The Complete Guide to Betting on American Football & NFL

When talking about sports, American football is pretty popular. People worldwide anticipate watching NFL games as teams battle for a chance to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Not only is the sport fun to watch, but you can also bet on it. In fact, most top online sportsbooks feature American football and the NFL in their sports selection, and you can try your chances on them. 

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about NFL betting. You will learn how to read the odds, the different bet types to place, and the factors to consider in predicting American football and NFL outcomes. So for all that and more, keep reading.

What is the NFL?

The NFL stands for the National Football League. It is a major American football league in the United States and Canada that features 32 teams, divided equally between two conferences—the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). 

The league’s history can be traced back to 1920, when it was formerly called the American Professional Football Conference. But over the years, American football and the NFL have witnessed many infrastructure and rule advancements, making it one of the best sports leagues worldwide. 

The NFL is an annual event, with the regular season kicking off in September and lasting until early January. This is followed up with the NFL playoffs played between January and February, featuring 14 teams selected based on performance and other metrics from the NFC and AFC. The NFL season concludes with the Super Bowl, the final playoff game where the league’s champion is determined. The winner gets crowned with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Is NFL Betting Safe & Legal?

As mentioned earlier, the NFL is fun to watch. You can pour your passion for the game into your bet, but there is also the risk of losing money. However, if you are considering NFL betting, you may wonder if it is safe and legal. Well, the obvious truth is that it depends on the gambling laws of your country or region. 

If you reside in a country where sports betting is legal, then betting on the NFL is most likely legal, too. And as long as you are of legal age according to the gambling laws, you should be able to bet on this sports league without any legal implications. However, bear in mind that you must only bet at licenced sportsbooks such as to enjoy the best experience. Doing so will guarantee your safety when betting on the NFL, as licenced betting sites follow the rules and laws governing their licences. 

Reading NFL Odds

When you go to the NFL tab under the American Football section of, you will see the odds represented as positive or negative. However, as a top online sportsbook, the operator allows players to switch the odds type to decimal, American, or Hong Kong. But how exactly do you read these odds?

If you choose the American odds type to display NFL odds, you must understand what the negative and positive signs mean. When a negative sign is attached to the odds, the team assigned the odds is the favourite to win. However, when the sign is positive, the team with the odds are the underdog. But how are the odds calculated to derive potential payouts? Let’s explain that with an example. 

Say team A is given negative odds of -200, and its opponent, team B, gets positive odds of +275. Then team A is the favourite in the match, while team B is the underdog. So if you bet $100 on team A to win the game at -200 odds, your potential payout will be [(100/200) * $100)], which is $50. When added to the wager amount, the potential total returns will be $150. 

However, if you wager $100 on team B to win with +275 odds, the potential payout will be [(275/100) * $100)], which is $275. Adding this amount to the $100 stake, the potential total return will be $375. 

NFL Odds and Betting Types

Knowing how to read NFL odds is just one piece of the puzzle to solve if you consider NFL betting. You must also understand the different betting types directly related to your predictions. If you want the best experience betting on the NFL, you should play at a top online sports betting site that offers a wide range of betting markets and options. This way, you can select the right markets to match your predictions. 

With all that said, let’s discuss some of the common NFL betting types.

The Moneyline

This is probably the most popular betting market in American football and the NFL. Moneyline bets simply involve betting on which team will win a match or whether the outcome will end in a tie. In a game between team A and team B, you can bet on team A to win or team B to win, or the game should end as a tie. 

Unlike some betting markets, a Moneyline bet is nothing complicated. Many punters prefer this option, especially when their favourite team is playing an underdog. 

Total Points 

The best online bookmakers also allow players to bet on the total points that will be scored in an NFL game. You can bet on whether the points will be under or over a specified value. For instance, an operator can offer an under/over 45 points market in an NFL game. If you bet on under and the total points scored by both teams is 44 or less, your bet wins. Whereas, if you bet on over and the overall points scored is 46 or more, you win. It is worth pointing out that totals under/over are also applicable in other markets, such as booking points, substitutions, etc. 

Handicap (Spread) Markets

This is another betting market available in American football and NFL betting, especially when you play at a top sportsbook. A handicap or spread refers to a positive or negative advantage that a bookie offers a team. For example, a sportsbook can offer a team a +2 (positive) handicap in an encounter. If you bet on the team to win with the handicap, your bet wins even if the team loses by one point. The +2 handicap gives the team a 2 points advantage in the game. However, suppose a sports betting site gives a team a negative handicap of -2, and you bet on the team to win with the spread. Your bet will only win if the team wins by 3 points or more. 

Betting NFL Teasers

In NFL teaser bets, you are buying points off the spread, making it much easier to win. For instance, in an event with a +4 point spread/handicap, you can buy off 4 points, which means the spread becomes 0. However, you must have two or more selections to form a teaser bet per requirement. Also, be aware that the payout of a teaser bet is usually smaller due to the flexibility of being able to buy points off. 

Betting NFL Futures

This is an NFL betting option where you wager on an event that will be decided much later in the season. For example, you can place an outright bet on who will win the NFL or on the player that will win the most valuable player of the season award. Futures betting tends to be profitable as they offer higher odds. However, as you may have guessed, these bets are trickier to place, so be aware of the risks and never go over your budget.

Proposition Markets

Apart from the regular markets we’ve discussed, the best online NFL betting sites offer proposition markers for American football. These markets are independent of a game’s overall outcome, and they often offer higher odds. For example, you can bet on the player to score the most points by the end of the season or who will be the most valuable player in a game. Proposition betting options are not as common as regular betting options, because they are usually more difficult to predict. However, some expert NFL bettors prefer these markets because they can be highly rewarding. 

Factors to Consider Betting on the NFL and American Football

Betting on the NFL and American football can be fun, especially when you win. However, it is also possible to lose money since an element of risk is involved. One mistake many people make is becoming attached emotionally to a team and forgetting the logic of the game. For example, it is common to see punters bet on their teams even when they are the underdogs. Don’t get it wrong, underdogs can pull offsets and win against a favourite team, but this is not common. 

Similarly, while a team is a favourite for an NFL encounter, it does not guarantee that such a team will win. Many factors contribute to the outcome of any sporting game, including the NFL. Over the next couple of subheadings, we will discuss some factors that may help you predict the NFL more accurately and improve your chances of winning. 


The location where an NFL game will be played matters, at least to an extent. According to rough statistics online, top teams won around 57% of games played in their own building between 2002 and 2019. Home advantage can play a vital role in NFL matchups since teams understand how their stadium is set up and get the support of many of their fans. So you should bear this in mind before deciding who to bet on in an American football match. 


Location is not the only important factor when betting on the NFL. You should also pay attention to fatigue. Teams travelling from one location to another can get jet-lagged, and this may affect their performance. Besides, players who feature in games consistently and play back-to-back can get fatigued over time, which may also impact their performance. 

Team News 

This is a pretty significant factor you should always take into consideration when deciding what outcome to bet on in an NFL game. Injury reports, transfer newsnews, and other team-related news, can give you an insight into what to expect from a team in a game. For instance, if a major player of an NFL team is injured and will be out of a game, this may affect the team’s performance greatly. 

Head-to-Head and Other Statistics

To become a successful NFL punter, you must consider the head-to-head information and other statistics of any game you want to bet on. This will give you a broader view of how the teams have performed in the past and if they can pull off a win. You should check the statistics of a team within its conference as well as outside its conference. For instance, a team on a 5-game winning streak will surely have more confidence and likely want to continue with its winning ways. 

Rivalry and Individual Matchups

While statistics can play an important role in helping you decide who to bet on, there are cases where you need to just look at the game for what it is. When two rival teams meet in the NFL, the game often gets tense, and the outcome may even be unpredictable. In such cases, it may not be a matter of who has the best form. And besides, one good thing about the NFL is that coaching matters. If an underdog team has a good coach and is facing a favourite NFL team, they may just be able to win. 

Importance of the Encounter 

Like in many sports leagues, some games are more important than others, and you must know this if you want to venture into NFL betting. For instance, if a team has already won enough games to become its conference winner, it may not put much effort into the remaining conference games. This is especially true if it has other, more critical games to play some weeks later. In such cases, it won’t be totally surprising to see an underdog get a draw or win against the team. 

How to Place NFL Bets

Placing NFL bets is pretty straightforward. First, you should choose a top online sports betting site that offers NFL betting, such as Create an account with the betting site and fund the account using one of the supported payment methods. At this point, you may also want to consider claiming the welcome bonus offered to help boost your bankroll, but make sure you read the terms and conditions first. 

With money in your betting account, head to the sports section and pick American football. You should see the NFL among the list of leagues and tournaments as long as the NFL season is active. Next, pick the game you want to bet on, and you will see a full list of all the available markets. Select your preferred market according to your prediction, and the odds for the market will be added to your bet slip area. After that, you can specify the amount you want to wager on the game and place your bet. 

Accumulator and Round Robin Betting in NFL

Accumulator or parlay is a sports betting option where you can add multiple NFL games into one bet slip. The good thing about this option is that the odds of the games are multiplied, leading to huge potential payouts. However, if one of the games in the selection loses, the bet loses.

Round Robin is another betting option available at the best NFL betting sites. In this option, you place a series of accumulator bets on a single ticket. If some of the bets lose, you may have other bets that will win. Depending on the number of teams, you can have a 3-team, 4-team or 5-team parlay as a round-robin bet. 

NFL Pre-Match and Live Betting

Generally, there are two types of sports betting, pre-match and live betting. With pre-match betting, you place a wager on an NFL game hours, days, or weeks before it is played. The good thing about this option is that you have plenty of time to decide what outcome to bet on, and the odds are usually higher early. However, unforeseen circumstances, such as injuries that can affect the game, cannot be planned for. 

Live betting is entirely different. It refers to betting on an NFL game that is currently being played, and many top-rated online sportsbooks offer this form of betting. One good thing about live betting is that you can decide what to bet on based on the current happenings in the game. You can also take advantage of fluctuating odds, and there are typically many great live markets available at the best betting sites. 

NFL Live Streaming

Top online sports betting sites may offer live-streaming for NFL games. This can be a great way for fans and punters to watch their favourite teams play in real-time and follow their bets. And the good thing with such live-streaming is that it is often free, so you don’t need to pay any subscription. However, depending on the operator, live-streaming of NFL and other sports may be exclusive to only registered players who have funded their accounts. 

NFL Betting Bonuses

Betting bonuses are freebies that sportsbooks offer players to help boost their bankroll and allow them to enjoy placing more bets. If you are keen on betting on the NFL, you will be happy to know that several bonuses are available for you to claim at Let’s discuss some of these bonuses. 

Welcome Bonuses

This is the most basic of all bonuses and the first offer a player can enjoy when joining an online sportsbook. Welcome bonuses are exclusive to new players, as they are used to welcoming them onboard. The bonus can come in different shapes and sizes, but one of the most common is a free bet. 

Free Bets

As a player at a top online sportsbook, you may be able to claim free bets on the NFL. Free bets are bonuses where you get a guaranteed percentage of or all of the amount you wager, whether the game wins or loses. However, before you can claim this bonus, you must either make a qualifying deposit or place a qualifying wager on a team specified by the betting site. 

Risk-Free Bets

This is pretty similar to free bets. However, the main difference is that you will only get the bonus if your qualifying wager loses. The idea is to help you secure your wager to some extent and give you another chance to place a winning bet. 

Match Bonuses

Another NFL bonus you can claim is the match bonus. Here, you get a percentage of your deposit up to a certain amount. For instance, an operator can offer you a 100% match bonus of up to $1,000. So if you deposit $1,000 or more, you get an additional $1,000 bonus, putting your bankroll at $2,000. 

Cashback Bonuses

This NFL bonus is given to players to help them recoup their losses. It is offered as a percentage of the losses accrued within a specified period, but the bonus amount is usually capped. For instance, a sportsbook can offer players a 10% cashback bonus on weekly losses up to $500. So if you lose $5,000 or more in a week, you get $500 as a bonus. 


Is betting on the NFL legal?

It depends on your location. If you reside in a state, region, or country where sports betting is legal, NFL betting will likely be legal. 

How do I bet on the NFL?

To bet on the NFL, sign up with an NFL sportsbook, fund your betting account, and select the NFL games you want to bet on. 

Can I win betting on the NFL?

Yes. You can win money betting on the NFL if your predictions are correct. However, note that if you play with bonuses, you must fulfil the wagering requirement specified by the betting site. 

Are there NFL betting bonuses?

Yes. Top online sportsbooks offer NFL betting bonuses like free bets, risk-free bets, match bonuses, welcome bonuses, and cashback bonuses. 

Can I stream NFL matches?

It depends on the laws of your country and the sportsbook you choose. But you should be able to stream NFL games at the best online sports betting sites.