How NFL Odds Work – Your Quick Guide

NFL odds aren’t too complicated to figure out once you know how they work.

NFL odds

NFL odds are in plentiful supply at Paddy Power for any game in the league, whether it be a regular-season clash or the Super Bowl. We understand new bettors might not know much about how NFL odds work when coming to the sport for the first time.

Well, Paddy’s here to set the record straight with a simple guide to NFL odds. Learn what odds types are available when betting on NFL and how they react to events on the field.

We’ve also thrown in some examples of American Football odds in action, so you can be ready for what happens when you dive into a game!

Types of NFL Odds

There are three NFL odds types that you can use at Paddy Power. They are:

  • Decimal
  • Fractional
  • American

Here’s a little more about each one and how they relate to NFL:

Decimal Odds show you how much you stand to get back from a £1 winning bet. For example, if you bet £1 on the Giants to beat the Jaguars at 3.00 then you earn £2 profit + your £1 stake = £3.

Fractional Odds show you how much profit you make relative to your stake. For example, if you bet £1 on the Texans to beat the Dolphins at 4/1, you’ll earn £4 profit (the figure on the left) for every £1 you stake. The Taxens win and you take home £4 profit + your £1 stake = £5.

American Odds work like an index. If the odds are positive, it shows how much you’d win if you wagered £100. If the odds are negative, then that’s the amount you need to bet in order to win £100 profit. The smaller the odds, the higher than chance of you winning your bet. For example, the Cowboys are +200 to win against the Bills (-350). Here, you’d win £200 profit if you wagered on Dallas, but you’d have to stake £350 to win £100 profit on Buffalo.

NFL odds

NFL Odds Examples

Now we know about the odds, it’s time to look at a few NFL betting examples to see how the markets react. American Football is less sensitive than football when it comes to score changes. Touchdowns aren’t guaranteed to swing the game one way or the other, just as tries in rugby don’t dramatically change events if scored midway through games.

This means the focus for many NFL betting fans is on other events in the game, rather than simply the match winner markets. Below are some of the most popular events to bet on, and how the live NFL odds react…

  • Total Points – This is a big market in NFL betting because you don’t have to back either team. Total points betting involves predicting if the final score will yield more or fewer than a set number of points. The line is usually around 47.5 points. If you have two offensive-minded teams then the odds on +47.5 are likely to be shorter than if you have two defensive-minded teams with out-of-form QBs. The odds also shift as the game plays out. So, if there are two early touchdowns then the price on -47.5 points will almost certainly shrink.
  • Handicaps – You can bet on a team to win while carrying a positive or negative points handicap. This way you can lock in better odds. For example, you back San Francisco to beat the Browns with a +7.5 points handicap. They need to win by eight or more for you to win your bet. Now, the handicap odds can change dramatically during games, especially if a team scores early. Few players bet on NFL handicaps during games and, when they do, it’s usually to throw a few quid at a team that is losing in the first quarter and their odds have risen.
  • Touchdowns – You can bet on which player will score a touchdown next, which opens up a wealth of options. The odds will usually favour wide receivers and running backs. However, the live odds flip constantly in this market depending on which team has the ball. If San Francisco are in possession at the 40 yard line then the odds of Miami’s players scoring the next touchdown will naturally rise. If Miami steal the ball back, their offensive players will see their odds quickly shorten.

Bet on NFL with Paddy Power

Want to know more about NFL betting? Check out the Paddy Power NFL tips page for the latest picks and analysis of every game each season. We dig deep into the stats, find value in the odds, and look ahead to Super Bowl betting to help maximise your knowledge before big games.

Read More on NFL

The latest American Football odds are on now