A Beginners Guide to Betting on the NFL

The National Football League is one of the most popular competitions from a betting perspective. It attracts millions of viewers every year and, with sportsbooks now allowed to open in several states across the US, many of those fans also like to place a wager.

If you’ve never placed a bet on the NFL previously, the process can be daunting, so here is a guide to how it all works.

Find the Right Home

We need to start at the beginning by finding the right sportsbook for your bets. All bookmakers will have an NFL section, but some take the league more seriously than others.

We need a good choice of markets including moneyline, NFL futures, totals and props. Those varied markets then need to be backed by competitive odds across the board. Check to see if the sportsbook has regular offers and promotions that will boost value.

You can look at reviews of each bookmaker, or you can take a look around and make some comparisons. Now that we’ve found the right home for our NFL betting, it’s time to move on.

Understanding Bet Types

We’ve touched on some popular bet types, but what do they all mean? Here are some guidelines for the more common NFL wagers.


This refers to the match result. Which of the two teams in opposition will win the game?


There can be a number of different Totals markets. The most common of these is for the total combined points scored in the game. Totals betting can also apply to each individual team, and there can also be totals bets for the four separate quarters.


Futures are long term bets that run for the majority of the season. The most common of these relates to the winner of the Super Bowl. There can also be futures markets for Conference and Divisional winners.


The term prop is short for proposition. It can refer to an event that might happen in a game that doesn’t necessarily decide the result. For example, there will be an active prop markets for the first touchdown scorer in the Super Bowl.


This is referred to as handicap betting in some parts of the world. A spread bet gives a theoretical head start to one of the two teams. In order for a bet to convert, the other side must overcome that imaginary deficit and win by a certain number of points.

While there may be other, more obscure options, those are the NFL markets that the majority of bettors will concentrate on.

Do Your Research

Those who are just starting out on their NFL betting journey should look to keep things simple. The Moneyline market is the best place to begin as it’s a call between two possible outcomes – a win for Team A or for Team B.

The equation may be straightforward, but making the right decision needs more thought. Let’s say that the Dallas Cowboys are playing the New England Patriots in a regular season match. Start by assessing the betting markets and see who are the favorites for the game.

In general, favorites win around two thirds of the matches across NFL regular and postseasons. 

Now it’s time to take in some further research. Look at the form guide of those two teams. Are the Cowboys coming into the match on the back of several wins? Are the Patriots struggling with a losing streak?

Head to head results can also provide indicators. Look at recent results between those two sides to see if one is dominant. By undertaking that research, you can make a more informed decision.

Similar research can also be carried out in any NFL market.

Look for Added Value

Your search for competitive odds began in the opening stages, but value can also be found via bookmakers’ offers and promotions. These can offer a little extra boost, and they should form part of your betting strategy.

Most bonus deals will appear for the big games in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, but they will appear in the regular season too. There may be price boosts, bonus bets or parlay insurance if one leg of your multiple stake fails to win.

A bonus bet could give customers a second chance of landing a return, while price boosts lift the level of those winning bets. Check the terms and conditions of each promotion, but remember that these can be valuable offers across the NFL season.

Remember to apply responsible gambling methods to your play and to keep betting fun. Take care of that, follow the tips that are laid out in this guide, and you can join the many millions of bettors who get involved with the National Football League from the first kick to the final play.

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