NFL Public Betting & Money Percentages
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Tue 10/19, 12:15 AM
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There's no bigger league in the United States than the NFL, and that's translated to a lot of money wagered on the sport now that online sports betting is legal in several states.
Not every wager is the same amount, however, and NFL bettors who pay attention to The Action Network's public betting data can spot sharp bets.
How to Use Public Betting and Money Percentages in NFL Betting
We track betting data at a variety of sportsbooks, including "percentage of bets" and "percentage of money" on every NFL game and bet type.
- Percentage (%) of bets: The proportion of bets made on a side of a wager. For example, if we track 20,000 bets on the Steelers-Bills game and 13,000 of them are on the Bills, that would be 65% of bets on the Bills.
- Percentage (%) of money: The proportion of money bet on a side of a wager. For example, if we track a total handle -- a betting term that means "amount wagered" -- of $6 million and $5 million is on the Steelers, that would be 83% of the money on the Steelers.
This is important information because not every bet is the same. Some bettors will place a wager of $5 while others might bet $5,000. The sharp and professional bettors are the ones that tend to bet more, but those bets still count as just a single bet.
Therefore, looking at the difference between the percentage of bets and percentage of money can help The Action Network users find the NFL sides that have "sharp money" -- in other words, those wagered on by pros. We also have expert NFL picks coverage.
Here's another example: Say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting 69% of the spread bets against the Dallas Cowboys, but 92% of the money bet on that game's spread is on the Bucs. That would be a percentage difference of 23% on the Bucs, highlighting that the bettors willing to wager a lot of money -- these are likely to be sharp and pro bettors -- are on Tampa Bay.
Of course, it's also important to look at the total number of bets placed on the market, which we also display on this page for The Action Network users. If there are just a few hundred bets, the resulting bet and money percentages might be skewed by the small sample size. In contrast, if that game has thousands and thousands of bets, you can trust that data more.
The point spread is the most common market (or bet type) in sports betting. It's essentially the margin of victory, and you can bet on either team.
For example, if the Indianapolis Colts are -2.5 (the minus indicates they're the favorite) on the spread against the Seattle Seahawks, they would have to win by three points or more to "cover the spread" and win the bet. For the Seahawks to cover their +2.5 number (the plus sign indicates they're underdogs), they would have to lose by two or fewer points or win the game.
It's also important to note that spread and over/under bets will have the "juice" or "vig" as part of the bet as well. You'll likely see a bet like Colts -2.5 (-110): That "-110" is the juice or tax on your bet. It's the amount the sportsbook takes on your bet, and it's easy to think about in $100 increments. If the juice is -110, that means you have to bet $110 to win $100. If the juice is -105, you'd have to pay $105 to win $100.
A total or over/under bet is a wager on how many points will be scored in a game. You can bet on either side -- whether the game will have more or fewer points than the number listed at sportsbooks.
For example, if a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons has an over/under of 47, a bet on the under would win if the combined score of both teams falls at 46 or lower. A bet on the over would win if the total score ends at 48 or higher. If it lands exactly on 47, it’s a push and all bets are refunded.
The idea of a moneyline bet is simple, but NFL odds can be confusing at first. Essentially the moneyline is just a bet on which team will win. It doesn't matter if the team wins by one point or 30 points, unlike the spread.
The way to read the odds is like reading the juice on a spread bet. The team a sportsbook has as the favorite to win will have negative odds, like -135, while the underdog team will have plus odds, like +125. Those numbers indicate the winnings or amount you'll have to pay on the bet.
For example, if the New York Giants are -135 against the Denver Broncos, that means you'll have to wager $135 to win $100 if the bet wins. Say the Broncos were +125 in that game as underdogs: You would win $125 on a $100 bet if Denver wins the game.
Once you get used to it, it's pretty easy to calculate. But you can also use our odds converter to calculate moneyline winnings in an instant.
If you’re in a U.S. state with legal, online sports betting, there are no shortage of sportsbook options:
- DraftKings is one of the biggest books in the U.S. already, and you might have heard of them through their daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests. They offer just about every type of bet on the NFL, including player props, where you bet on the outcome of just a single player rather than a team.
- FanDuel is one of the biggest sportsbooks as well, and they also got their start in the fantasy world years ago. They are a great book to look if you want to bet on NFL futures, which are bets on a longer-term market, like the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl.
- PointsBet is originally based out of Australia but has quickly become a favorite U.S. book for many bettors. They offer some of the most unique bets, like their "PointsBetting" product, which allows you to not just bet on the spread -- but how many points a team will cover by.
- BetMGM has a big name because of their Vegas hotels and hospitality arm, but they're also one of the best sportsbooks. They make their own odds, which allows users to find lines that are different than all the other books -- value!
Check out our sportsbook reviews for exclusive sign-up bonuses and promo codes.