It seems like every week this year there are new sports books sprouting up. While they may be hard to track, this can only be a good thing for us bettors. The more sites offering betting odds, the easier it makes comparing NFL odds, which lets you shop for the best price on every game, for every bet. Some games have wildly different odds for the spread, Over/Under, and the moneyline on different betting sites, and if you are willing to bet on multiple sites, there are incredible deals to be found.
What does it mean to compare NFL odds?
Suppose the Packers are favored by 13 points against the Jaguars on most sites and you would like to pick the Jaguars to cover the spread. However, if you look at a site that lists the odds on various betting sites, you would find that at Bet MGM, you can bet the Jaguars at +13.5, meaning you could gain an extra half point by using that site. However, if your intention was to pick the Packers, you should be sure to use a site where you can get them at the lower number of -13.
Let’s use a few randomly selected games to do an NFL odds comparison. These games are Week 10 of the 2020 season, but the advice for comparing NFL odds here works every week.
Bengals @ Steelers
This is a fascinating betting matchup, even though it features an 8-0 team hosting a 2-5-1 team. Both teams have outpaced their wildly varied expectations so far this season, meaning they both have sensational records against the spread. The Bengals have only failed to cover the spread one time, sporting a 6-1-1 record ATS, while the Steelers have covered the spread six times in their eight wins, good for a 6-2 ATS mark.
What is especially interesting about this game is the wild variance of betting odds options. Want to bet on the Steelers to cover? You can get them at -7.5 at William Hill, at a reasonable moneyline of -105, meaning you would nearly double your bet if the Steelers cover. If you are on the Bengals side, you can bet them at +9 on Points Bet, for a price of -110. A point and a half difference in spreads is a big deal, many weeks you can’t find a difference larger than .5 points in either direction. A truly expert bettor might bet both sides of this game, taking the Steelers at -7.5 at William Hill and +9 on Points Bet, and if the game ended with the Steelers winning by 8, you would win both bets (and if the Steelers won by 9 you would win one bet and push, or tie, on the other bet).
Another interesting betting NFL odds quirk is that if you want to bet the Over/Under on this game you have a fascinating option. The traditional Over/Under for this game is 47.5, if you wanted to bet the Under you can get it 47.5 most places, including 888 Sport. However, Points Bet has an amazing option for this game, where their Over/Under for the game is all the way down at 28 points. This bet also pays out well, you would only need to bet $110 to win $100. Does Points Bet have any information which would change the spread by an incredible 19 points? Absolutely not, but sometimes books offer “fun” odds options like this, to entice bettors to open up a new account on a gambling website. These fun bets are usually capped at a lower price than you can ordinarily bet a normal spread or Over/Under, but are the closest thing to free money in NFL betting. The sites literally want you to win. The reason they generally offer this entry bet on the over, as opposed to the under, is because it’s more fun for people to root for the over than the under. Who wants to root against teams scoring points?
Ravens @ Patriots
Just like Points Bet offers a too-good-to-be-true number for the Steelers-Bengals O/U, FanDuel offers an amazing price on the spread for this game. On most sites, the Ravens are a solid 7 point favorite over the Patriots. But FanDuel wants to entice fans to sign up, so they are offering the Ravens at the incredible spread of -2.5. Unlike the Steelers-Bengals game, this isn’t completely free money, of course there’s a small but realistic chance that the Patriots win the game outright or cover the small spread, but still any gambler would be thrilled with 4.5 free points in any game. To bet the Ravens at -2.5, you would earn $100 for every $110 you bet, a great deal considering the stunningly low spread.
Seahawks @ Rams
There are certain games where comparing the odds of various sites only offers minor advantages to picking and choosing sites. Take this game. The lowest line to bet the Seahawks is -1.5 with a moneyline of -110 at Bet MGM, meaning you would need to bet $110 to earn $100 for a winning bet. If you are on the opposite side, the best line you can get for betting the Rams is +2, at +$110 on Points Bet, meaning you would win $110 for every $100 you wager.
If you want to do an odds comparison for an Over/Under, you are always searching for the lowest number possible if you want to be the over, and the highest number possible if you are betting the under. So, for Seahawks-Rams, the lowest number you can get, if you wanted to bet the over is 54.5 at Points Bet. The highest number, for under purposes, is 55.5, which you can find at 888 Sport. If you’re tracking, that is three separate sites just to bet one game.
49ers @ Saints
Sometimes a game has one universal spread across every site, but there is still a way to compare odds to find the best price on a game. Every site has the Saints as 10 point favorites against the injury-riddled 49ers, but you can get different moneyline numbers, depending on where you look. If you want to bet the Saints at -10, you can get the number at William Hill at -100, meaning you get one dollar back for every dollar you bet. If you are betting the 49ers at +10, your best moneyline option is Bet MGM at +115, meaning you would earn $115 for every $100 you bet.
If you are certain the Saints will win, but not positive they will cover the large spread, one option is to bet them on the moneyline, avoiding the spread altogether. For this game, because they are large favorites, your best bet on the Saints moneyline is -312 at Points Bet, meaning you would have to put up $312 to win $100 if they win. Alternatively, if you have a strong feeling that the 49ers will win the game outright, you can bet them at +360 on William Hill, meaning you would earn $360 for every $100 you bet, if the 49ers win the game.
The most important lesson to learn here is that you should always shop around for the best line possible, by using a site that shows you the odds for every game on every site. You wouldn’t buy ice cream for $3.99 if the store next door sold it for $2.49, so why do that with football betting?