Introduction to Betting on the NFL

Introduction to betting on the NFL

Most Common NFL Bets

There are loads of ways to bet on the NFL, with markets from everything from the time of the first points to whether a PAT will be missed. Some of the more popular NFL markets include:

Money Line

The simplest way to bet on the NFL is the money line - and it is the easiest type of bet to understand and get started with. With the money line, we are betting on which team we think will win the game - and it’s as simple as that. If the team you bet on wins, then your bet wins as well.

Point Spread

Point spreads have always been a popular way to bet on all sports in America and football is no different. With the spread, the bookmaker is attempting to level the playing field by adding a points handicap to one of the teams before the game has started. The aim is to create a handicap which makes both teams equally likely to win once it has been applied. In order for you to win your bet, the team you select has to either win by more than the spread or lose by less than it.

For example, in a game between Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles and the lowly Cleveland Browns, the Eagles will, of course, go into the game as strong favorites. The bookmaker will create a spread to even the game, which could be by as much as 13.5 points. Essentially we are then deciding if the Eagles will win by two touchdowns or more or by a smaller margin. If the Eagles win by more than 14 points, then the Eagles -13.5 would be the winning bet. If the Browns win, or lose by 13 points or less, then the Browns +13.5 would be the winner.

Point spreads can, therefore, make even the more one-sided games interesting from a betting point of view.

Game Totals

If you aren’t quite as confident as to how well one team or the other will perform, then game totals can be another useful market to look at. Here, we aren’t relying on either team playing particularly well (or badly), and are instead taking an overall look at how high- or low-scoring a game will be. The bookmakers will set a line based on the average number of points they would expect from a game, and our decision is whether the game will have over or under that number of points. In addition to game totals, we can find these kinds of “over/under” bets on an individual team’s points, a player’s rushing, receiving or passing yards, or even the number of penalty yards in the game.

The NFL Season

The NFL season is very different from most other sports in its scheduling but does follow a similar pattern in its structure.


After a long summer away, it takes a while to dust off the cobwebs for coaches and players alike. Before the real action begins, each team will go through training camps and some pre-season exhibition games. Training camps usually begin in July, with exhibitions following throughout August and early September. These help the coaches to get their top players fit, as well as work out how to fill up their hefty rosters going into the season.

Regular Season

The season begins in September, with games played each week on Thursday and Monday nights, as well as the traditional Sundays. Each team plays 15 games in the regular season, including facing off against their divisional rivals both at home and on the road. Each team also has a bye week at some point, meaning the regular season lasts for 16 weeks in total. It is vastly different from other sports like basketball and baseball, with far fewer games played during the regular season.

The NFL is split into the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference is split into four divisions (north, east, south, and west). Twelve teams make it through to the playoffs - the eight division winners, as well as four “wildcard” teams - two from each conference, who are the sides with the best records without winning their division.


The best twelve teams in the NFL advance to the playoffs and continue to have hopes of winning the Super Bowl.

The playoffs start with the wildcard round, where the two teams in each conference to have qualified through the wildcards face off against the two divisional winners with the worst records. The two division winners in each conference with the best records get a bye. The winners of the wildcard round advance to the divisional round and face the two higher-seeded divisional winners for a place in the conference finals. The conference finals decide the winners of the AFC and the NFC and, more importantly, who will play in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl

Surely the biggest single event in the world of sports, the Super Bowl is watched by hundreds of millions around the world every year. The winners write themselves into the history books as the world champions, becoming almost instant legends of the game. In addition to the action itself, the halftime show draws plenty of attention with big stars appearing in recent years, making the Super Bowl an occasion that cannot be missed.

NFL Betting Tips

Football is a game of fine margins, and making money from your NFL betting is similar. In order to come out on top, there are a number of factors you need to consider before wagering your money.

Football is an ever-changing game and like most sports, the draft system allows the weaker teams from one year to strengthen with the best players out of college. That means that we often see a number of teams who struggled in the last season reaching the playoffs and even winning the Super Bowl the next year or the year after. Before the start of the season, don’t necessarily underestimate those that struggled the season before.

The small number of games played by each team also makes a big difference to the Super Bowl chances of each team. The strength of schedule of each team varies dramatically from year to year, and so it is well worth having a look at who is playing whom before betting on an eventual Super Bowl winner.

Looking game to game, the most important aspects that you can look at to get an edge are injury reports and statistics. Football is the most physical of games, and injuries happen all the time. When those injuries happen to big players, it makes a huge difference to the chances of a team. Being one of the first to know about injury updates can give you a head start when it comes to making money out of your NFL betting.

Looking at statistics is just as important - by having a good idea of how a team is performing in various statistics, we’re better placed to make decent bets on markets such as game totals and player markets like totals for rushing and receiving yards.

Just as important as all of this, though, is choosing the best bookmaker for your NFL betting, so make sure to only use the best as chosen by the team at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites.


About the Author

Dan Bradley

Ever since he was 6 years old and made the fatal mistake of asking his Dad, "What's that on the TV?", Dan has been engrossed by football, and many other sports have since had a similar impact on him. Dan has been blogging and writing about sport for the last few years, usually looking at things from the perspective of a bettor, but most of all as a true sports fanatic. From golf to ten pin bowling: You name it, Dan’ll have an opinion on it.



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