With the NFL playoffs taking center stage until the middle of February, no doubt you are seeing all kinds of information about the games, the teams, the NFL odds, and the favorites to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.
If you are a regular sport bettor, you have almost certainly placed a wager or two on the NFL. But if you are new to sports betting, or want to give it a try now that it is legal in your state, you’ll find that the NFL is the most popular sport for wagering for a reason – it’s fun and easy to understand.
As a non-bettor, putting money down on any sport can be a little intimidating. The terminology, understanding how odds work, and the wide variety of available bets, can keep some people from ever giving it a try. But with a few simple tips, the mystery of betting on sports, and specifically the NFL, is solved.
How NFL Betting Works
The simplest of the NFL bets that you can place is the moneyline bet.
You are betting on the winner of the game, regardless of the margin of victory, and you get paid based on the odds of the team you wagered. If you bet on the favorite, a winning bet pays on negative odds (-150 as an example), and if you bet on the underdog, a winning bet pays on positive odds (+150 as an example).
The above odds mean that if you bet $15 on the favorite, you will win $10. If you bet $10 on the underdog, you will win $15.
The other main type of NFL bet is a point spread bet. Instead of betting on the winner of the game, you are betting on a margin of victory, and whether you think the favorite will cover the assigned point spread. It sounds more complicated than it is.
If the favorite is favored to win the game by 7.5 points, they win the bet with any win of eight points or higher. The underdog wins the bet if they lose by seven points or less, or win the game.
A point spread bet typically pays the same odds on either side, with the point spread moving one way or the other to keep the betting even.
Other NFL Betting Types
If you’re new to NFL betting, make sure you get your feet wet with a moneyline or point spread bet. A few bets there will go a long way in preparing you for the other types of NFL betting. But once you have a little experience and begin to feel more comfortable, you can graduate to slightly more complicated betting.
Parlays are one way to go, and are very popular among NFL bettors because of the increase in potential winnings. You can combine multiple bets into a single bet, and if all of the bets win, you will win big.
Two-team parlays, all the way to a maximum of 10- and 12-team parlays – depending on the sportsbook’s rules – can be wagered, and possibly can be won. A word of caution however – as popular as parlays are with the players, they are even more popular with sportsbooks, because the vast majority of parlay bets lose.
In-game betting, or live betting, is also very popular among NFL bettors. These are bets placed on an NFL game after it has already begun. As the game plays out, the odds are always changing, new bets are allowed, and buy out options are presented.
It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s definitely for people who are more experienced bettors.
NFL Betting Advice
While most of the odds and point spreads will be close to the same from sportsbook to sportsbook, shopping for the best odds is always a good idea. An extra half-point can be the difference in winning a big bet, or losing one.
Put yourself on a betting budget, then stick to it. Never bet money you can’t afford to lose, and never chase your losses by placing a bet you wouldn’t normally make.
When researching which teams to wager on, always check the latest injury reports, and don’t put too much of emphasis on home field advantage. In the 2021 season the home teams finished 137-134-1.