The National Football League is the crown jewel of the sports betting world. Despite a much smaller number of wagering opportunities than the other three major professional leagues in the United States, the league dominates much of the conversation regarding sports betting.
Ever since sports betting began its rise in popularity, the NFL has fought any state or federal bills that increase the expansion of gambling – yet sports gambling is likely a huge reason the league is so popular.
At the moment, only the state of Nevada offers traditional NFL wagering options (aside from online betting sites), which account for more than 40 percent of the state’s multi-billion dollar sports betting industry.
However, Nevada’s bookmakers are just a small fraction when compared to online betting and other unregulated sports betting options.
When we account for offshore sportsbooks, black market local bookies, and the regulated markets in Europe and Nevada, there is close to a billion dollars wagered each week of the NFL season.
Worldwide, the Super Bowl alone generates wagering action of over $8 billion each year. With the expansion of regular season games in London and the talk of an eventual overseas franchise, the NFL is no longer just a nationwide obsession. It is gaining international appeal.
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NFL Betting Strategy Articles
Our NFL betting strategy article section is the largest at SBS, due to the league’s massive popularity. The market is sharp, on the whole, but there will almost always be +EV betting opportunities if you know where to look. Our staff considers NFL their best sport, so dive into some excellent strategy content that should lead you to profits.
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7 Easy Steps on How to Bet at NFL Betting Sites
Once August rolls around, sports gamblers across the world are chomping at the bit to start betting on the NFL. Preseason begins with the Hall of Fame game in early August and with the season kicking off in September.
If you’re a seasoned at NFL football betting, this article will go over some basics, but it still is worth a read. Lots of people who have been football betting their entire lives still make such terrible mistakes. The good part is – they’re easy to fix!
Step 1: Picking Trusted NFL Betting Sites
Betting with unscrupulous operators or outright scam sportsbooks is one of the biggest problems people run into when choosing an NFL betting site. What’s the use of betting football if you need to worry about getting paid?
Luckily, we’re here to help. Safest Betting Sites has sportsbook reviews from all over the world, but we focus on NFL betting sites that accept Americans. Our reviews are in-depth, and we point users in the right direction when it comes to choosing an NFL sportsbook.
Things to look for before you decide to deposit? A positive payout history and a look at the sportsbook’s recent processing speeds is an excellent start. We offer a monthly report that tracks the top NFL betting sites and their payout speeds.
Recreational versus Professional
In the same vein, bettors often make the mistake of choosing a sharper betting sites when they begin their professional football betting career. Once you start to succeed as a sports bettor, you will find that betting sites may not take your action or limit your bet size.
That’s why it’s better to deposit at a recreational NFL betting site, like the Bovada Sportsbook, versus a sharper, more professional-centric, like Bookmaker.eu. Both betting sites are excellent for NFL betting, but Bookmaker.eu is far sharper.
Having funds at recreational betting sites is of particular importance. Many recreational sportsbooks will shade their lines to match public betting tendencies and deal off market numbers. There is a ton of value with recreational betting sites during football season.
Step 2: Maximizing Bonuses
Football season is also an excellent time to cash in on extra bonuses. NFL betting sites will usually have promotions and reload bonuses specifically for the start of professional football betting. Those are certainly worth taking advantage of, but it’s important to get the max from all potential bonus offers.
Most NFL betting sites these days offer players a first-deposit bonus. It’s important to deposit the maximum amount to earn the maximum bonus. For instance, if a sportsbook has a “50% Deposit Bonus up to $500”, then you would need to deposit $1,000 to earn the max bonus.
Bettors should always be taking advantage of full advantage of bonus opportunities. All bonuses are not created equal, however. It’s important to read the terms and conditions and rollover rate, but for the most part, they’re an excellent way to add extra money to your bankroll, especially when you’re just starting to bet NFL football.
Step 3: Deposit Funds at NFL Betting Site
Once decided on a NFL betting site and understanding of bonuses and how to utilize them – it’s time to deposit. Deposit options have changed over the years for NFL gambling and online sports betting, in general.
Online sportsbooks take traditional methods, such as credit and debit cards, bank wires, and sometimes even money orders or paper checks by mail. However, in the past few years, a new option has emerged, crypto currencies. More specifically, Bitcoin.
There are many football bitcoin betting sites available. In fact, just about every major sportsbook these days take bitcoin. Not only that, but they prefer it as their primary means of accepting deposits and paying customers.
As mentioned above, traditional methods are still available but are inferior options to Bitcoin. Most betting sites don’t charge a fee when depositing or withdrawing with Bitcoin. If you’re new to Bitcoin, we cover it extensively and offer a step-by-step guide to depositing with Bitcoin (BTC) at NFL betting sites.
Step 4: Look for +EV Wagers
Finding +EV NFL football wagers, if you follow the above advice, shouldn’t be too difficult. Recreational sportsbooks, or ones that are asleep at the wheel, will often have off-market lines. Not only sides, totals, and moneyline, but propositions, as well.
We can’t cover betting on NFL games in a few paragraphs. There are so many bet types and situations to consider that we’re going to point you to some of our favorite articles. NFL Betting: 6 Tips for Profit is something every NFL bettor should read. We have also have an extensive NFL strategy section with articles on everything football related, including point spreads, teasers, parlays and more.
Step 5: Line Shop Before Placing Your Bet
Gamblers are eager to get their money down on a bet, but it pays to be sure that’s the best possible price available in the betting market. Having money at many NFL betting sites is always ideal if maximizing profits is a key motivator. And, it should be!
Few bettors realize the amount of money saved when line shopping. It could be in the thousand over an NFL season and tens of thousands or more over a lifetime. Always check other sportsbooks for a better price before placing a bet. This is not a step to ever skip over.
Line shopping and getting the best price on your bets is the best way to win at sports betting and betting NFL football.
Step 6: Place Your Bet
Placing a bet at an online sportsbook isn’t too difficult. It may be a little intimating to those who haven’t done a lot of online NFL betting or gambling online. The process is the same for most betting sites online.
Even seasoned sports bettors make mistakes. Lots have bet the wrong team and incorrectly calculated an arbitrage bet. Mistakes happen, but reviewing a bet slip before pressing confirm will save you some dollars and some extra headache.
Step 7: Consider Live Betting
Live betting NFL is one betting market that bettors often forget about or don’t consider a spot to find edges. In-play or live betting markets are softer than pregame markets in many cases. There is often a lot of variation between sportsbook’s live betting numbers compared to pre-match markets. This leaves lots of opportunities for arbs or +EV wagers if you can distinguish the sharps side.
It’s fun to finally sit down and watch NFL match-ups with buddies and grab a beer. However, busting out the laptop and watching the games is another opportunity to spot some more +EV bets in live betting or in-play markets.
NFL Betting Types
When there is a mention of sports betting, the first thing that comes to someone’s mind is the NFL point spread. However, NFL betting sites and their markets have expanded heavily in recent years, with more and more bets showing up each year. Get a breakdown of each wager type below.
Point spreads have attached odds that can change depending on betting action but are set at a default of -110 at sportsbooks that don’t offer reduced juice. A sample NFL point spread wager might look like this:
- Cleveland Browns +3(-110) at Pittsburgh Steelers -3(-110)
Find the home team on the right or bottom at your preferred NFL betting sites. Browns’ backers will need Cleveland to win outright or lose by less than three points. Steelers’ backers will need Pittsburgh to win the game by more than three points.
If three points decide the game, it will be graded a “push.” Both sides get their original wagers returned. When a game has a half-point in the point spread, also known as a “hook” in betting lexicon – a push is not possible.
Moneyline wagering has increased in popularity in recent years. The outright winner determines the moneyline odds, rather than an attached point spread. Using our AFC North opponents above, here’s another example:
- Cleveland Browns +130 at Pittsburgh Steelers -150
The Steelers are the favorite, and the Browns are the underdog.
Moneylines can be especially attractive when betting underdogs, where the increased odds can offer a nice payout if you predict an upset correctly. Many players will also opt to bet the underdog when the spread is less than three points because less than three points decide so few NFL games.
However, some NFL betting sites don’t offer moneylines on spreads lower than three points.
Also known as over/under, these wagers are the total number of points scored in the game by both teams. The total counts any points scored in regulation and the overtime period.
- Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Over 40.5 (-110) / Under 40.5 (-110)
Totals are simple to understand. If the number of points scored in the game is 41 or more, bettors who wagered on the over will win. If the game has 40 points or less, those who took the under will profit.
NFL totals have a broad range of numbers depending on how the oddsmakers project the game to play out. The lowest totals are usually within the 35-40 point range while some of the highest scoring games can reach the mid to upper 50s.
Football parlays, used with point spread or totals betting, have the caveat that all wagers must win for the bettor to profit. Parlays, like teasers, are extremely popular for those that bet on the NFL. Parlays need a minimum of two bets, but can go up to 12 teams for a potentially enormous payout.
Unlike European accumulators, all NFL parlays are fixed-odds parlays. Odds can vary depending on the betting site.
These are similar to parlays because all legs must win for the bettor to profit, but with teasers, you can add points to decrease your risk (as well as your payout). Teasers can range from six points all the way up to 15-point teasers. Like parlays, NFL teasers have fixed odds that differ depending on the sportsbook.
NFL futures have become one of the biggest markets in the last decade. Futures tie up funds for outcomes that will take place at a later date, but that hasn’t stopped their surge in popularity. The most common NFL future bets are odds to win the Super Bowl, and NFC and AFC Championships but some sites now offer divisional futures as well.
The NFL has the largest proposition market compared to any other major US sport. Team and player props dominate most of the wagers, but for bigger games, there are bets for everything. These can range from the total yards or touchdowns a quarterback will throw to wackier stuff such as the length of the national anthem.
While teaser and parlays odds will vary slightly, the difference in some props markets can be stark.
Again, live betting is extremely popular for NFL contests. Some sites offer live odds and propositions on every game, but just about every site has live betting options for contests in primetime. Players can bet on the result of a play before it happens or the outcome of a team’s possession.
The platforms for live or in-play NFL betting sites can be widely different, along with the odds selection available.
History and Season
Professional football has been around in some form since the turn of the 19th century, and the NFL formed in 1922. The sport had an up and down history until the 1960s, but always had a loyal following of fans and dedicated players who kept the league alive.
The NFL merged with their former rival, the American Football League (AFL) in 1966. The merger also gave birth to the Super Bowl as the championship game. Popularity increased in the 1970s and 80s and the NFL became a part of American culture. Today, it’s one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world.
The league consists of 32 teams in two different conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the AFC (American Football Conference). Each conference has four divisions and four teams in each division.
The regular season has 17 weeks of games, before a single-elimination playoff tournament. Each team plays 16 total games and has one bye week. Six teams qualify for the playoffs from each conference, four division winners and two wild-card teams. The winner of the AFC and NFC Championships face off in the Super Bowl.
With the sport becoming popular in the next few years, several colleges met to form uniformed rules for football competition. The agreed upon rules were like the rugby union, but with a modified scoring system.
Even after several rule changes to improve safety, football was a violent game. Injuries were common, and so were deaths. There were 19 fatalities in 1905, which pushed then President, Theodore Roosevelt, to ban the game unless they changed the rules.
Several rule changes occur over the next decade or so. Field goals lowered to three points, and touchdowns raised to six points. The field got shortened to 100 yards with two 10-yard-long end zones. The number of downs went from three to four.
Professional football separates itself from the college game due to a more pass-heavy and high scoring game.
Established to compete with the NFL, the American Football League (AFL) launched. It didn’t gain popularity immediately but began to thrive due to television. The AFL introduced the play clock, and the NFL countered with the two-point conversion after touchdowns.
Professional football explodes in this era, due to generous TV contracts. In 1972, Gallop polling shows that the NFL became America’s top sport. It’s held this spot ever since, despite a television rating decline in 2016.
Las Vegas sportsbooks take big hit to their profits during Super Bowl 42 when the New York Giants beat the favorites, New England Patriots 17-14. Considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Sportsbooks lost millions to bettors who wagered on the underdog.
NFL announces that the Oakland Raiders will move to Las Vegas, but current commissioner, Roger Goodell, still reiterates their anti-gambling stance and opposition to sports betting on football.
Modern day football as we see today, the NFL, evolved from soccer and rugby. The first American football game on record was on Nov. 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton, two college teams. The game played with a round ball, but players could not pick it up or carry it.
A student at Yale, named Walter Camp, lobbied for rule changes. The rule reduced the size of each team from 15 to 11 players and swapped out the rugby scrum with the snap. Known as the “Father of American Football” for this reason.
They introduce the forward pass. Other rule changes include increasing a first down from 5 to 10 yards and the institution of the neutral zone reduce fighting between teams.
The National Football League (NFL) established itself in 1920. By 1922, the league had established itself as the top league for professional football.
The 1958 NFL Championship, known also as the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” It featured the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. The Colts won the game 23-17 in overtime. Televised and seen by millions, which increased the league’s popularity.
The AFL and NFL agree to a merger. The two champions of each league play a championship game each year until the leagues merged in 1970. They kept the NFL name going forward. This established the NFL championship game, which would become known as the Super Bowl.
Oldest account of betting on the NFL Super Bowl at the Las Vegas sportsbooks. Over $40 million wagered on a single event.
First time over $100 million in bets on the Super Bowl. Totaling $119,400,000 in NFL betting for that one match.
Super Bowl 51 had a record breaking $138,480,136 in bets. There was an unprecedented upset, as the Patriots managed to comeback from a 21-3 deficit. The Falcons were in the lead at the half. The Patriots ended up winning 34-28. Many sportsbooks suffered hard by the upset, while others did make a profit.
NFL Betting Now
Despite the decreasing TV ratings, betting on the NFL continues to grow. Over $134 million bets placed for Super Bowl 51 at Las Vegas sportsbooks. With $4.5 billion wagered illegally. This number continues to grow, and casinos and online sportsbooks will continue offering these football bets.