How To Bet NFL

How to Bet on Football: NFL Betting Guide for 2023-2024

Football is one of the most betted sports in North America, with NFL betting reaching unprecedented popularity. Knowing at least the basics of how to bet on football is key for your wagering success, though.

In the guide below, I'll break down how to read betting lines and NFL odds for moneylines, point spreads, and point totals, and some more advanced options like props and futures. I'll also hit you with a few basic how-to-bet-on football strategies to get you started.

How to Bet on the NFL

When it comes to NFL betting, understanding the primary bet types is crucial. Let's explore the basics of NFL betting, including point spreads, moneylines, and totals.

Moneyline

The moneyline bet is the simplest form of wagering on any sport, football included. It involves picking the outright winner (which team will be victorious) of an NFL game. If you want more information on how moneyline betting works and the nuance of betting on favorites and underdogs, check out our dedicated moneyline betting page.

Point Spread

The point spread is also a fundamental aspect of football betting, setting a balanced line based on the expected margin of victory or defeat for a given NFL team. Unlike moneylines, you have to pick if a team will win by more than a set amount of points (the spread) or lose by fewer — this is called 'covering the spread'.

Totals (Over/Under)

Betting on point totals, or over/under bets, requires you to predict the combined final score of both teams in an NFL game. You wager on if the teams will score more or less than a pre-set line, such as O.U 46.5 points. You can learn more about total betting here.

Player and Team Props

Once you've mastered the basics of betting on teams in the NFL, you should check out the world of NFL props. These allow you to hone in on specific player and team matchups, adding an extra layer of excitement to football betting. You can wager on if a player will pass for a touchdown or rush for over/under a pre-set amount of yards. Or, you can bet on team props like total points scored by a side or total yards allowed.

Futures

Futures betting offers long-term opportunities such as predicting Super Bowl winners or season MVPs. We've got dedicated pages for all the major types of NFL futures bets below:

Advanced NFL Betting Options

For seasoned bettors seeking higher risk-reward opportunities or more specific wagers, there are other ways to get in on the NFL betting action. Here's how to bet on those football options:

Parlays

Parlays involve combining multiple bets into a single ticket for increased potential payouts. If you nail all the bets in your parlay, you receive a significantly increased payout compared to simply betting those bets alone. However, if just one of your bets fails the whole parlay fails. So, NFL parlays are the epitome of high-risk, high-reward betting

Live Betting

Live betting NFL games or 'in-play betting' is where you can wager on NFL games after they've begun.  Many of the same moneyline, spread, total, and prop options you will see before the game are still available during contests, with constantly adjusted lines that change based on performance and injuries. If you see an injury or mismatch you want to take advantage of, NFL live betting is a great opportunity to do so during a contest.

Quarter/Half Betting

Quarter/half betting on NFL games allows bettors to focus on shorter time frames and exploit specific lines. If you don't think a team will cover the entire game spread, but they start hot and you think they can cover in the first half, lock the bet in. Most of the major NFL betting lines are available for specific halves and quarters.

NFL Betting Tips & Strategies

You can go game-to-game or follow our NFL computer picks, but most successful NFL bettors have some specific strategies they stick to and areas they always look at before handicapping a game. Here are some basic tips and strategies to improve your chances of success:

Recent Performance Analysis

It's not the only thing you should look at for your NFL bets, but the best indicator of future performance is past performance. A simple look at the NFL schedule or football box scores allows you to look at the last few games to see which players and teams are running hot or cold. Our NFL Power Rankings take into account recent performance to rank teams.

This also works for player props. For example, if a wide receiver has moved up the depth chart and has snagged over 80 yards in his last three games, maybe the books haven't fully adjusted and his O/U yards line is still set at 71.5!

Matchup/Head-To-Head History

Some teams just match up better against specific other squads. Our NFL head-to-head database allows you to quickly find head-to-head histories between teams to see if squads are consistently covering and winning against opponents.

Watching Line Movement

When you bet is often almost as important as which team you bet in the NFL. NFL odds constantly move after they're announced Sunday night (for the next week) allowing you to monitor line movement and pounce at a good number. If you're confident in a pick/line, getting in early is usually the safest bet. But, if you like a team at -2.5 on the spread, but they open as -3 favorites, you can wait for the line to move.

Key numbers like three (winning by a field goal) and seven (winning by a touchdown) are especially important for deciding when to bet on a line.

Line Shopping

My biggest team for new NFL bettors is to shop around. NFL sportsbooks usually offer similar lines but they're not always the same. After you've decided what you're betting on, register and monitor a few different books to see if you can snag better line value on your play from one site or another. This is a sneaky way to juice just a bit of extra profit out of your winning bets and make sure you're not getting screwed by a bad line.

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