When it comes to sports betting in North America, the NFL is arguably the most-wagered on league out there. With games now being typically played on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays on a regular basis there are plenty of chances for NFL bettors to get their fix.
Casual bettors and fans may just tend to pick their favourites before each game but those who are more serious often spend time studying things such as matchups, trends and statistics to attempt to get an edge on the bookmakers. In addition, you can also lay bets on props and futures if you don’t feel like wagering on specific games.
As with all wagering, betting on the NFL means you’re taking a risk with each dollar, euro or pound you put down. In some cases it can pay off handsomely though if you take the time to do your research. Of course, it never hurts to have a little luck on your side either.
If you plan on betting on the NFL on a consistent basis it’s recommended you fully understand what you’re getting into and what you’re doing.
NFL Odds and Betting Lines
There are three common types of NFL wagers which are the total, point spread and moneyline.
The point spread is set before each game by the expert bookmakers to show bettors which team is favoured to win and by how many points. However, while a team may be favoured to win a game outright, it needs to cover the point spread in this type of wager. Therefore, the losing team could still payoff if you’ve bet on the spread rather than the outright winner.
For example, the Buffalo Bills are expected to beat the Miami Dolphins outright but the point spread is -7. This means the Bills are favoured to defeat Miami by at least 7 points and the odds of them doing so will be listed at the sportsbook, usually at -110.
If you believe Buffalo will take the game by more than 7 points then you’d be wise to bet on the team. However, if you feel they may win by less than 7 points you’d be tempted to wager on Miami. If Buffalo wins the contest 28-25 it means they won by 3 points and didn’t cover the 7-point spread. If they win 28-20 then the 8-point victory means the spread was covered.
When betting the total in an NFL game it means the combined score of both teams are taken into consideration. For instance, the bookmakers may set the Buffalo vs Miami point total at 47.5. This means bettors can wager on the final combined score being over or under 47.5 points. If the Bills win 28-21 the 49-point total means the game finished over 47.5 points and if you bet over you’d be a winner. If the Bills won the outing 14-7 and you bet over you’d lose your wager as the total would be just 21. Of course, if you bet the under though, you’d cash in.
When betting on the total and anything else in the NFL really, you may want to consider the recent defensive and offensive stats of the teams involved plus their injury lists, the standings and the predicted weather conditions.
If you’ve got a strong feeling the Bills are going to down Miami but you’re not sure by how many points and if the point spread will be covered, then you may decide to simply wager on the moneyline. This means you’re picking the outright winner of the contest and nothing more and this type of wager is often referred to as a straight-up bet. Of course the odds on the game will vary and depend on which team is favoured. If the Bills enter the battle in first place in their division and Miami is in last place, you’ll find the Bills as the likely favourites and the Dolphins as the underdogs.
Since Buffalo is favoured, the odds of them winning are greater and this means you wouldn’t win as much money betting on them as you would betting on Miami if they won since the risk is lower with the Bills.
If the odds were listed as Buffalo -170 and Miami as +150 you would need to wager $170 on Buffalo to win $100 while a $100 bet on Miami would net you winnings of $150. Of course your original wager is returned as well if you win.
Other Popular NFL Bets
When your betting on futures, it means you’re wagering on something that will take place by the end of the season. For example, you’re betting on who will win the Super Bowl. You may also bet on numerous other scenarios such as who will win a specific division or conference; which player will be named the MVP of the regular season; which player will win the rookie of the year award; which team will win the most regular-season games etc.
There are usually dozens of future bets to wager on but of course you’ll need to wait until the regular-season or the playoffs are over to see how successful you were.
If the odds of Buffalo winning the Super Bowl were +700 at the start of the season and you put down a wager you’d win $700 and get your $100 bet back as well. You can make this type of wager at various stages during the season but the odds will typically fluctuate as the campaign goes along. For example, if the Bills go 8-0 to start the season then the odds may come down to +400 as there’s now less risk when betting on them.
Player and Game Props
A prop bet is also popular as it allows you to predict and wager on what you believe may happen in a game regardless of the final score. Popular prop bets concern a specific player’s performance and generally use an over/under method. For instance, quarterback Patrick Mahomes may be listed with an over/under of 299.5 passing yards in his next game against New England.
You simply need to decide if you think he’ll achieve 300 yards or more or 299 yards or less. If you believe Mahomes will pass for at least 300 yards you’d bet on the over. If you think he’ll fall short then you’d wager on the under option. If he finished the game with 305 yards then the over wagers win and the under bets lose.
There are numerous other prop bets popular in an NFL game such as a player’s total rushing yards or total pass-receiving yards. In addition, you may want to bet on who will score a field goal or touchdown at anytime during the game or who will score the first or last field goal,or touchdown etc.
If you’re interested in parlay betting, it means you’re making several wagers for separate games but you need to win all the individual bets to win as the wager is made on a single ticket. For example, you may bet Buffalo to beat Miami in the moneyline, New Orleans to cover the point spread against Atlanta and for the point total in the Dallas Pittsburgh match to be under. Only if all three of the combined wagers are right would you be a a winner.
You may also wager on two scenarios in one game such as backing Cleveland to cover the spread against Baltimore as well as betting on the point total.
An NFL Teaser wager means you’re trying to tilt the point spreads to favour you. Like a parlay, you’d need to win all separate wagers to be a winner. However, you can adjust the sportsbook’s total lines or preset point spreads to lower the risk. For instance, you may be able to adjust the point spread from anywhere between 6 and 15 points.
After an NFL game has kicked off you’ll find most sportsbooks offer live or in-play betting. This allows you to bet on the next play or a future with a wide selection of options available. For instance, you may bet on an interception, a sack, a touchdown etc. You can also wager on the result of the team’s current offensive drive.