NFL Betting Guide

The National Football League produces drama, controversy and plenty of surprises every week of the season, and betting on the games serves as an added attraction for millions.

What could be better than watching a game? Bettors around the world are raising the stakes by putting their money where their opinions lie.

Betting on NFL games can be as easy, or as complicated as you wish, with offerings at most brick-and-mortar casinos and online sportsbook sites featuring straight bets, parlays, money-line wagers and more. If you’re looking for a simple introduction to NFL betting, or seek some intermediate-level help with terms and strategy, look no further.

Here’s a collection of tools and information you can use during your football wagering activity.

How to Get Started NFL Betting at an Online Sportsbook

Joining an online sportsbook comes with some familiar requirements.

First, it’s important to know the law. Online sports betting is fully legal in only 10 states: Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon. Find and follow the guidelines for your state.

To set up an account, you’ll need to provide personal information and a credit card. Some potential customers are hesitant to provide a legitimate email address, but this is an important element in the process because of frequent incentives offered by the sportsbooks via email.

If the site doesn’t assign a username, you should establish a good one. You likely won’t be able to change it once you register. And always protect the information in a secure location so you won’t forget it. Creating a high-quality password is as important as your bank account specifics.

Be sure you log off after each use; don’t use “remember me” functions on your browser.

Once you establish an account, make certain you have received a confirmation email. If it does not arrive quickly, check your spam folders.

Next, you’ll set up a process to deposit money. Again, accuracy and consistency are keys because the name you used to create your account needs to match your payment information. A modest deposit of $10 to as much as $50 is usually required.

Among the many options for deposit tools are credit card/debit card, eWallet, Bitcoin and wire transfer.

One last note: deposits are easy but withdrawals may require some patience. As sportsbooks must prevent fraud, you likely will need to produce documents to verify your account before you can withdraw money. Most sportsbooks want a scan of a government-issued ID, front and back scans of your credit card (if you use one) and supporting documents verifying your address, like a bank statement or utility bills.

Types of NFL Bets

The following terms are important to understand when considering making an NFL bet.

Point Spread

The number of points separating the favored team from the underdog. In this example, Team A is favored by 10 points over Team B. The terminology includes a minus sign (-) and a plus sign (+). Team A is listed as -10, while Team B is +10.


A number that sets the risk level for betting on a team to win the game outright (without a spread). As an example, Team 1 is listed as a -180 favorite on the moneyline. This means you must risk $180 to win $100.


A number established as the amount of points expected to be scored by both teams, combined, in a game. Also identified as an “over/under” bet, customers can wager equal risk on the final score finishing over or under that total.


A form of bet in advance of an event. This wager can cover winning individual awards such as the MVP along with team division championships, conference championships and the Super Bowl.


These are limited only by the bookmakers’ imagination and involve bets other than the outcome of a game. Common prop bets include an over/under on an individual’s touchdowns scored, passing yards or kicks converted.


Customers are able to make multiple bets (at least two) and tie them together. To win a parlay, you need all of those bets to win. The more bets tied to you wager, the higher the risk – but the higher the payout.


This bet allows the customer an element of control: being able to adjust the point spread or total for a game, which changes the amount of money to be risked.

Live Betting

This one is for those with serious attention deficit issues. Also known as in-play wagering, it becomes available when a game begins. Spreads, moneylines and totals are adjusted and re-posted as the game proceeds. Prop options, like next touchdown and correct final score, are also available.

Basic NFL Betting Strategies

  1. Be comfortable. Experiment and find those bet types you have the most fun playing.
  2. Avoid these behaviors that can hurt your chances for fun – and profit:

    Chasing your bets: Panicking because of a tough loss and immediately making an unsound wager.
    Getting vindictive: Reacting with an attitude of “OK, well, I’ll just DOUBLE my wager!” This rarely ends well.
    Go after big wins to recoup losses: Moving outside your comfort zone to make a high-risk wager such as a five- or six-team parlay.
    Overly-promising wagers: Like the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. In other words, maybe the quarterback will reveal personal problems and be benched within a couple of hours of game time.

  3. Do your research. This is real money, so injuries, playing surface, weather and matchups can have a real impact on your chances of earning a win.
  4. Keep emotion out of your plan. NFL betting is a mathematician’s game. Make sure any bets involving your team aren’t influenced by your blind support for it.
  5. Try not to pay attention to the prevailing winds. There’s a reason Las Vegas has so much glitter: The gambling palaces were largely built on the backs of the general public and their relative ignorance. You need to consult the experts who make a living by analyzing and wagering significant money on the outcome.
  6. Be familiar with betting rules and possible outcomes. What if your team was favored by three and won the game 23-20? Does that mean your parlay loses? Knowing the rules will help you make better decisions.