Online Football Betting Guide
Introduction to (American) Football Betting - Football is a sport with roots firmly linked to rugby, with which it shares many similarities. It is an incredibly popular in the United States, the National Football League (NFL) is the most watched sporting league in the country. In fact, based on average attendance per game, the NFL is the world’s most attended domestic sports league. The game continues to grow both nationally and internationally, as there is usually one overseas game scheduled each NFL season.
Betting on American football is a key part of the game, both inside and outside the US. For a large number of fans of the game, betting is an intrinsic part of the culture of the sport. Though the NFL’s and NCCA’s hierarchy refuses to admit it, and actively tries to stop the expansion of gambling – the league’s popularity is due in large part to the large amount of money wagered each week on the games. Nearly all online bookmakers offer football betting in some form to their customers and the number of bets, sides, totals, props and futures seems to increase every year.
Where To Bet On Football Online
Forms of American Football
The NFL – the pinnacle of professional football in the US – was actually originally known as the American Professional Football Conference. It was formed way back in 1920 and consisted of just eleven teams, before changing the name to the National Football League just two years later. It was not until the 60s and 70s that the popularity of the sport really exploded.
Today there are 32 teams in the NFL, divided into the two conferences – the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Teams play a sixteen game regular season schedule before six teams from each conference duke it in the single elimination NFL playoffs. These culminate in the main championship game; the Super Bowl.
NCAA Football or college football is also massively popular across the United States. In some areas without storied NFL franchises, NCAA Football is in the fabric of society and many towns depend on a university’s football program for the local economy. NCAA Football has no traditional playoff system, but instead uses a system of title games, called “Bowl” games. Bowl games number in many but culminate in a BCS Title Game, in which two teams face off on a neutral site for the National Championship. Like the NFL, NCAA Football wagering is available at the vast majority of online sportsbooks.
High school football is also a part of America’s fabric, and though it usually isn’t available for online wagering – some online sportsbooks may offer select schools for wagering. Though this is rare, and unethical, it does happen.
Types of American Football Bets
As we mentioned previously, American Football is available for wagering at nearly every sportsbook online. Football betting has a number of different betting options; we’ll go over the types of football wagers available to bettors below.
The most popular form of NFL betting is point spread wagering on sides. Point spreads are usually the standard -110 vigorish – meaning bettors will wager $110 to win $100 or may have adjusted odds attached to the point spread. Let’s look at a basic example of an NFL game with a point spread attached.
- Team 1 -6 -110
- Team 2 +6 -110
The Team 1 are the away team and are favored by 6 points. That means if a bettor wagered on the Team 1, they would have to win the game by 6 points or more. If they lose the game, the bettor loses his stake. If they win by exactly 6 points, the bet is no action and is graded as a push, and original stake is returned to the bettor.
Team 2 are the home team and the underdog. For a bettor to win his wager, they must either win the game outright or lose by less than 6 points. Again, if Team 2 lose by exactly 6 points, the wager is graded as a push.
Sides are the most popular form of wagering for those that bet the NFL, each game has a favorite and an underdog, and an attached point spread. Accompanying odds will normally be -110 ($110 to win $100), but may be better or worse depending on betting action and the movement of the bookmaker’s lines.
Moneyline wagering is backing a team to win outright, with no point spread. Since there is no point spread, underdogs will become + odds and favorites will be – odds. Bettors who perhaps see an upset in the making can bet the underdog, and if they win, possibly double or triple their bet amount. American odds calculate a player’s stake by a $100 wager, so a team that is +300 would bring back a $300 payout.
NFL totals are the total combined points scored by both teams. Totals will vary depending on a number of factors, and can vary wildly from one NFL contest to the next. As online gambling has continued to become more popular, bettors have a lot more options regarding NFL totals.
Halftime lines are becoming increasingly popular, which provide bettors the ability to wager on the amount of points scored in the 1st or 2nd half. Individual team totals and quarter lines are also available at many online sportsbooks.
Proposition betting has become big at online sportsbooks, especially for NFL wagering. NFL props have a variety of different options, including receiving yards, rushing yards, passing yards, touchdowns scored and more. The ability to bet on an individual player’s performance brings a fantasy football element to sports betting, and has become a tremendous success for sportsbooks.
Though, props are plentiful moneymakers for the books, for the savvy bettor they can be extremely profitable. Props and the odds offered will differentiate somewhat wildly sportsbook to sportsbook, leaving bettors with abundant opportunities to find the differences in the lines offered and exploit them. Still, most bookmakers have started to adjust to this, and prop bets will often have a smaller maximum wager, usually around $500 or less.
NFL futures are wagers placed on the outcomes of events to be decided later in the season. They can be placed before the season starts, or while the season is ongoing, as odds will be updated depending on results. Betting on the Super Bowl Champion or Conference Champions are just some of the wagers available. Sportsbooks have now added a variety of more bets, such as Divisional Winners, and team win totals.
Parlays and Teasers
Parlays and teasers are not unique to NFL betting, but are a very popular in the NFL market. Both are combination bets – meaning each leg of the wager must win for the bet to be a winner, if any of the games or legs of the bet loses; the bet is graded as a loss.
Live betting has exploded over recent years, especially for NFL bettors. Live betting offers NFL bettors the ability to bet on the outcome of each drive, or what will happen on the next play. More and more books are beefing up their live betting offerings and offer live betting options on most nationally televised games. High variance prop bets, along with basic wagers such as sides and totals are offered. It is NFL betting in high gear, and while it can be volatile form of betting - hitting it big in live betting could reward bettors with a big payoff.
Basic American Football Betting Strategy
NFL betting isn’t rocket science, but it certainly is a unique animal compared to other sports. Instead of the daily grind of baseball or basketball, there are just a few days a week with games – so bettors will need to be selective with their plays, and look for opportunities in the bookmaker’s lines.
We wouldn’t say being a diehard NFL fan is an absolute must for winning at NFL betting, but it surely does not hurt. Knowing the players, coaches, and teams are obviously beneficial, and information that is easily available. Make it a point to read game recaps, learn the style of play of each team, and be aware of rivalries.
Many bettors will use trends as a sole reason to bet on a game. Some bettors will say things like, “The Patriots are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 playoff home games – so I’m betting against them.” This logic is ridiculous. Each game is an independent event with a number of different variables. Teams change year to year, and it is simply insane to base a bet off something that happened 5-6 years ago.
Recent or season long trends can show a certain pattern in the way a team has been playing in relation to the oddsmakers line, but to make bets solely based on them is not a way to win money. Many sportsbooks will even offer betting articles with trends available for players to view, because they know that the information isn’t going to make them profitable, and could possibly steer them in the wrong direction.
Keeping an eye on the forecast for game time can be a significant factor in NFL wagering, and is a crucial factor when betting totals. Rain, strong wind, and of course snow can have an adverse affect on how many points are scored.
Reading the injury report is simple, but what separates a winning football bettor from a losing one is knowing how an injury will affect a team. If a star quarterback is out, a lot of the time, the team will rally around their backup and win the game – other times they will barely show up and play terribly. Understanding how an injury will affect a team performance is crucial to betting NFL football.
NFL wagering is a deep betting market with massive amounts of money being wagered per week. NFL lines change for a number of reasons, such as the books trying to balance the action, new injury reports, smart or professional money hitting one side and other reasons. When the line changes at some online sportsbooks, others may lag behind, and that gives bettors the chance to possibly catch some online bookmakers with their pants down. Still, it’s hard to diagnose what a line move may necessarily be for, and it will be up to bettors to determine if there is value in betting the move.