Bet on Sports
How to bet on Sports
More people in the United States watch the NFL than any other sport. Now that sportsbooks offer a legal platform for sports gambling, the NFL has also become the most popular sport to wager on in the country.
The Super Bowl, alone, brings in the largest handle for a single-game sporting event in the U.S. In 2020, it’s estimated more than 26 million Americans wagered around $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV.
With a variety of NFL betting lines available throughout the season, including NFL futures and unique in-game props, many fans enjoy betting on football as a way to enhance the excitement of their viewing experience.
Looking to get started on NFL betting? Read below to learn more about football odds, how NFL odds work, and the best betting tips for winning big throughout the season.
You can find NFL betting lines on pretty much every aspect of the game. From moneyline odds to the point spread and over/under, you can wager on every second of NFL action, from kickoff to the final whistle.
To understand football odds, let’s break down an example from a regular-season NFL game.
The first column features the two teams playing on a particular week during the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers, listed first, are the away team, while the second team listed, the Baltimore Ravens, are playing at home.
The second column is the point spread, the third column is the moneyline, and the fourth column is the total. We’ll examine each of these types of betting lines in greater detail below.
Spread betting is the most common way people bet on the NFL.
A spread, or point spread, is a number set by oddsmakers to even the playing field in a matchup. Oddsmakers will pick one team as the favorite and one team as the underdog, then assign a point value based on how many points the favorite must win by.
In the example above, the Ravens are favored to win by 5.5 points against the Steelers. The minus sign indicates the Ravens are the favorite (-5.5), while the plus sign indicates the Steelers are the underdog (+5.5).Betting Pittsburgh to cover: If you bet on Pittsburgh, you win your bet if the Steelers either win the game outright or lose by fewer than 5.5 points.
A 34-30 Ravens victory would win you your bet, because Pittsburgh lost the game by less than the 5.5-point margin.Betting Baltimore to cover: If you bet on Baltimore, you win your bet if the Ravens win by 6 points or more. Thus, the Ravens have covered the spread.
When you bet the moneyline, you’re simply choosing which team you think will win the game.
For example, the Ravens are the favorite above, at -270 odds, to defeat Pittsburgh in the matchup.
The minus sign attached to the Ravens’ moneyline odds indicates Baltimore is the favorite to win. The larger the number next to the minus sign, the more likely the favorite is to win. The plus sign attached to the Steelers’ moneyline odds (+215) indicates Pittsburgh is the underdog. The larger the number next to the plus sign, the less likely the underdog is to win.
Betting the underdog: The number next to the plus sign designates how much money you would win if you bet $100. Based on a wager of $100, if the Steelers — the +215 underdog — win outright, you will earn an extra $215, which would net you $315 in return.
Betting the favorite: The number next to the minus sign designates how much money you need to risk in order to win $100. You must bet $270 in order to earn $100 if the Ravens — the -270 favorite — win outright. You would then net $370 in return.
In a given matchup, oddsmakers set a predicted total, or the combined final score of a game. Based on the projected total, you can bet whether you believe the combined score will be more or less than the amount set by the sportsbook.
The total for the Steelers-Ravens game is set at 55 points.
Over 55: If you believe Pittsburgh and Baltimore will combine to score more than 55 points, you would bet the Over. Let’s say the final score is 34-22. The two scores added together equal 56, which means the total is more than 55, so you win your bet.Under 55: If you believe Pittsburgh and Baltimore will combine to score fewer than 55 points, you would bet the Under. Let’s say the final score is 34-14. The two scores added together equal 48, so the total is less than 55 and you win your bet.
You can also find first-half or second-half NFL betting lines, where you predict the total score by the end of each half.
With a futures bet, you can wager on the outcome of an event in the future, such as which team will end up the conference or league champion. In the NFL the most common futures bet is which team will win the Super Bowl.
A futures bet can be made well before the beginning of the season. Once the season is underway, you’ll find the odds on each team change week-to-week, based on performance and record.
Betting on a team with longer odds ahead of the season can provide excellent value if they turn out to perform better than expected.
Betting on football can be lucrative, if you put in the study time.
Once you’ve glanced at the NFL odds this week, look for key information, like team records, past performances, recent stats (such as passing yards allowed, or quarterback rating) to decide which team has the best chance of winning.
Since the point spread is set by oddsmakers to create a balance between people who want to bet the favorite vs. the underdog, you’ll notice the point spread may change many times leading up to a matchup.
As the week goes on, sportsbooks gain a better idea of how large or small a point spread should be before kickoff. By keeping an eye on the line movement, you can capitalize on better value, oftentimes early in the week, before the majority of the public has influenced the spread.
It’s also important to watch for last-second changes, which could indicate something like weather, an injury, or even a trade, has affected the matchup.
You can find a variety of NFL betting trends online, such as which team in the series has won the majority of recent games, which team is better on the road or at home, or which team has the better record against the spread so far this season.
There are a multitude of stats available for the NFL, as well. Quarterback completion percentage and passer rating are some of the easier ones to digest. You can also get into more advanced NFL stats, like quarterback hurries, yards after catch, and dropped pass percentage to familiarize yourself with a team before placing a bet.
Residents of many states can enjoy legal NFL betting with sportsbook football odds today. Find all the latest NFL odds on a variety of websites and get ready to boost the excitement of your regular game-day experience!