I have a couple of basic questions about NFL betting.

  1. Are betting odds set in stone before the game begins, or do they evolve with the progression of the game?

  2. What are "closing odds?" Are closing odds made during the game, or before it?

  • 2
    If a bookmaker offers live betting (i.e., if it possible to place a bet during the game), then odds are of course often changed during the game. (As you can check by having a look some bookmakers page and checking the odds on some in the section for live betting.) The odds also often change before the game starts (even if live betting for the particular fixture is not offered). See, for example, this answer.
    – Martin
    Nov 5, 2014 at 6:37
  • I should mention that my comment above is based on my experience from betting on other sports. But I do not see a reason why betting on NFL should be different.
    – Martin
    Nov 5, 2014 at 6:38
  • They evolve with the progression of the game of course, since bookmakers make money by splitting bets between two different outcomes and taking a cut (known as juice/vigorish) for themselves (this is why both teams with a handicap bet will have odds of either 10/11 or -110 rather than 1/1 or +100) so if a line opens at +3.5 for team A, and everyone is putting their money on team A, then they will lower the handicap until people start betting on team B)
    – cantsay
    Nov 6, 2014 at 23:24

1 Answer 1



It depends on the bookmaker.

Traditionally, things like the total, money line, and spread will be set before the game starts. During the game it is possible to choose these same bets for halves of the game and sometimes even quarters of the game.

The odds will change for say the second half bets as the first half plays out.

Some bookmakers may even offer a live/ever changing odds. You would be able to bet on the winner of the game or total during the game as it evolves. The only difference is that the odds will change with the result of each play. This is a very automated system.


Closing odds refer to the last odds offered before the game starts. When the odds are first chosen by the bookmaker, they are called the opening odds. You may hear something like "the spread opened at -4.5 and closed at -3". This means that during the time that the odds were made to the time they were last offered, the spread changed by 1.5 points. This can be for a number of factors (injury, weather, suspensions, etc.), but usually is changed according to where bets are being placed leading up to the game. See setting lines.

If you placed a bet at -4.5 then you will be locked in at that spread.

In the example of during the game betting the closing odds for say the second half total would be chosen before kick off of the second half.

  • Thanks for your very helpful answer! Do you know where I might be able to find live odds statistics for old NFL games, like from 2002-2012?
    – Jessica
    Nov 5, 2014 at 18:32
  • 2
    @Jessica If you have specific teams or more information then this website will be helpful. The Sports Network - Gaming Database
    – diggers3
    Nov 5, 2014 at 21:19

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