As we edge closer to the NFL playoffs, we can already look back at what an incredible season it has been so far. Each game week has been more exciting than the one previous and millions of fans have added an extra layer of thrill by placing a bet.
A record 42 million Americans plan to wager on the NFL this year as more states move to legalize sports betting. Fans all over the country have now been able to double the fun and excitement of gameday by backing their favourite teams and players.
For those who are new to sportsbooks, betting could be a little confusing— but it could not be simpler. If you are struggling to get along then look no further than our ultimate guide to online NFL Betting.
We’ll start with the basics. On a sportsbook like DraftKings, markets are priced by positive (+) and negative (-) numbers. Positive numbers tell you how much you would win on a $100 bet. For example, lets say the Patriots (-150) are playing the Lions (+300). In this scenario, a $100 bet on the Lions would win you $300. On the other side, the negative number outlines how much you would have to wager to win $100. So in the above scenario, a $150 wager on the Patriots would win you $100.
So as outlined above, markets with negative odds are more likely to win than positive odds, at the expense of winnings. Of course, you cannot always go with the odds as we have seen plenty of upsets and Cinderella stories, especially in the playoffs. The NFL Playoff betting markets differ somewhat to the regular season. Whilst the basic markets are the same, NFL futures options (e.g ‘to win the Super Bowl’) are limited to just the 14 playoff teams. The betting lines are generally tighter too, as the teams who face off are a higher quality than of those in the regular season. There are also likely to be more markets on each individual game as oddsmakers only need to focus on a handful of games.
The most important strategy to go by when betting on the playoffs are the three Rs: research, research and research! As the lines are tighter betting on the outcomes of games may be tougher so make sure to strike a balance between respect for the odds and what your own research is telling you to back.
The moneyline is as easy as it gets; Who are you backing to win the game? In the NFL, games automatically go to overtime if after four quarters the teams are tied. This means that the moneyline includes the result after OT. The moneyline is an easy bet to make but, as mentioned previously, generally offer a smaller return when wagering on the favourite to win.
The Point Spread
The spread is one of the most popular wagers amongst fans of NFL betting. The easiest way to explain the spread is that it handicaps the favourite in any given game, in that it essentially starting them on a negative-points total. The spread will always be a number set by the sportsbook, with the favourite being negative. A half point is often used to prevent the case of a tie/push. So for example, if in our Patriots/Lions game you bet on the Patriots against the spread of -8.5 then they would have to win the game by 9 points or more for the bet to win. Alternatively, you could bet on the Lions at +8.5, meaning they must either win the game or lose by no more than 8 points. Spread bets are a good way to back favourites when the moneyline odds ar short.
The ‘Total’ is just as simple as the moneyline; How many points will be scored between both teams? Like the spread, sportsbooks set a total that you wager to go Over or Under. For example, if the total for the Patriots/Lions was 40, fans wager on if the total of both teams points tally is Over or Under that number. It is really that simple!
Whilst these are the basic and most popular markets, there are plenty more on offer. If you want to cover multiple markets (e.g parlay of Patriots to win, total over 40) in one wager you can use parlays and teasers. In this case your winnings are increased but all markets covered must come in for the bet to win. Teasers work the same, but you can adjust the spread or totals market for example, at the expense of your payout.
Player props are also some of the most exciting bets to make as a fan. In these you can bet on the number of receptions a receiver will see, the number of passing yards from a quarterback, the number of rushing yards for a player and many more.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you get your head around NFL betting, so go ahead and put this to work as we get closer and closer to Super Bowl LVI.