NFL Bet Types Explained
Football is the most popular sport in the United States, and naturally, betting on NFL Games is the most prevalent wagering option for US-based gamblers. The NFL features a wide variety of betting options that allows for odds to be placed on almost any activity occurring within the realm of professional football.
This can confuse someone who is just walking on to the field of NFL betting for the first time. There’s no need to worry. We’ve created a playbook that will guide new bettors through the x’s and o’s of all varieties of professional football wagers, providing a walkthrough that’ll lead to perfect execution when placing the action on your favorite team or player. The betting types below can be used whether you are betting on the NFL playoffs or regular-season games.
NFL Bet Types Menu
NFL Betting Lines Explained
As mentioned above, there are many aspects to wagering on NFL games, with several options included within a single game’s betting line to consider. Below is an example of an NFL betting line that we will refer to when detailing particular bet types in this guide.
NFL Moneyline Odds
NFL Moneyline odds are likely the first item included in a betting line that will cause confusion for those first entering the football betting arena. Moneyline odds are represented with a three-digit or more number that is listed in the positive of the negative.
Using the Houston vs. Kansas City example above, the Chiefs have moneyline odds of -500 placed on their chances of winning. Because their odds are listed in the negative, that means they are the team that is favored to win. Because KC is favored, a wager placed on their odds will earn less than the amount risked. A bet of $500 will be required to earn $100 if they win.
Houston’s chances of winning are represented with +350 moneyline odds. Because they are the underdog, a wager on them has the chance to earn more than the amount that is risked. A bet of $100 on the Texans will earn a cash payout of $350 if they are victorious.
Many bettors prefer moneyline odds because it allows for wagers to be placed on the team that will win the game, as opposed to other bet types that require more research and attention to point totals.
NFL Point Spread
NFL point spreads represent a point total that a team is predicted to win or lose by and its safe to say that betting on NFL point spreads is probably one of the most popular wagering options for legally betting on NFL teams. The teams listed in the negative are favored to win while teams listed in the positive are predicted to lose. Using the betting line above as an example, we find that Kansas City is favored to win the game by 10 points.
A wager placed on the Chiefs will require them to win by 11 or more points for bets to pay off. Alternatively, a wager on the Texans will require them to lose by 9 points or less in order to win the bet.
There are also what appears to be moneyline odds placed next to the point spread totals for each team. These three-digit numbers represent the amount of money that can be earned by betting on the team. A wager on KC of $115 is required to earn $100 if they cover the 10-point spread. This serves to allow for sportsbooks to collect “juice,” which is the profit they make from accepting sports bets.
NFL Over / Under (Total)
The numbers to the far right of the betting line above indicates the over/under, or total, for the matchup. These numbers represent the amount of points that oddsmakers believe that the two teams will combine to score.
Bettors must decide if they think the point total will fall above or below that mark and place a wager on it. The line has been set at 54.5 points, so for the over to hit, 55 or more points must be scored. For the under to payout, the total combined point output of both teams must be 54 or less.
The -110 placed next to the over and under means that a wager of $110 will pay out at $100 if the correct side of the total is bet upon.
NFL Prop Bets
Proposition bets are wagers that can be made on just about any occurrence that can happen during the game or broadcast, including events that may not affect the final outcome. Below we detail some of the various NFL prop bets that can be found at top-rated sportsbooks. These wagers are typically offered with yes or no options, or in a list that includes multiple options.
NFL Player Props – These are bets that can be made on the performance of individual players that can include stat totals, how many games they will start or win, and whether they will win the league MVP or Super Bowl MVP award.
NFL Team Props – Franchise related prop bets include if a team will win their division, conference, or the Super Bowl. They can also include win totals, mascot or name changes, or whether they’ll move to a new city.
NFL Super Bowl Props – Prop bets for wagering on the Super Bowl are incredibly popular and provide for literally hundreds of betting options each February. Odds are placed on the singing of the National Anthem, which coach will be shown first on-screen, whether or not a fan will run on the field, and much more.
NFL Draft Props – The NFL Draft and the prop bets it provides can serve as an oasis for NFL bettors each April. Draft related prop bets include player options for each of the top draft spots, which position will be drafted in a particular order, and who will be the top player chosen at each football position. These props add a lot of fun to traditional NFL draft betting options.
NFL Free Agent Props – As popular free agents become available in the NFL, prop bets will be made available for which team they will end up with, and perhaps how long they will remain on the market.
NFL Live Betting
The offshore sportsbooks that we recommend offers live betting that features odds that update throughout the game. Live betting alleviates the pressure of making sure a bet is placed prior to kickoff, and allows for wagering until the final whistle is blown. If a bet has been placed that is a certain loser and the game has just started, gamblers can hop back in on the action and make another wager.
All of the betting odds featured in the KC vs. HOU line above will update with live NFL wagering. Other betting opportunities include which team will be in the lead after each quarter, including halftime, and can also include prop bets.
An NFL futures bet encompasses any wager or line that involves an activity that happens tomorrow or after. Futures betting lines are typically available year-round and keeps NFL betting active during the off-season. Futures betting opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following options:
- Game Lines Occurring Tomorrow or After
- Season Win Totals
- Division Champions
- Conference Champions
Parlay bets involve wagering on multiple game lines at the same time for increased payouts. In order to win this bet, all the teams that you select as part of this wager must beat the spread. If any of the wagers included in the parlay bet fail, then the entire bet fails.
Teaser bets operate exactly like parlays, but allows for the bettor to adjust the point spread in the direction of their choosing. The amount of points that the spreads can be adjusted is set by the sportsbook.
NFL pleasers operate the same way that teasers do, but instead of the bettor adjusting the point spread, the sportsbook does. Although this does not represent the most advantageous betting scenario, the payouts are typically very high.
NFL If bets operate similarly to parlays, but not all wagers are required to hit to receive a payout. If the first bet hits, then the second will receive action, and so on. Payouts are earned with each win, but the action stops once the first loss in the chain occurs. These are also referred to as reverse wagers.
Round Robin Parlays
This style of parlay allows for bettors to opt for multiple 2-team parlay combinations and provides a payout as long as more than 50% of combinations are winners. Because this increases the chances of winning, payouts are smaller than regular parlay bets.
Mobile NFL Betting
An increasing majority of NFL bets are made via iPad, iPhone, and Android mobile devices these days, and the sportsbooks we recommend offer mobile NFL betting on the go through their web-based applications. These web apps can be accessed via current mobile browsers such as Opera, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Google.
The technology allows for touch button controls that operate like a downloadable app but without the need for a visit to the Google Play or App Store. All of the betting lines that can be found at the regular site can be wagered upon via their mobile version as well. The number of bettors accessing sports betting via mobile app is beginning to overshadow the number of bettors sticking with desktop access.