Over the past two decades, the NFL has emerged as one of the most popular major sports leagues in the world, with over 100 million Americans tuning in to watch annually as a Super Bowl champion is crowned.
While there is no shortage of rabid fans with a strong passion for the action on the gridiron, interest in the NFL is also stoked by a wide array of betting options that keep even casual NFL fans glued to their TVs and tablets on Sunday afternoons.
What is NFL Game Line Odds?
By far the most popular betting options available to fans of American football can be found on the game line odds. Moneyline betting, point spreads, and totals betting provide you with multiple ways to get in on the action in every game.
What is Moneyline Betting in NFL?
As in other North American major league sports, NFL moneyline wagering enables you to simply bet on the outright winner of an individual game, with the payout determined by moneyline odds.
In the example, below, the New England Patriots are listed as -135 favorites, which means you must wager $135 to win $100. Conversely, a successful $100 bet on Los Angeles will net you $115 in winnings if the Rams manage to come away with the outright win.
NFL Moneyline Betting Example (try SugarHouse sportsbook or Unibet)
New England Patriots -135
Los Angeles Rams +115
How Does Point Spread Betting in NFL Work?
While moneyline betting allows you to simply wager on which team will win an individual game, regardless of the margin of victory, point spread betting adds an important layer of complexity to your NFL betting experience by allowing you to bet on a team to win, or avoid losing, but a set number of points.
In the following example, the Patriots are listed as 2.5-point favorites, which means they must defeat the Rams by at least three points for a bet on them to be considered a winner. Accordingly, the Rams are listed as 2.5-point underdogs, which means they can lose the game by as many as two points and still reward sports bettors with a winning wager.
NFL Point Spread Betting Example (try William Hill sportsbook)
New England Patriots -2.5
Los Angeles Rams +2.5
In addition, the point spread acts as a great equalizer, particularly in matchups between good and bad teams. The point spread has also spawned interest in the NFL among fans who may not otherwise watch, but who are enticed to wager on games where they find perceived value, even if it’s not their favorite team.
Totals Betting in NFL: Rules & Strategy
NFL totals betting enables you to wager on the total number of points scored by both teams in an individual game, regardless of which team emerges as the game winner. In the following example, the total is set at 57.5 in a clash between the Patriots and Rams, enabling you to wager on the total points scored to be OVER or UNDER that number.
As with most other game line bets, the payout on totals betting is determined by moneyline odds. In this scenario, a successful $100 bet on the total finishing UNDER 57.5 will win you $105, while a successful bet on the OVER rewires you to wager $115 to win $100.
NFL Totals Betting Example (try bet365)
New England Patriots O 57.5 (-115)
Los Angeles Rams U 57.5 (+105)
In addition to wager on the point total for an entire game, first-half totals betting is also widely available, enabling you to lay some dollars down on how many points will be scored before halftime.
Parlays & Teasers in NFL Betting
Parlays and teasers add an intriguing layer of complexity to the NFL betting experience, and provide you with the opportunity to build your bankroll quickly while also reducing risk.
With a parlay bet, you can combine multiple game line wagers from multiple games on a single ticket, with the opportunity cash in on enhanced odds. But there is a catch. Every wager on your ticket must be a winner for your parlay to be declared a winner.
Teasers also enable you to combine multiple point spread or totals bets into a single ticket, but with an important difference. With a teaser bet, you have the power to adjust the point spread, typically by 6, 6.5, or 7 points, and point totals, by 6, 7, or 10 points, on as many as eight games.
Of course, the power to shift the betting line comes at the cost of reduced odds, with a two-team teaser paying on odds as short as -110, lengthening as far as +1500 on an eight-team teaser.
Futures and Props When Betting on NFL Games
NFL betting action goes far beyond the odds on next Sunday’s games. With NFL futures and props wagering, you can bet on how individual players and teams will perform, both in the next game, and over the course of the season.
Common NFL futures wagers include betting on what team will win the Super Bowl, as well as divisional and conference championships. Other futures bets focus on which players will earn individual awards like NFL MVP, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the year honors.
Props bets take your NFL wagering experience even further. Even before the start of the season, you can get in on wagering on such team props as regular season win totals, and betting on whether an individual team will reach the playoffs.
Game props cover all aspects of the action on the gridiron including which team will score first, and game performances by individual players including numbers of touchdowns, passing yards, catches, and even sacks and tackles.
Super Bowl Props Betting: Tips & Rules
While NFL props are nothing new, props betting on the annual Super Bowl has enjoyed an explosion in popularity in recent years, with sportsbooks providing both hardcore and novice sports bettors with hundreds of betting opportunities on all aspects of the big game, both on and off the field.
From wagering on the results of the pre-game coin toss and how long it takes to sing the Star Spangled Banner, to the color of the traditional Gatorade shower and who the Super Bowl MVP will thanks first in their acceptance speech, there is a Super Bowl props bet for everyone.
Photo by Wade Austin Ellis
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