Live feeds: point spreads, proposition bets

NFL point spreads and over/unders may not fluctuate all that dramatically during the week, but the seasoned NFL bettor knows that even a change of a ½-point on the ’spread can speak volumes – and potentially spin wins from losses. In this spirit, you may find here the NFLbets Odds Feed from our partnering sportsbooks giving the current lines on NFL games featuring those old favorites.

The point spreads, over/unders and accompanying lines will be updated weekly as soon as the given online sportsbook site(s) releases them – which is to say within the hour after the final gun on Sunday for next Sunday’s games. The occasional game marked with lines reading “NL” (or “no line”) doesn’t mean the sportsbook isn’t making an offering on that game but rather that more information (typically the identity of the one or both teams’ starting quarterback) is needed before a line is released.

An option to review last week’s scores is also available within the same feed; in order to remind yousefl of bets you shouldn’t make this week and/or to glory in some killer wins previously, toggle between the current odds and the previous scoreboard with a single click.

What do changing odds mean?

Pragmatically speaking, NFL betting odds, when first posted week to week, reflect both realistic prognostications and marketability. Leading Las Vegas bookmakers may agree with every other sane NFL fan and agree that, likesay, the New England Patriots could smoke the Arizona Cardinals in Massachusetts in late November by 21 points – but there’s no way any NFL bettor would back either side in that bet.

Thus, when a line of +5½ drops to +4½ by Sunday, this is tantamount to Vegas admitting way too much money is coming in via bets on the underdogs and that the original point spread was well too generous. Despite the tightness of communications networks in the late 2010s, massive fluctuations of several points may happen.

The most notable recent example of a massive change was for Super Bowl LIII. The Los Angeles Rams actually began as 1-point favorites before tractor-trailer loads’ wroth of money immediately began flowing in on Belichick, Brady and the boys from Boston. Within 24 hours of first release, the point spread had become a “pick ’em” before eventually settling on New England +2 (or at some bookmakers, +2½).

The first opportunity to take advantage of moving point spreads obvious: Those looking to back the Patriots in that Super Bowl would have been best off taking New England at even odds or minus-1, essentially meaning an outright win paid at -110 odds. NFL bettors paying attention, though, were all over the under. Despite the fact that the overwhelming number of wagers were backing the Patriots, who had hit the over in three straight Super Bowl appearances and the over had gone 4-2 in the last six Pats ’Bowls, the over/under was drawing no action at all. Yet the O/U stayed at a very Rams defense-favorable 55½ points and hit.

The point: Watch those lines.

A few words on odds, over/unders

A brief note on odds: Note that not all over/under lines will always be paid out at -110, i.e. an even-odds payout minus the standard 10% vig. More and more frequently one end of the over/under will simply carry shorter odds. So for example, if the over/under in the aforementioned Patriots-Rams game is 55½, the over would carry a payout of -130 or even -140, figuring on a high-scoring Pats win, while the under could be set at anything from -110 to +110. Again, marketability can make over/unders seemingly way to low or too high – but the sportsbooks have this way to compensate.

What can be done about those shifting odds on over/unders? Not much, though comparison-shopping between sportsbooks can lead you to a better deal, but the numbers will only improve from site to site by +20 at the absolute most.

How odds are expressed in the live feed

As for how those odds are expressed: Basically all odds, i.e. the proportion at which you’ll be paid on a winning bets, may be expressed in one of three ways: fractional, decimal or American. Fractional is the most traditional of the three, with all payouts expressed in familiar “2/1” form, meaning a winning bet is worth 2x the initial wager (plus return of the original wagered amount).

Increasingly popular – due to the lesser amount of math involved, we cynically suppose – is the so-called American notation, which is based on 100. So, 2/1 odds become ­+200. Anything shorter than 1/1 or “evens” is designated with a minus sign in American notation, so -150 is equivalent to 2/3 odds.

In decimal form, +200 or 2/1 odds would be expressed as 2.00; to give another example, 8/5 odds would be represented as a more easily understandable 1.60. This form is primarily seen in Europe and occasionally in pari-mutuel horse race betting but is steadily losing ground in online sportsbooks to the other two formats.

In parlance, typically a combination of old-fashioned fractional odds and American-style numbers. Any prop with odds shorter than 1/1 are expressed in American. Anything below, likesay, 8/1 may be described with either format, and anything above that will inevitably be expressed in fractional terms.