NFL Football Betting Odds

Football Betting Odds - Chalkboard Image The concept is very simple when it comes to understanding NFL football betting odds. To start, you need to understand what odds are, and from there you can begin to learn what they have to do with football. At every online sportsbook the most common factor you will find and use are the odds, which is why it is important to understand what they are in general, as well as what they mean specifically and are for NFL football.

What are Betting Odds?

The first step towards understanding the NFL football odds is to understand what odds are. To put it simply, odds are chances, and in this particular case, the chances of a team or bet of winning. For example, NFL Team A has odds of (-200 or 1.50 or 1/2), this means that team has odds of 1 to 2 of winning, or a 50% chance of winning. The odds, in this case, also represent the payout, which you can read on the betting lines & odds page.

Types of Betting Odds

There are three main types of betting odds, and you will more than likely encounter them at one point of another. Most sportsbooks give you the option of picking between the three, so that you can use the odds you are most familiar with. This is the breakdown:

  • American Odds. When betting on US friendly sportsbooks, these are the main odds that you will encounter. These are represented by a whole number, most often 100 or more. You will encounter it being as: -110 or +150.
  • Decimal Odds. The decimal odds are simply a decimal number, like 1.50 or 3.80. In order to know the actual chances, in percent form, of a team, simply subtract 1 and multiply by 100%. For example, odds of 1.80 would be: (1.80 – 1.00)*100% = 80% chance of winning the game or the bet.
  • Fraction Odds. These odds are represented by a fraction, like 1/2 or 5/1. The way you would read these odds is by reading from right to left, with the “/” symbol meaning “to”. For example, odds of 5/1 would be read as Five To One, or 500% chances of winning.

Favorite and Underdog Odds


When you are looking at the American odds, you will encounter a positive and negative figure in front of the odds. The way you figure out the Favorite/Underdog is:

  • Negative Figure: represents the Favorite. In other words, the team that has the better chances of winning will have this figure in front of their odds. There are times where both teams will have a negative figure, and this means that both teams are evenly matched, with the lower number being the favorite.
  • Positive Figure: represents the Underdog. In other words, the team that has the least chances of winning will have this figure in front of their odds.


When it comes to figuring out the Favorite/Underdog teams using the decimal odds, it is very simple. You simply check to see which number is smaller. The smallest number will always represent the Favorite, while the larger represents the Underdog. For example, a team with odds of 1.40 are the favorite, while the underdog would be 2.40 (or any other number above 1.40).


Just like the decimal odds, it is very simple to determine which team is Favorite or Underdog. By simply dividing the odds, and which ever number is smallest is the Favorite and the largest the Underdog. For example, odds of 1/5 (.20) versus odds of 5/1 (5.00).

By knowing and understanding what the football betting odds are, how they work, and how to read them will help you as you place your bets.