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Betting on NFL: A Guide to the Best Markets and Events

The NFL is the most popular sport in America, and one of the most profitable for gamblers. The season runs from September to February and there are many opportunities to bet on your favorite teams, with a huge variety of odds and markets available.

If you're new to American Football betting, it can be intimidating. There are so many teams and games happening on any given day that it can be hard to know where to start.

We'll get you started with some of the best bets for beginners and a breakdown of what events happen during each game.

With games now taking place at Wembley Stadium, even though NFL has been shown on the TV in the UK since the 80's its popularity continues to grow and with it, the interest in betting on the sport.

So join us we take an in-depth look at betting on American Football, the do's, the don'ts and how to become great at NFL Betting by going through these three introductory ideas.


Types of bet You can Make on the NFL

Point Spread

The main bet on American Football matches is always going to be the point spread or handicap as it tends to be better known as over here. 

Due to American sports (American Football included) going to overtime when the score is tied there are only two possible winning outcomes making many games uncompetitive from a betting point of view. 

This is where handicapping comes in. 

One side is given a lead and the other is given a handicap and the amount of handicap will always depend on how evenly matched the two sides are, the idea being that once the handicap has been applied the teams have an equal chance of winning and are priced very closely with the same odds very often. At lest that is the aim of the handicap market.

Picking the right bets in the point spread market has the same principles as picking value bets in other sports. The odds are the same so it is simply a case of picking the most over or underestimated sides in each round of games. In a game where you were betting on the winner, you’d look for odds that you think are too big compared to a team’s chance of winning, here you look for handicaps that are too big or small on each team in your opinion. 

The bigger you disagree with the handicap, the better the bet should be, as long as you have called the game correctly.

Money Line

Although many punters prefer the more competitive odds on offer in handicap betting there are still some that simply prefer to call the game as it is and bet on which side will win. There is much more range in the odds available on various matches and there is still some very good value to be had so it is worth comparing the match outcome odds with the handicap odds to find the best bets.

Points Betting

Effectively ‘correct score’ betting for American Football, points betting allows punters to predict the number of points scored by one, or both of the teams involved in a given match. Because this market is more open than the handicap betting the odds on offer can be much more rewarding, as can the returns for those who are willing to delve into stats for each matchup.

This really wraps up the straight bets on the NFL, after these, we move into the world of Proposition betting!


Don't worry, it's not as scarey as it sounds and you've probably made prop bets before anyway.



You Already Know What A Proposition Bet Is : Believe it Or not!

A proposition bet is when you are betting on the possible outcome of a different 'proposition' to that of the 'standard' betting markets. In fact, the bet will have little to do with the final outcome of the game, and rather something that happens in a specific time frame, period of play or with an individual player.

If you have ever bet on soccer, then you have almost certainly bet on a first goalscorer, correct score or one of those bet builder type request a bets.

Well, that is a proposition bet. Here are some of the more popular 'Prop Bets' you can expect to find betting on the NFL.

They can also be broken down in Game Props, and player props

Game Props

Game props are markets that are considered for the game in general, such as yards and passing combined from all players or each team

Total Rushing Yards

Total rushing yards are the total off all rushing yards from every player and both teams in the game. The bookmaker will offer a line This will be their prediction of how many rushing yards will be that total at the end of the game and you have to predict whether it will be greater or fewer in total. The odds will be in the handicap style close to 2.00 as possible with an edge locked in for the bookie, so you may have 1.95 on either side or thereabouts

Total Passes

Total passes will be calculated in the same way as the under/over markets. With a line given for you to predict of there will be more or less than the predicted total from the bookmaker offering the odds. Look for teams' recent lineups and tactics, and try to work out, given recent form or previous games between the sides how they might play this on the offense. Also, take into consideration the defence of each team and how effective they are on closing down the quarterback.

Number of TD's

This is an obvious one, and games can really differ here with lots or very few touchdowns. This market is the one most closely associated to the total goals in soccer betting

You can even bet on the Coin Toss!

That' right!, You can even bet on which side will win the coin toss to start the game - This is one of the worst bets you can make, so I would recommend avoiding this at all costs. The chances of the two outcomes are always 2.00, but you will never be able to bet at those odds, it will always be 1.98 at the very best meaning it is a bad value bet.

Team Prop Bets

Team prop bets work almost exactly the same as game props, in that the same type of markets will be available but only those incidents directly relating to one team of the other will be considered. This is a good area to try to specialise in, especially if you know a great deal about one team or follow the closely as a fan. You will know what the lines-ups might be, you'll understand how they have been playing in recent time and if their current form is good or bad, playing at home or on the road. 

The more you know about a single team or maybe a team per division, the better placed you will be to identify when the bookies might have made a mistake with the odds and be ale to grab a good value NFL bet

Player Props Bets

Player props bets are similar to game bets with the exception they will be based around players individually

To Score the First Touchdown

Very much like first goalscorer bets in football, here you will be nominating a player that will score the first touchdown in the game. You might be able to get an each-way bet. An each-way bet on the first touch down would offer a fraction of the odds if your nominated player fails to score the first touchdown but dos score one at any time in the game

By the same token, a bet for scoring a touchdown at any time is a very probable market that will be available with many bookmakers on American football games.

Player Rushing Yrds Over/Under

Take a look at the wide receivers here and make a prediction as to whether they will rush more or fewer yards than the bookmaker has set the line

Player Passing yards Over/Under

And those quarter-back - How well do you know the quarterbacks playing for each team and how adept are they at teaming up with the receivers and making pin point passes. Or has the team a hole in the defense where the quarterback is not so adept at finding the pace to even make a pass attempt. You can predict over or under the given passing line provided by the bookmaker.

Half Time/Full Time

A fairly self explanatory market, this bet requires the bettor to predict the outcome at both half time and full time. There are no handicaps involved in this bet and it helps offer more competitive odds than simply backing the match outcome. Some teams can be better earlier in games and others will improve as the quarters pass and these factors are important considerations in this market.

First Scoring Play

A bit of a fun bet really, this is a bet on which play results in the first points for either side. Depending on which bookie you are betting with, you may only be able to bet on the type of play or you may be able to specify which side will score with that play, therefore increasing the odds. You should find touchdowns are most likely whilst the biggest odds in this market will be found on safety or ‘other scoring method’ depending on how many outcomes the bookies have priced up.

In-Play American Football Betting

Betting in-play on American football is a great idea if you plan to watch the game live on the TV. With so much American football now available to watch on satellite and cable channels in the UK you can pick and choose which games to watch and bet on.

All the normal markets are likely to go in play in term of the lines and spreads, and the money line markets.

Other options for in play betting on the NFL will include

  • Next Touchdown
  • Next Sack
  • Next Field Goal

These markets offer the opportunity to watch the run of play and make predictions on which team will score the next touchdown. Obviously the closer they are to the end zone, and as long as they are on first down, the lower the odds may be.

If they are on a 4th down and the quarterback has not been firing on all cylinders, you may ant to bet again them reaching the end zone by touch down or kicking a field goal.

You will be amazed at the sheer number of in play betting markets available for betting on American football

Tips for Winning Betting on American Football

The best approach to betting on American football is to only bet on what you know.

Don't go picking some random markets because the odds look good. by the same token, don't be taken in by very short-looking odds that look like dead certs to win. there is nothing certain about a possible outcome even if you see odds of 1.10. There are many a finger been burned by someone betting £100 to win £10 on a 1.10 shot only for it to fail.

Try specialising in certain teams, follow them closely and learn everything you can about them. You'll be up to speed with their current form home and away, and how they perform against other teams in the division. 

The more you know the more likely you will be able to find a good value bet where the bookies might have got something wrong, or you have some intelligence about a team that they may have missed.

NFL Betting Guide Summary

So after reading all the information on this betting on the NFL guide, you are in a great position to start betting on your favourite teams. You will know the basics of each type bet and when to place a high stake, you can then go ahead with confidence knowing all about NFL bets!


Click here to find American Football discussion and tips on the OLBG American Football Forum.

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