Beginner's Guide to NFL Picks Against the Spread

NFL: Against The Spread Picks Explained
  • Betting Against the Spread (ATS) is the most popular way of betting on the NFL
  • Use this beginner's guide to learn what is against the spread in betting and why it matters
  • And don't miss the weekly expert pick!

The National Football League - NFL is one of the world's most popular leagues to bet on.

Millions of fans back their favorite teams and star players throughout the 17-week regular season and all the way through to the most important event of the year: the Super Bowl.

With the advent of online betting and live streaming, the NFL is more accessible to bettors than ever.

While there are literally dozens of markets available, both before and during the game, we're going to focus on one market in particular: betting against the spread (ATS).

Against the spread (ATS) betting is the most popular way to bet on the NFL.

When betting against the spread, you aren't just betting on who will win the game.

You bet on a certain team winning by a predetermined points margin.

If you are wondering why would you complicate your betting to this point and not choose something simpler like a moneyline bet, think about this:

Betting against the spread you can still profit even if the team you bet on loses.

How to make NFL picks against the spread

The best way to explain against the spread betting is to use an example and look at the numbers.

In our scenario, the Baltimore Ravens play with the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore Ravens are the favorites by 7.5 points, as indicated by the minus sign.

Cleveland Browns+7.5 (-110)21
Baltimore Ravens-7.5 (-110)30

The favored Baltimore is laying 7.5 points, which means that you take 7.5 points away from their score at the end of the game.

If they still have more points than Cleveland, as in this example, they have covered the spread.

Baltimore will have needed to have won by 8 points or more for you to have won your bet.

When betting against the spread, one thing you should bear in mind above all else is that your opinion on which team will win the game is irrelevant.

When you bet against the spread, your mission is not to pick the winner. You bet to predicting how many points a team will win by.

Theoretically, a team could have an undefeated season and yet fail to cover the spread in each game they play. It depends on the line they're up against.

Best Sites to Bet Against the Spread

As an online bettor, you need sportsbooks that are:

  • Safe
  • Licensed
  • Offer great odds
  • Pay out fast

And have enough options to bet against the spread, of course.

To help you find the best site to try betting against the spread, we teamed up with the guys at Oddschecker — our sister sports book guide — and asked them to do some research for us.

Here are the three best sportsbooks for betting against the spread, according to Oddschecker.

RankSportsbookBest forVisit
1.FanduelOdds on NY teamsVisit Site
2.DraftKingsFirst-time BettorsVisit Site
3.BetAmericaWelcome bonusVisit Site


One of the best sportsbooks to bet against the spread with is FanDuel.

In terms of what you would want from a sportsbook, FanDuel checks all the boxes, with:

  • A positive bet variety
  • A flexible cashier
  • An easy and fluid interface

They offer especially generous odds on the spread on the two New York teams (the Giants and Jets), so it's worth taking these two teams into account when looking at which games to bet on.

Visit Fanduel


Draftkings is another popular option for against the spread betting, with a wealth of valuable information and statistics available to make the right pick all the time.

This information includes against the spread records.

DraftKings is also a great option if you're an inexperienced bettor who might like to bet on-the-go.

Its clean and user-friendly mobile interface is perfect for beginners who might otherwise feel overwhelmed by a more elaborate design.

Visit DraftKings


BetAmerica is a sportsbook that also offers against the spread betting, along with other popular kinds of NFL bets.

Right now, you get a $100 match bonus on your initial deposit, giving you the chance to make your first spread bet with them really count.

If value is what you are after, you better grab the BetAmerica's bonus offer before it's gone.

Visit BetAmerica

Where Can I Find NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread?

The easiest way for you to understand NFL betting against the spread and grow your bankroll as you do so, is to rely on the best NFL expert picks against the spread

Against the spread bets are discussed openly by fans and announcers alike, and NFL is one of the few of the major sports where this is the case.

They take a number of factors into account when making weekly spread betting picks, such as:

  • Conditions
  • Form
  • Head-to-head records

When you look at the results of their suggestions, we suggest you to look at Oddschecker as your primary source of the best NFL picks against the spread.

There's an entire section dedicated to NFL picks where you find everything you need to place your bets.

Once you've looked at the expert picks against the spread offered by Oddschecker and know which you feel the most confident in, you can finally place your bet.

If you are in a hurry and you just want quick NFL picks against the spread, here's what we have for you this week:

NFL: Against The Spread Pick - Sunday 2nd February 2020

Super Bowl 54San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City ChiefsSan Francisco 49ers +1.5 @ -110


What Are the Best Sites for NFL Picks Against the Spread?

Against the spread betting can be very lucrative when you know what you're doing. But — where do you get started?

In each week of the NFL season, numerous sportsbooks create their own odds for betting against the spread.

You can spend your time scrolling through them and putting them into a spreadsheet to find the best sites for you — or you can rely on an odds comparison site who does that for you.

With so many different sportsbooks around, it makes sense to start from a comparison site like Oddschecker (see here for their NFL picks against the spread).

Their service is free of charge and they help you compare the spread and ensure that you're always the best possible odds available.


While against the spread betting is undoubtedly exciting, it can also frustrate some bettors whose betting style suits a more straightforward approach.

The most basic kind of bet in NFL football is the moneyline bet.

This is where you place a bet on a team to win the game outright without any spread involved. If you have confidence in the underdog, moneyline bets are a great way to increase your profits.

Here's an example:

Buffalo Bills+27034
Miami Dolphins-33027

Here, you would need to bet $330 to make a $100 profit on a Miami win. If you wanted to bet on a Buffalo win, you would bet any amount you want to, and if they won, you would be paid 3.7x that amount.

In this case, Buffalo won. So if you bet $100, you would be paid $370, including your $100 wager.


When you're unsure on which team will win the game, another option is to bet on the number of points scored.

Here, the sportsbook makes a prediction on the combined points at the end of the game and offers odds on the points totalling either over or under that amount.

This still makes the game exciting to watch, because even if one of the two teams is clearly going to win, and it's only in the third quarter, there may yet be a last-second field goal that turns the game.

Betting Against the Spread FAQ

What can change the spread?

Spreads are subject to change based on injury reports and which team the money is going on. If Lamar Jackson is injured two days before the game, for example, the spread will decrease.

What if the point spread results in a tie?

This happens frequently and is called a “push”. In this case, your money is refunded by the sportsbook. An example of a push would be if Cincinnati was a six-point favourite over Tampa Bay and they won by exactly six points.

This would mean neither Cincinnati (-6), or Tampa Bay (+6) would be a winner, and this would then result in a push.

Can you bet against the spread for a half or a quarter of play?

Yes, sportsbooks offer odds for different points in the game, such as at the end of the first quarter or at the end of the half. It's up to you to determine at which point to bet against the spread.

Oddschecker provides an odds comparison service so you can see all the odds, offers, and promotions from every single sportsbook in one place.

The site also provide free picks and analysis across every single sport. This means that at Oddschecker, you will always be able to see the best NFL odds and picks the market has to offer.

All odds correct and available at at the time of publishing. Odds and offers available in New Jersey only. 21+

  • Learn all about NFL against the spread betting. How it's done, which sites to use, & more!

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