How to Bet on the NFL

7 min read

Betting on Football

This guide is dedicated to offering a comprehensive understanding of NFL betting.

The landscape of football betting has been transformed significantly since the advent of online sports betting and mobile betting apps, fostering remarkable growth within the industry. The ease and reach of these online platforms have revolutionized the way bettors interact with NFL games, facilitating a broader and more vibrant betting experience.

Within this guide, you will learn about many aspects of NFL betting. It presents the different kinds of bets available, the methodology behind the calculation of betting odds, and an overview of the legal framework surrounding sports betting in North America, with a specific focus on the NFL. Each segment is crafted to provide detailed insights and strategies exclusive to NFL betting, emphasizing the distinct characteristics of wagering in this league. Moreover, we will venture into advanced betting concepts, the pivotal role of technology and data in making informed bets, and the significance of adhering to responsible gambling practices.

Best Football Sportsbooks

Understanding NFL Odds

Odds are presented differently, typically based on where you are located geographically. Here are the three main odds formats that you can expect to see when betting on the NFL:

American Odds Format (Moneyline Odds)

American odds, also known as Moneyline odds, are characterized by a negative (-) or positive (+) sign. The negative sign indicates the favored team, while the positive sign marks the underdog.

Consider an NFL game with the following odds:

New England Patriots: -500 Miami Dolphins: +350

The negative odds (-500) for the New England Patriots suggest they are favored to win. You would need to bet $500 on the Patriots to potentially profit $100 if they win. Conversely, the positive odds (+350) for the Miami Dolphins indicate they are the underdogs. A $100 bet on the Dolphins will yield a profit of $350 if they come out victorious.

Note: The odds (-500 and +350) are not directly comparable due to the sportsbook's juice, which is their built-in commission.

Decimal Odds Format

Popular in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, decimal odds format is straightforward. It shows the total payout per dollar wagered, making it easy to spot favorites and underdogs.

Here is an NFL game with decimal odds:

Dallas Cowboys: 2.50 Green Bay Packers: 1.60

A $100 bet on the Dallas Cowboys at 2.50 odds will potentially return $250 ($100 bet + $150 profit). Meanwhile, a $100 bet on the Green Bay Packers at 1.60 odds would return $160 ($100 bet + $60 profit).

Fractional Odds Format

Used primarily in the UK and Ireland, fractional odds are expressed as a ratio (e.g., 5/1). They indicate the potential profit relative to the stake, with the first number representing the potential profit and the second the bet.

Here is how fractional odds work:

Philadelphia Eagles: 7/2 Seattle Seahawks: 4/5

A $2 bet on the Philadelphia Eagles at 7/2 odds would return $7 profit, making the total payout $9. On the other hand, a winning $5 bet on the Seattle Seahawks at 4/5 odds would yield a profit of $4, for a total return of $9. The Eagles, with higher potential profit, are the underdogs, while the Seahawks, with lower potential winnings, are the favorites.

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FAQs

Understanding Football Betting Basics
What are the key differences in betting on the NFL, CFL, and NCAAF?
How do I understand and interpret betting odds?
What are some common types of football bets?
Strategies and Advanced Betting Concepts
How can I develop an effective betting strategy?
What role does technology play in football betting?
Is live betting a good strategy for football?
Practical Aspects and Responsible Betting
What are some advanced betting concepts I should be aware of?
How do external factors like weather and venue impact football betting?
How important is emotional control in betting?
What is the most important thing to remember about football betting?
Author
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Editor-in-Chief
Last Updated: May 27, 2024, 2:39 PM

Meet Our Authors

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

 ExperienceYear
Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG

 

Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.

 

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Editor-in-Chief

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed thousands of articles and reviews to dozens of online platforms, sharing his research, knowledge, and perspectives.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

ExperienceYear
Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Nick Ashbourne
Nick Ashbourne
Senior Writer

Nick has been fascinated with sports since he was first taken to a Toronto Maple Leafs game back in 1998, and he's written about them professionally since 2014.

Nick has covered baseball and hockey for outlets like The Athletic, Sportsnet, and Yahoo Sports, and his sports betting expertise has grown since its legalization in Ontario in 2022. 

Between 2022 and 2023 he worked for a betting startup called NorthStar Bets, and in 2024 he contributed to Oddspedia before joining the Responsible Gambling team.

Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.

Mark Medina
Mark Medina
NBA Reporter

Mark Medina is a longtime NBA reporter that includes stints as a Lakers blogger with The Los Angeles Times (2010-12), Lakers beat writer with the Los Angeles Daily News (2012-17), Warriors beat writer with Bay Area News Group (2017-19) as well as an NBA reporter/columnist for USA Today (2019-21) and NBA.com (2021-23). Medina is also an NBA insider with Fox Sports Radio and frequent contributor to CBSLA's SportsCentralLA with Jim Hill and with Spectrum Sportsnet.

Daria Tuboltseva
Daria Tuboltseva
Hockey Journalist

Daria went to St. Petersburg State University and earned a bachelor of international journalism. Working as a sports journalist from 2014, from 2016 as a hockey journalist. Covered 5 World Championships, 2022 Winter Olympics, 2020 World Juniors, 6 Gagarin Cup Finals. 

Owner of a telegram channel Coolest Game on Earth.

Integrative nutritionist specializing on sports nutritionology.