The National Football League (NFL) is a thrilling and popular sport in the United States, and for many fans, betting on NFL games adds an extra layer of excitement. If you’re new to NFL betting, it can seem overwhelming at first with terms like “point spreads” and “moneylines,” but with a basic understanding of the fundamentals, you can enjoy the thrill of betting on your favorite teams. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll break down the essentials of NFL betting to get you started on the right track.
Understanding the Betting Odds
Before diving into the different types of bets, it’s essential to understand how odds work in NFL betting. Odds indicate the likelihood of a particular outcome and the potential payout. There are three primary formats for expressing odds:
Moneyline Odds: Moneyline odds are the most straightforward. They show the amount you need to bet to win $100 on a favorite or the potential profit from a $100 bet on an underdog. For example, if the New England Patriots have moneyline odds of -150, you need to bet $150 to win $100. If the Cincinnati Bengals have moneyline odds of +200, a $100 bet would yield a $200 profit if they win.
Point Spread Odds: Point spreads level the playing field by giving a specific number of points to the underdog and taking points away from the favorite. Bettors can wager on whether a team will “cover the spread,” which means they win by more points than the spread (for favorites) or lose by fewer points than the spread (for underdogs). For example, if the Dallas Cowboys have a -6.5 point spread against the Washington Football Team, they must win by at least 7 points to “cover the spread.”
Over/Under (Totals) Odds: Over/Under bets focus on the combined score of both teams. Sportsbooks set a total points line, and bettors can wager on whether the actual total points scored in the game will be over or under that line. If the Over/Under line is set at 48.5, you can bet on whether the total points scored will be higher (over) or lower (under) than 48.5.
Popular Types of Bets
Now that you understand the basics of odds, let’s explore some of the most popular types of NFL bets:
Moneyline bets are straightforward and great for beginners. You pick a team to win, and your potential payout is determined by the moneyline odds. For example, if you bet $50 on a team with +150 odds and they win, you’ll receive $75 (your initial bet plus $25 in profit).
Point Spread Bets
Point spread bets are designed to level the playing field. The favorite is “giving” points, and the underdog is “getting” points. To win a point spread bet, the favorite must win by more points than the spread, while the underdog can win the bet even if they lose by fewer points than the spread.
Over/Under bets are based on the total points scored in a game. You predict whether the combined score of both teams will be over or under the total points line set by the sportsbook.
Parlay bets involve combining multiple bets into a single wager. If all your selections win, the payout can be substantial. However, if even one bet loses, the entire parlay is lost. Parlay bets are riskier but offer higher potential rewards.
Teaser bets allow you to adjust the point spread in your favor by a certain number of points, but you must select multiple games. This reduces the risk and potential reward compared to standard point spread bets.
Proposition bets, or prop bets, focus on specific events or occurrences within a game. For example, you can bet on which player will score the first touchdown or whether a certain quarterback will throw over or under a certain number of yards.
Key Factors for Successful Betting
To improve your chances of success in NFL betting, consider these key factors:
Informed betting decisions start with research. Stay up to date with team news, player injuries, weather conditions, and historical performance. Analyze stats, trends, and expert opinions by following Doc’s NFL picks.
Set a budget for your NFL betting activities and stick to it. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Smart bankroll management is crucial for long-term success.
Different sportsbooks may offer slightly different odds for the same game. To maximize your potential profits, compare odds at various sportsbooks and place your bets where you find the most favorable lines.
Emotions can lead to impulsive and irrational betting decisions. Avoid chasing losses or overreacting to wins. Stay disciplined and stick to your strategy.
Avoiding Parlays and Teasers
While parlay and teaser bets can be enticing, they come with a higher level of risk. For beginners, it’s often wiser to stick with simpler bets until you gain more experience.
NFL betting can be an exciting and enjoyable way to enhance your football-watching experience. As a beginner, it’s important to understand the different types of bets, the odds, and the key factors that contribute to successful betting. With research, discipline, and practice, you can develop your betting skills and make more informed decisions, increasing your chances of success in NFL betting. Remember to bet responsibly, manage your bankroll wisely, and enjoy the game responsibly.