Week 2 of the NFL preseason ends with the Commanders and Ravens meeting up on Monday Night Football. And, while most sportsbooks place limits on the amount of money you can bet on NFL preseason games, your betting options, much like during the regular season, include being able to make bets on the point spread, point total or moneyline.
With a host of sportsbooks apps now available at your fingertips, including at Fan Duel and Draft Kings, you can also make (live) in-game bets, when betting on NFL preseason game(s). Today, we're going to breakdown how to bet the point spread, when betting on NFL games.
(*Whether you're betting on preseason or regular season NFL games, the process is the same when betting the point spread.)
BETTING THE NFL POINT SPREAD
Betting the NFL point spread is still the most popular bet to make when wagering on NFL football. Betting 'against the spread' (ATS), also known as betting the spread, not only is a way of encouraging equal betting on both teams, it also provides sportsbooks with a point spread (set by oddsmakers by the way) they believe will balance their action on a given game. While providing points to those betting on the underdog when making a bet on the point spread, plenty of lines come with an additional half-point, otherwise known as a 'hook'. It avoids any chance of a push (or tie), for example, given scores of 7-6 (+1.5), 27-24 (+3.5), 20-14 (+6.5), 31-24 (+7.5), etc.
In order for any bettor to win a point spread bet, the 'favored' team (look for a minus next to a team's name) not only has to win the game, but do so by the given point spread for you to cash a bet on the favorite laying points. On the flipside, if you bet the underdog, which is the team receiving points, they don't have to win the game straight up for you to win your bet - given they don't lose the game by more than the amount of points you took when making the 'spread' bet.
How to make Point Spread Bets in the NFL
Using Dolphins @ Texans (-5) as an example for this exercise, the team with the negative sign (-5) is the favorite; in this case, it's Houston. If you bet on the Texans against the spread, they have to win the game by at least six points for you to win your bet. So, if the final score is 20-14, or any other score that denotes the Texans winning by at least six points, you cash your bet. If you bet on the Dolphins, the road underdog with a plus sign (+5), you when your bet if Miami loses by four or fewer points (20-16, 17-13, etc). You also cash your bet, if the Dolphins win the game straight up. (Note: It's always a good idea for NFL bettors to monitor the point spreads throughout the week of the games as sportsbooks, who obviously prefer the money be evenly split, are likely to adjust the lines depending on what team is being bet on the most.)
Fernie Ruano, a South Florida-based multimedia specialist and copywriter with a concentration in sports betting analysis and Miami culture, has just about covered it all over the years. Follow him on Twitter at @bet_on305fernie.