As well as being the biggest show in sport, the NFL is the biggest show in gambling. There are more new accounts opened with sports-books at the start of the NFL season than at any other time of the year. Each and every game in the NFL features a wide variety of betting, and here you’ll see a round-up of all the popular bet types.
NFL Betting – The Point Spread
This is the most popular bet on any NFL game and is also known as line betting or sides. Each game will have a favorite and an underdog, and the sportsbook will decide by how many points the favored team should win by. You are then betting on whether the favorite will win by more than that number of points, or whether they’ll win by less or the other team wins. Here is an example:
Dolphins +4.5 -110
Bills -4.5 -110
Here, the odds makers have decided that the Bills should be considered the favorites by 4.5 points. If you place a bet on the Bills here, they’d have to win by more five or more points for you to win, a $110 wager seeing you win $100. A bet on the Dolphins will see you win if either the Dolphins win, or if they lose by four or less points – once again $110 will win you $100 here.
NFL Betting – Totals
When betting on the totals you are trying to predict whether there will be more or less points than the line published by the sportsbook. The total relates to the total amount of points in the game by both teams combined – so if the Seahawks beat the Cowboys 34-17, this will total 51 points. Here is an example of a totals bet in action:
Over 49.5 -110
Under 49.5 -110
Here if you were to back either over or under you’d win $100 for your $110 wager.
Money Line Betting on the NFL
The money line bet is simply a bet on which team will win the game. This market differs from the point spread and the totals bet in that the odds change here, as opposed to the line in the other two markets. Here is an example:
New York Giants +250
Green Bay Packers -300
Money line bets will see both much shorter and longer odds than other markets, depending how favored one team is over the other. Here, if you backed the Packers you’d need to wager $300 to win just $100. However, by backing the Giants for $100 you’d win $250. As you can see from the payouts, the Packers are heavy favorites here.
Point spread, totals and money line bets are all expressed in relation to bet sizes of $100, however that doesn’t mean you have to wager that amount – you can bet much less or much more, and you’ll be paid out on a pro rata basis. As an example, in the money line example above, a wager of $10 on the Giants would see you win $25.
Betting NFL Teasers
Teasers are a variety of both the point spread and the totals where you can change the line in your favor. As an example, you see the Vikings are -8.5 in their upcoming game – with a teaser you’ll be able to change that line in your favor. A popular teaser amount is six points, so you’ll be able to back the Vikings at -2.5. This means that instead of the Vikings having to win by nine or more, now they’ll only have to win by three or more. However, this comes at a cost, and the odds you’ll receive are much lower. Teaser bets can be placed in parlays of two or more selections – and the odds you’ll receive will be listed on the sports-book.
Betting NFL Futures
As well as the individual game bets, you’ll also be able to have season long bets. The most popular of these bets is on the destination of the Vince Lombardi Trophy – outright Super Bowl betting running into millions of dollars a year. Other Futures bets you’ll be able to have are the winners of the American and National Conferences, as well as bets on each of the individual divisions.