American Football Gambling
American Football, primarily the NFL (National Football League) is one of the most heavily wagered sports in the western world. It is almost a national pastime of NFL fans to bet on their favorite team each weekend to add a little extra excitement to watching the game.
College Football also attracts betting interest, but the NFL is where the big money rides. The management of the NFL tries to act as though they do not like the fact that fans bet on their games, but they know that without fans being able to gamble, the league would not be nearly as popular.
Online sportsbooks both look forward to and fear the football season. They enjoy the volume of bets that are placed and the new players each season brings, but are also very wary of knowledgable fans beating the house.
Types of American Football Bets
Points spread betting is the most popular type of bet on NFL games. It is also known as betting the 'line' or the 'spread'. The sportsbooks will set a 'line', by estimating how many points the game will be decided.
For example the line or 'points spread' on a Chargers versus Jets game in San Diego may be set at -7, with the Chargers as favorite. This means the sportsbook is predicting that the Chargers should win at home by roughly seven points. If you bet on the Chargers at -7, then they need to win by more than 7 points for you to win your bet.
If they win by exactly 7 points, it is known as a push and your wager is returned.
Often the Jets would then be listed as +7, meaning they have to get within at least 6 points of the Chargers for you to win a bet placed on them. If they get with 7, it is a push.
Many fans like betting on the spread, because it keeps the game interesting no matter what the result may be. Your team could be up by 20 points and have the game in the bag, but you will still be on the edge of your seat because you need another field goal to cover the spread.
Money Line Betting is also popular with football punters, and this is simply betting on the winner of the game, regardless of the final score.
The sportsbook will set odds before the game which represent each team's chance of winning. For example the moneyline on a particular game may be;
- San Diego Chargers -200 | 1.50 | 1/2
- New York Jets +170 | 2.50 | 3/2
The odds above are displayed in American, Decimal and European formats, but they all mean the same thing. If you were to place $100 on the Chargers in this game, and they won, you would collect a total of $150.
We also provide a more detailed explanation of sports betting odds, or you can use our sports betting odds conversion calculators to easily display odds in your favorite format to help make your online gambling experience easier to understand.
Now that you know the basic types of football bets, you should read our how to: bet on NCAA Football or, to start betting on american football games right now, choose one of our recommended online sportsbooks.