The National Football League is the most popular sport in America and has been for many years. And nothing drives the NFL’s popularity quite like gambling. Millions of people bet on NFL games every year even before the Super Bowl, which is the league’s championship game.
There are 32 teams in the league, spread between two conferences (AFC and NFC), and each team plays a 16-game schedule. Most games take place on Sunday’s during the fall, but there is also a game on Monday and Thursday. After the season concludes, the eight best teams in each conference compete in the NFL Playoffs, with the final two battling it out in the Super Bowl for a chance to be crowned champions.
Betting on NFL games is a blast and if you hone your craft, you could make a killing. But before you get ahead of yourself, you need to learn how to bet on the games.
There are literally hundreds of places online to wager on sports. But the truth is most of the apps and sportsbooks aren’t worth your time. We’re partial towards Betway, Bet365, and 888 Sports because they give us everything we desire in an online sportsbook, but we’ll discuss this more in detail later in this guide.
You can’t bet on sports without first funding your player account. The sites we just mentioned make it nice and easy (and quick!) for players to deposit. Most sportsbooks allow customers to deposit via online merchants, credit cards, debit cards, bank wires, and sometimes even Bitcoin.
In this guide, we’ll discuss in detail the different types of bets. It’s very important that you know how to read the betting lines. If you don’t, you won’t even know what you’re wagering on. Betting lines read like this:
Chicago Bears -4.5
Indianapolis Colts +4.5
What this means is the Bears are favored by 4.5 points. If you bet on them to cover, they must win by at least five or you lose.
We have no biased towards any online sportsbook. We’ve tested out numerous ones and, unfortunately, found that most are utter garbage. But the good news is we spotted the needles in the haystack.
We aren’t going to bash any specific sites, but instead focus on the positive aspects of online gambling. More specifically, we discovered three internet sportsbooks that have all the features and benefits we require.
These online NFL betting sites meet all our requirements, including:
We strongly recommend you give these three apps a try. You can try some other sites but you’ll encounter too many problems. Either the payouts take weeks or the betting options are limited, or a combination of the two.
Reading NFL betting lines is simple, but it is crucial that you understand what you’re doing before placing a wager. Take a look at the following example:
|New England||-8.5 (-110)||-280||Over 43.5 (-110)|
|Miami||+8.5 (-110)||+260||Under 43.5 (-105)|
In this example, the New England Patriots are favored to beat the Miami Dolphins by 8.5 points. You can bet on the full game in three ways. If you bet the point spread, you are getting 10/11 odds. That means a $110 wager, if you win, would pay $210 (your $110 bet plus a $100 profit).
The next option is the moneyline, which is a bet straight-up. To win this bet, you need your team to win the game outright and the amount of points they win by is irrelevant. The team that is favored will have less favorable odds. In the above example, you need to wager $280 on New England just to earn a $100 profit. Whereas, if you bet just $100 on the dog (Miami), you could win $260 in profits.
In the third column, you’ll notice a line on the over/under also. Just like with the point spread, the odds you’re getting on either side is in parenthesis.
There are many different ways to get action on any NFL game. And on Super Bowl Sunday, there are even more with the addition of hundreds of whacky prop bets. But for standard football games, here is a list of different betting options.
Point Spread: Betting against the point spread means you’re betting on a team to win by a certain number of points or lose by fewer than the spread. For example, if Baltimore is a 7.5-point favorite, they must win by at least eight or you lose.
Moneyline: The moneyline is simply a bet on a team to win straight-up. You can find some great value betting the moneyline if you’re good at spotting upsets. When betting the point spread, you’ll typically get -110 odds, which means you have to wager $110 just to win $100 in profits. But with the moneyline, you can reverse the odds in your favor and wager less to win more.
Point Totals: Otherwise referred to as the over/under, you aren’t betting on either team to win with this form of wagering. Instead, you’re simply betting on the total combined points scored in the game. If you bet the “under,” you’ll be hoping for a defensive slugfest. If you bet the “over,” you want the teams to run up and down the field and score at will.
Parlays: Parlays give bettors an opportunity to win big with low risk. But they’re tough to win, especially parlays with four or more games. In a parlay, you predict two or more outcomes to occur, and you must be right on every outcome or you lose. Parlays can include a combination of point spread, moneyline, and over/under wagers. Take a look at the following four-team parlay as an example:
This is what a standard four-team parlay looks like. We need all four of those outcomes to win or we lose. If we pick three of the four winners correctly, we still lose even though we got 75 percent. A four team parlay at most online sportsbooks pays around 13-1. That means a $100 bet would pay $1,300.
Teasers: Teasers are the similar to parlays but easier to win and, of course, don’t pay out as much. In a teaser, you bet just like a parlay except your teams get 6-7 points added to the spread. For example, if the Packers are listed at -7, they would become -1 on a 6-point teaser bet. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about, assuming a 6-point teaser:
|New Orleans Saints||+5||+11|
Futures: Betting on futures can be a profitable investment. You aren’t betting on an individual game this way. Instead, you’re betting on how a team performs over the course of a season. You can wager on a team to win the Super Bowl, win a certain amount of games, make the playoffs, etc. You’ll find some favorable odds but you have to remember it’s a long-term investment and you won’t get paid until after the season.
Modern day sports betting is great. Back in the day, before online sportsbooks evolved into what they are now, you could only place wagers before games started. That has all changed thanks to certain sports betting sites giving customers what they want.
Live sports betting allows you to place in-game wagers on any NFL game. Before the game, as we’ve discussed, a line is set for the entire game. But as the game progresses, the odds change. With in-play betting, you can place a bet on the outcome of the game at any point during the game. The betting app will update the odds constantly as the game progresses.
You can even bet on the results of an individual drive before the team snaps the ball at the start of a possession. The overall point spread will change as the game progresses. Let’s say New England was originally favored by 10 points but gave up an early touchdown to trail 7-0 in the first quarter. That point spread would likely drop as a result.
Live betting is a fun way to get action throughout the course of a game. It’s especially beneficial to those who know early on in a game that their original wager isn’t going to win. You can recoup some of your money by winning your in-play bets.
One of the biggest mistakes football bettors make is to undervalue a half point or a full point. You’d be surprised how often that one point is the difference between winning and losing a bet. That is why it is crucial for you to shop around for the best lines.
How do you do that? By joining multiple online sportsbooks. We recommend using two or three of our favorites (Betway, Bet365, 888 Sports). That way you always have access to the most favorable lines. You might find that, say, Betway’s over/under on the Bears/Packers game is 42.5 whereas it’s 43.5 at 888 Sports. What happens if you stick with the “over” at 888 Sports and the final score is 23-20? You lose, whereas you would have won had you placed the bet at Betway.
We love giving advice on how to bet on NFL games and betting ourselves, the following tips is something that every football bettor must know.
Look, we get it, everyone has their favorite team. Just because you are becoming a sports bettor doesn’t mean you have to stop supporting your team. But it does mean you either shouldn’t bet on games involving your favorite team or you need to learn to be objective. We all want to see our team win, but what you want to happen and what is actually going to happen isn’t always the same thing.
The NFL regular season begins in early September and doesn’t conclude until the Super Bowl the first Sunday of February. That’s five months of games. Many gamblers make the mistake of betting too big on early season games. If you run bad during those games, you won’t have any money to recoup the losses later in the season. You can’t win every game. It’s impossible. Don’t listen to the bogus handicappers who claim a game is a “lock.” Nothing is a lock. Ever. Therefore, you should never bet too many units on any one game.
A less talented team can beat a better team on any given Sunday if they have one distinct matchup advantage. For example, if the favorite has better talent but has a penchant for turning the ball over and is up against a defense that forces a lot of turnovers, you might find a steal.
The spread is a way for the handicappers to even out a game between two opponents. It’s like a handicap in golf. One team is favored and receives sort of a handicap, meaning they need to win by a certain amount of points to fulfill the point spread.
A parlay is a multiple-team wager that requires the bettor to win every leg of the bet. Parlays range from 2-20 teams, with the payouts being higher the more games you pick.
The underdog is the team the oddsmakers consider to be the inferior opponent or less likely to win the game. Favorites win games straight up more often than underdogs, but will cover the spread about as often, in most years.
The over/under, otherwise referred to as “point totals,” is a bet on the combined points scored in the game between the two teams. “Over” means you’re betting on the total to exceed the line and “under” means the opposite.
The best way to win money is to watch a lot of football. Study the teams and players. Find out their weaknesses and strengths. That way you can handicap games on your own. And when you find a line that doesn’t closely match up with how you handicapped the game, there’s an opportunity to win some money.