How to Bet on Football


It’s time to learn how to bet on football. There’s something for every level of sports bettor.

Key Points

– There are numerous leagues to bet on football.

– Football offers a huge number of betting markets.

How to Bet on Football

When someone says “bet on football,” the first thing that comes to mind is most likely betting on the NFL or NCAA college football. There are a few other leagues out there for bettors.

The CFL, or Canadian Football League, begins play in early June every year. They finish their season with the annual Grey Cup championship game right around the Thanksgiving holiday.

The USFL (United States Football League) is back in 2022. For those that remember, the USFL attempted to play back in the 1980s. The XFL, which made a splash in 2001, returned in 2020 only to get shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans are in the works to bring the league back in early 2023.

Within each of these leagues, there are a number of betting markets. The most popular, of course, are the point spread, moneyline, and totals markets. More bets are taken in these markets than any other. Props bets are becoming more popular and NFL games especially have a wide variety of wagers in this category.

NFL Betting

If you’re looking to add some excitement to your Sundays this fall, why not try betting on NFL football? Betting on the NFL is the most popular sports bet in the industry. 

In order to bet on NFL games, bettors need at least one reputable online sportsbook. Do some research and find one that suits your needs. It may benefit the average sports bettor to have more than one online betting account. More on that later.

Once you’ve opened an account, you’ll need to deposit funds in order to place your bets. When you’re ready to start betting, simply choose the NFL game you want to wager on and select your bet type.

There are many different options available, so take some time to familiarize yourself with them before placing any money down. The most popular bets on NFL games include moneyline, point spread, and totals bets. More on those later.

Betting on College Football

Betting on NCAA football can be a great way to add excitement to your favorite team’s games. Like betting on NFL games, betting on college games is extremely popular. 

However, it is important to know how to bet responsibly in order to avoid losing money. When betting on college football – or any football for that matter – keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Do your research. Before you place a bet, make sure you know all the relevant information about the teams and the game. This will help you make an informed decision about which team is more likely to win.
  2. Start small. It is easy to get carried away when betting on NCAA football because there are so many games on a given weekend. It is important to start with small bets. This way, you can slowly increase your bet size as you become more comfortable with the process.
  3. Review the odds. The odds for each NCAA football game are released by the sportsbooks ahead of time. Make sure you review the odds before placing your bet so that you know how much you could potentially win or lose.
  4. Be disciplined. Once you have placed your bet, resist the urge to bet again on another game. Stick to your original plan and only bet what you can afford to lose.
  5. Have fun! Betting on NCAA football can be a great way to add excitement to your viewing experience. Just remember to bet responsibly and always keep within your limits.

Don’t Forget CFL football

If you are not familiar, they do play football “up north” in Canada. The Canadian Football League, known as the CFL, offers a unique perspective for bettors. 

There are just nine teams that make up the CFL. The game is very similar to the American game, but there are some big differences. The first is the size of the field. The CFL field is wider and longer – end zones are 25 yards – than an American field.

Offenses have three downs to make 10 yards and a first down. These subtle differences make the game exciting, but they also make it different from a betting perspective. Betting point spreads, moneylines, and totals is a little different in Canada. Here are a few tips for those looking to get into betting on the CFL.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the differences between the NFL and CFL. As mentioned, the CFL has three downs instead of four, and the field is also larger. These factors can affect how teams play, and ultimately how games are decided.
  2. Pay attention to weather conditions. Because the field is larger in the CFL, weather can have a bigger impact on games. If it’s a rainy day, for example, that could favor the team with a strong running game.
  3. Know the teams and their strengths and weaknesses. This is important for any sport, but it’s especially crucial in the CFL because of the league’s relatively small size. There are only nine teams in the league, so you should have a good handle on each one before you start placing bets.
  4. Keep an eye on line movement. The odds for CFL games can change quite a bit in the days leading up to kickoff. Pay attention to how they move and try to identify any patterns that may emerge.
  5. Stick to your budget. Betting on sports can be fun, but it’s important to remember that it’s also a form of gambling. Always gamble responsibly and never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Different Football Bets – Point Spread, Moneyline & Game Totals

The point spread is the most common way to bet on football, and it’s also the easiest to understand. The point spread is simply a number of points that the favored team is expected to win by. 

For example, if a team is favored by 7 points, they must win the game by more than 7 points in order for bettors who took the point spread to win their bet. If the favored team only wins by 6 points, then those who bet on the point spread will lose their money. 

An example can offer more insight. In the following example, Baltimore is favored by 7 points against Cleveland. The bet would appear something like this at your sportsbook.

Baltimore -7 (-110)

Cleveland +7 (-110)

If you like Baltimore, you would wager $110 to win $100 – according to the odds in parentheses. If the Ravens won by eight or more points, your bet is a winner. If Baltimore wins by exactly 7, the result is called a “push” and all bets are refunded.

Moneyline Wagers – Team to Win the Game

The moneyline is another popular way to bet on football. With the moneyline, bettors simply pick which team they think will win the game outright. 

The odds on the moneyline are usually expressed as a positive or negative number. A negative number indicates how much money you would need to bet in order to win $100. So if the odds are -200, that means you would need to bet $200 to win $100. A positive number indicates how much money you would win if you bet $100. So if the odds are +150, that means you would win $150 if you bet $100. 

Again, an example helps explain the moneyline bet. Using the same two teams from above, we see the moneyline bet as follows:

Baltimore -200

Cleveland +150

The Ravens are the favorite as indicated by the minus “-” sign. Cleveland is the underdog. A bettor that likes the Ravens must wager $200 to win $100. If Baltimore wins, the bet wins. The final score and margin of victory do not matter.

Totals or the Over/Under

Finally, game totals allow bettors to wager on whether they think the final score of a game will be over or under a certain number. 

For example, let’s say the total for the Baltimore-Cleveland game is set at 47 points. If you think there will be more than 47 points scored in the game, you would bet on the Over. If you think there will be fewer than 47 points scored in the game, you would bet on the Under. 

The bet would look like this at your sportsbook. The numbers in parentheses are the odds associated with the bet. Standard odds, or juice, is -110.

Baltimore O47 (-110)

Cleveland U47 (-110)

You wager $110 to win $100 on the Over. The final score is 28-24. That adds up to 52, which is more than 47. Your bet wins. It doesn’t matter who won the game. Only the final point total matters.

Betting on the football moneyline, point spread, and game totals are the most popular methods of placing a bet on a football game. They are not the only way to bet on games, however.

Bet on Football – Player & Team Props

A football prop bet is a wager that is not directly related to the final score or the outcome of a game. There are skilled and unskilled prop bets. Skilled props involve players and their individual performance. There are skilled team props as well based on an overall team’s performance.

There are unskilled prop bets which do not involve a player or team’s performance. Many unskilled prop bets are simple Yes/No propositions. Will the next play be a Run? Will a coach go for a two-point conversion? These are a few examples.

The most common football prop bets are those related to individual performance. Bettors love wagers like the Over/Under on a quarterback’s passing yards or passing touchdowns. The same goes for rushing and receiving yards and touchdowns. 

These types of props are available for all NFL games and many college football games. Regardless of whether it is the NFL, NCAA, or even the CFL; a prop bet is a prop bet.

Prop Bets Are Rapidly Growing in Popularity

Prop bets are becoming more popular as more fantasy players move into the betting market. There is a lot of carryover from the fantasy football arena into the football props betting market. 

There is some strategy involved in succeeding in the football props market. One thing you can do is to wager on your favorite team and its players. Because you have a good working knowledge of your team and its players, you can use that to your benefit when betting props.

The biggest thing is to find value. There is plenty to be found in the football props market. Shopping for the best lines is one way you can find that value. When you find a wager you like, check out multiple sportsbooks – or use a comparison tool – to find the best line. 

Often, with NFL props, bettors might find a certain bet priced at +125 at one sportsbook. At another, the same bet could be +400. Take the time to find those value props.

Betting on Quarters

With quarter line betting, a bettor can place individual bets on each of the four quarters of a football game. Football is not the only sport that allows for this; basketball also provides it. The NFL, though, enjoys greater popularity.

Typically, quarter lines become accessible at the conclusion of the previous quarter. Yes, it’s a hybrid of live betting and a standard wager. Bettors will find first quarter lines before a game and other quarter lines throughout a game.

There are some things you should be aware of before placing your football quarters wager. This is true of just like any of the bets you place.

Keep in mind that lines and odds for football quarters  are computed in the same way as they are for straight bets. For a wager to be active, the quarter is still being played. For example, a first-quarter wager will be active until the entire first quarter is finished.

Watch Rules at Different Sportsbooks

Since overtime is frequently not counted as part of the fourth quarter, if you put a wager on the fourth quarter, it stops there and the overtime period is not counted.

If there is one football quarters betting tip to consider, it is this. It’s not typical for a big NFL favorite to constantly cover. You must take that into account because most games are decided by three to seven points.

Say you have a huge underdog in an NFL game. Sharp bettors, those that bet for a living, will often aim for a quarter spread of 7.5 and bet the underdog. Since it is difficult for teams to cover consistently each quarter and 7.5 covers the key numbers of 3, 4, 6, and 7; sharps look for this situation.Sharp bettors believe the underdog will frequently overcome a one-touchdown disadvantage in a quarter, half, or even a full game. 

Other quarter strategies involve betting teams that start quickly in the first quarter. Another focus could be on teams that finish strong in either the third or fourth quarters.

Betting on Halves

There is also the possibility to bet on the first half or second half of a football game. The results of the particular half are all that matters. Point spread, moneyline, and totals bets are all available for each half of a game.

First half betting offers bettors some advantages. There are NFL teams, for example, that may tend to start games very quickly. Say you find a team that averages 18 points in the first half. This is a rather large number considering the league average in scoring in a given NFL season puts each team somewhere around 24 points.

A team averaging 18 in the first half would be one that starts quickly. You could be the first half spread, for example, on this team. They are favored -2.5 to win the first half. All you need is for your team to win the half by at least three points. The second half and the final score do not matter.

Second Half Betting

It’s the same for second half betting. Betting on the second half of an NFL game, for instance, offers a lot of value to bettors. The lines for all the second half bets must be ready before the start of the second half.

That means oddsmakers have roughly 12 to 13 minutes to get every single number right in the eyes of the sportsbook. That is hard to do. As a result, football half bettors can often find some serious value when betting the second half of an NFL game.

There are two strategies worth noting in regards to betting the second half in NFL games. One is the large second half underdog. Betting on second half underdogs in general only gets you about a 50 percent winning percentage.

However, when betting on second half underdogs of seven or more points, bettors should note that the second half dog covers 60 percent of the time (since 2005).

The other situation is the team winning big at halftime. Going back to 2013, NFL teams leading at the half by 14 or more cover the second half spread over 55 percent of the time. One might expect a team with a big lead to take its foot off the gas and allow the other team back in the game. Typically, that doesn’t happen as often.

The Football Futures Market

Football futures are a type of bet that can be placed on the outcome of a football season. The most common football future bet is on which team will win the Super Bowl. 

Football futures can be placed on other outcomes as well, such as which team will win their division or conference. Futures bets are usually placed before the football season starts, but they can also be placed during the season. 

The odds for football futures change as the season progresses, so it is important to monitor the odds and place your bet when the odds are favorable. Football futures can be very profitable if you know how to handicap the football season and choose wisely.

The great thing about any football futures market is that bettors can find favorites at very favorable odds. It’s not surprising, for example, to find the next Super Bowl favorite at odds of +500 or better just after the preceding season has ended. 

In other markets, the prices are even better. In the NFL, there are futures markets for the league MVP, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Rookies of the Year, and even the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. These markets aren’t as tight and bettors can find an overall favorite at +1000 before a season even starts. 

The one downfall associated with betting in any football futures market is that you will have money tied up all season long. If you put $100 on a team to win the Super Bowl, that $100 is locked into that bet until the Super Bowl has been decided. 

History of Betting on NFL Football

The history of betting on professional football dates back to the early days of the sport. Football has always been a popular spectator sport, and it wasn’t long before people began placing bets on the outcomes of games. 

Early football betting was illegal and conducted through bookies, who were often associated with organized crime. Prior to the 1930s, betting on NFL and college games was kind of a free-for-all. Wagers were taken either by a bookie prior to the game or at the event itself.

In the 1930s, something called the “Minnesota Line” began to standardize betting on football. The modern “Gold Sheet,” a football handicapping website, has its roots in the Minnesota Line. This was the primary source for bookies to obtain lines on games. 

Nevada, of course, legalized sports betting in the 1950s and it was the only place in the U.S. where legal bets on football were taken. That began to change as forms of legal sports betting – think fantasy football – started to become popular around the states.

The repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018 opened the floodgates for legal sports betting in America. At present, more than 30 states in the U.S. allow some form of legal sports betting. 

The National Football League has emerged as one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Today, football betting is a global industry, with people from all walks of life placing bets on games. Whether it’s a friendly wager between friends or a serious investment in a team, betting on football remains a popular pastime for millions of people around the world.

Pros & Cons of Betting Football with Land Based or Offshore Sportsbooks

Betting on football – and sports betting in general – has become extremely popular in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Despite a rise in the number of land-based sportsbooks, bettors still prefer dealing with offshore sportsbooks in order to enjoy the full gaming experience.  

Offshore sportsbooks offer a lot of advantages. Furthermore, offshore betting sites offer a wide range of services, including sportsbooks, casino games, racebook, and more. If you’re a sports bettor looking for the full gaming experience, an offshore sportsbook is your best bet.

The wide range of wagering and gaming opportunities provided by an offshore sportsbook is unmatched. There are a huge number of betting markets available for all the major sports. There are also specialty sports like tennis, golf, and others, in addition to alternative betting markets.

Live betting, individual and team props, and other specialized bets are all available at an offshore sportsbook. Many of those same bets cannot be found in a land-based book. Looking for pushup contests? Who will win the next mayoral election in any major city in the world? These are unique bets that you will definitely not find in a land-based sportsbook. The only place to find bets like these is offshore.

Best Lines and Odds at Global Sportsbooks

The biggest advantage of betting football at a global offshore sportsbook is the best lines and odds in the industry. Offshore betting sites don’t have to deal with tons of government regulation and taxes. 

Take Costa Rica as an example. Because of relatively less government interference, many sportsbooks are located in Costa Rica. Taxes are relatively low as well. In some countries – take Great Britain, for instance – sportsbook operators will pay a huge license fee. That could be as high as $100,000 just to run the business within a country’s borders.

This represents huge savings for these offshore sportsbooks. They are able to pass on a lot of their savings to bettors in one form or another. One way is through better lines and better odds than the rest of the market. Another is through the offering of some of the best bonuses in the sports betting industry. In addition to welcome and reload bonuses, offshore bookies will have all sorts of incentives available for their customers. 

Global sportsbooks are usually available to anyone. Some betting sites will not allow bettors from certain countries. There may also be some regulatory issues as well. 

Since an offshore site is not licensed in a bettor’s country, there could be some issues should a discrepancy arise. There is no oversight and bettors might find that they are dealing with a rogue operation. Bettors are then left unprotected and may find themselves losing all of their winnings.

Offshore sportsbooks may not offer your preference as far as deposit and withdrawal methods either. Plus, offshore betting sites will have some inconvenient betting maximums and minimums.

Offshore books do, however, fund accounts and payout in cryptocurrency. For bettors looking to stay anonymous, this is a big plus. When anonymity is a must, the offshore sportsbook is the best option.

Football Betting Strategies & Tips

NFL betting isn’t simply about picking winners. Betting against the point spread is the most popular NFL bet. When betting against the spread, NFL road underdogs have had success in recent years. They’re especially good against division rivals.

Playing a division opponent twice each year creates familiarity. This is a huge boost for underdogs. Home teams are almost always overvalued and sportsbooks know this. They will even shade lines as a result. It’s interesting to note that road underdogs have covered the spread over 52% of the time in recent seasons. Division road underdogs cover at an even higher rate.This is important for NFL bettors to know.

NFL betting involves a number of key factors. Roster changes, injuries, and player performance are things that bettors should be checking when making a betting decision. A player may be in a slump or on a roll, for example. Think about what happens if a team leads by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game.  Some coaches will get their starters out. This can affect a point spread or totals bet.

Consider Key Numbers

Key numbers are also important for NFL betting. NFL games often end with common point totals. More games end with 41 points than any other total. Roughly seven percent of NFL games end with 41 or 44 points. When betting on a game total, it helps to know this. 

Scoring margins are also important. The most common margins are 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10. Because NFL scoring is rigid (6 points for a touchdown, 3 for a field goal, etc.), certain scoring margins are more common than others. Certain team point totals are more common as well. 

Armed with this information, football bettors find more value on favorites at -6.5 and underdogs at +7.5. That’s because seven-point margins are more common than six- or eight-point margins.

Bettors can also look at certain trends to help them make strong wagers. During the 2021 NFL season for example, the Detroit Lions went 3-13-1 SU. Detroit didn’t win its first eight games of the season under new head coach Dan Campbell. The Lions did, however, begin to play well later in the season. By season’s end, Detroit had one of the NFL’s top ATS records. Lions backers were pleasantly satisfied with their 11-6 ATS mark.

To Pay Attention to Trends or Not

Michigan (11-3 ATS) and Oklahoma State (10-3-1 ATS) topped the collegiate ATS rankings. Both teams had outstanding defenses, which helped them cover consistently. Team scoring is another trend for bettors to look at. The Kansas City Chiefs have been among the NFL’s highest-scoring teams ever since Patrick Mahomes took over as the team’s quarterback.

The Chiefs were No. 5 in the NFL in scoring last season. Their Over percentage (60%) was second in the league. The New York Jets averaged just 18.2 points per game but were third in Over percentage. That’s because the Jets’ defense was so terrible. 

Another easy strategy for football bettors to use is to compare betting lines. Football bettors have tons of options online. They can easily shop for the best lines for the games they are betting. Even with modest line differences, finding a half-point here or reduced juice there will ultimately win more bets and add to your bankroll. 

Football betting is hard enough. Don’t lose more often than you should just because you didn’t get the best line. With today’s technology, bettors can find resources that let them shop for the best lines on football games very quickly.