How To Bet On The NFL (The Definitive Guide)

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Looking to bet on the NFL? 

This article will show you all you need to know about how to bet on the NFL and win.

Let’s get straight to it.

NFL Betting Explained

NFL betting odds come in three formats:

  1. Moneyline (American) odds
  2. Fractional odds
  3. Decimal odds
Here’s an example of what moneyline odds look like:
Example of NFL moneyline odds

Here’s the same game in decimal odds:

Example of NFL decimal odds

And here’s the same game in fractional odds:

Example of NFL fractional odds

As the name suggests, moneyline odds are popular with American sports fans.

For reference, this article is going to use moneyline odds for talking about theory and providing examples.

If you don’t use moneyline odds, use our Odds Converter to transform moneyline to your format of choice.

But here’s the important thing:

No matter what odds you use, you must understand them to make money from NFL betting.

This is because they are used to calculate implied probability and value.

Value bets are the best way to bet on NFL games.

If you don’t understand the concept of value, you will lose long-term.

Sports Betting For Beginners

Learn the basics of sports betting

Sports Betting For Beginners

Learn the basics of sports betting

How To Bet On The NFL

The most popular way to bet on the NFL is on the point spread.

The point spread is the estimated margin of victory between the two competing teams.

Sportsbooks translate the point spread into a 50/50 bet.

In their eyes, there is a 50% chance the result will end on one side of their betting line.

So, when spread betting, you bet on either side of the line.

Let’s look at an example.

Here are the point spread odds for the same Bears @ Packers game as above:

What do these odds mean?

Let’s break it down…

…starting with identifying the favorite and underdog.

Look at the handicap symbol next to the competing team.

The ‘+’ symbol indicates they are the underdog while the ‘-‘ symbol indicates they are the favorite.

In this example, the Packers are considered the underdogs and the Bears are considered the favorites.

Next, look at the margin of victory.

This sportsbook has determined that the margin of victory will be either side of the Bears by 3.5 points.

You bet on either side of this margin.

So, if you believe the Bears will win by more than 3.5 points (ie 4 points or more), you bet the Bears -3.5.

On the other hand, if you believe the Packers will not lose by more than 3.5 points (ie 4 points or less), you bet the Packer +3.5.

Calculate Winning NFL Bets

This is simple to do.

Let’s say the game ends Packers 10-20 Bears.

If you bet the Bears -3.5, deduct 3.5 from their final score.

In this case, the adjusted result would be Packers 10-16.5 Bears.

After the handicap has been applied, the Bears still win – therefore this bet wins.

On the other hand, if you bet the Packers +3.5, add 3.5 to their final score.

In this case, the adjusted result would be Packers 13.5-20 Bears.

After the handicap has been applied, the Packers still lose – therefore this bet loses.

A winning point spread bet is known as

Important note:

Most sportsbooks set the point spread at -110 for both teams.

To break even at -110, you must win 52.38% of your bets

Here’s why.

Moneyline odds show you how much you must wager to win 100 units.

So at -110, we must risk $110 to win $100.

The total reward of a winning bet is $210 ($110 + $100).

To break even, divide the risk by reward.

In this case, the formula is $110 / $210 = 52.38%.

NFL Over/Under Betting

Over/under betting, also known as totals, is another popular way to bet on the NFL.

It works like this.

The sportsbook predicts how many points will be scored in an NFL match.

They give a 50% chance of more than that number being scored and a 50% chance that fewer will be scored.

Here’s an example:

Example of NFL over under odds

As you can see, you can bet on either side of 46.5 points being scored in this game.

If you bet on the over, both teams must score 47 points or more to win the bet.

On the other hand, if you bet on the under, both teams must score fewer than 46 points to win the bet.

You can also bet on an individual team’s totals too:

Example of NFL individual team over under odds

The principles are exactly the same except you bet on just a single team’s points.

NFL Moneyline Betting

NFL moneyline betting is putting your money on who you believe will win the match straight up.

This includes overtime.

Points don’t matter.

Margin of victory doesn’t matter.

Just who wins.

Here’s an example:

Example of NFL moneyline betting

Bettors like to hedge their point spread bet with a moneyline bet.

Here’s how we would do it.

Here are the point spread odds for the same game as above:

Example of NFL point spread for hedging with moneyline

To hedge our bets, we would bet $100 on the Redskins to win on the moneyline and $110 on the point spread.

If the Redskins win the match, we win both bets.

If they lose but by 8 points or less, then we breakeven over both bets.

NFL Futures

Futures are bets on the eventual outright winner of an event. In the NFL this could be:

  • Super Bowl Winner
  • Conference Winner
  • Division Winer
  • MVP

Futures only pay out at the end of the season.

While you have to wait for the winnings, the payouts are large.

NFL Props

NFL prop bets can be split into two categories: skilled and unskilled.

Unskilled prop bets are difficult to find an edge as against the sportsbooks as they are created just for entertainment purposes.

This doesn’t imply you shouldn’t make them – just to be aware.

Skilled prop bets are the opposite.

They require detailed knowledge about the sport, allowing you to make calculated predictions.

People bet props because you can make plays based on patterns and trends you have noticed for yourself.

For example, imagine you think Tom Brady will throw 2 touchdowns in their next game.

You can’t bet this on happening without props.

In this scenario, it wouldn’t matter how the Patriots do in that game.

They could win or lose; all that matters is Brady throws 2 touchdowns.

Now then:

That’s the basics of NFL betting covered.

Let’s now dive into some strategies to help you start profiting from your bets.

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Show your friends how to bet on the NFL this season and make money

Share This Article

Show your friends how to bet on the NFL this season and make money

NFL Betting Strategies

Betting on the NFL and profiting is tough.

There are not many games and there are lots of roster changes every year.

Nevertheless, it’s still possible to profit from NFL betting.

The rest of this article shows you how.

NFL Betting Tips

Everyone must use these tips to profit from an NFL season.

There are 5 to be precise.

Here they are.

Bankroll Management

A bankroll is how much money you bet with.

Separate it from your other money pools.

Use a bankroll that will cover the NFL season.

Now then:

Each bet you make comes from your bankroll.

Use between 1-2% of your bankroll for each bet.

For example, if your bankroll is $5,000, you should bet between $50-$100 per bet.

Bet 2% of plays you are very confident in and 1% for smaller bets.

Don’t increase your bet sizes as you start winning or chase losses.

To win over the season, you need to manage your bankroll properly.

Introduction To Bankroll Management

Read this article to learn more about bankroll management for sports betting

Introduction To Bankroll Management

Read this article to learn more about bankroll management for sports betting

Find Weekly Edges

Investopedia defines an edge as:

“A technique, observation or approach that creates a cash advantage over other market players.”

Apply this to sports betting: the market players we face are the public and the sportsbooks.

In terms of NFL betting, you don’t have to bet every game every week to make money.

Find an edge every week instead and capitalize.

This may mean 3 bets in Week 1, 6 bets in Week 2 and just 1 bet in Week 3.

Be disciplined.

Don’t go looking for action just for the sake of it.

Go Line Shopping

Compare different sportsbooks and their betting lines on your plays.

For example, let’s say you want to bet on the Redskins in Week 1 to cover the spread.

Here’s the line at Betway:

NFL line shopping - Betway

Now here’s the line at Bet365:

NFL line shopping - Bet365

Sign up to 3-4 sportsbooks to ensure you get the best lines for your plays.

Bet Sober

Why does Vegas offer free drinks to gamblers?

To impair your judgement.

This is a big mistake that a lot of casual bettors make when betting on the NFL.

Keep the beers in the fridge until you’ve made your bets and the game has started.

Don’t Tilt

Here’s the deal:

Everyone loses now and again.

Even the professionals.

Don’t bet on your emotions.

If you go on a bad run, keep your head.

Feeling tilted? Go for some fresh air, work out – anything to calm down.

Don’t make any more bets until you’re calm and have peace of mind.


So now we’ve covered the basics, let’s move onto more advanced strategies.

Starting with…

Making Value Bets

Did you know you don’t have to win every NFL bet to profit?

On the flip side, you can have a winning record and make a loss.

What’s the reason for this?

Value betting.

NFL bets pay out based on their chances of winning.

You don’t get paid the same on each side of the betting line.

The odds are constantly changing.

However, this creates an opportunity to make money.

Sports Betting Value Bets

Learn all you need to know about value betting in sports betting

Sports Betting Value Bets

Learn all you need to know about value betting in sports betting

NFL Bye Week Betting Strategy

Casual bettors don’t pay enough attention to the NFL bye week.

It’s just as important as injuries to key players or the weather.

As a rule:

Better teams benefit from the bye week the most.

Let’s look at the 2007-2010 seasons…

…specifically at games with teams coming off the bye week.

The team coming off the bye has a record of 61-44-5 against the spread (ATS) and 65-54-1 straight up.

While this indicates to purely bet teams coming off the bye, don’t jump the gun.

Betting lines have evolved over the last 10 years – they will likely correct themselves.

However, we can break this down a little more.

Over the same sample of games, the favorites have a record of 36-20-4 ATS and 48-12 straight up coming off a bye.

On the other hand, the underdogs have a record of 25-24-1 ATS and 17-32-1 straight up coming off a bye.


  • Favorites (At Home): 21-19-2 ATS / 31-11 Straight Up
  • Favorites (On The Road): 15-1-2 ATS / 17-1 Straight Up
  • Underdogs (At Home): 11-6-1 ATS / 9-8-1 Straight Up
  • Underdogs (On The Road): 14-18 ATS / 8-24 Straight Up

Now, we realize the results for favorites on the road is a small sample size.

But just look at the outcomes:

15-1-2 ATS

That is quite a set of results!

Now, those of you with a keen eye would have spotted that this only covers one team coming off a bye.

So, let’s now look at when both teams are coming off a bye.

The favorite’s record was 7-2 ATS and 8-1 straight up.

Combining these 9 games to the previous records, we get:

  1. Favorites (At Home): 26-20-2 ATS / 37-11 Straight Up
  2. Favorites (On The Road): 17-2-2 ATS / 19-2 Straight Up

All these stats strongly suggest that good teams are more likely to win coming off a bye.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that this trend will apply in the current or next season.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly a strategy to be aware of.

NFL Teaser Betting

Teasers are parlays using modified point spreads.

In the NFL, it’s usually 6 points.

Let’s run through an example.

Imagine we wanted to bet these 3 games:

Example of NFL teaser bet

Rather than placing them in a parlay or betting them straight up, we could make a 3-team teaser of:

  • Titans +11.5
  • Chiefs +3.5
  • Ravens +2.5

To win this bet, all 3 teams must cover.

If one of your selections pushes, the teaser reduces the same as for a parlay.

For example if the results for the above teaser are win/win/push, it’s paid as a 2-team teaser.

Shop around different sportsbooks to find the best teaser odds.

Teaser Strategy

We mentioned earlier that to break even at -110, you must win 52.38% of bets.

The same applies to teaser bets.

Each leg must win to give us a 52.38% win rate.

This means we need to calculate how often, on average, each leg of the teaser must win.

For a 2-leg teaser, this is 72.37% – the square root of .5238 is .7237.

Translating this to moneyline odds and we find that this equates to -262.

What does this mean?

The sportsbook charged us 152 units (from the standard -110) for 6 points.

To save you doing the work, we’ve got the odds for how often individual legs for other teasers to break even:

  • 2-team -110 = 72.37%
  • 2-team +100 = 70.71%
  • 2-team -105 = 71.57%
  • 3-team +165 = 72.26%
  • 4-team +300 = 70.71%
  • 5-team +450 = 71.11%
  • 5-team +500 = 69.88%
  • 6-team +600 = 72.30%
  • 6-team +700 = 70.71%

4- to 6-team teasers are subject to high variance.

Plus, you won’t find that many teams worth teasing in one week often enough.

Therefore, you can see that 4-team teasers at +300 provide the most value…

…unless you can find a sportsbook offering 2-team teasers at +100.


If you’ve made it to the end, well done – that was a lot to get your head around!

Now it’s over to you to start using this knowledge and make profitable NFL bets.

What strategy are you going to start using?

Let us know by leaving a comment now or let us know on Twitter.

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