NFL spread betting: 5 key tips for betting on the point spread

Sports bettors who wager on the NFL, or purchase NFL picks find the point spread levels the playing field by making the rules a little more attractive on both sides; the favourite or the underdog.

What is NFL spread betting?

To sum up simply, what is NFL spread betting, it’s either betting on the favourite to win by the points listed, or betting on the underdog team who has a buffer to lose the game by the margin of points listed, or simply win outright.

Surprising to most who do NFL spread betting, it’s often found that statistically betting on the spread with the underdog gives the winning edge to the bettor over time. Keep in mind this is not always the case and you should run your statistically analysis across XYZ metrics, but overall comparing NFL spread betting on the underdog has shown more statistically sound results.

NFL spread betting simply levels the playing field between both teams vs. wagering straight up on the money line who will win. But like with any sports gambling strategy, there is never a bullet-proof betting system to guarantee success when wagering on NFL against the spread.

But what if you could reduce your risk to get an edge on the confidence of the outcome? Would you take it? What if there were betting patterns or trends that based on historical data showed signals or indicators that could help you gain the edge of predicting the probability of a future event? Heck – that’s what professional NFL handicappers and tipsters are in business to do, just as your personal investment portfolio is typically setup and managed by a professional investor who monitors the markets and looks at the right timing and opportunity.

Over the years of betting on the NFL point spread, I’ve come to learn a number of golden rules I can apply to making my NFL picks on the spread. I wont run through them all here, but will share 5 of what I consider the top or key gold rules to NFL spread betting when making your NFL spread picks.

How does the point spread work?

In this example, lets look at the Atlanta Flacons -3.5 vs. Indianapolis Colts +3.5. In this example, the Atlanta Falcons are the favourite. The minus sign always denotes the favourite team to win, and the plus sign or positive sign denotes the underdog team. For the Falcons to cover 3.5 points, they have to win the game by four or more points. If you wager on the Falcons at -3.5, if they win the game by 3 points, you lose the wager. It’s 4 points or more to cover the spread. So why the half point? The half point is to force a winning wager (or losing).

But lets look at the opposing side for NFL spread betting. If you wagered on the Colts at -3.5 this means that if the Colts lose the game by 3, 2 or 1 point, or simply win the game outright, then you win your wager.

You can see why NFL spread betting helps level the playing field because even if your team loses the game, you still have the opportunity to win your wager.

So what’s a push in NFL spread betting?

In rare circumstances the oddsmakers will set the NFL line on an even number like 3, 6 or even 10.

In situations as this, if the favoured team wins by the exact amount set for the spread (3 or 6 or 10 depending on what the spread was set at), then the wager would be considered a push, and the money you risk would be returned back to you.

In the above example, if you applied an NFL spread betting strategy and wagered $100 on the underdog Indianapolis Colts +6 (vs Atlanta Falcons -6), and the Colts lose the game by 6 points, then you neither win or lose your wager. Your wager is a push and your $100 would be returned to your bankroll.

After countless years of NFL spread betting, and observing some very profitable sports investors (also members of, here are a few NFL spread betting insights found helpful to give the winning edge.

5 key tips for betting on the point spread

The following NFL spread betting tips are intended to cover wagering on all regular NFL season, and not just a single game. Why? The statistical analysis and modelling performed was pinned against this criteria, which showcases the edge in statistical confidence.

  1. In NFL spread betting, wager on team with a straightup win rate of .750 or better when playing on less than 6 days rest against an opposing team with a worse record. Sounds odd right, but run the numbers. This scenario excludes teams coming off a bye week and after week for in regular NFL season. 10 year success rate is 66.7%.
  2. Wager against teams with less than a .350 straight-up win percentage when playing on less than 7 days’ rest against a team with a better record. Again, it applies to regular NFL season games after week 4. The results, a 10 year success rate of 61.2%.
  3. Bet on visiting NFL teams with less than a .250 straight-up winning percentage against a team with a straight-up winning percentage that is at least .100 basis points higher. The results, 10-year success rate 56.3%.
  4. In NFL spread betting, bet on underdogs when the point spread is at or above 10. The results, 10-year success rate 56.1%
  5. Look at public consensus data to see where the money is flowing, or public opinion sits. Fading the public on both point spread and money line statistically gives the edge, BUT to enrich your probability, login to your account (free sign up if you’re not a member), and look at the Top 100 NFL pundits and analysts. Take either the top 10 and look at their ATS (against the spread) track record, and follow the NFL picks with the analyst who has the edge. Conversely, look at the bottom 5 NFL analysts and pundits, which typically hover in the 30% to 40% win rate against the spread. Fade their picks. Simple.


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