Millions of fans bet on football every year. What’s more, NFL betting is becoming extremely popular in all parts of the world.
International punters are getting in on the action at football betting sites. All the big UK and European bookmakers cover the NFL extensively, and Americans have a legal sports option in daily fantasy sites.
The point is this: if you want to bet on football online, you’re in luck. Football betting sites are big business. Most football betting websites also offer wagers on college football and the CFL. The only thing you need to do is find a safe and reputable place to make your wagers.
There are literally hundreds of websites that accept wagers on NFL and NCAA football games. Our method of picking football sportsbooks is explained below, First, let’s start with a list of our top picks:
Where to Bet on Football Online
How We Choose Which Football Betting Sites are Listed
There are so many football betting sites competing your business, it can be confusing selecting the right one. It is always nice to have options, but choosing where to bet on football online is important.
You’re sure to see big bonus offers, free bets, and valuable promotional offers. All football betting sites looks good on the outside, but when you dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that there is a significant range in quality from one operator to the next.
We select our recommended football betting sites carefully, using a methodical approach. We look at specific attributes and compare those factors across different football betting websites. This gives us an overall view of every brand and makes it easier for us to make our recommendations. Read on to learn more about those factors and why we believe they are important.
User Interface and Easy To Use Software
The user interface at football betting sites ultimately determines how simple it is to place wagers. You would think this part isn’t difficult to get right, but we have visited plenty of sites that make a mess of it all. Sports betting can be quite complicated when you consider all the different types of bets, payouts, bet combinations and so on. The best football betting sites are organized in a way that makes it easy to see exactly which wagers are available and how much those wagers pay. This becomes essential when you log in with the intention of placing multiple bets at once.
For example, every decent football betting site should show a betting slip that lists all of your wagers with the corresponding risk and potential payouts. As you make one selection, a betting slip should pop up and show your wager. Then as you add bets, that slip should be updated to show your total dollars-at-risk and dollars-to-win.
Without a decent user interface, it becomes all too easy to place bad bets.
Free Football Bets, Contests, and Promos
Football sportsbooks put a lot of effort into attracting new customers and retaining existing customers. Their goal, in a nutshell, is to maximize customer loyalty. Online bookmakers do this by offering free bets, contests and promotions on a regular basis.
We recommend taking advantage of the best promotions and contests. We look for football betting sites that frequently offer free wagers, money-back guarantees, and deposit bonuses. These little extras add up over time and have a significant impact to your long-term win rate.
Let’s take the NFL for example. Every year, the biggest NFL betting sites welcome the new season with football-related promos and free wagers. For example, Brand A might offer you a bonus on your next deposit while brand B will reimburse your next losing bet. The Playoffs and Super Bowl are also big events for promos and contests.
Other football betting websites may host contests for the most successful bettors. In past seasons, we have seen contests in which NFL sportsbooks give out cash prizes to the customers who place the most winning Super Bowl wagers. These contests come in all different formats, but the basic idea is that you get more bang for your buck.
Easy and Convenient Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Banking options should always be a factor when choosing where to bet on football games online. First, it is important that it is easy to fund your account. We look for services that accept easy, fast, and cheap deposit methods such as credit cards, e-wallets and bank transfers.
Second, it is just as important to cash out your winnings with little hassle. We list football betting sites with withdrawal options that are fast, reliable, and without excessive fees.
Quick Access to Customer Service and Support
Simply put, the best establishments know how to look after their customers. A good level of support should be a basic requirement for any football bookmaker. When choosing to deposit money at any football sportsbook, you have every right to expect high quality and reliable customer support.
The most important aspects of customer service are the speed of responses and the accuracy of responses. We look for football betting sites that reply with personal answers and not canned responses. You may not ever need to contact customer support yourself, but it’s important to know that an operator values you as a customer.
Competitive Odds, Wagering Selection, and Fair Lines
Reputable football betting websites have a large selection of competitive wagers for every game of the season.
Fair lines are equally important. Poor lines make it tough to make a profit over the course of a season. We also recommend keeping accounts open and funded at a few football betting sites so that you can comparison shop odds before every wager.
College, Fantasy and NFL Betting Sites
Some football gambling sites specialize in specific leagues or types of wagers. If you have a particular fondness for the NFL, BCS college bowl games, or even real money daily fantasy leagues, there’s a site somewhere that specializes in just what you want.
North American Football Leagues
The NFL is the pinnacle of professional football in the US. It was originally called 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 a.k.a. college football a.k.a. CFB is also massively popular across the United States. In some areas without storied NFL franchises, college ball is extremely popular.
NCAA Football has no traditional playoff system, instead using 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 football sportsbooks may offer select schools for wagering. Though this is rare and arguably unethical, it does happen.
Types of Football Bets and Wagers
Football wagers come in a variety of formats. Online football betting is competitive thanks to the legions of fans who study every aspect of the game, pushing most lines to an equilibrium that makes it difficult to find an edge. A thorough understanding of all the different types of wagers will give you more opportunities to find value plays and earn a profit.
Football Betting Point Spreads
The most popular form of NFL betting is the point spread. You pick a team to win like in any other wager, but points are “given” to the weaker team in an effort to even the odds. If you pick the favored team, they must win by X number of points. If you pick the underdog, they can lose by up to X points and win the wager for you.
The easiest way to explain spread betting is with the help of an example. Let’s look at an imaginary matchup between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s what the wager would look like at your typical betting site:
- Broncos: -6 -110
- Chiefs +6 -110
In this example, the Broncos are the favorites and are giving 6 points to the Chiefs. That means if you bet on the Broncos, they would have to win the game by more than 6 points for you to win the bet. If they lose the game or win by less than 6 points, you lose the wager. 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.
The Chiefs are the underdogs in this example. For you to win this wager, they must either win the game outright or lose by fewer than 6 points. Again, if they lose by exactly 6 points, the wager is graded as a push.
The -110 next to each team shows how much you’re being asked to risk. In this example, you’re being asked to risk $110 for every $100 in potential winnings. Odds of -110 are standard in even money matchups.
Football Betting Moneylines
Moneyline wagers also allow you to bet on one team or the other. However, instead of giving points to the underdog, moneylines adjust how much money you must risk on each team. Let’s say you want to bet on the same NFL matchup as above but without any sort of minimum winning margin. A moneyline wager for the same Chiefs-Broncos game might look something like this:
- Broncos: -245
- Chiefs: +205
What you see above is an example of the American odds format. The line here shows how much money you stand to win or lose for every $100 wagered. The -245 next to the Broncos shows that you would have to risk $245 for a shot at winning $100. You could also break this down to say that you would need to risk $2.45 for every potential $1.00 in winnings.
The Chiefs are the underdog in this matchup and therefore have a higher payout. The +205 shows that you stand to win $205 for every $100 you risk. Another way to put it would be to say that every $1.00 wagered on the Chiefs would get you $2.05 in winnings if the Chiefs pull off the upset.
Football Betting Totals and Over/Unders
NFL totals are the total combined points scored by both teams. The bookmakers pick a number and then your mission is predict whether the combined score will be more than or less than that number. For example, let’s say your football betting site sets the Chiefs-Broncos total at 47 points.
If you take “the under,” you are betting that both teams will end up scoring a grand total of fewer than 47 points. You might take the under if you believe both teams have strong defenses or weak offenses. If you take “the over,” you are betting that the combined score will be more than 47 points. This would be the option to take if you think it will be a high-scoring game.
Football Betting Props and Specials
Proposition betting encompasses everything not related to picking the winner or the point total. Some prop bets are fairly tame and cover metrics such as total passing yards, which team will score first and even who will win the coin toss. We also sometimes see wagers on completely random things such as how long the Star Spangled Banner will last and whether or not the winning team tosses a bucket of ice water over the coach.
There is considerable debate as to whether or not prop bets are worthwhile for serious gamblers. Some sports bettors will tell you that prop bets are sucker bets while others will tell you there are legitimate opportunities. In any case, a little research never hurts.
Football Betting Futures
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 and tend to be long term wagers. A very common futures bet in the NFL is a wager on which team will be crowned Super Bowl champions.
Futures have one big advantage and two big disadvantages. The advantage is that football props pay very well due to their unpredictability. The two disadvantages are their unpredictability and the length of time they tie up your cash.
Football Betting Parlays and Accumulators
Parlays offer special payouts for correctly predicting the winners of multiple games. The advantage of a football parlay/accumulator is that it pays more than what you would make placing each bet individually. The disadvantage is that your entire parlay/accumulator loses if a single game doesn’t go as predicted. You need to get 100% of your picks correct for a parlay to pay.
Live “In Play” Football Betting
Live football betting works like traditional betting except the wagers remain open even after the opening kickoff. In the old days, all wagers closed as soon as the game began. Live football bets are updated in real time as the game is played and make for interesting viewing.
For example, a live in play bet on the winner of the game might remain open for over half the game. As the game progresses, the odds are updated in real time to reflect each team’s perceived chances of winning. Some of the most active live football betting sites even offer short-term wagers such as whether or not the next play will result in first down or if the kicker will successfully kick a field goal.
Basic Football Betting Strategy
The NFL is one of the most difficult sports to handicap successfully due to its popularity. Not only do football oddsmakers spend significant amounts of time researching the sport and coming up with efficient lines, but the general public’s deep knowledge of the game further pushes the lines into efficiency.
Foremost, you need to be up to date on all things football to have a chance at winning over the long term. There’s no easy way around it. You need to be up to date on injuries, coaching changes, team strategies, off-field behavior and anything else that could even indirectly impact a team’s performance on game day.
The good news is there’s no lack of information out there. Becoming an expert on football requires no financial investment; it does require time and effort.
Don’t Fall in Love with Trends
Read a few football prediction pieces and you’re bound to see something like “the Patriots are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 playoff home games – so I’m betting against them.” This logic will kill your bankroll. Each game is an independent event with a number of different variables. Teams change year to year, and it is unwise to base a bet off something that happened several years ago.
Recent or season-long trends can show a certain pattern in the way a team has been playing in relation to the football oddsmakers line, but to make bets solely based on them is not a way to win money. These are professional teams with world class talent and world class coaching.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast for every game. The weather impacts the running game, passing game and defense. However, you should take it further than to assume poor weather hurts offenses. This isn’t necessarily the case.
For one, poor weather impacts different quarterbacks differently. For another, poor weather can hamper the defense just as much as it hampers the offense. A rainy game may impact the throwing mechanics for a quarterback but can also result in more open receivers. Any time you see a prediction for rain, snow or extreme cold, do a little research on both quarterbacks and see what you can find on past performances in that weather.
One caveat: don’t put too much stock in the weather. Rain, snow and cold are equal opportunity distractions. The team that’s better in the sun is probably also better in the rain. Treat the weather forecast as just one of many considerations in researching a bet.
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