Knowing how to bet on football makes NFL betting so much more fun. When you know exactly how to gamble on sports, you’ll win more bets without causing yourself a major financial headache.
After spending hours upon hours analyzing the markets, watching NFL games and betting on NFL games, I’m now in a position to help you. Why do I want to help you? Because I want YOU to beat the bookmaker too! That’s why I’m using this article to introduce you to football betting and show you how to bet on football online – and win safely.
In this guide, I’ll be going over the most popular types of football bets, before laying down some beautiful betting strategies. I’ll also be showing you some killer tips and tricks.
Ready? Let’s make a start.
Best Football Betting Sites
Bovada is one of the U.S.’s premier sports betting sites. It’s great for mobile betting, live betting, and props, and there’s also a 50% welcome bonus on the table right now that can be used on the NFL.
With an easy-on-the-eye layout and design and a massive amount of props to bet on (from underdog props to MVP props), Bovada is often the go-to sportsbook for NFL bets. Even better, this sportsbook keeps you bang up-to-date with all the latest NFL news, including stats and form.
Another top U.S. sportsbook, MyBookie, always offers a huge amount of promotional bonuses for the NFL each year. These go alongside their 100% welcome bonus of up to $1000 in free play, while a 25% reload bonus is also available for subsequent deposits. These bonuses help you to kick start your NFL betting career with minimal risk.
But the best thing about MyBookie when it comes to NFL betting is their annual NFL contest that has a gigantic prize pool of $150,000. If you come first place, you will be entitled to $100,000.
BetOnline is the betting site of choice for high rollers who are tired of other sportsbooks limiting their stakes. In other words, if you fancy wagering $5,000 on the regular, you can do it at BetOnline without worrying that they’re going to restrict you.
However, you’ll need to be wary of the premium that BetOnline charges for two, three, or four-team NFL teasers.
Other than that, there’s a 50% welcome bonus of up to $1,000 on the table for all new players.
Another top-rated U.S. sportsbook, BetAmerica, uses the American flag’s colors to give its website a very patriotic feel. A risk-free bet worth as much as $1,000 is available to new players, and it can be used on NFL games.
Live betting is BetAmerica’s strength, but there’s also an excellent online casino for whenever there are no NFL games to bet on.
It’s worth mentioning that this sportsbook is currently only available in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Betting On Football: Full Guide
Helpful Stats & Facts For Betting On Football
I always find that it helps with my bets if I know a couple of stats and facts about the sports I’m betting on. Here are a few pretty cool helpful stats and facts for betting on football:
Bettors who follow a betting system have more chance of winning than bettors who take random punts.
- Most football bettors will lose (sad fact)
- Sportsbooks are VERY skilled – so watch out
- Favorites win 66% of the time in the Divisional Round
- Underdogs cover just over half of the time
- Home field is a significant advantage, with home teams boasting a win percentage of .687
The Most Popular Types of Football Bets
The thing with football betting is that there are so many different types of bets. Unless you understand what these bets are, you’ll find it very hard to beat the bookie and win consistently.
In this section, I want to introduce you to the most popular type of football bets. I’ll explain what each one does exactly, as well as how successful they can be.
- Point spreads – Point spreads is the granddaddy of all football bets. It’s more popular with NFL bettors than the money line bet because it’s a lot of fun and not that difficult. Typically, the bookmaker sets both sides at -110 before the game begins. The bettor can choose to back the favorite and surrender the points, or the underdog and receive the points.
To win this bet by backing the favorite, the favorite needs to win MORE than the number of points it gives up. If you back the underdog, conversely, your team needs to either lose less than the number of points it’s receiving or just win outright.
- Money line – The money line bet is usually reserved in NFL betting for games when the spread is 3.0 (or even less). It’s also usually only reserved for betting on the underdog because the bettor recognizes they aren’t receiving a lot of points, in which case they’d rather just take the payout.
It’s not a bet I recommend too often, but it suits those who want to take a stab at an underdog with a relatively small stake. If it comes through, hey, it’s a bit of beer money! And to win the bet, all your team needs to do is win the game.
- Over/under – This is a really popular bet in NFL betting, and it’s fairly easy to make a success of it if you really understand the sport. Before a game begins, the sportsbook decides on a combined score between both sides. For example, this might be 50.0 in a game that’s expected to be high scoring.
It’s then up to you to decide if you think the total number of points at the end of the game will be higher or lower. As I said, if you understand the NFL, you can find lots of value in this type of bet. Sometimes, the sportsbook will post inaccurate odds that you can take advantage of
- Parlay – A parlay is a bit of a fun bet that’s not always easy to get right. But when it comes in, the payout is often huge. Essentially, you have to pick three or more sides to win their respective games. For example, you might bet on the Bills, the Dolphins, the Raiders, and the Chiefs all to win. If just one of those teams loses, though, you lose the whole bet.
The best way to make a parlay worthwhile is to choose a few favorites before padding it out with one or two underdogs. This will enhance the odds and give you a much larger payout.
- Prop bets – You’ve probably heard the term “props betting” a few times before. A prop bet is a wager placed on a specific game event. For example, you might bet on the Bills to score first in their next match or bet on the first turnover or the first field goal.
Props are not always easy to get right, but if you closely analyze the statistics and form, you can undoubtedly win more than you lose.
- Teasers – A teaser bet is a parlay bet combined with alternative point spreads. The idea is that the point spread moves in your favor which, while great on the one hand, does also mean a smaller payout.
Football Betting Strategies
Now that you’re clued-up with all the popular football bets, the next step is to implement a winning strategy.
In this section of the article, I’m going to share with you two football betting strategies that I (and numerous other successful football bettors) have used over the years.
Reverse NFL Line Bet Movement
Reverse line movement situations represent a massive opportunity to bettors every single year in the NFL. They occur whenever the betting public are hugely invested on total or side, while sharper bettors have veered in the other direction. Meanwhile, the line moves in favor of these sharp bettors – as opposed to moving in response to the actions taken by the general betting public.
For example, let’s say the Raiders are -5 favorites against the Dolphins before the game begins. The general betting public backs the Raiders heavily. The sharps, on the other hand, have gone in the opposite direction. They’re backing the Dolphins to cover.
The line doesn’t move in favor of the general betting public. Instead, the major sportsbooks, including Bovada and MyBookie, shift the line to -4. Wow. And what happens is that the market quickly follows.
If you can catch this move quick, you can grab -5 just in the nick of time before the market shifts. That said, even if you don’t catch it in time, -5 would still be worth taking.
Understand that reverse line movement happens a lot in the NFL betting world because you often have the general betting public disagreeing with the sharp bettors over what will happen. There’s also the fact that a lot of sportsbooks aren’t quick enough to move their lines.
Underdog vs. Favorite
This is a little bit similar to the one above, but it’s all about finding value.
See, football bettors who win consistently are those who have found value bets. These are bets that payout fairly well, which come in fairly often, allowing you to keep increasing your bankroll. They’re also bets that the bookies typically offer inaccurate odds for (which you can then take advantage of).
The problem many recreational bettors have is that they’re often tempted to back the favorite. But the thing is that their aims are different from the coaches’ aim. Your aim as a bettor is ultimately to find lines that offer value. But the coach doesn’t care about that – he just needs his team to win, and it doesn’t matter by what margin. This is a problem for bettors.
The best way around this is to go with the point spread when backing the underdog, and the moneyline (game outright) when backing the favorite. This means that the favorite just needs to win, which, of course, means that you don’t need to stress about the lines.
Top Tips For Betting On Football
As well as being armed with a strategy, the best football bettors who continually make profits are those who genuinely understand what they’re doing. To help you get a better handle on things, let’s take a look at some top tips for betting on football:
Keep An Eye On Turnovers
Turnovers are super important in any game of football because it denies one team the chance to score while giving the other team a chance to score.
Before you bet on a game, take a look at the turnover differential for both teams. Dig deep into the stats.
If you’re indulging in a bit of in-play action, watch the game closely and take note of each turnover. They’re not all equal.
Analyse Offensive Efficiency
Before placing your bets, compare both teams the same way. This means comparing their yards per attempt, passing yards, and rushing yards. Compare the completion percentage on their passing plays, too, and take a look at how each time fares at home, away and by quarter. Once again, you need to go deep.
Analyze Defensive Efficiency
As well as analyzing offensive efficiency, you need to analyze each team’s defensive efficiency, too. Compare how often each team gets a sack, and how often they pressure the quarterback. Crunch the numbers. By doing this, you’ll be able to pit offense against defense, which will help you place a more surefire bet.
Look Out For Home Advantage
Some teams fare better than others at home (the Patriots had an astounding home record between 2014-18), while some are just utterly hopeless on the road. During the same span, the 49s had a 9-31 record on the road.
It’s essential that you compare and contrast home vs. away records before you place a bet, as this will give you huge insight into how the game will pan out.
Always Bet With Your Head
Everyone probably has a buddy like mine who bets with his heart and not his head. He bets on the Patriots to lose because he hates the Patriots. He bets on Green Bay to win because they’re his team.
When betting, you have to first and foremost forget that you’re a football fan. You have to remove all emotion from the room and always bet with your HEAD. Do not bet on a result you WANT to happen – only bet on results you THINK/KNOW will happen.
Don’t Bet On Every Single Game (But Watch As Many Football Games As Possible)
Another common mistake many recreational bettors make is they bet on every damn game. If you do this, you’ll be on a hiding to nothing because – as you and I know – you cannot accurately predict every game. Be selective and only bet on the games that really stand out to you. Ignore the rest.
Common Online Football Betting Tools
To aid your sports betting career, it’s really important that you use tools. There are lots of NFL betting tools out there, and they’re literally designed to help you make smarter betting decisions.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
- OddsPortal – OddsPortal is your one-stop-shop for comparing odds. If you want to find the best prices for a game, OddsChecker will shop around for you
- Bet Calculator – This tool is handy if you’re putting on a complicated bet and need to figure out whether it’s going to be worth it
- Bang The Book Radio – Bang The Book Radio is an online podcast that delivers sports betting analysis from some of the NFL’s best handicappers. It’s well worth a listen
- Swish Analytics – As I wrote earlier, you must dive deep into the stats to assess a team’s chances of winning. To help you crunch the numbers, you can use a tool like Swish Analytics, which is basically a machine learning system for American sports
Final Word On NFL Betting
Thank you for reading my guide to betting on American Football. You’re now ready to bet on the NFL! Use the strategies and tips in this article to give yourself a headstart, but make sure that you only do what feels right if something isn’t working, either pivot or take a time-out.
Also, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose, and make sure to find a sportsbook that really suits you. With that all said, I wish you lots of luck!