How to Bet on the NFL
Betting on Football has never been simpler! Whether you want to wager against a rival or put some capital behind your squad, Dimers.com here to show you how to bet on the NFL.
So, let's break down the best betting options when it comes to the National Football League.
Often you'll hear the term "against the spread" – it's the most popular way to bet on American football. The spread is essentially a sportsbook's way of leveling out two unequal opponents.
The underdog is given a 'head start' in the form of points. To cover a spread, a favored team needs to win the game by the specified amount of points. Meanwhile, an underdog can either win, or lose by the number (or less) to cover.
The line can move prior to NFL games and even during the match. It will fluctuate depending on injuries, momentum and naturally, the scoreboard.
- New England -3.5
- Denver +3.5
Using the example above, if you bet Denver at +3.5, they would need to lose by under 3.5 points – or win outright – to cover the spread.
Conversely, if you bet New England (-3.5) against the spread, the Patriots would need to win by 4+ points to ensure a profit.
In the event of a push (see below) – where the bettor and sportsbook tie – your stake will be refunded.
- Bet: New England -3 vs. Denver
- Final: New England 24-21 Denver
Given the Patriots only won by 3 points, and not MORE THAN 3, this is considered a push. You would be refunded your bet, and yes, sadly that means no profit.
NFL Alternate Spread
You will also see alternate spreads available for NFL games. Often the spread number is shifted slightly, enabling you to choose between multiple options – all of which give you either a better chance of covering or larger odds.
NFL Over/Under (Total)
Betting the total in an NFL game simply means you are wagering on how many points will be scored overall, NOT who will win.
Using the Broncos and Patriots example once more, if the sportsbooks set the total at 53.5 points, you have two options:
- Bet the Over (54+ points to be scored by both teams)
- Bet the Under (53 points or under to be scored total)
There are other options to choose from, including scoring totals for particular quarters, home team totals, total TDs scored, and more.
NFL Moneyline (H2H)
The moneyline is the simplest NFL bet to make! Betting the moneyline simply means you are picking a team to win the game outright.
If a team is favored on the moneyline they will have a "-" next to their name. Conversely, the underdog will have a "+".
- If a team has a -200 moneyline it means you need to wager $200 in order to win $100.
- If a team has a + moneyline, the goalposts shift. The + tells us how much you would win betting $100, if you win of course.
- For example, a +150 moneyline would mean – if successful – a profit of $150.
- Similarly, if a team had a +185 moneyline, you would make $185 profit – $285 total – when betting $100.
Futures bets are exactly what they sound like. You are wagering on an often far-away event. If you're looking to lay down some capital in the hopes of large winnings down the line, this is the bet for you.
Popular futures bets include:
- Super Bowl Winner
- MVP Winner
- Conference Winners
- Division Winners
- Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year
Other common futures bets include team total wins – often referred to as season props, along with offensive and defensive player of the year. The list is endless!
The only downside to futures bets is they can take weeks or even months to occur. If you’re patient, they can pay off big.
NFL Prop Bets
Prop bets are popular throughout the NFL season and enable you to bet on almost anything which may unfold in a football game.
You can wager on player props; choosing whether they will achieve over/under a certain amount of yards and so much more.
Common prop bets include:
- First team to score
- Who will score last
- Total passing yards by a QB
- Total rushing yards by a RB
- Total receiving yards by a WR
Depending on the sportsbook, there may be options to include props in a mixed parlay. Although most books force you to have a parlay strictly involving props.
In Dimers' NFL Bet Hub you have the perfect opportunity to locate some of the best prop bets across the United States. Our predictive analytics model simulates each football game 10,000 times to give you the best probabilities on first and anytime TD scorers.
A parlay simply involves more than one wager combined together for greater odds. You can place a same-game NFL parlay – multiple events from one matchup – or alternatively, events across multiple games.
You could take the NY Giants (-3.5) to cover and take the Over 53.5 points total in a same-game parlay. You could add bets from other games, too, say the Cowboys to beat the Eagles at the Moneyline (H2H).
More legs = higher odds and a greater chance at a larger return. But as you add more legs, the likelihood of a win also goes down, so make sure you're confident of each leg!
In any parlay you will need to get each event correct for there to be a payout. Unless your books has a special offer on (they often do), there is no refund for getting 7 out of 8 right.
Another version of a parlay is the teaser. This type of bet allows you to shift the point spreads or totals to suit you. Often this will see a dramatic decrease in odds, in exchange for friendlier spreads. Sportsbooks will generally give you the opportunity to adjust the spread by 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 points.
To bet a two-team teaser parlay you must adjust the spread across two games. No different to a parlay, all legs need to be correct in order to win.
- Steelers (-3) vs. Bears
- Lions (+10) vs. NY Jets
If you felt Pittsburgh may win well in their matchup you could move them to say -9.
Additionally, you may feel the Lions are going to keep it close, so you may tease, or adjust, the spread in that game to +3.
If the Steelers were to win by 10+ points and Detroit lost by 2 or less – or won outright – you would win this teaser parlay.
NFL Live Betting
Live or in-play betting is where you wager on a football game currently in progress. As odds shift throughout the game, you can find the bet to suit you whilst the action continues on.
- Prop bets
- Next play outcome
- Next drive outcome
- When next TD will occur
Utilize the Dimers live in-play probabilities section to increase your knowledge and chances of winning on your live bets.
Move fast in the live betting space, otherwise your NFL odds will blow by quicker than Tyreek Hill in single coverage.
How to Make Live Bets on NFL Games
There's no doubt any NFL matchup is an exciting prospect – but when you throw live betting in the mix, the fun goes up a level!
You know NFL betting now, but what about how to bet live?
It really is as simple as it sounds, when watching the game you can wager on who you think will win and even what happens next.
Want to understand live NFL betting? Glad you asked, Dimers has you covered.
Placing Your Bet
NFL live betting is relatively similar to betting before kickoff. You can still place wagers on moneyline, point spreads, proposition bets, total and the usual go-to options.
Often you will be able to locate a live game through one of two ways; via a Bet Live section on your online sportsbook and/or betting app, or by clicking through to the NFL category on the book's site/app and locating the game from there.
The only differences are a swifter change of odds and a greater breadth of betting options for you to choose from. Also remember, all live bets are time sensitive – if you're not as quick as Kansas City's WR corps you may miss out!
Live betting exposes you to many options usually unavailable to the average bettor. The usual wagering options are available during a pro football game, but there are added offerings once teams are on the gridiron:
- Next TD Scorer
- Race to "X" Points
- Total TDs
- 1st Quarter Points
- Drive Result
- Play Result
With more options available to bettors, there is greater opportunity for you to find real value, catch sportsbooks napping and capitalize on juicy odds. Deep thought isn't as readily applied to live odds, so if you can be quick, you could be lucky!
Constantly Shifting Odds
NFL odds are constantly changing within a game. They change based on the scoreline, momentum, injuries and drive results, amongst other things.
This can be hard to keep up with and that's why we recommend you monitor Dimers' live in-play probabilities during the game, and before you place any bet.
Our live technology – updating every 30 seconds – gives you real-time probabilities for betting the spread, total (over/under) and moneyline.
As mentioned, there are many factors which influence a quick change in odds during an NFL game. It is nice to consider some of these variables before placing your bets.
- Injuries (key players coming out can affect moneyline/spread particularly)
- Weather (bad weather will affect scoring)
- Conditions (is the game indoors, are teams used to weather/outdoors)
- Rest (is one team off a short week?)
- Coaching style (is the head coach a defensive or aggressive type)
These aspects should be kept in mind when live betting, and if used alongside our live probabilities, you're a chance to gain a leg up on your sportsbook.
NFL live betting represents one of the best ways to capitalize on great odds sportsbooks may have slept on. Feel free to give it a try alongside Dimers' in-play probabilities, via our NFL Bet Hub, to give you the best opportunity at winning your pro football picks!
Six Things to Consider Before Betting on Any NFL Game
Betting on the NFL is a lot of fun, but it can also be daunting, especially if you're just starting out.
When making a bet on football, there are many factors that go into the equation when determining what is a good bet and what isn't:
Location, Location, Location!
For a one-time only special, real estate and the NFL are united. Jokes aside, location really matters in both fields.
Home-field advantage didn't matter as much in 2020 thanks to empty stadiums and/or reduced fans, though where a game is situated often often carries weight.
From 2002 to 2019, teams won almost 57% of games in their own building. In other words over two seasons any given team would win 9 of its 16 home games. No, not you Jacksonville.
Another interesting subplot when considering NFL betting is cross-country travel. When West Coast teams travel to the East side of the country for a 1pm kickoff they can be at a disadvantage.
The West Coast is three hours behind and as such their body clock still thinks it is 10am. Sometimes they can be caught napping but the best teams are unlikely to be derailed by a few hours in time.
To give you a helping hand here are what we consider West Coast teams:
- San Francisco 49ers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Arizona Cardinals
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Denver Broncos
Sometimes you need to look at a game for what it is. Forget the form, forget the odds. Who is colliding with who?
Bill Belichick vs. rookie quarterbacks? You know who wins.
Coaching matters in the NFL, never discount that. It isn't like the NBA where star players can overcome an inadequate staff – see Anthony Lynn and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Perhaps you may be bettered by assessing a position group battle – New England's blunted pass attack against Jamal Adams and Seattle's Legion of Boom 2.0.
These considerations need to come into play. The first look should always be quarterback and head coach vs. the other team's before searching for mismatches across the three phases of football.
Scour the injury report during the week and particularly as the weekend approaches. More often than not, the players will decide the outcome on any given Sunday and with so much going on in the NFL it can be hard to keep up with who's in or out.
Checking the injury report will help you make a more informed choice before laying down capital.
While it may be tempting to earn some money while watching your team crush their biggest rival, it is fraught with danger.
Naturally it involves emotional betting which, as we mentioned, isn't always the best idea! Secondly, divisional games are often harder to predict and can throw up crazy results no matter the record.
Remember, a divisional rival knows the other team inside out. Even if they're a severe underdog you better watch out because they have nothing to lose.
Before you place that next divisional bet just remember New England were a 17.5 favorite against Miami in Week 17, 2019. They lost the game and the AFC's #1 seed, and you know the rest.
The same logic can be applied to a familiar conference opponent, take Baltimore and New England in the AFC or Green Bay and Seattle in the NFC.
MORE: Latest NFL Betting News
There are no easy games in the NFL, but players are human and that means, like us fans, they can get carried away and look toward the bright lights of Sunday Night Football or an important game ahead on their fixture. Unless of course, you're a robot, or coached by Bill Belichick, it's much of the same.
If a team does look ahead there are opportunities for an upset the week prior in the seemingly less important game. That's not to say you should jump all the way to a moneyline wager. Generally the spread is your friend when there's a potential look-ahead.
Now you're empowered to make an informed call before laying out your hard-earned cash. But if you are looking for a further edge make sure to check out Dimers’ NFL Bet Hub for our match-up analysis and best bets.