|Sun Feb 11, 2024
NFL football is America’s No. 1 attraction for online betting — and Bookmakers Review is the place to be for top-rated NFL picks on all the upcoming games. We’re also your go-to source for all the information you need to become a sharp bettor. This handy betting guide will cover how to read football game odds, what bet types are offered on the NFL and give you everything you need to get started betting like a pro.
The first thing you need to understand is how the betting lines work. When you bet on the NFL, you’ll be placing your wagers at an online sportsbook — preferably one of the online betting sites with a high grade at Bookmakers Review. The sportsbooks set the odds for each betting event throughout the season; place your bet and the book will process your wager and pay if you win.
But how do you read the NFL lines at these betting sites? Let’s look at an example from Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals:
This example shows the point spread for Super Bowl LVI, which we’ll discuss further in a moment. The Bengals were the designated home team for this annual event, so they’re listed at the bottom; they were 4.5-point underdogs, meaning they could lose the game by less than 4.5 points and still "cover" the spread, while the Rams needed to win by more than 4.5 points to pay out.
That "-110" in parentheses refers to the vigorish (aka "vig" or "juice") that the sportsbook charges to process your wagers. Most NFL spreads come with -110 vigorish attached, meaning you bet $110 to win $100 or $11 to win $10.
By the way, the Rams beat Cincinnati 23-20 to win the title, but since the Bengals only lost by three points, they covered the spread. You can see the lines for Super Bowl LVI and any other game in our archive by looking up the NFL odds history at Bookmakers Review.
While each type of odds revolves around the same core concept of predicting game outcomes, there are some key distinctions between the two. Vegas odds often serve as the benchmark, with online platforms closely following suit.
However, online platforms may offer more competitive odds due to the absence of physical overhead costs associated with running brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Additionally, the convenience of online betting allows for more immediate access to updated odds, giving bettors the advantage of seizing favorable opportunities swiftly.
Now let’s take a moment to look at the different types of bets you’ll encounter when you bet on NFL football:
Betting on the moneyline is the simplest form of betting. The moneyline bet asks you to simply pick the winner of a single game or another betting event between two participants. Here are the moneyline odds from when Super Bowl LVI was ongoing:
The moneyline football odds work the same way as the vigorish mentioned above; for this game, you’d be betting $210 with your original wager on the favored Rams for a potential payout of $100 or $100 on the underdog Bengals to win $175. And since Los Angeles won the game straight up, they were the winning betting option.
Totals betting asks you to pick whether the two teams will combine to score Over or Under the posted number of points, which was 48.5 for Super Bowl LVI:
The Over line is always placed at the top for totals bets; Bookmakers Review includes the lowercase “o” to help you read the odds. Once again, the standard -110 juice was attached and this game went Under by 5.5 points.
Football spread betting is the most popular way to bet. It was invented in the 1940s to make sports betting easier by turning each game into something closer to a 50/50 situation, with the favorite and underdog team usually offering the same -110 payout.
Moving on from the "straight" wagers to the more "exotic" type of bet, parlay bets allow you to combine the lines from multiple football games (or multiple lines from the same game) and bet all of them at the same time. If all your picks come true, your winnings are multiplied rather than added together — but one loss and the entire parlay loses.
Prop bets is short for proposition bets. NFL game props let you bet on things other than the outcome of the game itself. Player props like the over/under for Yards Per Game are especially popular; you can also bet on Yes/No outcomes like whether the football teams in question will go into overtime.
Who will win the next Super Bowl? What about the NFC Championship or the AFC East title? Which individual players will win the various NFL player awards, such as the MVP? You’ll find these football betting odds and more on the NFL futures market, where the lines for future events are usually available throughout the year. NFL futures odds are updated all throughout the regular season with each passing game.
Thanks to the internet, there’s a whole new category of types of bets that have taken sports betting to the next level. Live betting lets you bet in real-time on what the outcome of the next play will be; it could be a run or a pass or how many yards the ball will move, for example. You can also place the same straight wagers (spread, moneyline, total) that you can before kick-off, with the football betting odds updated as the game progresses.
One of the reasons live betting has grown so quickly is the crossover appeal for daily fantasy sports players. If you’re already accustomed to poring over game stats and looking for bargains, you’ll have no trouble making the transition from daily fantasy to full-on NFL betting.
If you’re looking for a betting strategy to improve your results, you’ll find tons of helpful NFL betting advice right here at Bookmakers Review. But generally speaking, you should look for value in the football betting odds by picking less popular teams who happen to be better than advertised — like the Bengals at Super Bowl LVI. However, be careful when you execute this strategy because you don't want to bet on a team that is actually bad.
While you’re at it, make sure to take advantage of our full NFL odds tool kit at Bookmakers Review, including our free Arbitrage Calculator and Parlay Calculator and other NFL betting resources, so you can start thinking like a seasoned betting analyst. And you can always boost your bankroll by keeping an eye out for any betting promotions offered at your preferred sportsbooks.
How often do NFL favorites win?
The betting favorite wins straight up about two-thirds of the time and about 80-85% of the time the favorite team will also beat the spread.
What is the safest football bet to place?
If you mean the least risky wagers, you will want to bet the moneyline on the stronger team, but always betting favorites can lead to lower profits over the course of the season.
How do I win more NFL bets?
When it comes to online sports betting, to increase your chances of making better betting decisions you should conduct thorough research on team records and player records, analyze historical data, stay updated on key player injuries and team news, consider expert opinions and betting trends.
Is it better to place moneyline bets or spread bets for the NFL?
Both bet types are fine. You might be able to find more value with one NFL betting line or the other on any single game, but it's all the same for the most part.
How old do I have to be to bet on the NFL?
That depends on your jurisdiction. If you're in the U.S., you have to be at least 18 years old to bet at an offshore site; most states require you to be 21 to gamble at local options like Caesars Sportsbook.