A Complete Guide to Online Football Betting

The NFL is by far the most popular sport to bet on in America. Learning about online football betting might be confusing at first, as phrases like moneyline parlays and 1st half alternative spreads aren’t discussed during television broadcasts, but once you get a hang of it, it’s actually quite simple. We will break down these terms and others to give you the basics to help get you in on the action.

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When looking to get started on NFL betting, the first thing you need to find a sportsbook. In the chart below, we have several online betting sites that our experts written sportsbook reviews for, and recommended to our readers. Choosing an online NFL sportsbook is a personal decision as there a few factors that go into picking the right book for you. We recommend looking at features like welcome bonuses, mobile capability, and the variety of betting options. The goal of our NFL guide is to help you learn how to bet on football.

Online Football Betting Options

online football betting

NFL Point Spread

An NFL point spread is set by the sportsbook and is the number of points that one team is favored by in a given football game. For a bet on the favorite team to payout, they must win the game by more than this number. This is referred to as covering the spread. For a bet on the underdog to win, the team must either win the game straight-up or lose by fewer points than the spread. The amount of bets made on one team or the other can move a point spread off one number and onto another.

For example, if the Seattle Seahawks were -1.5-point favorites over the Dallas Cowboys and won by two or more points, they would have covered the spread. If the Seahawks beat Dallas 30-29, the Cowboys would cover the spread as they lost the game by fewer than 1.5 points.

NFL Moneyline

An NFL moneyline is a bet on who is going to win the game, regardless of the points spread – this is the easiest form of betting on the NFL because you’re simply picking the winner. It doesn’t matter if they win by 30 points or one point. The payouts for moneyline bets depend on who the favorite is and who the underdog is. The underdog will always offer a higher payout due to being viewed by oddsmakers as the inferior team.

For example, if the Green Bay Packers have odds of -250 on the moneyline against the New York Giants, a bettor would earn a profit of $40 based on a $100.00 wager. If the Giants were +200 to beat the Packers, you’d see a profit of $200 based on a $100 bet. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

Totals

NFL totals are commonly referred to as over/under bets and are wagers made on the total amount of points scored in the game by both teams. Totals bets are not dependent on who actually wins the game.

For example, if the Packers and the Giants have a total set at 47.5 for their game, and the Packers win 29-20, for a total combined score of 49, it would mean the total went over.

Just because you see a game with two high-octane offenses doesn’t mean you should blindly bet the over. NFL linemakers know that offensively powerful teams can score a lot of points, so they make the total intentionally high. The same goes on the other side of the ball with defensive-minded teams. NFL totals typically range from the high-’30s to the mid-’50s.

NFL Live Betting

Just because an NFL game has started, doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance to get more bets in. In recent years, NFL betting sites have become more mobile-friendly and, and the mobile sportsbooks are extremely useful to live betting. If you are NFL live betting, you can bet spreads, moneylines, totals, and props. The NFL live betting options are limitless and fun. You can make fun NFL prop bets, like how will this drive end or more complex bets like 4th quarter alternative lines.

NFL Parlays

An NFL parlay bet is when you place two or more connected bets. In order to win your wager, all your bets must win. They can include spreads, moneylines, totals, futures or even other sports. The upside to parlay bets is they have larger payouts when they hit. On the downside, they are much more difficult to hit as you need to get all your bets to hit.

Types of NFL Bets
  • Point Spread
  • Moneyline
  • Totals
  • LIVE Betting
  • Parlays
  • Futures
  • Prop Bets

NFL Futures

Who is going to win the Super Bowl next year? Or NFL MVP? Now you can make these types of wagers during the offseason or at any point during the regular season. There is real money to be made here and it’s always fun to predict the winner so early in the season. The downside to futures is they tie up your bankroll for an extended period. If you place a wager on who will lead the league in receptions and you place that bet in June, that money is tied up for more than six months.

NFL Proposition / Prop Bets

NFL Propositions (props) are questions posed by NFL betting websites, based on events other than the result. Anything that can potentially happen on the sidelines can be turned into a prop. The main types of NFL props available are NFL game props, NFL team props, NFL player props, specials, and NFL season props. During the Super Bowl, props get wild. The length of the national anthem and the color of Gatorade poured on the winning coach are two common props offered by sports betting sites.

Online Football Betting Tips

These suggestions aren’t meant to be followed blindly; they’re meant to give new NFL bettors ideas of where to look for value.

  • Any time you see a road favorite of 10 points or more, take a closer look. Homefield advantage is a real thing in the NFL and it’s rare to see a team lose by double digits at home. Generally, there is more value available betting underdogs.
  • A general rule of thumb is to only use 2-5 percent of your bankroll on any one bet. If your bankroll is $100.00, the most you would want to bet on a single game is $5.00. Managing your cash responsibly helps keep you in the game longer and stops you from chasing losses with bigger bets.
  • West coast teams playing an early Sunday morning game on the East coast. Whether it’s the plane ride or the early start time, West Coast teams have traditionally struggled to cover when traveling east. This is something to look at particularly in the second half of the season when teams are injured and fatigue set in.

NFL Betting Glossary

 

NFL Betting Term Definition
Slip / Ticket another word for bet slip in which your wager is printed on
Point Spread a type of bet where one team must win by a certain amount of points or the other team must lose within a certain number of points. For example, Browns (-7) vs Jets (+7) means the Browns must win by more than 7 points to win or the Jets must lose by fewer than 7 points or win outright. If the final score is Browns 28 Jets 21, the bet is a PUSH.
Push a sports betting term for a tie and wagers are returned to the player
Moneyline (ML) another term for an outright win sports bet. When betting the moneyline you believe one of the two teams (or player) will win the event.
Point Total (Total)  also know as an Over / Under bet, is one when you must guess whether the total points scored will be over or under a certain number
Parlay a multi-game, multi-event bet, in which 2-or-more wagers must be correct in order for the ticket to cash. Because you are betting on more results to happen successfully, parlay bets often enjoy great odds than single bets.
Teaser similar to a parlay, a teaser contains multiple event bets where the point spread and/or totals can be adjusted by “buying” points.

An example of this would be a 2-team, 6-point teaser where the Browns are originally -6 (6-point favorites, must win by 7) and Seahawks are -3 (3-point favorites, must by 4), but with the 6-point teaser, you move the spread to Browns (EVEN, all they need to do is win) and Seahawks (+3, they can win or lose by 2 or 1) and still win the bet.

Juice / Vig is another term for cost of placing a bet and is easier to show an example than define. When you look at a moneyline bet on an oddsboard, it’ll look something like: Bills -125 Jets +120
Prop / Proposition Bet – these typically have to do with a certain player or team achieving a certain goal threshold within an event. An example of a prop bet would be Todd Gurley OVER/UNDER 65 rushing yards against the Seahawks.
Specials an off-shoot of prop bets, specials are unique to a certain time frame. For example, during MLB playoffs, who will score more points/runs, the Redskins or Nationals?
Exotic as the name indicates, exotics are another form of prop bet that gets a little weird sometimes. For example, what will happen first Philip Rivers delivers their next baby or Rivers decides to retire?
1Q/1H/2Q/2H/3Q/4Q shorthand for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th quarter and 1st and 2nd half bets
Tilting when you start betting with uncontrollable emotion

NFL Football Online Betting FAQ