NFL Betting: How To Bet On NFL Like A Professional Sports Bettor

In today’s lesson, we will be learning how to bet on the NFL. At the end of this sports betting lesson, you will be able to answer the following questions.

  • Is it legal to bet on the NFL?
  • How do you bet on the NFL?
  • Where can you bet on the NFL?
  • What are the important NFL betting terms?
  • How do you win an NFL bet?

Complete Guide On How To Bet On NFL

The interest for NFL betting has been growing steadily over the years. Let’s begin this guide by finding out why and how you can get started placing bets on the NFL.


The National Football League, or most commonly known as the NFL, is a professional American Football league in the United States. It is considered the highest professional level of American Football in the world.

nfl betting

NFL is one of the four major sports in the United States along with the NBA, MLB, and NHL. And it is one of the most anticipated sports in America. The NFL has the most number of attendance of any professional sports league in the world. And is considered to be the most popular of all major sports in the United States.

The league consists of two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC), with 16 teams each. The regular season starts early September until late December. Each NFL team plays 16 games and have a week where they don’t play, or what’s commonly referred to as a bye week.

The NFL playoff is a single-elimination tournament where bad team match-ups can end a great contender’s run. See Titans vs Patriots 2019.

The NFL championship game is called the Super Bowl.

NFL is best known for this event which usually takes place on the first Sunday of February. The Super Bowl is the culmination of the NFL season where the winner of each conference faces off for the championship and popular artists perform at halftime.

NFL betting is legal and allowed depending on your country or state’s gambling regulations.

In the United States, sports betting is allowed and considered legal in some states. Here’s the status of sports betting in all 50 US States.

Sports Betting StatusUS States
Allowed Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Montana, Washington, Washington D.C., Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee
On-going process Connecticut, Maine, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, California, Arizona, Virginia, South Dakota, Ohio, Wyoming, Nebraska, Alabama, Vermont, Florida, Georgia
Not Allowed Idaho, Wisconsin, Utah, Wyoming, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, North Dakota

We also did our own research on other countries and we found out that sports betting is legal in the UK, and in some countries in Europe and Asia.

For those in Canada and Australia, sports betting is not considered “completely” illegal. And residents of the said countries can still sign up with offshore bookmakers. Most online bookmakers accept Australian and Canadian residents, so it won’t be hard to find them and start betting on the NFL.

Also, their governments do not seem to mind that their residents are gambling online. They’re more focused on tracking down the illegal bookmakers serving their citizens, than arresting those who make the bets.

Nevertheless, each country or state has different gambling laws and regulations, so it will be better if you will check on those first.

How To Bet On The NFL In The US

Since NFL is the most popular sport in the US, it’s no wonder why there’s a great demand for sports betting in this particular sports league.

If you’re residing on a state that has already legalized sports betting, then you can start placing your bets with an online sportsbook in the comforts of your own home by signing up with either 5Dimes or BetOnline. Or maybe both since there are a ton of advantages in having multiple bookmakers.

We were able to identify these two companies as trustworthy and are both great sites to place your NFL bets with.

Canadian residents often utilize offshore bookmakers for convenience and to get better odds.

If you are residing in Canada, and want to start wagering on NFL games, you may sign up with BetOnline.

They’re considered one of the best bookmakers today because they have a competitive betting platform, helpful customer support, and offer fast payouts to their clients.

Sports betting is legal in the UK, so United Kingdom residents can easily place their NFL bets with their sportsbook.

After reviewing a handful of UK sports betting sites, we’ve decided that BetNow is one of the better online bookmakers out there today. They have a user-friendly betting platform, excellent customer support, and of course, great promotions and offers for new customers from the United Kingdom.

Australia has stricter gambling regulations than the UK, but its government is not that keen to arresting individuals who gamble. The Australian government is more focused on reprimanding the enabler than the gambler.

Australian residents can participate in the action either by going to a casino that’s allowed by the government to take in their NFL bets or open an account with an online sports betting site that accepts Australian residents.

We highly recommend signing up with 5Dimes. They are a trusted and licensed sportsbook, and offer some of the best odds in the NFL.

NFL Betting FAQs

This section will help you get familiarized with the most used terms in NFL betting. After finishing this section, you’ll have a better understanding of the different bets that you can make in the NFL.

How do you start betting on the NFL?

As mentioned earlier, you can bet on the NFL either from a casino near your place or you can do it in the comforts of your own home by signing up with an online sportsbook.

Once you have a sportsbook, all you have to do now is make your pick and tell them how much you want to wager.

There are different NFL bets you can make, and we’ll be talking about those later.

How do odds work in the NFL?

Odds are the probability a certain outcome will occur in a game.

This is often represented by a number that will determine the amount of money you can win if the outcome you bet on happens.

There are three different types of odds used in gambling.

American odds (- XYZ or + ABC). The plus or positive sign means you’re betting on the underdog of the match, and ABC or the number after the + sign is the amount you will win if you bet $100.

The minus or negative sign means you’re betting on the favored team, and XYZ or the number after the negative sign is the amount you have to place to win $100.

Of course, you can still place bets less than $100. It will just reduce the amount you’re going to win according to the amount you placed.

Fractional odds (X / Y or X – Y). In fractional odds, the “X “represents the amount of money you can win if you place a certain amount. The “Y” represents a certain amount you have to place.

The ratio here is simply “profit” / ”wager”.

These fractional odds are usually used by bettors in the UK.

Decimal odds (X.YZ). X, Y, Z are numbers ranging from 0-9.

The number you see next to a team’s name represents your overall winnings if you place a wager of $1 on that team and it wins.

If you place a $1 bet on 1.85 odds, you will get $1.85 back from that bet. If the line is set at 2.00 for one team to win, then you’ll get $2.00 for every $1 if that team wins.

For example, you placed a $100 bet for a New York Giants win at 2.20 odds. If the Giants do win, you will get $220 back or $120 profit and the amount you bet.

The bookmakers decide the odds for the game. These odds are calculated by mathematicians and statisticians working for them. Since various people are working for each gambling companies, you may see varying odds for each NFL game.

What does a +300 money line mean in football betting?

A +300 money line means the team is an underdog and if they win the game, you will get paid thrice the amount you’ve wagered.

For example, there is a game between the Panthers and the Chiefs. Panthers are away underdogs and given a +300 odds on the money line. If you place $100 bet on them to win the game, you will profit $300 if they end up defeating the Chiefs on their home floor.

What does a 7 point spread mean in NFL betting?

A 7 point spread can mean two different things. It depends on whether it has a positive sign or a negative sign before the number.

A -7 point spread means you are betting on the favorite to win the game and they must win by at least 8 points or more for you to win your NFL bet.

The opposite can be said when it’s a +7 point spread. This means you are betting on the underdog for the game. And they must only lose by at least 6 points or less, or straight up win the game, for your point spread bet to win.

What pays more money line or spread when betting on the NFL?

Money line betting is picking who will win the game, regardless of the number of points they win by.

The spread, more commonly known as the point spread in NFL betting, is given to unevenly matched teams. Point spread is highly dependent on the margin of victory at the conclusion of the game.

The oddsmakers set the point spread before the game. And the one with a negative point spread is considered the favorite.

For a 5 spread, the favored team should win by more than 5 points for your bet to win.

Since the favored team is given a – 5 point spread, the underdog will have a + 5 point spread.

The underdog team can only lose the game by less than 5 points or straight up win the game. If either of those scenarios happens, you win your bet.

If the result ends in a score difference of exactly five points, your bet will be graded as a push.

Now to answer the question “what pays more: money line or spread bets”, we’ll have to go with point spreads.

The only scenario where the money line pays more is if you are betting on the underdog, and you don’t want to bet on the underdog every single time, right?

In the long run, it is easier to make money betting on spreads than just money line bets.

Does overtime count in football betting?

Ties do not happen often in the NFL unlike in soccer betting, so the overtime period counts when you place an NFL bet.

Whether you are betting the full game or just the 2nd half or 4th quarter, overtime will always be counted to grade your bet.

For example, you placed a +3 point spread bet on the Dolphins against the 49ers. The game went to overtime. Your wager won’t be graded until the game concludes, if the 49ers score a touchdown at extra time, you’ll lose your bet.

The only scenario that overtime is not counted in NFL betting is when it is clearly stated before you place your wager.

Is it safe to bet on football online?

Betting on football online is 100% safe as long as you’re with a trusted sports betting site.

If you need help selecting a trustworthy bookmaker to place your bets with, here are our recommendations:

  • 5Dimes (Our top choice and first-ever bookmaker with the best odds)
  • BetOnline (Fast payouts, lots of cash-in options, and competitive betting platform)
  • BetNow (Has the most user-friendly betting platform we’ve used so far)
  • Intertops (Online betting pioneer and has a solid reputation)
  • MyBookie (Up and coming bookmaker)

We use them to place some of our bets on the NFL and the other sports we bet on, so we know that they treat their customers right.

Be wary of websites that don’t pay out their customers or offer too good to be true promotions that often lead to them not paying you the right amount.

A simple Google search of “<bookmaker> review” or “does <bookmaker> payout?” can tell you if you’re dealing with a safe betting site or a bad one.

How do I get paid when I win my NFL bet?

To get paid betting on the NFL, you need to make a request that you want to withdraw your money to your bookmaker.

As long as you meet your bookmaker’s requirements like their minimum withdrawal amount, you can easily withdraw your money at any time.

The payout method may vary depending on where you are located, the method you used to cash-in, and the available withdrawal options with your bookmaker.

NFL Bets

NFL offers almost the same kind of bets you’ll see in other sports like in the NBA or NHL. You don’t have to bet on all of them, but being familiar with them can be good for you in the long run.

NFL Money Line Bets

The most common bet placed in any sports is picking the winner of a game or match. This type of bet is called a money line bet.

For example, there is an NFL regular season matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles are at home and are favored to win the game at -150 odds. The Cowboys are away underdogs for the game at +120.

If you are going to place a bet on the Eagles to win, you can win $75 for every $100 wagered.

For the Cowboys’ odds, you can win $120 if you place a $100 bet and the Cowboys pulls an upset win.

This is how money line bet works on the NFL.

NFL Point Spread Bets

Another type of bet you can make betting on the NFL is betting on the point spread.

Point spreads are the number of points a team must win or lose according to the bookmakers. These are calculated based on the team’s lineups, past performance, and where the game is taking place. Of course, those are just what we know and there might be dozens of other factors that bookmakers consider when setting up the point spread for a certain matchup.

For point spreads, the typical line is in this format + X or – X.

The positive or plus sign means you’re betting on the underdog team. The X represents the number of points the underdog team can lose by.

If you’re betting on the point spread of an underdog at + 3, then the underdog team must win the game straight up or lose by less than 3 points for you to win your bet.

Meanwhile, the negative or minus sign represents a bet on the favorite. The number after that is the number of points the favorite must win the game by for your bet to be graded a win.

Provided that the oddsmakers set the run spread line at – 3, the team must win the game by at least 4 points. If the margin of victory at the end of the game is only three points, then the bet is graded as a push.

In the event that the favorite wins by less than three points, your wager loses.

Betting On NFL Game Totals

Game total bets just like money line bets are very easy to understand.

There’s a game total set by oddsmakers for each NFL game and you can place a bet on whether the total points of both teams will exceed that total or not.

For example, there is a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. The game total set for the game is at 44.5.

If the total points in the game reach 45 or more, then the over bet wins. If the total runs are 44 or less, then the under bet wins.

Some bookmakers may set the game total to a whole number like 42, 50, or any other whole digit number.

If both team’s total score adds up to the exact number that was set as a game total, then your bet will be refunded as this will be graded as a push by your bookmaker.

Live Betting in the NFL

Live betting or in-game wagering in the NFL is due to the rise of mobile betting.

There was a time when bets can only be placed before the game starts. Nowadays, it’s more flexible. As long as the game has not concluded you can still place your bets.

Live betting is great for sports bettors who want to participate in the action during the game itself. Some people already prefer placing bets during the game as opposed to doing it before the game.

The only noticeable difference is the odds are constantly changing based on each team’s performance throughout the game.

For NFL in-game bettors, they can bet on the same bets available before the game like money line bets, point spreads, game total bets, and prop bets.

Prop Bets in NFL

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are bets that don’t depend on the result of the game.

Prop bets are wagers on the NFL that answers the question.

What will happen during the game?

Which team will score a touchdown first? How much time will both teams need to score a touchdown?

Who will score the first touchdown for the game? Which team will score the first field goal? How many field goals or touchdowns do each team make?

Those are some examples of prop bets in the NFL. You’ll discover more of those once you start betting on the NFL.

NFL Future Bets

Future bets are predictions you can make about the NFL regular season, playoffs, or the Super Bowl.

These types of bets may take weeks or months before they can be graded. Some of the most popular future bets in the NFL are:

  • The Super Bowl winner for the season
  • Who will be the top seed for each conference?
  • The teams who will matchup in the Super Bowl
  • Who will win their divisions?
  • NFL regular season MVP winner
  • Over or under on NFL teams regular season wins

How do you win your NFL bet?

Placing bets on the NFL is easy with the rise of online sports betting sites. But winning these bets is a whole different thing.

Winning your NFL bets is the most important ingredient when it comes to making money in sports betting.

So how do you win most of your NFL bets?

Best NFL Betting Tips and Strategies

We’ve compiled some of the best betting tips and strategies that you can use to win money betting on NFL games.

Look at the teams’ schedules

NFL teams play 16 regular season games and have 1 bye week.

At least one game can be considered as a look-ahead game or letdown game in each team’s schedules.

After A Win ATS Record of NFL Teams for 2019 Season

TeamWinLossWin. %ATS
Kansas City11378.6%+4.3
New England9375.0%+0.9
San Francisco11473.3%+6.6
Green Bay10471.4%-3.1
New Orleans9469.2%-0.2
LA Rams4450.0%-7.1
NY Giants2250.0%-0.6
NY Jets3350.0%+2.0
Tampa Bay3442.9%+1.1
LA Chargers1420.0%-5.4

Data from NFL Database

Look ahead games and Letdown games

Look ahead games happen when a good team faces off against an average or worse team before their big game. This big game is against another good team.

For example, the Chiefs are facing off against the Dolphins before their game against the 49ers. The Chiefs may not be that eager to put away the Dolphins considering they don’t want to wear themselves out before their prime time matchup in San Francisco. The Chiefs may just go autopilot until the 4th quarter of the game or be content by just winning the game. It doesn’t matter to them by how many points they win by.

For letdown games, these are games where one team just came off an unexpected win or an upset win and are now playing against an inferior or average team. It’s common for some teams in the NFL to perform poorly after a great win. They might even fail to cover and lose the game straight up.

Both of those games can be profitable if you’re able to identify them throughout an NFL season.

Shop for the Best Odds

The easiest way to make money in NFL betting is by saving money while trying to win your bets

You can easily do this by shopping for the best odds for each game you bet on.

As mentioned before, bookmakers may see an NFL game differently from other bookmakers that is why they have varying odds.

The small difference between these odds from sportsbook A and sportsbook B may not be much today. But if you’re going to take NFL betting seriously, then it can add up in the long run.

The only way you can shop for the best odds is to open more than one sports betting account.

Experienced sports bettors recommend having at least 3 to 5 accounts with multiple bookmakers to maximize your earning potential.

Consider Backing Away Underdogs

Underdogs in the NFL can still make the game pretty interesting from time to time. And sharps love to value bets these so-called underdogs, especially those away at home.

NFL Away Underdogs ATS Record Since 2016

TeamWinLossTieWin. %ATS
New England200100.0%+10.0
Kansas City92181.8%+3.9
New Orleans125170.6%+3.4
LA Chargers127363.2%+1.4
NY Giants1610161.5%+0.4
LA Rams75058.3%+0.7
San Francisco1410158.3%+1.0
Tampa Bay1311354.2%+1.3
Green Bay1011147.6%-0.5
NY Jets817132.0%-2.1

Data from NFL Database

As you can see in the data above, teams that have been considered away underdogs since 2016 has put up a decent against the spread record. It’s up to you which away underdogs you’ll be betting on, but never count these teams out.

Betting Tip

As you may have noticed in other major sports, small-market teams are often ignored by media outlets. Since the public only loves to hear about the big-name teams like the Patriots, Cowboys, and 49ers.

Most small-market teams are considered underdogs when facing up against big market opponents because of this.

Casual sports bettors don’t realize that these underdogs have more value in sports betting than the favorites. You can win less than 50% of your bets and still make a profit betting on underdogs.

As opposed to betting on favorites that would require you to win more than half of your bets just to break even or make little profit.

Betting against the public is a good strategy and very simple to do. You just have to track where the public money is on, and bet the other way like most sharps would

How To Bet On NFL – Final Thoughts

Learning how to bet on the NFL isn’t that hard. It’s almost like betting on the NBA with an additional two teams and fewer games.

The games are very entertaining to watch. And you won’t have a hard time finding a good opportunity to bet on since all sportsbooks offer various NFL bets throughout the season and playoffs.

With proper research and a good betting strategy, there’s an opportunity here to make money betting on the NFL.

I hope our guide here gave you a good preview on what’s it is like NFL betting.

Good luck!

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