Football is America's most popular sport and it is starting to gain global recognition. Betting on the NFL is a huge deal for many fans of the sport. The good news is there are a plethora of betting options available for those who love to wager on their favourite games and earn great rewards.
While these options are straightforward, newbies may find it difficult to navigate through the most basic terminologies. This article highlights the different betting options and gives a detailed explanation of how to read football odds. You'll soon find out that betting on the NFL is easy and the terms are so simple to understand.
There are two numbers you must familiarize yourself with when betting: the odds and the spread. These two numbers are usually displayed beside the betting lines on the website.
When you visit a sportsbook website to place bets, you'll see NFL odds represented by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign written before three numbers situated in front of the team. The minus sign indicates that a team or player is favored to win the game or an accolade. The plus sign means the team is less likely to win and is the underdog.
The spread is the number of points needed to make a winning bet. For instance, a -8.5 spread means the team must win by at least nine points for the bettor to win.
The odds represent how much you need to bet to win $100. For instance, a -120 odd means you need to wager $120 to win $100. If you win your bet, you get $220 in return (i.e., your initial wager amount of $120 plus your $100 profit).
If you wager on the positive, it means you're betting on the less favored team. A +110 odd means you would win $110 for every $100 you bet on the underdog. So if you wager $100 and win your bet, you would receive a $210 payout (i.e., your initial wager amount of $100 plus your $110 profit).
Simple, right? We told you so.
Now, let's look at the different types of NFL bets you can make.
The most popular bets people place on NFL games are the moneyline bets. A moneyline bet means you're betting on the team you're predicting to win the game.
It's the more preferred option because it's a straightforward bet that doesn't require much analysis. Also, there are no spreads attached to it since you only need to bet on the winning team.
Moneyline odds are represented by a positive and negative sign followed by a three-digit number. Here's what a typical moneyline NFL bet looks like on FanDuel:
Pittsburgh Steelers (+198)
Cincinnati Bengals (-240)
Point spread bets are also popular among NFL fans. Unlike moneyline odds, you win a point spread bet when the team you wager on wins or loses by more than the number of points indicated. A negative sign is used to indicate the highly favored team while the negative sign represents the underdog. Here's an example:
Buffalo Bills (-1) (-105)
Los Angeles Rams (+1) (+115)
If you're betting on the Bills, you'll have to wager $105 to win $100 and the Bills must defeat the Rams by more than one point for the bet to win. On the contrary, if you're betting on the Rams (the underdog in this case), a $100 wager would earn you a $115 return if the Rams lose by less than one point (win the game in other words).
Betting on totals is a lot like betting on point spreads. However, in this case, you need to predict whether the combined score will be over or under a certain amount. Here's an example:
Indiana Colts O 46 (-110)
Houston Texans U 46 (-110)
You're not betting on a team to win or lose but on the combined score (hence, the same odds value). From this example, betting $110 on over or under would earn you $100 if you win the bet. You win an over bet if the combined score is more than 46 and an under bet if it’s less than 46.
These are commonly called "props." Prop bets are predictions on on-field outcomes. A player prop, for instance, is betting on how a player performs on the field; tackles, touchdowns, passes, interceptions, honors like NFL MVP, and so on. Team props include winning streaks, division, conference, and Super Bowl titles, and administrative changes.
There are also draft props where you place a bet on draft picks, the total number of selections from a particular school, etc. Bettors can also opt for trade props to predict whether or not a player remains with a franchise or switches teams.
The most popular NFL prop bets are the Super Bowl props. A lot goes on at the grandest of stages, so it's understandable why people love to make Super Bowl prop bets. The Super Bowl is the biggest football event of the year and has built a reputation for much drama, thrill, and upsets over the years. You can bet on many outcomes including off-field events like who will perform at the Super Bowl, who will sing the National Anthem, and who will host the Super Bowl.
Props require a lot of research and in-depth analysis and can be difficult to predict. However, they can be very rewarding.
We only touched on the basics here, but as you can see, there are many fun and intriguing ways to bet on the NFL. You may find that you have more luck and/or skill with one particular type of betting. Or, you may find that certain NFL teams are more fruitful to bet on than others simply because they consistently outperform the oddsmaker’s predictions. No matter the case, always do your homework before placing a bet and keep your wagers small until you learn what works best for you.