NFL Betting Explained

Of all the major North American sports, the National Football League attracts the most attention in terms of betting. Not a surprise given the league's ties with mafias and casinos dating as far back as the Great Depression. Betting for NFL games either takes place via the archaic pen-and-paper lottery style or through the modern way: online sportsbooks, which offer a depth of betting options.

Types of NFL Bets

Betting on the NFL sounds intimidating but is a simple process as easily attainable as creating an online account for a top online sportsbook. The most common types of bets are explained: the point spread, money line, over/under, and props.

Point Spread 

This is the bread-and-butter of NFL betting. Oddsmakers set a specific amount of points for a favourite to win by and for an underdog to lose by. In order to cash a bet, the favoured team has to win by over the allotted number and the underdog has to lose within the number. Example:

Green Bay Packers -6.0 -110
Minnesota Viking +6.0 -110

The Packers are favoured to win by 6 points while the Vikings can lose by up to 6 points. The two numbers after are the odds: a bet of $110 returns $100. If the win or loss is by 6 exactly, the bet is refunded a.k.a. a "push".

The point spread is popular because it allows players to bet on either team at equal return.

Money Line

This is the simplest type of bet: simply bet on the team to win. Unlike the point spread, the team can win by any margin. One point or 50, it doesn't matter. Unlike the money line where odds are equal for both teams, there may be a significant difference here between the two. Example:

Pittsburgh Steelers -200
Cincinnati Bengals +170

The Steelers are favoured to win and -200 indicates $200 is needed to profit $100. The comeback on the underdog, the Bengals, is +170 meaning $170 is returned on a bet of $100. 

The black-and-white result is more straightforward but also leaves less room for error. 

Over/Under (Game Total)

This bet involves adding the total score between both teams in the game and betting on whether it is more than (over) or less than (under) what the oddsmakers set. It's different from the previous two because the winner or loser in this game is irrelevant. Example:

o55.0 -110
u55.0 -110

For this game, the final score is 31-24. Add 33 and 26 and the total is 59 meaning a bet for the over cashes. In the event the game total is exactly 55, the bet is a push.


Not as common but popular for big games like the Super Bowl. A prop bet (short for "proposition") is any type of bet that does not have to do with the final outcome or score of the game Types of prop bets include individual player statistics and even miscellanea like the Gatorade colour during the ceremonial Gatorade bath in the Super Bowl. A common type of prop bet is also the "Futures" where players bet on a winner of an advanced event like the Super Bowl.

Now's as any great time to get into NFL betting with the Super Bowl. Logging into the top online sportsbooks we recommend to you offers extensive betting news and information including up-to-date betting odds and a plethora of games and promotions.

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