The NFL Point Spread

The NFL Point Spread
by Staff

Betting the NFL point spread is the most popular form of sports betting. What is a point spread you ask? A pointspread is a number made up by oddsmakers that is presented to the sportsbooks who in turn offer this number to their bettors to either take the favorite or the underdog.

The number is created with the idea that the public will be divided and bet equally on both sides. This is hardly ever the case though. Games usually end up one sided as the general betting public seems to love to bet on the favorite.


Here’s an example of a point spread:

Chicago Bears +6.5 -110
Indianapolis Colts -6.5 -110

As you can see, the Bears have a + in front of their number, which that number is called the point spread. A plus in front of a spread (aka: line) signifies that the team is an underdog and that’s how many points your “getting.” Getting points basically means that their free points to you that you add onto the teams true final score. If your team has more points than the other team after you’d added on your points to the final score, you are the pointspread winner.

Conversely, if you were to take the Colts at -6.5, you subtract 6.5 points from the Colts final score and compare it to the Bears true final score to determine the who wins the wager.

The -110 next to each denotes how much you have to risk to win $100. This can also be broken down as $11 to win $10. Some online sportsbooks such as Bovada offer NFL football bets for as little as $1.00 risked!

Why does a point spread exist? The spread exists because theoretically it is perceived that one team is better than another so to make up that difference, the spread is created to bring equality to the wager. Do underdogs ever win straight up? You better believe they do!

Another way to bet NFL teams (aka: sides) is by eliminating the spread and betting the moneyline.

For a list of the best places to bet on NFL games, check out our sportsbook reviews page.