NFL Money Line vs Point Spread Explained

Learning the difference between the money line and point spread can go a long way in teaching gamblers how to have long-term success at betting and this article breaks down the intricacies of both betting types for new and casual gamblers. The money line and the point spread are the two most commonly played in football and mastering either format goes a long way in winning.

Money Line vs Point Spread

They are simple to understand but it takes a lot of experience, research, and insight to truly use them to their full potential. We look and compare both then offer some insight on how to bet each type successfully. The money line is the easiest bet to learn for new gamblers. This is where you bet on a team to win straight-up. The two teams are lined as a minus number denoting a favourite and a plus number denoting the underdog.

For example, the New York Giants visit the Buffalo Bills. The Giants are lined at -200 meaning they are favoured to win comfortably and a bet of $200 is needed to profit $100. On the flipside, betting the Bills at +165 returns $165 on a $100 bet because they are likelier losers. The amount of money needed to bet to profit is relative to the amount of risk oddsmakers determine.

With the point spread, the odds on both teams are balanced at -110 each on the catch that either team "covers" the "spread". These are numbers beside both teams with a minus number indicating a team must win by more than this number and a plus number indicating the team can lose by up to this number.  

Going back to the Giants and Bills, if the Giants have a spread of -7 this means they are favoured to win by 7 or more. A bet only cashes if they win by 8 or more points. If they win by 7, it is a "push" (money back). The Bills get a +7 spread meaning they can lose by up to 7 points. Should the Bills lose by less than 7 points or win outright, the bet cashes.

Strategy and Tips for Money Line and Point Spread

Sometimes it all comes down to a matter of preference between the money line and point spread:


Betting favourites can be stressful regardless of the format but it's usually safer to bet them on the money line especially if they are sizable favourites. If the Steelers are -1200 to win, there isn't any value there. A bet of $120 will only return a measly $10. This is either the easiest $10 you win or the toughest $120 you lose. Taking them on the point spread, where they have to cover -13 doesn't seem any better but to win $10 you'll only need to bet $11. On smaller 


For dogs, it's a more clear-cut answer at times depending on the dog size. Sizable dogs of over +200 have more value on the point spread where they more leeway but small dogs are better on the money line. If the Redskins have to cover +4 at -110 it might just be better to take them to win on the money line for the extra cash at +165. Betting small dogs at the money line also means a higher ROI (return on investment) and needing a smaller win percent to profit.

    View All Sports Betting Sites

    Practice (almost) makes perfect but only by continuously sharpening your betting skills by logging into the best online sportsbooks like SportsInteraction and playing NFL lines can you really refine your acumen. The best and most up-to-date odds await on top of plenty other games outside the money line and point spread. New gamblers can also look forward to a reward of a $200 cash value signup bonus.

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