What Does -1 Mean in Football Betting?

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What Does -1 Mean in Football Betting?

Author: Devin Erickson-Sheehy | Last Updated: February 6, 2024

In football betting, the minus sign (-) indicates the favored team on a point spread, while the plus sign (+) indicates the underdog. At sportsbooks, a line of -1 occurs when the two teams are perceived to be relatively even, with one team only marginally favored to win.

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For example, let's say the Philadelphia Eagles (-1) are playing the Minnesota Vikings (+1). If you bet on the favored Eagles at -1, they would need to win the game outright by two or more points to cover the spread. If they only managed to win the game by 1 point, the bet would be graded as a push, and the initial stake would be returned to the bettor, but no winnings would be granted.

You may find this type of football wager at any of the best sports betting apps when a game is anticipated to be very tight.

How Does the Payout Work for a -1 Spread Bet?

When betting on a -1 spread, the payout works the same way as any other spread bet; there is a much smaller margin for error for two teams. The price is determined by the amount of money on each side of the betting line but tends to fluctuate between -105 and -130.

For example, if you bet on Philadelphia (-1 ) at -120, you would need to risk $120 in order to win $100. If the Eagles win and cover, you receive your initial stake of $120 back plus $100 in profits.

If Philly lost the game (or it ended in a tie), you would lose your stake of $120, and if the Eagles managed to squeak out a one-point win, you would only get your $120 stake back.

Is -1 A Common Betting Line in Football?

-1 in football betting is relatively uncommon because most NFL betting sites will price in a 3-point advantage for home field. Therefore, even if there isn't much separating the two teams on paper, you will still see the betting line set at +/- 3.

If you see -1, it generally means that oddsmakers think the road team is slightly better, but the line is being adjusted to account for where the game is being played (i.e. home field advantage).

Because the betting line is so close, many bettors may choose to play the moneyline instead to eliminate the possibility of a push or a bad beat in the event of a tie.

Is -1 a Good Bet in Football Betting?

Many bettors prefer to bet on a narrow point spread like -1 because there is far less risk of a backdoor cover. -1 in football betting is very close to betting the moneyline where you need your team to win the game to win your bet.

There is potential value in any football spread, so if you think you have a good read on how a game will go, betting on a -1 line may be worthwhile.

Many people like backing a favorite on a narrow point spread because a last-minute field goal would result in a cover for the -1 favorite in many instances, even if the game is tied late.

Devin Erickson-Sheehy

Devin is a diehard New York sports fan and betting expert. He supplies a wealth of knowledge about everything online gambling, providing readers with up-to-date tracking on the latest trends, industry news, and betting offers.