Now that you understand how to bet on football point spreads, it’s time to put your new knowledge into action. Whether you’re getting ready to place a wager on the 49ers, the Falcons or any other NFL team.

So many factors can go into determining the final score of a Football game, but that’s what makes point spread betting so darn interesting. You can listen to 100 experts (myself included 😎) and still never know for sure. The fun is in the analyzing, in trying to demystify the mysterious world of Football.

Point Spread betting is particularly compelling when done in numbers. If you’re looking for parlay opportunities on your favourite Sportsbook, you can do far worse than picking a handful of games against the spread. Office pools and pools among friend groups are also perfect ways to get into ATS betting. The more games you pick, the more chaos may reign on your chosen results, which makes point spread betting an appealing gamble for Football afficionados and casual observers alike.

I’ll be covering NFL ATS betting all season long on Canada Sports betting, so now that you know what it all means, tune in week to week and let’s make some picks together!