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What is the NFL Bet Line and How to Analyze Trends?

The NFL bet line consists of the main and most popular bets in NFL football betting and includes the point spread, the money line and the over/under on the total points. 

Here is an example of how the NFL football betting line looks on a sports betting site:


Point Spread


Over/ Under

Philadelphia Eagles

-3.5                    -110


O        +34.5       -110

New York Giants

+3.5                   -110


U         -34.5       -110

 Most players will not look any further than the betting line for NFL bets, due to the massive popularity and relevance of the three. 

Football is far and away the most popular sport to bet on for Americans, with 15% of U.S. adults taking part in NFL betting. 

There is no better time to join them now that sports betting is legal, and we are here to provide you with a basic overview of the popular NFL bets. 

NFL Betting Line 

Due to the importance of the markets on the NFL betting line, this is where most bettors begin and end their NFL betting. For most games, there will be dozens of markets available from which player will score a touchdown to which team will win the coin toss. 

Some of the other popular markets featured in NFL betting: 

  • Futures bet, which team will win the Super Bowl

  • Prop bet, which player to score a touchdown

  • Game to go to overtime or not

  • First scoring play: touchdown, field goal, safety

  • First team to score 

The betting line consists of the most relevant bets, especially the moneyline as this is the simplest bet a player can make. To win this bet, all you must do is decide which team will win the game. There are a few lesser-known rules that are necessary to know with this NFL bet. 

The biggest factor when it comes to NFL moneyline betting, is that there is always the possibility of overtime. If you choose a team to win, yet they only accomplish victory in the overtime period, then you will not win your wager. 

Over the last decade, there has been a significant percentage of NFL games gone to overtime: 

  • Of all the playoff games, 18.3% went to overtime 

  • During the regular season games, 12.3% went to overtime

  • For the Super Bowl, only 1.9% of the championship games have gone to overtime

These represent a significant percentage especially during the playoffs, where you must add a nearly 20% chance that your bet will not win. To combat that, most sports betting sites will have a separate NFL betting line, which includes overtime, but these will come with lower odds. 

NFL spread betting is also very popular as it gives two mismatched teams an even chance to win. The spread will either add or subtract points from a team’s total score based on their perceived chance of winning the game. 

For example, if the New England Patriots are the favorites to win a game, then they will have points subtracted from its final score. If you place a bet on its opponents who are the underdog, you will instead have points added onto its final point total. 

The final score of a regular season game: New England Patriots |-7.5| vs. Miami Dolphins |+7.5|: 

New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 28

With a spread bet on the Patriots in effect: 

New England Patriots 27.5, Miami Dolphins 28

With an NFL spread on the Dolphins: 

New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 35.5

If you picked the Dolphins to win with the spread, you will win your bet and if you take the Patriots you will lose. A straight-up NFL moneyline bet would produce the opposite result, as the final score would stand. 

For the Patriots, this is known as not covering the spread, whereas if they had scored just one more point, they would have effectively covered the spread and earned players who made a bet on the NFL giants a profit. 

The best reason to make bets on the spread is that these will give the player much better odds. Usually, the odds will be completely evened out. This can give you a good payout, however, be wary that around 25% of NFL games are decided by three or seven points. 

You can combine these spreads to make a safer parlay, known as a teaser bet, read about them here: https://legalbet.com/best-posts/teaser-bets-defined/

Lastly on the NFL betting line, we come to over/under betting or totals. These bets will give you a statistic that occurs during an NFL game (touchdowns, field goals, penalties, etc.) and a number. 

The player will need to correctly predict whether the number of times that statistic will occur in the game will be over or under the provided number. On the NFL betting line, this statistic will always be the total number of points scored in the game. 

The most basic way to win this bet is to understand which teams score and which teams defend. Nearly every team in the NFL either plays great offensively or great defensively. If you find a team that does both, then go ahead and put a wager on them to win the Super Bowl, because it is not common. 

The Highest Scoring Teams from the 2019-20 NFL Season:

  1. Baltimore Ravens 531 

  2. San Francisco 49ers 479 

  3. New Orleans Saints 458

  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 458

  5. Kansas City Chiefs 451

Defensive Leaders from 2019-20 season (Fewest points against):

  1. New England Patriots 225

  2. Buffalo Bills 259

  3. Baltimore Ravens 282

  4. Chicago Bears 298

  5. Pittsburgh Steelers 303

As you can see here, only one team appears in the top five in both offensive and defensive categories, the Baltimore Ravens, who will be playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

If teams are more offensive you should obviously look at the total over, but most importantly is to look at how the team scores and how the opposing team matches up. 

If one of the teams has a deadly passing attack that accounts for most of their touchdowns but the opponent has a strong passing defense or pass rush, then you can expect the offensive team to have some difficulties.

You can also look at current form, the score from the previous games and weather conditions to help you decide on this NFL betting line. 

Win Using NFL Betting Trends 

In order to see which teams and games the other bettors are wagering on; you need to look at NFL betting trends. These can help you win bets in a variety of ways and are used by many professional bettors.

One of the best strategies to use when looking at NFL betting trends is to bet against the public, or where most bets are being placed. 

If you see that most bets are being placed on one team, that means that the bookmaker will be forced to move the odds on the opponent up to balance out the bets. When you find these, you can bet on the opponent with higher betting odds. 

The best advice for winning on NFL betting trends:

  • Follow the sharp money (where the professional bettors are betting)

  • Shop odds on different sports betting sites 

  • Pay attention to both instant and late jumps in odds

The sharps money are the large amounts of money placed by professional bettors. Oftentimes, these bettors can change the odds with a single bet. 

There has been plenty of research showing the long-term profitability of watching these NFL betting percentages. With some even showing that this method can increase your winning percentage by 3-4% over time. 

NFL Betting

Like we stated earlier, betting on NFL games is easily the most popular form of betting in America. The championship game, the Super Bowl, is also the number one bet on event in the country. 

To get started betting on the NFL in real life, you have a few options: 

  • Online Sports Betting: While not every state has legal sports betting, there are plenty of states that feature it or will feature it in the future. This means that players have a variety of options when it comes to where to place a bet online. When searching for a sportsbook to play at, there are a few things a player must consider before registering. The live sections as well as the bonuses will vary depending on the sports betting site. The lines and number of sports can also change which could mean less markets for NFL betting. Luckily, we keep up to date ratings of these bookmakers for you here: https://legalbet.com/bookmakers/. Once you have decided to choose a bookmaker, simply register your account, make a deposit and go to the NFL section and place a bet. In many states, you will be able to do this even from the comfort of your home. 

  • Physical Location: Many of those online sports books will also have physical locations at casinos where you can go to place a bet. Finding these is only a web search away! Once you have found one of these locations, head there and find the lines for the upcoming NFL games. After deciding which market to take, walk up to the teller and tell them which game, market and how much money you want to wager. If the games are starting soon, you will almost always be able relax and watch the game in the sportsbook’s lounge area. Depending on your preferences, this can be the more enjoyable option. These are the main two options for placing a bet on NFL games as of right now. If you are still having trouble deciding which option suits you better, then you can look at this article where we lay out the main pros and cons of online betting vs. land-based betting: https://legalbet.com/best-posts/where-to-bet-mobile-apps-vs-the-bookmakers-office/

  • Future Options: As the legalization of sports betting goes further and further, more options will likely open. There is already talk right now of sports betting becoming available in restaurants and bars. The idea of betting in sports stadiums has also been brought up, which could easily become one of the most popular places to bet just based on the proximity and atmosphere it would provide. Despite the new possibilities that could open in the future, it is still not advised to place a bet with a shady bookmaker hanging out in an abandoned building. With the legalization, make sure to keep everything official. 

NFL betting remains popular due to America’s love of its sport. With this guide and help from your own research you should have no problems getting started betting on the NFL and owning the NFL betting line.