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Gambling 101: National Football League Betting

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a breakdown of National Football League betting. What are the most popular NFL wagering options and how do bettors get in on the action?

What is the National Football League?

Originally established in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, the National Football League is the highest level of gridiron football on the planet.

After enjoying a pro football monopoly, for several decades, the NFL received a strong challenge from the American Football League beginning in 1960. With teams in states across the country, from New York to California, the AFL grew in popularity prior to merging with the NFL in 1966.

Following many twists and turns, plus a few legal battles, Tex Schramm (NFL) and Lamar Hunt (AFL) led the way to the merger agreement between the rival leagues. First only meeting in the Super Bowl, the NFL and AFL played separate regular season schedules from 1966 to 1969. Prior to the 1970 season, the two leagues fully integrated to create the American and National Football Conferences that exist today. Let’s take a look at the various NFL betting options.

Point Spread NFL Betting Options

From sports gambling, to several types of fantasy football contests, the NFL is the premier sports betting league in North America. 

Along with moneylines and game totals, point spread odds are part of the big three NFL wagering options. Designed to attract action on both sides of a match, NFL point spread pricing can range from EVEN to upwards of 17 points or more. In the example below, from NFL 2020 Week 1 action, Pittsburgh is a -4 point road favorite over New York.

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Moneyline NFL Betting Options

Available on a variety of NFL betting options, moneyline odds are offered on every game. They are popular prop and parlay betting lines as well.

Moneyline odds range from (+100) to (+/-10000) or more depending on the market. Bettors are required to invest more money to bet on favorites than they do on underdogs. In the example below, players need to wager $290 to earn a $100 profit if Philadelphia wins while a $100 bet returns $235 if Washington is the winner.

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Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Game Total NFL Betting Options

Rounding out the big three NFL betting options, game total odds ask bettors to predict the final score of NFL contests. Bookmakers set a point total and players need to decide if the combined match score, including overtime, will be OVER or UNDER the posted number. From the Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots odds, UNDER bettors need the final score to be 43 or fewer points. OVER bettors cash winning tickets if the total score is 44 points or more.

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

NFL Futures and Prop Betting Options

Continuously growing in popularity, NFL prop and futures betting options are available 365 days per year. Player and team prop betting options are available in the preseason, regular season and playoffs. Once the Super Bowl matchup is set, sportsbooks load their betting boards with hundreds of exotic prop options. Shortly after an NFL champion is crowned, bookmakers post futures odds on the next Super Bowl champion plus conference and division winners.

Odds via FanDuel & DraftKings Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel & DraftKings Sportsbook

Shop Around for Best Priced NFL Odds

Part of a proper bankroll management strategy, bettors are reminded to shop around for the best price odds. By opening accounts at more than one sportsbook, players can compare prices on every NFL betting option available. Super Bowl 55 futures odds illustrate that, as AFC favorites Kansas City (+650) and Baltimore (+700) both have added value at FanDuel. Players backing the NFC favorite San Francisco 49ers (+1000) receive a better price at DraftKings.

NFL Betting Bottom Line

NFL gambling options are available all year and bettors are reminded to follow a proper research path. That begins with reviewing Super Bowl futures odds in February as they display early favorites. Tracking free agent movement, which begins in March, plus the NFL Draft in April, also reveals valuable insight. Following training camps, plus the preseason action, helps bettors head into Week 1 loaded with information required to achieve NFL betting success.