NFL lines, also known as point spreads, deal with the number that is set by bookmakers to get equal betting action on each team. The books are not setting NFL lines on who they think will win the game, but rather the line they think will make it so people will wager equally on both sides with not too much money put on one team or the other. Books do this so they can make money since they make a certain amount for each wager and if there is a game that has a lot more money bet on one team and that team wins the books will lose.
Explaining NFL Lines
NFL lines are pretty simple to understand so lets take a look at an example. Let's say that for week 1 of the season the NFL lines are out and in the Bears vs. Cowboys game the line is Cowboys -4. This means the Cowboys are favored by 4 points and they have to win the game by at least 5 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the Cowboys in this game and they win 20-14 you win, as they covered the spread winning by 6 points. Conversely, if you bet on the Bears you will lose since they did not cover the 4 points they were given. If a game is a push you will get your original money bet on the game back. For example, if you see NFL lines with the Eagles at -4 over the Giants and they win by exactly 4 points the game is a push. Many times the books will have a spread with a .5 on the end, such as Cowboys -4.5, so there is no chance of a push.
NFL lines typically come out on Monday or Tuesday before the weekend games. The NFL lines are not set in stone, as they may change depending on things such as injuries and suspensions. However, what is set in stone is the wager you make at the time the NFL lines are out. If you bet on a team and get a certain line and then the NFL lines change you will get the line that was set at the time you make the wager. For example, if you bet on the Patriots to beat the Jets and they are favored by 7 points, but mid-week Tom Brady suffers an injury and will not play. Because of this the Pats are less likely to win and the line changes and they are only favored by 4 points. However, you made the wager when the line was at -7 and that is the line you will be locked in on.
If you are checking out the NFL lines you will see this for the game for the example above:Cowboys -4
The - in front of the number means that team is the favorite and the + means the tam is the underdog.
NFL lines are not hard to understand and they are the most popular football wager.