How Do You Bet On Football Games Online

Updated on: Understanding Football Odds. The biggest thing in regards to understanding NFL odds relates to the point spread that's put up on each game. Betting on football isn't as simple as just picking the eventual winner of the game, you.

The sports betting industry is on a meteoric rise in this country and we’re approaching one of the first NFL seasons where it will be possible to legally wager on most games outside of Nevada. Even in a largely illegal market, the American Gaming Association estimated that bettors wagered over $4.3 billion on Super Bowl LV alone.

With ample time between games and a wealth of strategy to consider, football is an understandably popular sport for mainstream bettors. Using analytics to gain an edge in predicting how games will unfold can help the savvy bettor go against the grain to earn big paydays. Conversely, the popularity of NFL betting can help bettors isolate a potential winner by piggybacking on research conducted by the masses.

There are several ways to bet on NFL games. When betting on the National Football League, you can wager on bet types likes the point spread, totals (also known as OVER/UNDERs), and the moneyline. Using sports betting sites to bet on football online is relatively straightforward. It’s super easy to open accounts at most sites, and the majority of them are very user-friendly. Finding and placing wagers. Before the point spread was invented, people were betting on the moneyline – and they still do. To make a moneyline wager, all you have to do is pick the team you believe will win the game outright.

This page can serve as a reference for residents of states that have legalized online betting. It will break down the basics of NFL betting, from various types of bets, to strategy, to tips on how to predict trends and think independently. If you heed this advice and weigh your options and bankroll carefully, you could turn a consistent profit throughout the 2020 NFL season.

NFL team betting guides

Division
AFC EastBuffalo BillsMiami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNew York Jets
AFC NorthBaltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers
AFC SouthHouston TexansIndianapolis ColtsJacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans
AFC WestDenver BroncosKansas City ChiefsLos Angeles ChargersLas Vegas Raiders
NFC EastDallas CowboysNew York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesWashington Football Team
NFC NorthChicago BearsDetroit LionsMinnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers
NFC SouthAtlanta FalconsCarolina PanthersNew Orleans SaintsTampa Bay Bucs
NFC WestArizona CardinalsLos Angeles RamsSan Francisco 49ersSeattle Seahawks

Where is NFL betting legal?

When the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May of 2018, it opened the door for individual states to legalize sports gambling. Beginning with New Jersey (the original plaintiff in the PASPA case), several states quickly moved to legalize and regulate the industry within state lines. Betting on the NFL and other professional sports is still not federally legal, but residents of the following states can place bets at live sportsbooks:

Nevada
Pennsylvania
New Jersey
Delaware
Mississippi
West Virginia
Rhode Island
New Mexico
Arkansas
Iowa
New York
Oregon
Indiana
Illinois
Montana

Most other states in the US have introduced some sort of bill that would legalize sports gambling. Of course, some states are far closer than others to legalizing the industry. Visit our state betting pages at TheLines.com to get a look at the status in each state.

Best NFL betting sites and apps

There are a number of apps available for sports betting in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia and Nevada. Some of the best:

The top players in the industry are DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet, and SugarHouse.

How does NFL betting work?

There are several ways to bet on NFL action. We’ll begin with the most simple type of bet: The moneyline. Taking the Moneyline means you’re betting on the winning team regardless of the margin of victory. Underdogs will get plus-odds on the moneyline and the favorites will have negative odds. Edward o thorp & associates. For example, if a team is heavily favored they will be listed as Patriots (-230), meaning that a successful $230 bet on the Patriots pays out $100.

This differs from betting on the point spread, which accounts for the expected margin of victory. If the Patriots are heavily favored at home, they might be listed as -13.5, meaning a bet (likely at something close to -110 odds) on the Pats would only pay out if they win by 14 points or more.

Gamblers can also target the overall betting total of a game, which is usually listed as a number around 48.5 with the proposition of taking the Over or Under on a point total. Some sites offer the opportunity to bet on the expected point total of one team (23.5 points for example).

Then, there is often an extensive number of betting props (or propositions) where gamblers can wager on the individual performance of a player, the type of score to open a game, and the specific margin of victory. These options are often more expansive in prime time and playoff games.

Gamblers can choose to combine multiple propositions on a game, or multiple bets on different games, into a parlay. This wager is an all-or-nothing proposition which only pays out if all (anywhere between two and a dozen) bets are successful. The more bets added to a parlay, the greater the potential payout.

A teaser is a form of parlay that involves a combination of two to ten wagers in which you can adjust the point spread or total to your specifications. These bets are therefore more likely to succeed, but the payouts are smaller than in a parlay.

Finally, there is an option to bet on NFL futures. Rather than betting on an individual game, Futures offer gamblers the opportunity to bet on the eventual Super Bowl champion, divisional champion, or the number of wins that a team will accrue during the regular season. There are also futures bets available on postseason awards and other ongoing storylines.

Super Bowl odds 2022

NFL live betting

Another method of wagering on the NFL is live betting, also known as in-play betting. No longer are gamblers required to place their bets before opening kickoff and ride out the storm. Now users can watch a game unfold for one, two, or three quarters and place their bets based on updated odds.

The odds on online sportsbooks will shift throughout games and sometimes it won’t be possible to place a live bet until a team finishes their current drive and the odds can solidify. This can be a very effective method for the experienced sports fan. Those who can read how a game is unfolding in the opening minutes can target a line aggressively.

For example, the most recent Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams turned into an offensive quagmire where neither team appeared poised to rack up many points. Those viewers that read into game flow and placed a bet on the Under (even as it shifted lower) were rewarded by a comfortable payout in a game that ended 13-3.

NFL betting trends

There are several free sites that will disclose information on where the public is betting in terms of the moneyline, point spread, and point total. These trends can lead to a shift in the lines as sportsbooks try to adjust when too much money is coming in on one side or the other.

These trends can also indicate which side of the line is a better bet based on the sheer number of bets coming in. However, the percentage of bets coming in on one side or the other is often not as telling as the percentage of money coming in on one side of the line.

A ton of bets indicates that the reactive public expects a favorite to roll, but a ton of money on one side indicates that experienced gamblers or “sharps” have found something in their research to inspire confidence.

Following the money usually profits, but there is a high level of risk and reward in “contrarian handicapping” by going against the public and backing an underdog at plus odds.

NFL line shopping

With so many sportsbooks and platforms competing for your wagers, there’s no reason not to shop around for the best deal. Some sites might have a team with a line of -4 (-110) on a particular game, but another site could have the same team at -3.5 (+120). There is generally an industry standard, but even a sleight differentiation can lead to huge changes in dividends in the long run. It’s vital for bettors to shop lines on multiple sites even if they don’t have a huge bankroll. If that’s the case, simply decrease the amount you’re betting on each game.

You can also shop lines by timing when you place your bets. Oddsmakers will set an Opening Line early in the week, but that could change based on how the public bets the game. Sometimes it makes sense to hammer an Opening Line right away so that you get the best odds possible. For example, the Packers could open at -7 at home against a poor opponent, but after 90% of bets come in on Green Bay, that number could rise. Conversely, the underdog might become appealing late in the week if the spread rises to 13 or even 14 points. Waiting for the right line can create the perfect opportunity to bet against the public at even better odds.

NFL Betting Tips

Finding a betting formula

Consistent success in NFL betting is hard to come by, since sportsbooks are often eerily accurate in how they set Spreads and Point Totals. In order to turn a profit, bettors have to find their own formula for determining value and potential winners.

It’s possible to “follow the masses” by betting on favorites that are seeing a huge percentage of wagers, but it is far more reliable to analyze trends and look for value based on those raw numbers.

As the season progresses, it can become apparent which teams have a tendency to “play down” to their opponent. Certain teams tend to play better when going up against heavy favorites, and many teams tend to play better or worse in prime time games. Analyzing a teams’ recent travel schedule, results on the road vs. at home, and tendency to rebound after a loss (see Bill Belichick’s Patriots) can help bettors find a winning formula.

There are certain analytics available for free on many sites that can help you predict how a game will unfold. Here are some of the key analytics that we use to predict game flow:

  • Pace (the average number of plays a team runs per game) – This can primarily help you identify fast-paced games that are likely to go Over the total, or slow-paced games that will go Under.
  • Offensive efficiency – Especially in the red zone, offensive efficiency can serve as a great indicator for which teams are capable of finishing drives with touchdowns and therefore covering the spread. Pass yards per attempt is another indicator of which teams are successful on offense in terms of controlling possession and creating points.
  • Turnovers – On the other side of the ball, teams with great defensive efficiency in the red zone may help games stay under the point total. Teams that have shown an ability to create turnovers are far more bankable in terms of hanging close in games and potentially stealing a game when they’re underdogs.
  • Win Probability – This is an advanced tool that can help tremendously with live betting. Algorithms can provide the likelihood of a team holding on for the win and that makes for a very safe bet.
  • DVOA – There are comprehensive numbers on how defenses perform against specific position groups. There are also numbers on how an offensive line performs in terms of creating space at the second level and whether defensive lines are stronger on the right or left side. Match up the numbers from each team to consider whether star players will have more of an impact and sway the outcome.
  • Home Field Advantage – Teams such as the Packers, Chiefs, Saints, and Patriots have a tremendous home-field advantage for several reasons. Lofty point spreads in those venues should be considered with more weight than a lofty point spread for a team like the Bengals, for example.

Each game brings its own criteria in terms of analytics and there is almost always ample time to crunch the numbers and find an edge.

NFL betting mistakes to avoid

Sports gambling can be a destructive force and should not be taken lightly or considered as a main source of income for anyone but the most experienced handicappers. Here’s a list of a few of the pitfalls that can turn a harmless habit into a money-draining problem:

  • Chasing your losses: Gamblers can be overcome by a need to be “made whole” after losing their initial bet. This can be problematic during NFL Sundays since there is a new wave of games starting at 4 p.m. EST and two prime time games providing the opportunity to go “double or nothing” after an unsuccessful run in the early games.
  • Managing bankroll: Again, the spreads and totals assigned by sportsbooks are often extremely accurate in terms of the final result, which means that few bets are a “sure thing.” Gamblers need to manage their bankroll wisely and avoid betting big on too many games regardless of their confidence level.
  • Emotional betting: While gambling on NFL games should be fun, it’s not fun to lose your money because you were afraid to bet against your hometown team. Gamblers should always bet based on data, trends, and their gut feeling, rather than by their allegiances as fans.
  • Hoping for longshots: It’s important to get good odds on a wager, but taking a bet that has little chance to come to fruition is not a reliable method. A horse with 50/1 odds would certainly pay out handsomely in the Kentucky Derby, but there’s a reason nobody expects that horse to have a shot at winning the race.
  • Banking on favorites: Conversely, it’s unwise to always follow the public and take the more popular team with your wagers. Things change on a weekly basis in the NFL and teams always find a way to surprise. Remember that the other guys get paid too, and they’ll fight to the final whistle to post a more respectable score and potentially get under a lofty point spread.
  • Betting while impaired: Again, NFL Sunday is a time to relax and enjoy a few adult beverages, but don’t get carried away while intoxicated. Accept losses when they come and avoid becoming overconfident because you’re feeling loose and unafraid of losing a few hundred dollars.

Online betting vs. retail sportsbooks

Few states have legalized online betting within state borders because it’s so difficult to regulate. But if you’re in a state with legal online betting, there are clear benefits to that platform. While retail sportsbooks will only accept bets before a game kicks off, online betting sites allow users to bet throughout the contest and adjust to live odds. The convenience of betting from your phone or laptop is hard to beat. That’s why live sportsbooks will offer promotions and try to enhance the in-game experience in order to draw in more numbers.

How to watch NFL games

Every Sunday select NFL games are broadcast on local TV. Viewers can watch any game by purchasing the Sunday Ticket through DirectTV, or the scoring highlights and exciting finishes compiled by the Red Zone channel. There are also options to stream NFL games through various online platforms. During the 2019-2020 season there will be Thursday Night Football games from Week 1 to Week 15 that will be broadcast on FOX and NFL Network. Sunday Night Football games are broadcast on NBC and ESPN carries Monday Night Football games.

Contents

How to Bet on Football

If you're looking to learn how to bet on NFL football, you're reading the right betting guide. There isn't a more popular sport to bet on in North America then football, as bettors each fall clamour to anything and everything related to betting on football. From point spreads, to over/unders, to money lines, to everything in between, there is no busier time in the sports betting landscape then during those fall and winter months when football season is going on.

How to bet on football during the season is about as easy as it comes as sportsbooks everywhere make the sport their priority. There is never a shortage of betting options on football games, and with the popularity of fantasy football as well, player props – NFL bets based on the player's production – are plentiful as well. To learn more about the NFL game and NFL players check out ourNFL headlines page which is constantly being updated for the latest NFL news and injuries to help you with your NFL bets.


Best Football Betting Sites

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1.
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Updated on :


Understanding Football Odds

The biggest thing in regards to understanding NFL odds relates to the point spread that's put up on each game. Betting on football isn't as simple as just picking the eventual winner of the game, you've got to consider who will win, but more importantly by how much. The point spread is considered the great equalizer in football betting, and being on the right side of that line is the goal of every football bettor. An example of this would be seeing the Kansas City Chiefs as a -4.5 favorite over their opponent, meaning they would have to win the game by at least five points for a bet on KC to win. Otherwise their opponent covers the point spread and that side would win.

Aside from the point spread, the next biggest betting option in football odds each year is the over/under, or total for the game. All these are are point totals bettors are asked to go over or under on for the total combined points in a game. For example a total may be posted at 48.5, and the bettor's job is to predict whether or not the total number of points in the game will exceed or stay below that number. A final score of 30-20 would cash an 'over' bet (50 total points), while a final score of 24-21 (45 total points) would connect on an 'under' selection.

Best Online Football Betting Sites


NFL Future Wagers

Future wagers in football are what bettors everywhere spend a good chunk of the summer breaking down, as it's all about what football teams will ultimately come out on top in whatever category the future wager concerns itself with.

The biggest future wager deals with who will ultimately win the Super Bowl that year, and that's one where all the teams will have varying odds on their championship potential. The more likely the team is to be in the championship/playoff fold, the lower their odds will be, but that shouldn't discourage you from looking at teams further down the odds list. Anything and everything can happen during a football season and often does.

Aside from trying to correctly predict the outright champion, other future wagers in football deal with eventual winners in different categories. For team-based futures, these include things like winning their respective division or conference (in college football), winning the AFC or NFC conference in the NFL, and probably the most popular, whether or not a team will go over or under their season win total projection. That's as simple as it sounds. Numbers are put up on how many outright wins a team will have in a given year – say 8.5 for the Buffalo Bills – and the bettor's job is to decipher whether or not the Bills will finish with at least 9 wins (over) or less (under).


How to Bet the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the single biggest betting event on the sports calendar each year, and finding a place to bet on the game is never hard. How to bet on the Super Bowl is a tough thing to explain because you can literally bet on everything about the game and all the surrounding festivities that go on within it, so it's really up to the individual bettor on their wagering preference.

Super Bowl odds for the game itself are the first numbers to hit the market, as the Super Bowl line for the game is the number that quickly gets quoted and discussed about once the matchup is set. But Super Bowl betting is such a vast landscape as a whole, that it's a good thing for some that there is a two-week lead up to the game itself. Below are various tables of the best NFL betting sites with signup bonuses to get you started on your NFL betting journey.


How to Bet the College Football Playoff

NCAA Football odds bring a bit of a different dynamic to football betting overall, as the disparity in talent a lot of the time between college programs brings much larger college football point spreads in general. That tends to not be the case once the college football playoff arrives, as these are the consensus four best teams in the country that year, and with a full season of data behind them, sportsbooks are able to put out some of the toughest (aka sharpest) college football lines out for those playoff games.

Can You Bet On Football Games Online

College football betting lines during the CFB playoff are dissected for weeks, as bettors look to get what they believe to be the best of the number depending on which program(s) they are looking to back. It's a format where you get three total games to break down from a side and total perspective, and hopefully when it is time for that National Championship game, you keep the big picture in mind of what said teams did over the course of the entire year, and not just how good/bad they looked in advancing through the semi-final matchup.


Popular Football Wagers

Popular football wagers can generally be described as any and all wagers on the point spread or total for football games because of the overwhelming popularity of the sport for betting on the whole. Part of the reason for such popularity is the format of the game itself, as bettors get essentially a full week to do all the research they deem necessary to be successful and then go from there. There are fewer snap decisions or feelings of unpreparedness as there can be with the other major North American sports that operate on a daily schedule because there is only so much one can do in a single day.


NFL Point Spread

If you had to rank or make a list of the most popular football wagers, the point spread would have to come in at the top. All football fans/bettors believe they have more of a grasp on the general question(s) of what team will win and by how many, as opposed to the total points scored, which effectively can be a bit more random. Point spread wagers are where everyone likes to concentrate their attention first.


NFL Over-Under

How Do You Bet On Football Games Online

The total, or over-under, for a football game would have to be classified as next on the popularity list, as it is a wager where you can find a bit more of an edge over the oddsmaker if you are confident in what your handicapping process entails for totals. Yes, the total points scored can be considered a bit more random then the eventual winner of the game, but it's over-under numbers that see more movement on the whole each week leading up to a weekend of football action because bettors everywhere believe their data models etc give them a significant edge at certain numbers and don't hesitate to exploit them when available.


NFL Money Line

Can I Bet On Nfl Games Online

Money line bets in football are those where bettors can eliminate the second half of the questions regarding what football team will win and by how much. The “how much” doesn't matter at all in money line plays and oddsmakers price them accordingly. A bettor will have to put up much more money to win say $100 on the ML for a team that's got a -10 number beside their name on the point spread as opposed to a -3 favorite. But that's the price some are willing to pay to avoid getting burned by the 'winning by how much' question.


How Do I Bet Football Parlays

Speaking of money line wagers in football, one of the most common forms of getting a bulk of money line wagers is to have a few of them parlayed together. Betting football parlays is relatively simple in that you need at least two games to make a parlay, and whether or not you chose to use the money lines, point spreads, totals, or any combination of those three is completely up to the bettor.

An example of a football parlay would go like this: Say you believe the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are both going to win their respective matchups on Sunday. This would be where you are using money line prices only and not concerned with the point spread or over/under for the games.

New England has a money line price of -200 while Denver has a money line price of -150. Bet separately, a bettor would have to put up $200 to win $100 on New England and $150 to win $100 on Denver, but combining the two teams in a money line (aka ML) parlay would have those odds multiplied together. In turn that creates a +150 price overall, and now a single $100 bet would end up potentially paying out $150 in profit for the bettor. However, both teams have to win their games, otherwise the parlay wager is a loser. That's the risk you take with parlays.


What are NFL Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for proposition, are bets that are essentially on anything and everything not specifically related to overall result of who wins and loses. That's not entirely true on specifics, but that's also part of a discussion for another day.

In general proposition bets cover things like statistical results for players – how many completions will a QB have, how many catches or receiving yards will a player have, or even how many points a field goal kicker will account for in a game. The list for what's offered in prop wagers for a specific football game is extremely long at sportsbooks, far too long to fully get into here, but if football bettors come to them with a fantasy football background they are much more easily digested. Prop betting is a market that's picked up exponential interest in recent years on online betting sites because the numbers oddsmakers typically put out are believed to be more beatable, but again, it takes plenty of time and research to feel completely comfortable in what you're doing with them. For example, you can place an NFL prop bet on Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper to have over 8.5 catches on Sunday Night Football against the New York Giants. NFL Prop bets allow the game to remain entertaining even when the score is lopsided.


NFL Teasers

Teasers are another popular football bet where NFL bettors can essentially manipulate the point spread and/or over-under line to a more favorable number for their selection. Sportsbooks offer NFL teasers in a variety of point ranges – as even buying a half-point on a spread is a form of a teaser, but in general, 6, 6.5, 7 and 10-point teasers are offered.

Depending on the range a bettor selects – say a 6-point teaser – lines are then manipulated plus or minus 6 points for the bettor depending on what team/side they like. If the New England Patriots were a -7 favorite against Buffalo and you wanted to use a 6-point teaser on them, the new point spread would be New England -1 (moving 6 points lower), whereas if you liked the underdog Buffalo Bills instead in that game, the teased line would then be Buffalo +13 (moving 6 points higher. Teasers do also function like parlays in the sense that you've got to have at least two teased options to make a single teaser.


NFL Live Betting and In-Game Wagering

Many bettors and oddsmakers alike believe that live betting and in-game wagering is the future of sports betting on the whole, and with football betting being the biggest piece of the sports betting pie, live betting football games can be quite thrilling and profitable all at once.

How it works is exactly as the name suggests, as point spreads, totals, and money line prices (among numerous other things including prop bets) are offered throughout each game and before each play. Prices reflect the current score at the time and who has the football and where on the field, so if a pre-game favorite finds themselves in an early hole on the scoreboard, you can rightfully assume that that team is getting at least some support on the ML or new point spreads in live betting offerings.

How Can I Bet On Football Games Online

Super Bowl 54 that saw the Kansas City Chiefs come back in the 2nd half to the beat San Francisco 49ers saw plenty of in-game wagering overall, as bettors who believed the Chiefs would ultimately come back did not hesitate to get as good as underdog price on the ML as they could with Kansas City when they were trailing.

With the way that data is consumed instantly these days, in-game wagering is offered on all NFL games each week and the majority of college football games as well. So whether it's Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, or just a typical Sunday afternoon of following a full slate of football, live betting is something that every bettor should be willing to add to their toolbox as a handicapper.


NFL 1st half and 2nd half bets

These NFL bets are rather self explanatory as well, as they are just point spreads, totals, and money line prices for the respect 30 minutes of play they are titled as. Generally speaking (although it's by no means exactly how they work) 1st half bets are the full game numbers cut in half, give or take a point or so. So a full game line of New England Patriots -7 with a total of 48.5 would see 1st half lines of New England -3.5 or -4, with a 1st half total likely somewhere around 23.5 to 24.5.

2nd half bets are a bit of a different beast as they have to account for what's happened in the first 30 minutes so far and adjust accordingly to what was listed pre-game as well.


Other Football Leagues in United States and North America

XFL Football

XFL Football returned in 2020 before being shutdown like every other sporting event in the spring because of world events, but in the short time XFL action was on the football field, it had plenty of sports from football bettors everywhere. The success in that market proves just how much bettors love to bet on the game of football regardless of the league, and with the XFL coming back for 2021, and the league's initiative to welcome sports betting talk and referencing with open arms, there is likely tremendous growth in store for XFL betting markets in the future.

Canadian Football

Canadian Football (aka the CFL) has a few key rule differences to that of the NFL/NCAA football, but it's still the same game out there on the gridiron and can still be bet on accordingly. Given scoring and rule differences – like the XFL – key betting numbers in terms of the point spread and over-under lines are a little different, but CFL betting lines aren't nearly as obsessed over NFL/NCAAF lines are for oddsmakers and if you are able and willing to put in the time, CFL profits can be just as green for your bankroll's bottom line.