This is your complete NFL betting guide. No sports league draws more betting attention than the NFL so it’s incredibly lucrative to truly know what you’re doing. If you don’t then don’t worry because by the time you’re done reading this football betting strategy guide, you’ll know how to bet on NFL games — we guarantee it!
Let’s start off here: it’s actually quite easy to pick up how to bet on football. The perceived complexity of it stops many bettors in their tracks. The keyword in the last sentence is “perceived” because it’s a lot simpler than you probably think. Odds, types of bets, tips, we’ll explain what it takes to have an effective betting strategy for football. Once you’re ready to wager, you’ll want to start with one of the trusted betting sites below. They even have promos if you want free NFL betting, as seen below:
The first piece of football betting help — and this is a core concept — is understanding the NFL odds. These are associated with every single bet outcome. It’s one thing to think the Rams are going to win, but it’s another to understand what the odds of that happening are.
Odds are demonstrated in numbers and with either a + or - sign (an odd can only have one sign, not both). Let’s use that Rams example and say they’re playing the Steelers. LA could be -150 to win, while Pittsburgh is +200 to win. This means the Rams are favored to win. The minus sign indicates that, while the plus sign marks the underdog.
Then the numbers themselves show how big a favorite or underdog a particular team is. The higher the number, the more lopsided the expectation. Moreover, this number also hints at the potential payout on a bet on American football.
Since LA are -150, this number means if you were to lay down $150 on the Rams to win, the profit would be $100 flat. Get in the habit of associating the number next to the minus sign with the amount you must wager to score that $100. If the number were -225, then it would require a $225 bet for the same $100. You can see the more you have to bet for that hundred-dollar payout, the more that team is being favored.
The underdog is flipped, though. Since the Pittsburgh Steeler are +200, this means a $100 wager on them would score a $200 profit. This is the opposite of the favored team. If the Rams was a more modest +130 to win, a $100 bet would equal a $130 come-up. Again, you see the disparity in those odds and the potential payouts. That means +130 is a higher probability bet than the +200 and the pay reflects that ($200 pays more since it’s a bigger longshot).
Sportsbooks set the NFL odds and it’s on bettors to pick sides. Just be aware that the odds are subject to change. Say a star player injured himself in practice mid-week and is now marked out of the game, that could swing the odds. If you’ve already placed a bet then you’re stuck with those odds, however. The change would only affect future bettors.
Alright, let’s get into how to bet on NFL, as in the types of betting. NFL moneyline is the most straightforward of all sports betting categories. With this wager, all the bettor has to do is pick the winner. That’s it!
However, with the unpredictability of the sport, the moneyline bet ends up being harder to hit than you think. The term “any given Sunday” exists for a reason because any team can beat another on the right Sunday.
That’s why one of our go-to tips for betting on football is to not fall in love with favorites. Good teams are prone to upsets in the NFL more so than any other league. But at the same time, don’t fall in love with underdogs either. Your overarching NFL betting strategy should be hyper-focused on individual games, not blanket rules like “favorites always win.”
Moving on to the most popular bet type, the point spread. You’ve probably heard the phrase “covered the spread” and it refers to this.
Spreads are “handicaps” put on NFL games. This handicap means the favored team has to win by more than that amount to cover the spread, while the underdog can lose, but by less than that to cover. Let’s say the Chiefs and Broncos are playing. Kansas City might be -6 on the spread. So they have to win by 7 or more to hit their bet. On the flip side, if Denver loses by five or less, then their bet hits. A Broncos upset win also cashes their bet.
The point spread is one of the best way to bet on football. Why? Because the odds are almost always -110 both sides. If you remember from earlier, that means a $110 bet equals a $100 profit. This is almost an even bet so the odds are more reasonable than say -200, which doesn’t pay out all that well.
Again, consider the initial matchups when placing point spread bets, or any other wager for that matter. If the Chiefs can’t defend the run, but rushing the ball happens to be the Broncos’ strength, that’s a potential mismatch to exploit. Figuring out potential mismatches is one of the most important tips for football betting.
Over/under (sometimes called total points) is another great way to bet on football online. This bet is solely about the number of points both teams score — not who wins like moneylines and spreads. If the over/under is set to 50 points, then it’s simply on bettors to pick whether the final score will be over or under that amount. Simple enough, right? When the winner of a game is thought to be close, it might make more sense to just take the over/under instead.
Betting in play football is shooting up in popularity as of late. Before the Internet, winning football bets HAD to come from the pre-game. You’d make a wager before the game and wait and see how it went. Welp, the Internet has changed that. You can now bet on a game WHILE it’s going on. This is called in-play or live betting.
With in-play, NFL odds change in real-time. If a team just extended their lead to 14 points, that will be reflected in all the odds — spread, moneyline, and over/under. There’s hardly any lag in odds thanks to modern technology so you’ll be picking up-to-date lines.
In-game gambling opens up to more unique sports betting strategies, especially in football. You could wait and see how a team comes out of a game, sluggish or hellbent, and bet accordingly. Heck, you can hammer a bet once a star player injures himself. All these football betting strategies, plus more, are on the table with live betting.
Props are one of the most random ways to bet on American football. Random because prop bets can be wagers on anything and everything. You see, props are like mini-bets on games. Think of them as “side quests” not relating the the main quest (e.g who wins the game).
Player props around statistics are the most common NFL prop bet type. So you could bet the over/under on a player’s receiving yards in a game. Another example of players props is choosing who scores a touchdown first. Hell, in Super Bowl game betting, you can wager on what color the Gatorade bath is. See what we mean? Props can really be ANYTHING.
NFL futures are a rather unique way of how to bet football games or NFL season really. These wagers are concerned with long-term outcomes, hence the name future. Most commonly, future bets predict who wins titles (Super Bowl, conference, division) and awards (MVP, rookie of the year).
Typically, futures have pretty high odds, indicating a bigger payout if correct. That’s because, if betting on the Super Bowl winner, there are 32 possibilities. Picking the single winner out of 32 is harder hence the increased odds and possible pay.
Last but not least, the parlay. Here again, this is one of the most loved ways on how to bet on football games online. Loved because a few dollars and some lucky could mean life-changing amounts of money.
Here’s how parlays work: bettors pick multiple NFL outcomes right instead of just a single game. Parlays could be two legs (two different outcomes), three, four, five, or as many as that bettor chooses. The key is that ALL bets have to hit for the parlay to pay out. Obviously, the bigger the parlay (as in legs chosen), the more the payout.
Parlays can be different bet types. Don’t think you can only choose a parlay of strictly spread winners. No, no, no — you can mix in over/unders, props, moneylines, etc. If there's one NFL game you're enamored with, then you could do a same game parlay with bets only from that single matchup. We’d give you specific tips for betting on football parlays, but honestly, luck is more important than anything else here.
Teasers are a second-cousin of the parlay bet. Once again, you're picking multiple NFL games, however, teasers allow you to change the point spread — most of the time making it more lopsided than it already is. Odds for teasers will fluctuate quite wildly depending on how many points are added and teams chosen, but it's just another way to gamble on the NFL.
This is NFL online betting in a nutshell. Re-read what we covered above because understanding these concepts alone is more than enough to master how to bet on football games. After that, you're ready to roll into an online betting site and begin placing bets on the NFL!
How To Bet On NFL?
Read through this whole article? Then you should be ready to head to the online sportsbooks and start betting on the NFL — preseason, regular season, playoff, and everything in between. Seriously, you know the core principles of betting from this and learning the rest will come through trial and fire.
Go back to the top of the page and hit one of those oddsmakers. All the betting options and betting markets you're looking for NFL-wise will be available right then and there. Every NFL team — from the Kansas City Chiefs to the New York Giants — will be there for the taking. These sites rival the BetMGM, Fanduel, and Draftkings of the world in the online sports betting space.