When it comes to gambling, there is no sport bigger than the NFL. Billions of dollars are wagered annually – and the Super Bowl is the most gambled on game in any sport. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to find out that more sportsbook accounts are opened at the start of the NFL season than at any other time of the year. Here we look at the wide range of bets you’ll be able to place throughout the season, followed by some betting strategy advice and finish by detailing the sports betting sites that offer the best betting options on the NFL.
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Betting on the NFL
The most popular bet of all in the NFL is the point spread, this being perhaps the most talked about wager in the game, regularly referred to by the sporting media. When evaluating the point spread, the sportsbooks will consider which team is favored and by how many points. They will then deduct that number of points from the favored team to make the bet a true 50/50 chance. For example, the Seattle Seahawks might be considered to be 4.5 point favorites in a game, so for them to beat the spread they’ll have to win by 5 or more, and their opponents will either have to either win or lose by less than 4.5 points to beat the spread. Having backed either side you’ll usually receive odds of -110, meaning you’ll win $100 for every $110 staked.
The ‘totals’ bet works in much the same way, but is based upon the total number of points scored in the game. The sportsbook will publish a line and you’ll predict whether the total points will be under or over this line. For example, the line might be 47.5 points, so backing over means you’ll want 48 or more points in the game – you’ll receive the same odds of -110.
The money line works in a slightly different way. Here you’ll receive a wide range of odds based, these lower on the favored team and higher on the underdog. For example, you might receive odds of -250 on the New England Patriots (meaning you’ll win $100 for every $250 staked) and odds of +220 on the New York Jets (meaning you’ll win $220 for every $100 staked). These odds will change from game to game based upon how evenly matched or one-sided a game is.
A popular bet in the NFL is a Parlay where you’ll bet on a selection of games, where every selection has to win. The payouts become higher the more selections you have and if based on the point spread and the totals, your odds will be shown on a chart published by the sportsbook. For example, picking 3 selections in a Parlay will usually pay at odds of 6/1.
Parlays are available on the money line, but are worked out in a slightly different way. Your initial stake will go on to the first selection and if this should win, the total return will now move on to the second selection – this will carry on until your last selection wins or loses.
Alternate Bets on the NFL
It wasn’t so long ago that the bets mentioned above were the only action you might find on the NFL, but the gambling explosion in recent years has seen a massive increase in betting options. On any individual game you might be able to find half-time betting, quarter betting, alternative point spreads, alternative totals, wagers on which teams will score first and many more.
The lead up to the Super Bowl sees even more betting action, as a wide range of prop bets will be announced. These involve action on the field, examples being whether or not a player scores a touchdown or whether one running back will run for more yards than another, and off the field, examples being the color of the Gatorade thrown over the winning head coach, or which song will come first at the half time show!
The final betting options are the Futures wagers, the most popular of all being the eventual winner of the Super Bowl. The betting for this opens almost as soon as the Vince Lombardi Trophy is handed over the previous season and will run all year. You can also place a Futures bet on individual divisional winners and the winners of the AFC and the NFC.
Betting on the NFL with an Edge
There are a number of ways to gain an edge in your NFL betting and perhaps the most important way is to be selective. With up to 16 games on any game week, if you’re gambling on the majority of them, you’re not being selective at all. Study the games and look at all the factors that might influence the outcome. Factors such as form, injuries, suspensions, home advantage and the weather should all be used in evaluating a game. Many recreational gamblers will focus on the offensive players, as these are the players who make the majority of the headlines, but the defenses are equally as important and simply spending a bit more time looking at these players will certainly give your gambling a boost.
There are a number of useful sites out there with all kinds of stats on players, but for a straightforward site with easy navigation, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ can be a goldmine.
Another useful strategy in your betting is to see where all of the money is going and then do the opposite. If a popular team is expected to win, they’ll attract a lot of money and the sportsbooks know this, so they’ll offer slightly shorter odds than perhaps they should. This will mean that the odds on their opponents will be slightly better and you can take advantage. However, you should only do this if your other study points you in this direction anyway.
Having analyzed all of a week’s games, you might find you are betting on just 2 or 3 games – this is an ideal amount!
Best Sportsbooks for NFL Betting
For the season long gambler, it’s tough to beat Bovada when it comes to the NFL. Alongside the strong lines and odds they offer, you’ll also find added promotions specifically based around the NFL and the weight of money at this site can mean those underdogs are nicely overpriced. For a bit more variety 5Dimes might be your site of choice, as they offer a huge range of markets on every game. You’ll also find reduced juice odds, meaning you’ll get more for your dollar, as well as tailored bonus schemes.
Gambling Guide to the NFL Conclusion
The NFL is a huge industry and the season is eagerly awaited by sports fans across the globe. However, for those who can beat the sportsbooks it can also mean an additional revenue stream. This can certainly be you. Start studying the games the moment the previous week ends and you’ll be in a great position to spot when those sportsbooks are out of line – then take advantage.