How to Bet on Football

How to Bet on Football

Considering betting on your favorite football team during the next Super Bowl?

If you’re new to football betting and eager to get involved, then there are things you should know before you start betting.

Football Betting Guide

One of the most popular sports in the world, football is supported by millions of fans. Because of its popularity, it doesn’t just attract sports fans; it also lures in betting fans.

There are several types of football bets that you can make. But the best way to bet on football depends on your skill and experience as a bettor.

If you're a beginner, simple bet types like a moneyline could be for you.

For experienced bettors, more complicated bets like parlays could be the way to go.

Types of Football Bets

In football matches, there are three main types of bets: single-game bets, multiple-game bets, and in-game bets.

Single-Game Bets

  • NFL Point Spread Betting

    Spread betting is a popular NFL (National Football League) betting option because this bet type handicaps the favorite team, putting both teams on a more even playing field.

    A point spread is a handicap that creates a 50/50 betting proposition. For most NFL fans, better odds from picking an outright winner adds to the betting excitement.

    For example, an oddsmaker may offer the following point spread odds on an NFL football game:

    New York Giants -3.5

    Kansas City Chiefs +3.5

    In the example above, a successful spread bet on the Giants means the team won by over four points. A winning bet on the Chiefs means they won, or lost by three points or less.

    If the game’s winning margin is exactly the same as the spread, it’s a push (a tie), and all bets are refunded to the punters. You do not win or lose any money.

  • NFL Moneyline Betting

    Betting the moneyline is probably the simplest way to bet on sports. You simply need to have your favored team win a match, usually with no point spread involved.

    The odds for moneyline bets are created based on each team’s relative chance of winning.

    For example, the moneyline odds in a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets might look like this:

    Pittsburgh Steelers -175

    New York Jets +155

    Based on the moneyline odds above, the Steelers are the match favorites, as indicated by the minus sign. The odds of -175 mean that you need to bet $175 to win $100.

    Meanwhile, the Jets are the underdogs of the match, as indicated by the plus sign. The odds of +155 show that if the Bengals win, you can win $155 if you risk $100.

    Before spread betting came along, bettors played moneyline bets. Some novice bettors prefer to make moneyline bets because it’s simple and rewarding.

    Oddsmakers change the moneyline odds depending on the stake amount. Bigger moneyline favorites have less payout when they win, while bigger underdogs have more.

  • NFL Totals or Over/Under Betting

    Betting on NFL totals is much like betting the point spread. The difference is that instead of betting on a team, you’re betting on whether the combined score of a match will go over or under the total match points.

    For this type of bet, the bookmaker posts the expected number of points in a single match. The bettors put their money on whether the final score will go over or under the predicted number.

    The odds for this type of bet can be affected by many factors, including player injuries, weather, and the team’s overall performance.

  • NFL Props and Futures Betting

    Propositions or props are bets on outcomes decided during a game. The results of prop bets aren’t necessarily related to the final game result.

    Below are some examples of in-game props:

    1. The first team to score a point in the first half or the second half.
    2. The last player to score a point after halftime.
    3. The number of field goals scored.
    4. The longest touchdown’s distance.
    5. A team quarterback’s total passing yards.

    The examples above are only a small selection of possible occurrences in a single football game. Many oddsmakers offer dozens of betting props, especially in high-profile matches where famous teams and players are involved.

    While the NFL is a week-to-week league, prop bets are especially popular during the Super Bowl. Some of the wildest props include the opening coin toss or how long the national anthem was sung.

    Prop bets on the halftime show and the color of Gatorade that will be dumped on the winning coach are also common.

    Another betting option is the futures bet, which involves placing a single bet on the outcome of a future event. For instance, you can bet on the team that you think is going to win the Super Bowl next year.

    You can also place a futures stake on who will win each division or who will be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Futures bets are available year-round.

Multiple-Game Bets

  • NFL Parlay Betting

    A parlay bet combines multiple stakes into a single bet. For example, a parlay could consist of five-point spread bets on five different games.

    One advantage of taking on parlays is that it could bring very attractive payouts, but only if all bets were successful.

    The downside of a parlay bet is that one wrong pick means failing the whole bet. This is the reason why parlay bets are considered quite risky. They’re also a bit more complicated compared to the previous bets mentioned.

    During the NFL season, a parlay bet could have 2 to 12 stakes, all linked together, in a single bet. Instead of betting on a series of single outcomes, you combine your bets in a single parlay.

    With bets like this, you can enjoy a big payout if your predictions are all correct. The payout increases as you add more bets or games in a single bet.

    If you fail a single bet in a 12-game parlay, you could lose the entire stake you bet. But if you win every single one, you could get your stake back plus the winnings.

  • NFL Teaser and Pleaser Betting

    Teasers and pleasers are parlays that involve the adjustment of point spreads or totals. Teasers move the spreads or totals in the bettor’s favor. Meanwhile, pleasers adjust the odds in the bookmaker’s favor.

    In NFL games, teasers and pleasers usually have lower payouts than the other betting types. Because of the adjusted odds, spread points are easier to cover.

    Standard NFL teasers can have 2 to 10 bets, and you have the option to tease the lines by 6, 6.5, or 7 points. The fewer points you adjust, the higher the payouts.

In-Game Live Betting

Live odds are available, ready for you to start betting after the kickoff. In-game live betting odds could move quickly, depending on what's happening in the game.

You can participate in “result of drive” bets on how a team will perform on a specific drive. You can bet on how long the upcoming drive will be or whether it will end with a field goal, touchdown, or turnover.

Generally, the type of odds available will depend on how much time is left in the match. Like in the stock market, timing is everything when picking out the key numbers.

Because of its fast-paced nature, in-game live betting is typically played by more seasoned NFL bettors. If you’re a first-time punter, trying your hand at live stakes may not be a smart choice.

Other Bet Types

You can try two more types of stakes during NFL games: buying points and round robin betting.

After placing a bet on the point spread, you can buy a half-point to make it easy for your favored team to cover. In exchange for buying the point, you’ll get a slightly smaller payout if your team wins.

This technique is called “buying points” (moving the line) betting. You buy extra points to increase your chances of winning. The downside is you’ll receive a smaller payout if your team cashes in.

Round robin betting involves several parlays depending on how many NFL lines you choose. You pick which lines you'd like to include, choose the number of ways to parlay, and how much you want to stake.

For example, if you want to stake on three lines, instead of generating a three-team parlay, you use the round robin to make two-team parlays three times.

For your round robin bet, you can choose between three and eight lines and two to seven teams. A round robin bet with eight lines and four teams can give you 70 different parlays in a single bet.

Round robin bets are just a way of making multiple parlays simple.

Whether you are buying points or round robin betting, we’ll help make NFL betting fun and profitable for you.

NFL Betting Markets

Once you know the types of football bets you can make, you can place your bets on the betting markets.

The NFL has three betting markets: parlays, teasers, and futures. A live betting market is also open during football matches.

Home vs. Away Pros & Cons

In NFL games, home teams win 50% to 60% of the time, with an average winning margin of less than three points.

This information is probably enough for some bettors to always put their money on home NFL teams.

If it’s not enough for you, then you should look at the pros and cons for both home and away teams.

Pros for the Home Team, Cons for the Away Team

  • The home team doesn’t have to travel. This gives the team more time to rest and recover their energy before the game begins.
  • The home team benefits from crowd noise, which has been found to have an effect on the referees and umpires.
  • The visiting team could be bothered by the crowd noise. This could make it harder for the away team to talk to each other.

Cons for the Home Team, Pros for the Away Team

  • Game officials have become more neutral over the years. This cancels out a former home-field advantage.
  • The players of the home team could feel nervous about playing in front of home fans.

Football Betting Tips and Strategies

There are two types of punters: those who bet for fun with no strategy or skill, and those who bet focusing on their betting skills.

What separates successful punters from unsuccessful ones are the betting strategies used.

If you want to develop a strategic approach toward sports betting, here are some tips that you may find useful.

Have a Bankroll Dedicated to Betting

Set aside the money you need for betting. Your betting account funds should be money that you don't need for anything else and that you can afford to lose.

Regular bankroll checks allow you to control your betting so you avoid overspending.

One way to manage your bankroll is to use the bankroll percentage method, which involves betting based on a set percentage of the money you have in your account.

Study Handicaps in Betting

Before you make money from sports betting, you need to have an understanding of how the betting markets operate. You must also have the ability to use your gambling knowledge to gain a betting edge.

You can’t make a consistent profit from following hunches or relying on statistics and trends alone.

Try to take the time to learn sports handicapping. Most people assume sports handicapping is very complicated, but it is actually easy to understand.

Once you have a deeper understanding of handicapping, you can make more informed bets.

Learn From Other Bettors’ Mistakes

In sports gambling, nothing is ever certain. If you’re a newbie in sports betting, it’s highly likely that you’ll have slip-ups.

While making mistakes is part of the learning process, in sports betting, errors can get expensive.

Just be aware of the mistakes that are usually made by novice bettors and take notes. Do whatever you can to learn from them so that you don't fall victim to these errors, which could have been avoided.

Don’t Look Down on Simple Betting Strategies

Most betting strategies designed for getting huge payouts are very complex. But if you’re a beginner, trying your hand at complicated bets isn’t the right way to go.

There are simple strategies that may not immediately bring you success, but they could be as effective if used correctly.

Use Logical Calculation When Betting

Gambling is all about emotions. There's the thrill of winning and the fun of socializing. But there's also stress, regret, and guilt, which many bettors feel at some point.

It’s fun to cheer on your favorite team during the regular season, but losing money in the process isn’t.

While everyone has their personal biases, putting them aside for profit isn’t easy.

If you want to be a successful punter, you need to be rational and objective. Have a positive mindset and use logical calculation instead of emotional reaction to maintain your edge.

Know the Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Player or Team

If you’re an avid football fan, chances are you already know the strengths and weaknesses of all the players and teams.

But if you’re looking to make regular profits through football betting, you need to step up your betting game and develop a specific strategy to put the odds in your favor.

Learn all the different factors to consider when making selections. Know the numbers and the statistics relevant to the following:

  • Team schedules
  • Injury reports
  • Team’s current form
  • Individual rushing yards
  • Team yards per carry
  • Passing yards
  • Yards per attempt
  • Weather forecasts

The given list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good start. You also need to be aware of the different football betting strategies that you can use and learn how to use them effectively.

Stay Informed of the Individual Matchups

Although football is a team sport, there are one-on-one matchups that can significantly affect the outcome of a match.

Don’t expect a weak offensive tackle to play well against notorious edge-rushers in the league. You need to be aware of the major skill discrepancies between the teams and the players who’ll be facing each other in the field.

You should also take a closer look at the coaches of the teams involved in a game. Every coach relies on recurring strategies that may be effective against some opponents but weak against others.

Monitor the Injury Reports

Since football is a team game, small changes in the player lineup can change how the entire unit plays.

Before kickoff, make sure that you know which of the players have missed practice during the week, their status, and the role they play.

Since team injury reports can be vague, check the social media accounts of beat writers for each team. These writers can give more information about the status of your favorite team.

Know the Context Behind the Trends

The sharpest bettors don’t just follow the trends. They understand the context behind the numbers.

When betting on NFL games, following the trends isn’t a bad strategy since patterns sometimes offer valuable information.

But if you plan on taking home profits consistently, you need to look at the context behind the numbers when evaluating statistical trends.

Go back and look at how all the total points in a match were scored. This way, you’ll understand why the trend looks like it does.

Take It Slow During Divisional Matchups

Teams that go against each other twice per season get to know each other’s plays very well.

A team may prove to be a strong contender on paper, but in divisional matchups, this may not be true. Moneyline bets for these matchups are riskier compared to point spread bets.

Diversify Your Bets

Know that you could be successful betting on the spread, the moneyline, and game totals. But to increase your chances of success, you need to be aware of the other bet types that are available.

Some sportsbooks allow bettors to bet on alternate spreads or sell and buy points. Instead of betting on a -3.5 spread that makes you a little uncomfortable, you can settle for a -2.5 spread with a lower payout.

Don’t Get Baited by Value

Betting the underdog on a moneyline bet can certainly pay off, but if you’re betting on a +800 underdog, make sure you’re driven by specific and logical reasons, not just by the value.

You also need to take caution when creating parlays and teasers. Don’t load your parlays with too many events. Remember, one failed bet could lose you all your stake.

Check the Lines Throughout the Week

To improve your chances of winning, make it a habit to regularly monitor the betting lines throughout the week.

When placing an NFL bet, always keep in mind the public perception of the teams involved.

Fan-favorites like the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots will always have supporters backing them. These popular teams will be more heavily favored than the statistics suggest they should be.

Planning on betting against the popular team? Wait and let emotional bettors drive the odds in your favor. But if you’re planning to support a public team, placing your bet as soon as the lines open could be the best decision.

Learn to Manage Yourself

An obvious downside of sports betting is it involves the compulsive nature of gambling. Gambling addiction is a serious problem and an easy trap to fall into.

If you decide on becoming a professional sports bettor, you need to learn to manage yourself.

Set up rules specific to your betting routine and don’t break those rules. Breaking the rules suggests that you’re getting impulsive with your stakes.

The rules are put in place to make sure that you don’t sink your sports betting career by being irresponsible with your bets.

One way to fight the compulsive nature of betting is to take your time. You should feel confident in every stake you make, especially if it involves a huge amount of money.

Examine yourself to make sure you’re not slipping into problematic gambling habits.

Do you gamble when bored or lonely? Is gambling your go-to activity after a stressful day at work or after an argument with your spouse?

You could be using gambling as a way to run away from your problems or self-soothe unpleasant emotions, the underlying causes of which should be addressed.

Where to Place Your Football Bets

You have four options to consider when looking for a football betting site: telephone betting sites, casino sportsbooks, bookmaking shops, and online sports betting sites.

Note that an option available in one state may not be available in another.

Telephone Betting

Most transactions done through phone calls are usually very straightforward. It involves calling the bookmaker, telling the operator which bets you want, and then giving out your payment details.

The downside of telephone betting is that it’s been unavailable to American bettors since lawmakers passed the Federal Wire Act of 1961, which outlawed telephone betting.

Casino Sportsbooks

Many casinos all around the world house sportsbooks. These sportsbooks usually feature big-screen TVs that televise live sports action to give bettors real-time updates.

Casino sportsbooks usually have computerized odds boards that post all the latest odds. They also have cashier windows or interactive machines where you can place your bets in person.

Casino sportsbooks are only legal in the state of Nevada in the US. There are many legal sportsbooks in Las Vegas, but not in other parts of the country.

Bookmaking Shops

Bookmaking shops are just like casino sportsbooks. The main difference is that they’re their own establishment.

These shops also have TVs that play sports matches live. They also have counters where bettors can place their stakes with the help of cashiers.

Bookmaking shops can be found in many countries worldwide, like the UK. Unfortunately, bookmaker shops are still not available in the US.

Football Betting Terms

  • Asian Handicap

    An Asian handicap is a stake that evens the betting odds by granting an advantage to the underdog team.

    Most beginners in sports betting find Asian handicaps difficult to understand. But after getting the hang of it, punters may enjoy intriguing benefits.

  • Combination Betting

    A combination bet is also known as the same-game multi-bet or bet builder. These terms refer to combining many bets into one to increase the odds.

    Combination betting can be done in one game or across many events, even across various sports. All the selections are taken from the same match or event.

  • Double Chance Betting

    Double chance betting allows punters to cover two of the three possible outcomes in a football match with a single bet. Although this type of bet doesn’t always have the best odds, it gives you a higher chance of winning.

  • Draw No Bet

    Draw no bet allows you to get your money back if a football match ends in a draw. This is a popular bet type because the draw outcome doesn’t affect your bet.

  • Head-to-Head Betting

    Head-to-head betting involves betting on the performance of a team or a player instead of betting on a game’s outcome. This type of bet lets punters predict whether a player will score more touchdowns than another player.

  • Push

    A push is a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook or oddsmaker. If a bet results in a push, you get your money back.

  • Team to Go Through

    This is a popular bet in tournaments such as the Champions League or World Cup.

    Team to go through bets involve betting on whether or not a specific team will advance further. Instead of betting on the results of a single football match, you bet on the teams progressing closer to the finals.

  • Three-Way Handicap

    Also called a European handicap, a three-way handicap is a bet where one team has a handicap and you place your bet depending on that handicap.

  • Vig

    Vig or vigorish is the payment charged by a bookmaker for accepting a bet.

  • Void Bet

    Void bets are canceled bets. A void bet means that your money would be returned to you and that it would be like you never placed a stake in the first place.

    Sometimes games get canceled due to bad weather. Canceled stakes because of mistakes in the odds may also cause void bets.

  • Wincast

    In a wincast bet, you predict the team to win and select a player to score at any time during the game.

    It’s a combination of two bets. You bet on a first, last or anytime goalscorer, and then you bet on the outcome of the game.

    Wincast bets are common in football and soccer betting.