Almost every sports bettor thinks that he or she is an NFL expert and that's precisely what the oddsmakers prey upon. The oddsmakers cater to the public perception of a football teams' strengths and weaknesses, rather than reality. It's important to recognize that there are what's called "public teams" in the NFL and in college football. Some of those teams include: The Steelers, Giants, Cowboys, Patriots and Chargers in the NFL, and Notre Dame, Florida, USC, Oklahoma and Texas in college football. Be careful when wagering on these teams as the lines on their games are usually inflated by the amount of play on them by the public.
Bettors generally look to wager on teams based on the point spread (Spread Line), or on a team without laying or getting points where odds are involved, called the (money line).They also play the total number of points scored by both teams in a game (totals play, often called the "over" or "under" in a game).
"POINT SPREAD" WAGER
Oddsmakers look to set a line or spread so that an equal number of players bet on each side of the game. They're happy winning the "juice" involved on the losing plays and calling it a profitable day. The Juice on a Point Spread wager is usually -110. For Example, to win $200.00 dollars, one must risk $220.00. With that in mind, the line is set to even things out between opposing teams.
The "LINE" is the actual point spread set by the Las Vegas oddsmakers that indicates the relative strength of the two teams playing. It is set to equalize a game when one team is better than another. For example, if the Miami Dolphins were +10 points or getting 10 points added to their score against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the oddsmakers are telling you they believe the Steelers are 10 points better than the Dolphins in the public's mind. Giving them 10 points makes it an even game. The public then moves the line by the amount they wager on one side or the other. If a lot of money comes in on the Steelers, the points will go up to entice more bettors to take the Dolphins with more points. The reverse is true if more money comes in on the Dolphins. The point spread or "LINE" will go down to get more bettors to take the Steelers, but give fewer points to the Dolphins.
There are many factors one must consider before actually putting down his or her hard-earned money on a team. Is the team at home or on the road? What injuries, if any, will factor into the performance of a team? How do the teams match up offensively and defensively with each other? This is probably the hardest thing for an average person without the time to invest in researching the information to know. Which team plays better on special teams and has the better kicker? What is the weather like? Some teams, like Green Bay and New England, play well in bad weather. Some teams like Miami and San Diego, do not. Near the end of a season is a team vying for a playoff spot or has it already locked in its position? These are just some of the factors one must consider before making a wager.