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How to Bet on NFL Games
The popularity of the NFL might be unique to the United States, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular.
With an average TV viewership of 16.5 million, the NFL is a national phenomenon that brings people together, and, like any sport of this scale, it draws the interest of many enthusiastic bettors.
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If you’re a massive fan of the NFL and want to take your passion to the next level, betting on it is a great idea. In fact, NFL betting is the most popular sport to bet on in the US!
It might seem a bit intimidating in the beginning, with all the many types of bets available, but if you do your research and gain a solid understanding of the basics, your journey will start on the right foot.
The Types of NFL Bets Explained
Becoming a successful bettor and making a profit out of it starts with finding out the right type of bet for you.
There are many options to choose from, and you’d be wrong to assume that you can simply pick one at random and hope for the best.
Although luck will always be a huge component of NFL betting, one that makes it all the more exciting, you can mitigate some of the unpredictability by working on a long-term NFL betting strategy that matches your experience and appetite for risk.
If you don’t know where to start, here are the most popular NFL bets, along with their pros and cons.
NFL Moneyline Bets
Moneyline bets are the most straightforward type of bets, and they’ve been used since the 70's.
This means that every sportsbook that supports the NFL offers moneyline betting, so you won’t have to look very far for this option.
- How do moneyline bets work?
- It’s simple: you bet on who you believe will win the game.
It doesn’t matter if a team wins by one point or 20; as long as you predicted the outcome correctly, you win.Keep in mind that moneyline bets include the overtime too.
So, are moneyline bets right for you?
Well, if you’ve wagered on baseball or hockey before, you’ll be familiar with the format, because moneyline bets are traditionally used for these sports too.
They’re not at all difficult to understand, but the most important factor here is profitability.
Experienced bettors aren’t huge fans of moneyline bets because, unless you bet on the underdog and the underdog wins, profits are pretty small.
That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, though.
As a beginner, small but safe winnings are the way to go, so if you don’t want to take major risks, moneyline bets are an excellent gateway to NFL betting.
NFL Future Bets
One of the most exciting parts before the start of the NFL season is the anticipation.
- Who will win the Super Bowl?
- Who will have the highest numbers of wins, or the most rushing yards?
- Who will be crowned MVP?
..And that’s the main idea behind NFL future bets.
As the name suggests, future bets imply betting on events that you believe will happen in the future.
Unlike single-game wagers, whose outcomes are decided in a day or a week, future bets span across a long time, usually the entire season.
If you don’t like the idea of researching every individual game and placing bets every week, future bets are a fantastic alternative because you make one wager once and then wait and see how things will play out.
Compared to other types of bets, futures do require a lot more research, since you’re trying to estimate their long-term performance, not just the next game.
While future bets can be very profitable, you need to keep in mind that a lot of things can change during the season, and this option is not for emotional NFL fans.
Also, factors such as wins, losses, injuries, trades, and free agent acquisitions can change the odds.
NFL Prop Bets
Short for “proposition bets,” prop bets are another type of bet that has nothing to do with the outcome of the game and instead focuses on aspects of a team’s or player’s performance:
win totals, MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, how many touchdowns a player will throw, and so on.
There can even be hundreds of possible prop bets during a game!
Prop bets are especially popular during the Super Bowl, where fans can bet on details such as the singing time of the national anthem, the coin toss, whether or not there will be overtime, or a defensive touchdown.
It’s a really fun betting type, and definitely adds a lot of variety, since it’s not limited to the game outcome.
However, as a downside, the odds are less favorable compared to moneyline bets, and the maximum bet is lower.
NFL Draft Betting
The NFL Draft, also called the Player Selection Meeting, is the league’s most common source of player recruitment and one of the most exciting parts of its calendar, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that fans want to bet on it too.
With NFL draft betting, you have to decide between two outcomes, either the Over or Under on draft position or the number of positions to be selected.
In general, the most popular option is betting on which player will be the first overall pick, but you can also bet on their landing spots, draft spots, and skill positions.
NFL Live Betting
Some NFL fans prefer placing their bets at the beginning of the game.
Others want to see the game and, depending on how things evolve, place their bets as it unfolds.
Depending on your chosen sportsbook, you can bet on things such as pass completions, field goals, and touchdowns. This bet type will keep you at the edge of your seat, but you’ll have to pay attention to details and act fast.
Some people place only live bets, while others use them in combination with moneyline bets. This way, they can amend their initial prediction and make money no matter what.
As every football fan knows, games can be unpredictable and teams don’t always perform as expected. With live betting, you place bets based on the teams’ current performance, using your feel and intuition.
In fact, if you’re a beginner, you might want to stick with more traditional options, because live betting is very intense and fast-paced, and that can be a disadvantage when you don’t know what you’re doing.
Live betting doesn’t give you time for analysis and reflection; you have to make decisions on the spot, and if you’re too nervous and don’t know the sport too well, these decisions might be wrong.
Another thing you should be aware of is that live betting will give you an adrenaline rush. That’s really entertaining, but you still need to keep your composure, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of money and even become addicted to it.
Apart from these popular options, other bet types include:
Point spread betting
In this type of bet, you wager on the favorite or the underdog, just like in the case of moneyline betting, with one exception:the team has to cover the point spread, i.e., beat the other team by a certain number of points.
In this case, you make a wager on the total number of points that you think will be scored by both teams.
- For example, if the sportsbook set the total at 38, the teams must score under 38 points to win the under, or over 38 to win the over.
- If exactly 38 points get scored, that counts as a push, and the sportsbook will refund your money.
If you’re confident enough on your skills to bet on multiple games, then parlays are the betting style for you.
With parlays, you wager on several games on the same tickets.But here’s the catch: all the bets have to be correct, otherwise you lose everything.
Although this betting style has the potential to be very profitable, it’s recommended to experienced fans only.
Understanding the most popular types of bets is key in building a successful NFL betting strategy, but that’s not all there is to it.
In fact, rookies have many more questions when starting their journey.
In betting, the more informed you are, the higher the chances of success, so here are other details you should know:
Can NFL players bet on Football?
According to the official Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel, NFL personnel are strictly prohibited from taking part in any form of illegal gambling.
Moreover, they are restricted or prohibited in engaging in several gambling-related activities, even if those activities are legal.
This includes football betting, and NFL players cannot place, solicit, or facilitate any bet, neither directly nor through a third party.
NFL players are also prohibited from offering insider information and tipping unless authorized, visiting any sportsbook during the season, or promoting gambling services.
Historically, public punishments for breaking these rules have been quite rare, but that doesn’t mean the NFL doesn’t care.
On the contrary, in 2018, the Association indefinitely suspended Josh Shaw of the Arizona Cardinals for betting on pro football games.
How do NFL betting lines work?
NFL betting lines can seem a bit complicated when you’re just starting out, but if you break them down, they’re quite easy to understand.
A typical NFL looks something like this:
Chicago Bears -6.5 +255 39.5
- The first value next to the name of the team is the point spread:
The Chicago Bears have to win by 6.5 points or more.
If the point spread had been +6.5, then the team could have lost by 6.5 points.
The point spread is a way for the sportsbook to balance out the betting action.
- The second value is the moneyline, so you’d make a $250 profit for a $100 wager.
- And the third value is the Over/Under (totals), or the combined points scored by the two teams.
So, in this case, the Chicago Bears and their opponents would have to score 39.5 points together.
Of course, these are just the basics, and to create a long-term NFL betting strategy, you need to try out several options first and see which one works best for you.
Can you bet on the NFL Draft?
Yes! And not only can you bet on it, but drafting is one of the most popular betting options among NFL fans.
Most of the time, you can choose between multiple-choice futures odds or prop lines and odds.
As a beginner, there’s one important thing to keep in mind before betting on the NFL Draft: the media will speculate a lot the week before the big event, and there will be a lot of buzz on social networks.
Add the personal opinions of people on forums, and creating a strategy will become quite a challenge.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to keep your cool, gather your information from trusted sources, tune out all the buzz coming from social media.
Another tip is to focus only on several markets, because you can’t successfully predict the decisions of 32 teams, no matter how much you do your research.
Do NFL bets include Overtime?
One way or another, overtime plays a major role in NFL betting.
With betting types such as prop bets, you can bet on whether or not a game will go to overtime, especially during the Super Bowl.
Other than that, overtime games can have a significant impact on your bet, because the bet includes the overtime.
For example, in the case of moneyline bets, the score at the end of overtime is the one that matters and that will determine the success of your wager.
Also, getting to overtime can also impact a team’s performance in future games.
Because in that extra quarter of play the team is also subjected to extra physical effort and a higher risk of injuries, they usually struggle in the following week against opponents who had more time to rest.
How easy is it to win a 3-game parlay bet in the NFL?
One of the most popular online sports bets, a parlay is a sports wager that combines two or more bets into one.
These bets can be anything from spreads, futures, prop bets, or moneyline wagers.
As long as they are placed on different matches, it doesn’t matter what your parlay includes.
Parlays are especially popular among casual bettors, but also for experienced sports fans.
Placing a parlay is very simple online – bookies usually have automated systems that will add the bets automatically when you click on them and calculate the return.
One of the best things about parlays is the fact that it can be pretty rewarding.
Due to the higher number of bets placed on one slip, the payout is quite large too.
The flexibility is another thing about parlays that makes it so attractive to bettors.
Sports fans can combine bets from different sports and leagues on one slip and if they all win, you will get nicely rewarded for it.
What you have to keep in mind is that the odds for a parlay are different depending on the number of bets combined on the slip.
A 2-game NFL parlay isn’t the same thing as a 3-game parlay.
The odds for the latter are higher, but the payout is larger too.
A 3-game parlay bet in the NFL is tough to cash.
However, if you’re lucky, you will be in for a great return.
This goes especially if you back 3 underdogs over the favorites.
Even if you bet the minimum, this kind of parlay can pay big money.
The more money you bet, the bigger the return.
It’s a high risk-high reward bet that can truly make you a rich bettor.
In general, the fewer games you add on your slip, the higher the chances of getting them right.
Of course, winning a 3-game NFL parlay is not impossible, especially not when you know that parlays can go to 10 or 11 matches.
If any of the individual bets lose, the whole parlay loses.
If it ends in a tie, the parlay reverts to a lower number of teams with the odds reduced accordingly.
While a 3-game NFL parlay might be hard to win, US bettors should definitely try it.
The odds are pretty great on this type of bet, so you will get a nice return even for the minimum if you’re lucky to predict the outcome correctly.
How do Las Vegas oddsmakers figure out the NFL betting lines?
Many things have changed since the early days of Vegas betting.
The industry has largely moved online, introducing new betting options along the way.
Another thing that has changed is the way betting lines are created.
While in the past this was a job for Vegas oddsmakers, it has been automated online thanks to algorithms and sports betting software platforms.
Las Vegas oddsmakers these days don’t have to do a lot to figure out the NFL betting lines.
Nowadays, they can simply input criteria in a software and the algorithm will instantly calculate the lines.
Of course, there’s a whole world of complex processes behind it, but that’s the gist of it.
NFL betting lines and odds are engineered to attract equal action on both sides.
Ideally, an equal betting volume on both sides will give both teams the same chances to win.
Of course, that never happens.
But, win or lose, the bookie will receive 5-10% of the amount bet on a match – that’s known as the juice or vig.
To figure out the NFL betting lines, bookies these days use a combination of criteria including Power Rankings, sports statistics, real-world team rankings, individual player performances and more.
Nowadays, oddsmaking involves more people than ever.
While in the past oddsmakers worked on this alone, statisticians and mathematicians play a significant role in oddsmaking today.
Thanks to the computing power available nowadays, NFL betting lines are released earlier than ever.
A lot of data is processed along with numbers and trends to create ideal odds and betting lines NFL bettors can wager on.
What is the safest bet or wager to make on an NFL game or games?
There’s no such thing as a safe bet or wager on an NFL game or games.
All types of bets come with some risk. For some games, that risk is low.
In high profile games, the risk can be pretty high.
No matter how dominating a team may be, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win anything – that’s the nature of NFL betting.
When you enter the world of NFL online betting for the first time, you will surely be impressed with the number of markets on offer.
From moneyline to parlays and everything in between, the number of markets is one of the major reasons US bettors love to bet on the NFL so much.
Add the Superbowl into the mix, and it’s not hard to see why it’s the premier sports for US online bettors.
[box_text]If we had to single out one NFL bet that is considered safe, it’s moneyline.[/box_text]
The simplest bet of them all, a moneyline wager means predicting the outcome of a match.
You can either back the favorite or underdog – if you guess the outcome correctly, you will win your wager.
The favorite and underdog odds always make it clear who has the better chances to win.
Once again, there’s no guarantee that you’ll predict correctly, but picking the favorite over the underdog is the right choice most of the time.
Of course, favorite odds will be much lower than the odds for an underdog. If the latter causes an upset and you’ve bet on it, though, you can win loads of cash.
To optimize your profits and reduce the risk of a bet, you can implement betting strategies.
NFL betting strategies are a set of ‘measures’ you can implement in order to minimize risk and optimize profits.
The first and most essential tip we can give you is to always manage your bankroll.
If you don’t set limits to your spending and you just bet blindly on whatever match is on offer, there are big chances you’ll burn through your bankroll in a flash.
Another important tip you should keep in mind is to always do your research.
Doing your NFL homework is very important since there are many teams and matches to bet on throughout the season.
That’s before you even add the Superbowl to the mix – that’s a prime NFL event US bettors adore.
- Do your research on each team properly and check statistics.
- Line shopping is also essential since not all bookies offer the same lines and odds.
Deleted: While this may look like too much work to you, it’s the only way to place a safer bet and hopefully earn some cash in return.