NFL betting guide – How to bet on NFL

American football is, without any doubt, one of the most exciting sports not only for a sports fan, but also for a bettor. All professional players have extreme strength and speed to deal with one of the most demanding sports ever devised. It’s on top betting priority in the whole United States, which is considered a “national” sport, but it’s gaining popularity in other parts of the globe. Especially for a punter, American Football is one of the most reliable sources of steady income, if you follow some simple rules of how to bet.

This is the main target of this article: To familiarize you with all these American Football betting terms and provide all the information needed to get in touch with this amazing sport and learn how to bet on NFL.

NFL Betting Markets Explained

As you can see below, there is a substantial variety of American Football betting markets to choose from. You can place your bets on spreads and moneylines or push your luck with special bets at half time, quarters and totals. Here’s a presentation of the main NFL betting markets.

NFL Spread betting Explained

Spread is the number of points that one team is getting as an advantage in the game, also known as handicap. “Covering the spread” is betting on the favorite to win the match by more points than the spread. “Beating the spread” is exactly the opposite, betting on the underdog to win, or lose by fewer points than the spread.


Oakland Raiders -15 -110
Minnesota Vikings +15 +110

When you bet on Oakland Raiders, they should cover up the 15 points spread (win by 16 or more) to get your money. If you prefer the Vikings, they should at least lose by fewer than 14 points.

NFL Moneyline explained

It’s the simplest form of betting on American Football. You just bet one of two teams to win the match, nothing else. Of course, you claim far less money if you prefer matches with a hot favorite, as online bookmakers offer lower odds on them. But if you can find upset wins by underdogs, you get a lot of money by one shot.

1st Quarter lines

Not much to explain here. You bet on the score in the first quarter ONLY. The odds are somewhat different than the complete match odds, in some cases much different.

Half time lines

Same as above, but in this case, you bet on the score till the halftime of the match. Again there are differences (in case of a handicap betting, the spread is nearly half of that offered at full match spread betting).

Totals (over/under)

The NFL totals is a simple wager, where you decide whether the final score of a specific game will be over or under a specific number of points. The number represents the sum total of points scored by both teams. At some online bookmakers, you can find also NFL totals for each team. You bet either the over or the under.

How to bet on American Football Parlays

A parlay bet combines various American Football bets, usually three or more (but certainly more than one). You can combine any kind of bets (moneyline, spread bets, totals, halftime etc.) and if you win, you claim more money, as the odds of chosen bets are multiplied. But you have to win all your bets to get profit. In the case of a 4-bet parlay, even one miss means you lose your betting amount.

NFL teasers explained

A teaser bet is a group of straight bets (two or more) combined into one bet, where each individual line has been shifted to your favour by the number of points of the teaser. There are three main NFL teasers: 6-point, 6.5-point and 7-point teasers.

How does this work? In a 6-point NFL teaser, the line would be shifted by 6 points in favour of the bettors play. For example, if you wanted to take the Packers -8, it would be converted into Packers -2 within a teaser bet. The spread was shifted 6 points (from 8 points down to 2 points). Even if you prefer to bet on Ravens -2.5. In a 6 point teaser the -2.5 line would be changed to Packers +3.5.

Future bets in American Football

With this bet, you actually bet on the winners of the whole competition. For example, by the NFL Future option online bookmakers offer odds on winning the Championship, the Super Bowl etc. Placing a bet means you’d have to wait (usually till the end of the season) to see if you won or lost.

An “if bet” on NFL is actually a progressive bet, which can be made on two different games that begin at different times. The bettor places an amount on the first bet (the early game). If the bet is a winning one, the winnings are automatically placed in the second bet (the late game).

NFL Glossary

If you’re new to NFL betting, even if you’re familiar with all those “touchdown” terms and competition system and everything, you might not fully recognize the slang, the particular betting terms used to describe various bets and betting situations. In fact, some online bookmakers or predictions pages might be like Greek to you.

The following glossary contains selected terms and phrases, used specifically in NFL betting. By learning these, you’ll be able to understand fully what all experts and bookies mean. (As you can see, to save time and space, the most popular and easy terms like “favorite”, “underdog”, “line”, “spread” etc. are omitted).

Against the spread (ATS): It’s simply betting against the betting line offered by the online bookmaker. For example, if the spread for the Cowboys-Rams match is -6,5 points, you bet ATS when you place money on Rams to win the match or lose no more than 6 points.

American odds: The American way of presenting the odds, also known as “moneyline odds”. The odds represent how much the bettor will have to wager to win $100.

Bullseye bet: A betting amount of $50.

Cover the spread: The opposite of betting “against the spread”. When betting to “cover the spread”, you actually place your money on the favorite to win by more points than the spread.

Dime line: It’s the difference between the odds payout between the money you would lay on the favorite and the money you would get from the underdog sides.

Drifted odds: When the odds offered by a bookmaker on a team are getting bigger.

Fin bet: A banker, a safe bet, a “financial” bet.

Getting points: Odds are increasing on the totals betting market.

Grand bet: Another term to describe a value bet, which should be placed with high amount.

Longshot: Betting on the underdog, waiting for an upset.

Official line (Las Vegas line): The lines for NFL matches offered by online bookmakers based in Nevada. Usually there are differences between the Vegas lines (also known as official lines) and the lines offered by other online bookmakers.

Steam movement: A sudden and rather unpredicted line movement, usually a few minutes before the start of a match.

Straight Up (SU): When a team has won the game, regardless of the point spread.

Taking a lot of action: When the favorite or the underdog of a match is getting a lot of bets by punters.


If you take a good look at the above, you have all needed knowledge to place your bets in NFL. How to place successful bets on NFL is another story. There are lots of winning strategies, which will help you increase your account. The best of these strategies are completely explained in our NFL Winning Strategies article, so you can choose the ones who’re fitting best to your betting profile.

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