How to bet on American Football

How to bet on American Football

How to bet on American Football
Autor betsonly 13 Feb 2019

How to bet on American football, especially the NFL, with a brief explanation of the key markets which use similar concepts as NBA betting.

American Football is one of the most popular sports on which to bet, particularly the professional version of the game, the NFL (National Football League). The regular season starts in September and features 32 teams in 8 mini-leagues who play, over a 17-game season, to make the play-offs, culminating in the Super Bowl final in late January/early February.

Before deciding to bet on the NFL though, take time to understand the rules of the game, and also the most important markets on which to bet, as well as the rationale behind them. Here, those who are already familiar with basketball betting and the NBA have an advantage, as many of the key concepts are similar.

For example, just like in the NBA, the Point Spread, popularly known as the Handicap market, is the most popular amongst players. American Football is a high-scoring game, at least compared to soccer, and both teams in a game can accumulate a number of points. With handicap betting, the favourite is penalised by having to exceed a set number of points to beat the “spread” for a bet to succeed. For example, if the Dallas Cowboys played the New York Jets, and the spread market was -4.5 Dallas/+4.5 New York, Dallas would need to win the game by at least 5 clear points for a bet on them to win to succeed; on the other side of the coin, a bet on New York would succeed if they won or lost by less than 4 points. In the event then of Dallas winning 20 -17, a bet on Dallas loses because the spread is not covered, whereas a wager on the Jet succeeds.

Another popular bet is the over and under market, also sometimes known as Totals. Here a bet can be made on the combined score of both teams at the end of a quarter, half, or the match itself, and bettors can choose to bet in excess of that number (over) or below it (under). Should the combined score be exactly equal, then the bet is considered a tie and void, and the stake returned to the player.

And then there is Moneyline, which despite its somewhat confusing terminology, a simply a bet on which side will win the game. As with any form of betting, heavily favoured teams in the NFL will be priced at short odds, so there may little value to be had in betting on them, even if the bet is relatively safe.

Once you get more experienced with NFL betting, then you might want to branch out and consider who will score first in a game, which team will lead at the end of a quarter or half, or want to make a parlay bet, or accumulator, where you are predicting the results of three or four matches at a time.

As with any sport, the key to consistent success when betting on the NFL is research. Understand the teams, their relative strengths and weaknesses; which teams have a strong defence, powerful running game, or are effective in the air. Who is in form, or is affected by injuries and suspensions? And identify which teams have the best quarter-backs. The key position in an NFL team, top-class quarterbacks like Tom Brady of the New England Patriots or Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers can sometimes make up for deficiencies elsewhere on the field.

Weather can also make a huge difference, particularly cold and snow. Not only does the cold make a ball heavy and slippery, but it can also hand home field advantage to teams used to playing in freezing temperatures like the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings, or the Packers. Teams like the Miami Dolphins or the San Francisco 49ers are used to the relatively mild temperatures of Florida and California. Having to play in freezing temperatures in December and January when players cannot feel their hands and feet can put them at a severe disadvantage, no matter how good their squad.