With an average stadium attendance rate of 67,000 and over 4.5 million viewers per game, the NFL is by far the most popular sport in North America.
It would stand to reason that the NFL is also the most popular sport for North American fans to bet on.
With 32 teams, there are plenty of wagering options for every bettor. Online sportsbooks give you a wide variety of NFL bets to place, as well as bonuses to maximize your winnings.
Choose moneylines, totals, props, futures, point spreads, and much more from your favorite sportsbooks.
Whether you are new to sports betting or a seasoned fan, it is important to fully understand betting odds.
With the guide below, you can learn everything there is to know about NFL betting.
Check out various bet types and how they work to improve your betting strategies before the next NFL season kicks off.
To find odds for other professional sports visit our sports betting odds hub.
Becoming an expert NFL handicapper does not happen overnight. A bettor has to be willing to put in some time and effort in order to find their edge against the house.
The term handicapping is used because very rarely when two football teams play are they exactly evenly matched.
Oddsmakers will apply a point spread to a game. This point spread acts as a handicap to the team that is perceived to be the favorite.
As a bettor, if we see that there is a 3-point spread, then we know the favorite has been given a 3-point handicap, and to win a spread bet, they must win the game by four points or more.
The goal of most bettors is to try and be a better handicapper than the sportsbooks that set the line.
If an operator decides a game is a 4-point spread, but your analysis and research determine that the game is more likely to be closer than four points, you are now handicapping NFL games.
Here are some tips to follow when handicapping the NFL:
Play the Odds, Not The Games
If your goal is to be a profitable bettor then sometimes you have to realize when to bet on a game, and when to walk away.
The goal of an experienced bettor is not to wager on every NFL game being played each Sunday.
Instead, the veteran gambler will do their analysis and research for most of the available games, but then pick and choose the ones where they feel the odds are in their favor.
This also applies to parlays.
Public bettors form large parlays looking for a massive payout that very rarely comes through.
Be selective in the games you choose, and make your picks based on information and research, not because the odds look very appealing to make a lot of money.
Look for the games you have the most confidence in, and bet on the odds you believe give you the best value and chance of cashing.
Cash In On NFL Bonuses!
There is no busier time of year in the sports betting industry than NFL season. With the legalization of sports betting across North America, there has never been a better time to be a sports bettor.
The competition amongst sportsbooks to win your business is fierce. This means they go all-out offering bonuses and promotions that lead to boosted odds and free money for your account.
The two greatest edge’s a bettor has over sportsbooks are the ability to shop around for the Best Odds and the ability to take advantage of multiple bonus offerings.
If our goal is to make a little profit by wagering on sports, taking advantage of multiple bonus offers will pad our account, without us even having to place a single bet.
Go Line Shopping
Welcome bonuses and boosted odds are a wonderful treat when a sportsbook offers them to us and should be taken advantage of.
However, when it comes to maximizing our profitability daily, there is no better method than to shop around.
Whether you are betting NFL point spreads or moneylines, there is always a reason to source several different sportsbooks to make sure you are getting the best spread and the best price.
Experienced NFL gamblers will focus on key numbers. If one sportsbook has a game as a 7-point spread, bettors who like the favorite will want to shop around and see if they can find a 6.5 spread somewhere else.
A half-point doesn’t sound like a lot, but when it comes to key numbers in the NFL, that half-point can easily be the difference between a push or a winning your bet.
Spreads like 3, 6, or 7 points are considered key numbers. Even if two sportsbooks have the same spread, the moneyline for that spread might be different.
Check multiple sites, and look for the better line and payout.
Even if two sportsbooks have lines at -3, one can payout at -108, while the other can go to -115. In terms of being paid out, that is a difference of over 5% in profit for a $100 bettor.
On one bet 5% might not sound like a big number, but over time an extra 5% in earnings can add up.
Popular NFL Online Bets
When it comes to NFL betting, sportsbooks today are offering more options and more ways to bet on games than ever before.
Some bettors only like to focus on specific types of bets.
If you believe you are great at predicting final scores then maybe Over/Under betting is for you.
If you like to focus more on individual players than actual teams, there is always a huge amount of NFL player prop bet options each week of the NFL season.
Some bettors prefer to do their research and then go looking for bets they believe offer the best value.
Whether you want to focus on NFL spread betting or you are a player prop guru, all of the major, licensed sportsbooks offered in your state/province will have a selection of bets that meet your NFL wagering needs.
NFL Point Spread
The NFL and point spreads seem to go together like Tom Brady and Super Bowls.
Point spread betting is the most popular form of betting when it comes to the NFL.
Spreads for each game are determined by the sportsbook.
When you have two teams playing who aren’t exactly evenly matched, a spread is used to help give incentive for bettors to take the underdog.
Let’s take a look at an example of a hypothetical game with a spread.
Detroit Lions +3 (-110)
Green Bay Packers -3 (-110)
In our example above, we can see that the sportsbook has decided this game should be a 3-point spread and that the Green Bay Packers are the favorite.
Underdog teams will be noted by the + sign in front of their spread. In this case, the Lions are +3.
Favorites are noted by the – sign in front of the spread, in this case, Green Bay is -3.
In our scenario above, to win a point spread bet by selecting the Green Bay Packers, the Pack must ultimately win the game by 4 points or more. They have to cover the -3 point spread.
As an Underdog, to cover the +3 point spread, the Detroit Lions can lose by no more than 2 points, or of course, win the game outright.
If the game were to end as a 3-point win for the Packers, then it would be considered a Push.
When we are placing a moneyline bet, we are looking to predict the outright winning team.
There is no point spread to worry about when making a moneyline wager, but the odds to bet on either team will be different, depending on who is the favorite and who is the underdog.
Keeping with our NFC North example, here’s how a hypothetical moneyline bet would look:
Detroit Lions +150
Green Bay Packers -200
Looking at the moneyline for the Underdog Lions, the + sign tells us that if we bet $100 on Detroit to win the game, then we would win $150 in profit. (+150)
When we are betting on the favorites, then we are going to have to risk more than what we will earn back. In this case, the Green Bay Packers are -200.
The -200 odds tell us that to win $100 in profit, we would have to risk $200 with our bet.
For a $100 bettor, -200 odds would pay out $66.67 in profit.
Even though there is no point spread to worry about, we can see the challenges for moneyline bettors when we analyze the payout difference between the two teams.
The Lions are not expected to win the game, but a $100 wager pays out at $150 in profit.
The Packers are expected to be the better team, but to win $66.67 in profit, we must risk $100.
A savvy bettor isn’t always trying to just bet on the team that they think will win. Instead, they will analyze the odds for both teams and decide which odds provide more value to them.
Totals betting is often referred to as Over/Under betting as well. When we are trying to bet on the Total, we are trying to predict the combined final score of a game.
A sportsbook will set a total for a game.
That number can range typically from 35-55 points. A bettor has to decide if the combined final score will finish Over or Under the total set for that game.
Let’s have a look at an example.
Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers:
Over 45.5 (-110) / Under 45.5 (-110)
In our example above, if the final score of the game totaled 46 points or more, then the Over would be the winning bet.
If the game finished with a combined score of 45 points or less, then the Under would be deemed the winning ticket.
There are still moneylines associated with Over/Under betting. The standard line for both sides is -110, but that can change depending on the game and sportsbook.
Always be sure to shop around your Over/Under bets to make sure you are not just getting the very best Total, but that you are also getting that number at the very Best Odds.
An NFL parlay bet means you have at least two different bets on a single ticket.
The advantage of a parlay bet is that the more bets you add to your ticket, the greater the payout.
Each time you add a different selection to your parlay, the odds are multiplied. This allows bettors to chase a big payday, without having to risk a lot of money.
However, the disadvantage of parlay betting is that to win, all bets on your ticket must come through.
If a bettor has five different Over/Under bets on one ticket and four of those come through, but one of them doesn’t, then there is no payout.
Parlays are gaining in popularity not because they are considered overly successful, but because bettors love to sit down Sunday afternoon with a ticket in hand that has a chance of a big payout.
NFL same game parlays (SGP) are new to the industry but are very quickly gaining in popularity.
In years past, sportsbooks would not allow multiple bets from the same game on one parlay ticket. This is because of something called correlated odds.
Correlated odds mean that if one outcome happens, then other outcomes from that game are more likely to happen as well.
Recently FanDuel launched their Same Game Parlay betting products and other sportsbooks have been trying to quickly catch up.
An example of a Same Game Parlay hypothetical bet is:
- Aaron Rodgers to throw for Over 275 Yards (-110)
- Green Bay Packers to go Over their team total of 28 points (-110)
- Green Bay Packers to cover -3 points (-110)
The theory behind the above ticket is that if Aaron Rodgers has a big game for the Packers, then they are likely to score a lot of points and probably win the game.
An SGP allows a bettor who has a good feeling about a particular contest to try and maximize earnings by adding other bets that are also likely to occur if the first one comes through.
Of course, the more bets added to your SGP, the tougher it becomes to cash a winning ticket.
NFL Teaser betting is similar to point spread betting, but with a teaser bet the sportsbooks will allow you to increase or decrease the point spread in whatever direction you like.
The most common teasers are usually 6 or 7 points, meaning that a bettor could turn a 3-point underdog into a 10-point underdog if they choose a 7-point teaser.
However, anytime you move the point spread in your favor there will be a penalty to pay. In the case of a teaser bet, that penalty is paid through the odds.
The more points you tease a game, the less that game will payout.
Teasers are also similar to parlays because you must have multiple bets on the same ticket. The minimum amount of games for a teaser ticket is two.
When you have a two-game teaser ticket, you are allowed to move the point spread in the direction of your choice for both games you are betting on.
Just like parlays, the more teaser games you add to your ticket, the bigger the payout.
Each year sportsbooks will set odds well before the regular season starts on things like:
- Super Bowl winner
- NFC / AFC winner
- League MVP, Rookie of the Year, and other individual player awards.
Futures betting can be difficult because oftentimes we are trying to predict the outcome of an event that is several months away.
However, the benefit of futures betting is that the Odds of Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl in August are much more attractive than they are the week before he is about to win yet another championship.
There are those who stay away from futures betting because it ties up your funds for multiple months before a bet cashes.
There are also those who like to place several futures bets before a season starts and enjoy cheering for those bets all 17 weeks of an NFL season.
Prop bets continue to gain in popularity with NFL bettors of all skill levels.
For years, bettors were left with a few different options if they wanted to bet on the NFL.
Moneyline, spread betting, and totals have been around a long time. However new prop bets continue to appear year after year.
Whether you enjoy game props or player props, all regulated online sportsbooks will have a menu of options to satisfy your NFL betting needs.
Some of the more popular NFL game props are:
- Team to score first
- First half Over/Under
- Team Totals (Over/Unders for individual teams)
As popular as game props are becoming, individual player props are probably growing at an even faster rate.
The addition of player props has brought in a crowd that was traditionally more focused on fantasy sports and less on sports betting.
However, those who love to play fantasy football now can use all of their player knowledge to place winning player prop bets.
There are numerous types of player prop bets available and it seems each year the menu for them continues to grow.
Some of the more common NFL player prop bets include:
- Player to score the first TD
- Player to score anytime TD
- Player total yards rushing/receiving/passing
When it comes to prop betting and the Super Bowl, the bets can truly become outlandish.
The length of the national anthem, that’s a bet. Want to guess the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach? That’s also a betting option for you.
There is no doubt that the prop betting market has grown significantly of late, both in popularity and with the type of bet options now available.
NFL Live Betting
Just like the prop betting market, live betting continues to only become more popular as bettors become familiar with the options and bets available.
No longer are we locked into our bets once a game starts. Live betting is exactly what it sounds like.
The ability to watch a game as it is being played and make a bet on that game anytime we want.
Odds shift as the game progresses.
You can find live-updated totals, spreads, and moneylines, and depending on the sportsbook, many other betting options all as the game is being played out.
NFL Betting Strategy
There are lots of strategies to follow for NFL betting.
If you are interested in trying to replicate a system that has been successful for other bettors then we have you covered below.
Bet On The Low (Underdogs & Unders)
For the majority of us who like to bet on NFL football, we are fans of the sport as well as sports gamblers.
As fans, we love the action, entertainment, and spectacular feats of athleticism a typical NFL game provides.
Our passion for the game can also influence how we tend to bet. Although the splits are fairly close, it has been shown over time that North American football fans prefer to bet Over the final total as opposed to Under it.
The same can be said for how we bet point spreads.
Although the spread is supposed to be an equalizer between the two teams, history tells us that we prefer to bet on favorites to cover, instead of the underdogs receiving points.
Some believe that lines are shaded slightly towards favorites and overs in most games and that the value or advantage in pricing for the average football game is with the Under and Underdogs.
Always document your betting history, and when you are periodically reviewing your bets, check to see your betting splits with favorites vs underdogs and overs vs unders.
Don’t fall into the mental trap of only picking one side.
Reverse Line Movement / Fading the public
Reverse line movement is when the majority of the betting public is picking one side of a game, but the sharp money is on the other.
In this situation, you will see stats that can show something like 70% of the total bets are on the favorite, but 65% of the handle (money wagered) is on the underdog to cover.
This kind of betting split tells us the general public likes one side, but the sharps or big money bettors are clearly on the other.
The theory is that Sportsbooks don’t get rich because the general public is great at sports betting.
If you can spot some games or bets the sharps are playing and you see the public is leaning the other way, maybe you have just spotted an opportunity to make some profit.
Bet On Smaller Markets
There is no doubt betting on NFL moneylines, spreads, and totals is attractive. But those are the markets where the oddsmakers spend the most time and effort setting their numbers.
With so many different game and player prop bet options, the oddsmakers just aren’t able to focus as much time and energy on those to make sure they are set exactly right.
Betting on these smaller markets can give a bettor a slight advantage if that bettor has done their research.
Sportsbooks are never just guessing at the odds and even for their prop bets, they are still very good at what they do.
However, there is an opportunity to gain a slight advantage by doing your prop bet research and catching what the sportsbooks might have missed.
Just remember, there is no free money in betting and all winning strategies require time and effort.
Betting On NFL Playoffs Online
The NFL season now consists of 17 games. After those 17 games have been completed, 14 of the 32 teams will advance to the playoffs.
As NFL bettors we will have fewer games to choose from with more focus and attention on all the odds being offered.
Playoff betting can be even more difficult than regular season betting because fewer games and more attention means lines will be scrutinized and any advantage will be spotted early by savvy bettors.
Experienced NFL bettors know that the toughest line to beat is the Closing Line.
If you want to be successful betting on the NFL playoffs do your homework early in the week and give yourself the best possible chance to take advantage of favorable lines, before the rest of the betting market spots them.
Betting On The Super Bowl
Last year, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced that it expected over $8 billion to be wagered across the world on the Super Bowl.
Betting on the Super Bowl has become an annual tradition for millions of North American football fans, even for those who wouldn’t typically place a wager.
The Super Bowl is a betting spectacle like no other.
Not only is there the usual array of bets to be made, but you will see sportsbooks get very creative for this football extravaganza.
Want to bet how long the national anthem will be or what color the Gatorade will be that is dumped on the winning coach?
You can bet that come Super Bowl time and a whole bunch more.
Advanced NFL Betting Systems
A betting system is a method a bettor uses to have an edge in his bets.
Its focus is to find value and improve the chance of winning. These are some of the best systems to use:
It’s a simple system that consists of betting the amount if you win and betting more on the next wager if you lost your last bet.
For example, if you win a $5 bet, keep betting $5. If you lose a $5 bet, then go $10 on your next one, and so on.
Pros include making short-term bets likely to payout. Cons are big though. Doubling your last wager isn’t always an option; it can hurt your bankroll in a bad streak.
Also known as Cancelation Betting System. It focuses on making the most of two bets that have equal or close probabilities. It’s more of a casino system but can be used for NFL.
The upside if you run it well in the short term is faster profits. The downside is that if you enter a bad streak early on, it can devastate your bankroll.
Kelly Criterion System
This is the most accurate system in NFL betting. Using math, bettors can choose the optimal number to bet on a football wager.
It allows you to manage your bankroll. The pros include being able to calculate and mitigate risks in your bets. The cons are you need to put effort into it as it can’t be used on the go.
Exploit Welcome Bonuses
Whether we are novice gamblers learning the ropes or experienced gamblers playing our own complicated strategy, we are all looking for an edge against the sportsbooks.
There is no greater advantage a player can have than free money. The competition between operators to earn our business has never been greater.
The welcome bonuses and promotions being offered by the majority of sportsbooks are our long-term advantage over the house.