Football Betting: How to Bet on Football the Right Way
• Sports Betting
Football Betting: How to Bet on Football the Right Way
Football is one of the biggest spectator sports in the US, and so it is no surprise that football betting is also one of the most popular pastimes. It certainly provides plenty of action. The NFL alone gives fans 256 games with multiple betting opportunities in the space of just 17 weeks. Check our NFL predictions for every single week and you will get the cream of the crop. Add in the action provided by college football and other leagues, and football betting fans have plenty of opportunities to make money.
Of course, opportunities alone aren’t enough to make you successful in the world of football betting. If you want to make money from this hobby, you need to know which opportunities are worth focusing on and how to bet on football in a way that helps you make the most of them.
In this How To Bet guide, we will teach you how to bet on football games like a pro. The main topics that we’ll cover here are:
Football betting is all about placing bets on the outcome of football games, and you can't do that just anywhere. The options you have will depend on where you live, as each state has its own laws. Countries outside the US will also have their own regulations and restrictions. With that caveat in mind, here are the main ways in which you can participate in American football betting.
These are physical locations that you can visit in order to place your football bets in person. Here in the US, you'll find sportsbook facilities in many of the most popular casino venues. So if you have a land-based casino nearby you could check to see if that's the case there. In other countries, such as the UK, there are plenty of 'betting shops' that make in-person football betting just as easy for those who know how to bet on NFL and other football games.
One of the most common ways of football betting these days is with an online sportsbook. These are linked to land-based casinos and allow you to place your bets by visiting a dedicated website from the comfort and convenience of your own home. You'll need an account with your chosen online sportsbook, but when you have that you only have to log in, make your selection, and place your bet. Having said that, not all states allow online sportsbooks to operate, so take a look at our state pages to see what the situation is where you are.
A mobile sportsbook is basically an online sportsbook that you can access to bet on football games using your smartphone. Most online sportsbooks offer mobile apps that are specifically designed for this purpose. The advantage of mobile sportsbooks is that they allow you to participate in football betting when you're out and about. This way you won't need to wait until you get home to your desktop or laptop.
Football Betting: National Football League (NFL)
The National Football League is the most popular sports league in the United States. It is also the one that most inspires people to learn how to bet on football online and how to make accurate nfl predictions. The regular season begins in September and runs through to December. During this time each of the 32 teams will play 16 games each. When those 256 games have been played, 14 teams compete in the NFL Playoffs, which run through to the end of January.
Football Betting: Super Bowl
Many people want to know how to bet on football so that they can bet on the Super Bowl. This is the championship game of the NFL and takes place on the first Sunday in February. It is widely regarded as being one of the biggest sporting events (and one of the biggest online football betting events) of the year. More football betting is done on the Super Bowl each year than on any other sporting event. You can therefore look forward to seeing sportsbooks competing hard for your business when you know how to bet on football online.
Football Betting: NFL Pro Bowl
The NFL Pro Bowl is the ‘All-Star Game’ of the NFL that is held once each year in Orlando, Florida. And it's another event that makes people want to know how to bet on football. The NFL Pro Bowl is played at the end of January, roughly one week before the annual Super Bowl. When you know how to bet on football online this game is even more exciting.
Football Betting: NCAA College Football
Online football betting on college football games is a close second to betting on the NFL in America. College football games are usually played on Saturdays, and conference rivalries can intensify the action considerably. When you know how to bet on football games in general terms, the world of college football betting will also be open to you.
Football Betting: NCAA Bowl Games
The college bowl season kicks off in mid-December and wraps up with the National Championship Game in mid-January. More than 40 bowl games are played, making them very popular events for online football betting purposes.
How to Bet on Football Moneylines
A moneyline bet is the simplest type of online football betting market that allows you to bet on football games. All that is required here is for you to correctly predict which of the two participating teams will win the game outright.
The odds offered by the sportsbook for each team will depend on who they believe has the greatest chance of winning.
Odds for the favorite will be quoted as a negative (-) figure. You would need to bet that sum in order to win a $100 profit.
Odds for the underdog will be quoted as a positive (+) figure. You would need to bet $100 to win the stated figure in profit.
American Football Moneyline Betting
The Bears are the favorites in this game, whilst Denver are the underdogs.
If you think the Bears will win, you would need to bet $135 to get $235 back, giving you a $100 profit.
If you think that the Broncos will win, you would need to bet $100 to get $225 back, giving you a $125 profit.
When you're learning how to bet on football you'll often hear people mention the point spread of a football game. They are almost certainly referring to spread betting.
Here the sportsbook sets a spread that reflects its assessment of how likely each team is to win.
The team that the sportsbook thinks is most likely to win will be quoted with a negative figure. The team that the sportsbook thinks is most likely to lose will be quoted with a positive figure.
Consider this example:
American Football Spreads Example
Here the sportsbook thinks that the Chicago Bears are the most likely to win the game. We know that because they are quoted at -6.5 points.
Similarly, the Denver Broncos are viewed as the underdogs, and we know that because they are quoted at +6.5 points.
If you bet on the Bears, the sportsbook will deduct 6.5 points from their score before assessing your bet. That means they will have to win by a margin of 7 points or more for your bet to win.
If you bet on the Broncos, the sportsbook will add 6.5 points to their score before assessing your bet. That means that Broncos don’t actually have to win the game for your bet to win. They simply have to avoid losing by more than 6 points. Of course, if they win, even better!
An over/under bet (also known as a ‘total bet’) requires you to predict whether the total number of points scored in a particular game will be over or under the number stated by the sportsbook. If you predict correctly, your bet will win.
This is a common way to bet on football games. It is popular because it gives you the chance to focus on something other than the winner and loser.
Sportsbooks will usually offer odds at -110 for both sides of an over/under bet. This means that you would need to bet $110 on your prediction to get $210 back if you win.
Take a look at the following example:
Chicago Bears vs. Denver Broncos
Over 42.5 Points
Under 42.5 Points
American Football Over/Under Betting
In this scenario, if you think that the total number of points scored in the game will be 43 or more, you would bet Over 42.5. Conversely, if you think that the total number of points scored will be 42 or less, you would bet Under 42.5.
A futures bet concerns an event that won't take place for some time but is instead scheduled for a specific date in the future. An obvious example of a futures bet is when you place a bet on the Super Bowl at the very beginning of the NFL season. The event you are betting on is months away, so you've effectively made a futures bet.
Futures bets are made and settled in exactly the same way as regular bets. The big difference is that the outcome of a future event is usually much harder to predict (because you might not even know who will be playing in the Super Bowl, for example) and that means you'll get much more generous odds than on a game taking place during the coming weekend.
Football Betting on Parlays
Football betting fans who want to bet on several games will sometimes do so via something called a parlay bet. This is a wager that covers several events, and you need all of those events to result as predicted for the bet to win. The odds paid will be equal to the odds of all the individual events multiplied together, so the appeal of a parlay is the fact that it can potentially deliver a hefty payout for a relatively small stake. That said, do note that if even one of your predictions fails, the whole parlay bet will lose. You must also know that there are sportsbooks which offer the possibility of a same game parlay. This is recommended for bettors who envision the way a given football game develops.
Football Betting on Teasers and Pleasers
Teasers and pleasers are parlay bets that allow you to shift the point spread in your favor or the sportsbook's favor, respectively. Shift the spread in your favor with a teaser and you'll have a better chance of landing the bet, but the online football betting odds will be lower as a result. Shift the odds in the favor of the sportsbook with a pleaser and you'll have a greater chance of losing the bet, but the odds will be even bigger if you still manage to succeed.
Wagering on Prop Bets
There is more to a football game than who wins and who loses, and prop bets allow you to bet on some of the more incidental things that happen along the way. Football betting fans can therefore wager for instance on which team will score first, which player will score the first touchdown, or at which point in the game, the first touchdown will be made.
Prop betting markets can often be offered just for fun, and this is especially the case in particularly big events. For example, when the Super Bowl comes around you will be able to make prop bets about how long the singing of the National Anthem will take, or what color Gatorade will be poured over the coach of the winning team when the game is over.
How to Bet on Football: In-Play Betting
Live or ‘in-play football betting markets have become extremely popular in the US, especially when it comes to online football betting. When you know how to bet on football you'll be able to participate in these markets without difficulty.
As the term suggests, these markets allow you to enjoy American football betting live, as they are being played, and they are offered by most of the major sportsbooks.
You won’t have much time to do any research when you bet on football games with in-play betting, and you will have to make quick decisions. However, if you can keep a cool head and learn to handle the pressure, live online football betting markets will give you the chance to cash in on every twist and turn of the game, as it happens.
You can enjoy American football betting in a variety of places, but online sportsbooks are the most convenient for many bettors. The basic principles of how to bet on football apply no matter where you bet.
Which are the Best Online Football Betting Sites?
The site launched in 2009 and quickly emerged as one of the leading daily fantasy sports providers in the country. This New York-based company has transitioned into the sportsbook industry over the last few years and is one of the best bookmakers in the United States.
BetMGM is a company that is one of the top online gambling providers in the US. They are one of the biggest competitors in the sports betting industry as well.
Caesars Sportsbook is one of the top American sportsbooks on the market. They specialize in live-betting, the app and website are constantly updating during NFL games to supply the best possible odds.
Betting with Online Sportsbooks
As you can see, online football betting opportunities are everywhere when you look for them. But how exactly do you start betting with online sportsbooks? Fortunately, it's much easier than many people think. Online sportsbooks are designed to be as easy and intuitive to use as possible, so all you have to do is sign up for an account, deposit some funds to bet with and then explore the American football betting markets that are available.
When you've found a betting market that you're interested in, click the outcome that you want to bet on and it will be added to a virtual betting slip. Enter the amount of money that you want to bet and then submit the bet.
Betting with online sportsbooks really is as easy as that, but here are a couple of additional tips that we'd also like to share with you:
Grab Available Bonuses
Almost all online sportsbooks offer bonuses for new bettors, but in many cases, you will need to deliberately claim such bonuses by providing a bonus code when you sign up or make your first deposit. Always check for bonuses before signing up so that you can grab them while they're hot. If you don't, you could miss out on something of genuine value.
Join Multiple Sportsbooks
Those of you who live in a state where there are two or more legal online sportsbooks operating should consider joining multiple sportsbooks. Not only will that allow you to take advantage of bonuses offered by each sportsbook you join, but you'll also have a greater choice of markets and odds when you come to make your bets.
Football Betting: How to Bet on Football and Win
Your quest to know how football betting works is progressing nicely. You are now aware which leagues, events, and betting markets to focus on, so all you need to know now is how to pick football winners.
Many football betting fans don’t make any serious effort here, preferring to simply bet on their favorite team no matter what the odds, or to deliberately side with the underdogs in the hope of getting lucky at a big price.
Unfortunately, neither of those approaches will help you to successfully bet on football games on anything close to a consistent basis. But what can help you to win at football betting is study and research. You must regularly check high authority information sources in order to construct a smart winning strategy.
If you’re a true fan of the sport then this won’t be at all tedious, because all you need to do is take a look at are a handful of key factors that are known to have some influence on the outcome of a football game. Factors that we recommend looking at include:
Team Activity and Schedule
Recent Form and Performance Stats
Fitness and Injuries
Predicted Weather Conditions
Of these factors, recent form, performance stats, and team fitness (or injuries) are generally most useful in making a sound prediction for a bet on football games. ESPN is another one of the great sources that can give you an edge when wagering on football.
Football Betting Form Study Example
To give you an example of how recent form can be used to help you bet more effectively, consider a hypothetical game that will be played by the Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos.
We can begin by looking at how these teams have fared in the past, both generally and when playing each other. Look at which team seems to be in the best form in recent weeks, look at how many points each team has scored in their last half-dozen matches, and look at the size of their winning and/or losing margins.
That done, you can turn your attention to interviews with team managers, coaches, and players to get an insight into their attitude and confidence levels as they approach the coming game.
This is the kind of information that the sportsbooks use to come up with their own predictions. You can find most of it on the official NFL website. So spend a little time studying, form your own opinion about what you expect to happen and then look at what the online football betting markets have to offer.
If your football betting opinion turns out to be accurate then you could be just a bet or two from turning it into cash! And that, after all, is probably why you want to know how to bet on football online in the first place.
Common Mistakes in Football Betting
Not watching enough football
In order to increase your chances of your bet being successful, it is important to stay up to date with news and know-how teams play. Watching games and staying on top of the news will help you make better educated betting decisions.
Overreacting to or ignoring injuries
Football is filled with injuries, and the NFL has one of the highest injury rates among all sports (>75%) in the US. Since injuries are so common in football, it’s important not to get carried away when betting on football games. Good teams can still play well without a key player or two. On the other hand, if a good player and other players get injured at the same time, leaving the team significantly weakened, you don’t want to ignore the injury report.
Mismanaging your bankroll
Remember folks, bet with your head, and not with your heart. Before placing your first bet, make sure that you have enough money set aside to be used as your main bankroll.
The fastest way to lose your bankroll is poor planning. Don’t chase losses (bet more than you normally would) to make up for the losses. Don’t get greedy when on a winning streak.
Betting on your favorite team
Always look at football betting from an analytic standpoint. Many bettors fall into the trap of wagering on their beloved team, which makes you more susceptible to favoritism. This will make your bet on your favorite team despite what the odds, injuries, matchups, history, and many other factors are saying. The only way from here is losing.
Advice for New Bettors on How to Bet on Football
Before we leave you to begin football betting in earnest, we would like to provide some more general advice for those who are brand new to betting. All of the tips that follow apply to all kinds of sports betting, so bear them in mind and they will serve you well when you bet on football games or anything else.
Have a Bankroll - A bankroll is a sum of money that you only use to bet on football games. It should be a sum that you can comfortably afford to lose in a worst-case scenario, so never risk money that you need for any other purpose.
Smart Small - Shock wins and surprise losses can and do occur when you bet on football games, so never risk the entirety of your bankroll on one bet or even on one game. We would suggest risking no more than 5% of your bankroll on any given bet, and no more than 10% in total on any one game.
Keep Written Records - Wins are easy to remember, but losses are even easier to forget, and that can give you an inaccurate and misleading picture of how successful you are when you bet on football games. Knowing for a fact whether you are making profits or losses is essential to your progress as a bettor. So keep strict written records of every bet you place, the result of each bet, and the amount you win or lose.
Never Stop Learning - The more you learn about football betting, the more likely you are to succeed in the hobby. We would therefore encourage you to learn as much as you can and to continue doing so for as long as you enjoy the hobby.
How to Bet on Football FAQ
What are American Football Futures bets?
American football futures bets are ones that are placed on the outcome of an entire season, rather than on the outcome of a single game.
For example, if you think that a particular team will win the NFC, and that team is quoted at +500, you could bet $100 and collect $600 should they succeed.
Similarly, futures bets would allow you to bet on who you think will win the Super Bowl or receive the Associated Press award for the Most Valuable Player in the National Football League (NFL MVP).
How do you bet on football squares?
Football squares are commonly used for informal pool betting purposes in offices and other workplaces, especially in regards to the Super Bowl, in which case they are also known as Super Bowl Squares.
Bettors pay money to purchase a square on the board, and squares are normally selected for participants at random to keep things fair.
The player who has purchased the square containing the correct result at the end of the game wins an agreed prize.
Whilst betting on football squares can be fun, it isn’t an activity that has any merit for serious football bettors.
Is online betting offered with American Football?
Yes! Sportsbooks all over the country will offer online or mobile betting on American football. You do have to live in a state where online sports betting is legal, but that list continues to grow.
How does football betting work?
The good news for anyone wondering, ‘how does football betting work?’ is that it’s quite simple. You make a prediction about the outcome of a game, bet on that outcome and if your prediction is correct, the bet will win.
Of course, different markets have different requirements, as outlined in this guide. But that’s the short answer to the question, ‘How does football betting work?’
Where Can I Bet on American Football?
Football betting can be conducted at any traditional casino or sportsbook that is properly licensed for the state in which the betting takes place.
Sportsbooks all over the country also offer online betting on American football, although you do of course need to live in a state where online sports betting is legal to take advantage of those.
What are NFL props?
NFL props are bets on events that are not dependent on which team wins or the final score.
Most often they concern the performance of players during the game, such as whether or not a particular player will score a touchdown.
These are interesting bets to look at now and again, but they shouldn’t take your focus away from the main bet types that were defined earlier.
What is virtual football betting?
Virtual football betting is betting on a simulation of an American football game instead of a real one.