When it comes to betting on sports, nothing is bigger than the NFL. Online sports betting across a number of sportsbooks or private bookmakers has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry over the past several years and the majority of all the action that these betting outlets handle still revolves around the National Football League.
Sports betting on the NFL is a full 365-day cycle starting just days after that season’s Super Bowl in early February with a fresh set of NFL futures odds for each team’s chance to win a world title the following season. The excitement builds throughout the offseason with the addition of more futures odds and prop bets being added to the board all the way up to the Hall of Fame Game in early August, which signifies the start of a five-week preseason.
Once those exhibition games are finally out of the way, it is time to get serious about betting on the NFL starting with Week 1 of a 17-week regular season. This is followed by three postseason rounds of games leading all the way up to the next Super Bowl.
Finding ways to bet on the NFL is easy; developing a betting strategy that keeps your betting bankroll in the black from one Super Bowl to the next is a whole other story. Starting with the basics, there are basically three different ways to place a straight bet on a single NFL game using a pointspread, total line or moneyline.
The pointspread is the most common betting line used to wager on an NFL game. The Oddsmakers will release the spreads for all the games on the coming week’s schedule about seven days in advance.
The spread in any NFL game is designed to direct betting dollars evenly to either side of a bet. It is not a prediction for the actual margin of victory. Most of the spreads follow the various scoring increments in NFL games such as three points for a field goal, seven points for a touchdown and extra point conversion and 10 points for a combination of the two. Half points are added to most spreads in order to rule out a tie or a PUSH on a game.
When you bet on the favorite in a NFL game you are ‘giving’ the points, meaning that your team has to win that game by more points than the actual spread. Betting on the underdog in a NFL game means you are ‘taking’ the points. In this scenario, you team has to lose by fewer points than the actual spread or win the game outright. Pointspreads are not set in stone when released and they will move accordingly throughout the week based on the early betting money coming into the sportsbooks.
The total line bet in NFL games revolves around the combined final score of a particular game. Actual total line numbers can vary from the mid-30s up to as high as 60 in a typical range of values. With this type of NFL bet, you are picking between the OVER on the set number or the UNDER. There are a number of different factors that go into setting a total line, but as a general rule, the betting public tends to favor high-scoring games by leaning towards the OVER bet in most games.
The final bet is the NFL moneyline, which creates a risk/reward scenario in a straight-up result. If you bet the favorite, your risk factor increases in terms of the money owed on a lost bet. A moneyline of -135 would mean that you would owe $135 on $100 if the favorite loses the game. In that same example, the reward for betting the underdog to win the game outright might pay $125 on an $100 bet they pull off the SU upset. The most you would risk losing on an underdog in this case would be $100 or the original value of your bet.
You can also consider teasers and pleasers. These are a little more advanced, but I explained them here at How to Bet On Sports | Teasers and Pleasers.