How to Bet on the NFL

NFL Betting Tutorial: How to Bet on the NFL

NFL Betting Tutorial: How to Bet on the NFLSince we are in the beginning of the NFL season, we thought now would be a good time to publish an NFL Betting Tutorial to help people interested in betting on the NFL and as a refresher course on how to bet on the NFL.

Every year American bet over $400 billion on sports.  In addition, football is one of the most popular sport to bet on in the United States.  In fact, last year over $95 billion were wagered on the NFL and  college football alone with an estimated $119 million wagered in Las Vegas on last year’s Super Bowl.

There are many ways to bet on the NFL and all sportsbooks  agree that the most common types of bets consist of pointspread bets, over/under bets, and betting on the moneyline. There are other types of wagers – such as teasers, parlays, and props – and we’ll dive into those types of wagers in future articles.

Before we begin, lets learn how to first read NFL betting odds.

How to Read NFL Betting Lines/Odds

Below is an example of what the betting odds look like for an NFL matchup.

Teams Pointspread Total Moneyline
477    Atlanta Falcons  -3    +100  50.5   O/U     o:-110   -160
 478   Detroit Lions  +3   -120  50.5   O/U     U:-110  +135

Here is what each item means:

The number you see before the team is the game number (477 478)

The first number is the Pointspread(-3 +3) which is the forecast of the number of points by which a stronger team is expected to defeat a weaker one, used for betting purposes.

The second number (+100 -120) is the juice or vig that the sportsbook charged to place the bet.

The Total (50.5) is where bet on whether the total score of a game or event will be over/under a given point

The Moneyline is a type of betting line which lays out the amount a player must wager in order to win $100.00, or the amount the player wins on a wager of $100.00.

Pointspread Betting

Taking a team on the pointspread is the most popular method of betting on the NFL according to all sports betting software companies. The team that is expected to win – or the favorite – must not only win the game outright, but win by a certain number of points (called the pointspread) in order to win the bet.

The other team, labeled the underdog, must with win outright or lose by an amount less than the pointspread in order to win the bet. In the case of the favorite winning by exactly the amount of points they were laying, then the bet is considered a “push”, and all wagers are returned.

NFL Betting TutorialFavorites are denoted with a minus sign before the number, and underdogs have a plus sign next to their number.

For example, if the Denver Broncos are a three-point favorite against the Seattle Seahawks, then Denver would be -3, and would need to win the game by at least four points to cover the spread.

Seattle would be listed as +3, and would either need to win outright or lose by 1 or 2 points to cover the spread. Denver winning by exactly three points would result in a push. Overtime scores do count towards the final winning margin.

Remember, the goal of the linesmaker is not to guess the winning point margin of the game, but rather to set a line that will attract equal action on both teams. This is important, especially considering the general public tends to back certain teams and usually bet favorites more than underdogs according to the latest statistics from most Sportsbook Pay Per Head reviews.

Betting on the Total

Another popular way to bet on the NFL is the over/under wager. This number represents the combined score of both teams, and the gambler can choose whether there will be more or less combined points scored than the posted total. Overtime scores do count towards these point totals.

Teams Total
477 Atlanta Falcons 50.5 O/U o:-110
478 Detroit Lions 50.5 O/U U:-110

Example using the above odds, if someone wants to bet on the Over 55 at -110, this means that he needs to bet $110 to win $100 and that the total score has to be over 55.

Bookie Pay Per Head Service

How to Bet on the Moneyline

The Moneyline is a common bet for first time bettors are the bet consists of simply betting on which team will win the game.

Teams Moneyline
477 Atlanta Falcons -160
478 Detroit Lions +135

Using the odds above, if you wanted to place a Moneyline bet on the Falcons, it means that you would have to bet $160 to win $100 as the Falcons is the favorite team to win.  If you wanted to be on the Lions which is the underdog, then you would bet $100 to win $135.