NFL Opening Lines: How to Read The Odds Early

• Football
• NFL
• Sports Betting

NFL Opening Lines: What Are They?

The NFL opening lines are a great indicator for successful football betting. Therefore, learning how to read the odds early can be a real game-changer for the bettor. Remember, that our NFL experts publish NFL Picks on a weekly basis, so make sure to check those out.

Football, and especially the NFL, is often regarded as the most popular sport in the United States. With a growing fan base and popularity, the NFL betting markets are becoming more competitive each year. This leads to better odds and opening lines.

These odds will change as the market heats up, but do not let this intimidate you. You can start reading and benefiting from NFL opening lines quite easily, and in this article, we walk you through how to do just that. We will discuss:

  • Finding a Suitable Sportsbook.
  • Selecting Teams to Bet On.
  • Type of Bets to Consider.
  • Why Opening Lines Change.
  • Managing Your Bankroll.

Betting on NFL Opening Lines

Betting on NFL Opening Lines
Betting on NFL Opening Lines

The NFL is often regarded as the most popular sport in the United States. With a growing fan base and popularity, the betting markets are becoming more competitive each year. This leads to better odds and opening lines.

The term opening line refers to the very first line of odds available in a market. In this article, we will examine why opening lines can provide valuable indicators of how the sportsbooks view an event. You'll also learn how looking at the NFL opening lines could help you to become a more successful bettor in the NFL arena.

The term ‘opening line’ refers to the very first line of NFL odds available in a market. In this article, we will examine why opening lines can provide valuable indicators of how the sportsbooks view an event. You’ll also see how looking at the opening lines could help you learn how to bet with more success.

NFL Opening Lines: Finding a Suitable Sportsbook 

Your first priority should be to find a suitable sportsbook to bet with. The number of sportsbooks that you have to choose from will depend on the state you are betting in.

If you only have one sportsbook operating in your state, you will obviously need to use that one. However, if you have more than one to choose from, you will want to explore each one to see what markets and bonuses it offers.

Visit our online sportsbooks page and you can read our own reviews of the various US operators which cover those essential areas.

Once you have found a suitable sportsbook that appeals to you, you will be able to search for NFL teams and matchups. They will have opening lines for upcoming games that you will be able to bet on.

💡 Pro Tip - When betting on NFL opening lines, it is important to look at more than one sportsbook to ensure you get the best odds. Here at How To Bet we make the process simpler with our odds comparisons tool in the Live Odds section of the site.

NFL Opening Lines: Selecting Teams to Bet On

The next thing you need to do is select the teams that you want to bet on. Choosing the NFL teams and their matchups to bet on is an individual matter, and therefore entirely up to you. Based on the season schedule, you can find value in teams that you think would win versus teams that perform poorly. 

Once you have a team you would like to bet on, you have a few different betting options to choose from. I would recommend that you do not fully rely on one or two teams. The NFL is composed of many great professional athletes, and no one team is the absolute best, so keep that in mind. 

To illustrate, consider the following moneyline example:

NFL Opening Lines Moneyline Example

By looking at the odds offered by BetMGM, we can see that the Buccaneers are favored to win at -370. This means that you have to bet $370 to win $100. If you bet on the Cowboys, every $100 would net you $305. 

Now, look at an example Point Spread for the same matchup.

NFL Opening Lines Point Spread Example

Here we can see (by looking at the minus sign and number associated with it) that the Buccaneers are favored to win by a touchdown. These odds will change as the game gets closer to time to play since the market will be placing bets until then. 

NFL Opening Lines: Why NFL Opening Lines Change

NFL Opening Lines Change

Odds are always subject to change, so it is important to keep an eye on them. Each sportsbook will try to have the best odds available based on what the market is telling them. 

Using the example given previously, if people start to bet heavily in one direction on a team, then the odds will have to be adjusted. 

The main goal of the sportsbook is to have equal amounts of money coming in on both sides. They do this strategically to make sure one side is not heavily favored over the other. If you can manage to get your money on a team that you have a good feeling about early, you have the opportunity to make use of the lines as they adjust. 

Always make sure you have the extra money set aside to place such bets. You never want to gamble your life away due to a 'what if' or a hot tip you received from some strange guy in a bar. 

Safe and responsible betting is your key to long-term success. For that reason, you should only ever bet with your disposable income. That is, with money that you can comfortably afford to lose.

Also, spend some time learning about how to manage your bankroll in a rational and conservative manner. Betting the entirety of your bankroll on a single game is a very dangerous and reckless approach that will wipe you out, either sooner or later. Consider betting only a stated percentage of your total bankroll - perhaps no more than 5% or 10% - so that one or two bad results don't bring your betting career to a premature end.

How to Bet on NFL Opening Lines FAQ

What are NFL betting odds over/under?
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The NFL has a type of bet called over/under. This bet requires to predict whether or not the two teams will combine to score over a specific number or score less than a certain number.

For example, the Colts might be playing the Texans, and the two have an Over/Under total of 33.5. If you think the two teams will score 34 or more points combined, you choose the Over. If you think they will combine for 33 points or fewer, you would go with the Under.

Where can I find odds for the next Super Bowl?
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Sportsbooks give bettors the opportunity to place something called futures bets. These are bets on events out in the future that are not going to end for a while, but you can bet on them as soon as odds are made available. Once teams are narrowed down, it becomes easier to pick which team will win the Super Bowl.

How does an injured player change the NFL opening lines and odds?
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Injuries happen in sports. This is just a fact of life. Depending on the type of injury and who it occurred to, it can ultimately change the odds.

If the quarterback is a Super Bowl MVP, has had one of the best seasons he has ever had and is on pace to set new records, then yes, his absence would greatly affect the game. There are other ones too that are not as obvious but still important, such as injuries to the defensive line or cornerbacks. Everyone has a role to play, so each person will be missed in some respect.

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