Complete Guide: How to Bet on NFL Games

Every Sunday, AFC and NFC games take place, giving new bettors across the US the chance to learn how to bet on NFL games. Here, bettors can visit the top online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania to wager prop bets, point spreads, parlays, and futures on their top football teams and hopefully win a profit.

Whether you are new to American football betting or a seasoned pro looking to brush up on your betting skills, this guide is for you. Here, we cover everything on NFL betting trends, from the odds and betting lines to how to signup. So, let’s begin.

How to Bet on NFL Games Online

Learning how to wager NFL bets is fairly simple. During the NFL season, bettors have a host of games to wager on, including the ultimate battle for the championship team, the Super Bowl. The best online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania provide excellent coverage of these events and NFL teams and feature a broad collection of betting lines for sports bettors to enjoy.

Although wagering at a land-based sportsbook is fun, understanding how to bet on NFL games online offers a lot more convenience. Here, bettors have instant access to all the odds, lines, and several exciting promotions, making it much easier to wager efficiently.

Before bettors can begin their American football betting, they must make several choices first. For instance, which match and team they want to back, how much of their bankroll they want to stake, and what kind of wager they wish to place. Once a bettor has reached these decisions, placing a bet online becomes quick and easy. We show you just how easy using the steps that follow:

  1. Choose your game and NFL team – take a look at the sportsbook’s selection of NFL mattches offered. Here, you can find options for the NFC, AFC, and Super Bowl games during the season. Once you have decided which football game and team or athlete you want to wager on, double-click that game to launch the betting lines and odds offered for that match.
  2. Select your betting line – next, decide which type of bet you want to wager. Look through the options and double-click the wager you want to put money on, for example, moneyline bets, points spread, total bets, or player props. Ensure the line and odds selected are for the team you want to back. Clicking the betting line value will fill in all the details of the wager on your betting slip.
  3. Add your wager value – you will need to figure out how much you want to wager on your bet according to your bankroll. Also, keep in mind your budget and consider the odds and whether you think this will be a winning bet. Fill in your bet amount on the bet slip by typing it in. Once you have filled in your bet value, click “Place Bet.” You have now wagered your American football bet.
  4. Outcome and payout – now you can relax and enjoy the game. Once the game is over and the outcome of your bet becomes clear you can see whether you have a winning ticket. If you win your bet, the online sports betting site where you placed the bet will pay your winnings into your sportsbook account.

American Football Explained

The NFL consists of 272 games played between September and January each year. Each NFL season has a three-week preseason, followed by an 18-week regular season, where each team plays 17 games. Lastly, there is a single-elimination playoff round in which the top seven teams (four division winners and three wild card teams) from each conference play, culminating in the league’s championship game, the Super Bowl.

The National Football League divides into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), both of which have 16 teams. The 32 teams that make up the NFL come from across the US and Canada.

Since there are over 270 games played during an NFL season, there are plenty of opportunities for American football betting. So, it is unsurprising that betting on NFL games is highly popular across the US.

BetMGM PA NFL Betting

American Football Betting Rules

One of the key aspects of learning how to bet on NFL games online is understanding the rules of the game. Below, we introduce you to the top rules and guidelines for those who want to know how to bet on football and win.

  • An NFL game lasts one hour. The match is divided into four 15-minute sessions with a two-minute break between the first and last two quarters. Additionally, there is a 15-minute halftime break.
  • Each team has 11 players on the field at any one time. However, typically an NFL team will have around 53 players in total.
  • A coin toss marks the beginning of each game. The team who wins the toss receives the first ball and can choose which side of the football pitch they want to start from.
  • Each game begins with a kick-off where one team kicks the ball downfield, and the other team must then run back with the ball.
  • Both teams have four downs to gain 10 yards or more. After each yardage is gained the values reset. Failure to make the yardage after four downs ends in a turnover.
  • Football players use a playbook and a host of different plays that see players take unique routes across the pitch to make these downs. The head coach or quarterback calls the plays on the field for the offensive team, while the captain of the defensive team calls their plays.
  • On the fourth down, the offense can make up their missing yardage or kick the ball, where they can either punt the ball or try for a field goal.

Handy Hint

Generally, when the limit is within 40 yards of the opposition goal posts, the team will go with a field goal. However, if they are further back, there is a bigger chance of the team opting for a punt kick.

How to Bet on Football Games – NFL Betting Explained

When learning how to bet on football, there are two elements that bettors must have a fairly good knowledge of, betting odds and betting lines. Each of these elements affects the type of wager a bettor places and how much they will win if their bet is successful. To help you fully grasp these aspects and know how to bet on football and win, we will discuss football odds and betting lines below.

NFL Betting Odds Explained

We kick off our section on NFL betting odds explained by looking at what betting odds actually are. Odds serve two purposes. Firstly, they tell a bettor how likely a team is to win. They also show a bettor how much profit they can make if they back that particular team and the team then wins.

While most regulated betting sites and sports betting apps in Pennsylvania offer similar odds, we suggest looking around to find the best ones. Although a slight margin in the odds won’t make much of a difference to smaller stakes, they can be beneficial for high-roller bets.

Online sportsbooks offer several odds formats, including Decimal, Fractional, and American odds. Generally, sports betting sites in the US use American odds, so we will look at these.

American odds offer a three-figure number preceded by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign. The team most likely to win is called the favorite. This team will have a minus sign (-) before its number. The number shown here indicates how much a bettor must put down to win back $100 profit on their wager.

In contrast, the underdog or the team least likely to win the game has a plus sign (+) before its number. The number value represents how much a bettor will win in profits off of a $100 wager should that team be successful. Since the risk of betting on the underdog is greater, the odds are usually higher.

BetMGM PA NFL Betting Odds

American Football Betting – The Betting Lines

Now that we have NFL betting odds explained, let’s look at the various betting lines players can use to put money on their favorite NFL teams. Betting lines or markets represent the different ways a bettor can back an NFL team or players in a particular game or tournament. Below, we take you through the various betting lines offered to players wanting to bet on NFL games.

The Simplest American Football Bet – The Moneyline

The easiest NFL bet a bettor can place is the moneyline. In this bet, the bettor puts money on the NFL team they predict will win the game. Here, bettors are offered odds that indicate the team most likely to win and the team least likely to win, allowing bettors to back either the underdog or the favorite.

If we consider our example below, the Baltimore Ravens (-225) are the favorite. Bettors putting money on this team will need to wager $225 to win back $100 in profits if that team wins.

Conversely, the Philadelphia Eagles (+180) are the underdogs. If a bettor wagers $100 on this team and they win, the bettor will make $180 in profits and receive their original $100 stake back.

Team Moneyline Odds
Philadelphia Eagles +180
Baltimore Ravens -225

NFL Handicapping – The Point Spread

NFL handicapping or point spreads are arguably the most popular way to bet on NFL games. This betting line allows bettors who are placing an American football bet to also wager on the outcome of the game. However, here, bettors wager on the number of points a team will win or lose by called the spread.

Generally, a sportsbook applies NFL handicapping when there is one team significantly better than the other. Here, the bookie applies or removes points from one or both teams, leveling the playing field and improving the odds.

In the case where NFL handicapping is applied, a bettor can back the favorite to win, but for them to win their wager, the favorite must win the game by more than the points set out by the bookie. This is called covering the spread.

In contrast, if the bettor backs the underdog, that team must either win outright, or they must lose by fewer points than the spread.

Handy Hint

Sometimes a sportsbook will add a half-point called a hook. This is to prevent a tie resulting in a push. For instance, if in the example below, the sportsbook applied a hook the spread would be set at +/- 6.5.

If we look at the odds in the example below, the sportsbook has imposed NFL handicapping odds of 6. Since the Eagles have a spread of +6 they are the underdogs here. In other words, the Eagles must win outright or lose by less than six points for bettors backing them to win their stake. In contrast, the Ravens must win by seven points or more for bettors backing them to win.

Since the chances of either teams covering the spread are equal, the odds reflect this and are both set at -110. As a result, a bettor will need to wager $110 to win back $100 on either team.

Team Point Spread Odds
Philadelphia Eagles +6   -110
Baltimore Ravens -6   +110

Place a Total Bet on NFL Games

Another way to wager on the outcome of a game when you bet on the NFL is by placing a totals or over/under bet. Unlike a moneyline, a totals bet doesn’t focus on the final score of one team but instead on the final combined score of both teams.

In a totals bet, the sportsbook releases its prediction of what the total combined score will be. Bettors must then put money on whether they predict the final combined score will be more than (over) or less than (under) what the sportsbook releases.

For instance, looking at the example below, the sportsbook has determined that the total combined score will be 35.5. Here, the odds are the same (-110) as the likelihood of the teams scoring more or less is equal.

Team Total Bet Odds
Philadelphia Eagles O 35.5   -115
Baltimore Ravens U 35.5   -105

Other Ways to Enjoy Betting on NFL Games

Players learning how to bet on NFL preseaon games will find there are several other wagers, typically called exotic bets, that they can wager on these NFL matches. In addition to the three top lines, moneylines, NFL handicapping, and totals bets, bettors can also wager futures bets, parlays, and player and game props. Below, we introduce you to these exotic wagers and how they work.

How to Bet on NFL Games Using Prop Bets

Bettors learning how to wager NFL bets online will discover that many of the top sportsbooks offer the option to wager on aspects of the game other than the final score. These bets are called proposition or prop bets.

A prop can come as a game prop, where the bettor can wager on happenings that occur during the game, like when the first touchdown will occur.

Bettors can also wager player props that focus on player performance throughout the game, like who will score the first touchdown. These come with odds displayed much the same as for the moneyline. If you want to place an American football bet, these are the most common props you will come across online:

  • Most Valuable Player (MVP)
  • First touchdown scorer
  • Touchdown scored in the first quarter
  • Passing yards
  • Rushing yards
  • Receiving yards

Players betting on the Superbowl will find that there are several unique props offered for this particular game, including which will be the best halftime advert and how long the national anthem will take to sing. These wagers offer more ways to win and a lot more fun.

BetMGM PA NFL Game Props

How to Bet on Football Using Future Bets

Futures bets are exactly what they sound like, wagers that focus on happenings that will only take place in the near or distant future. Sportsbooks often release NFL futures bets during the off-season and update the odds throughout the season to reflect more accurately.

For example, bettors can wager on the team they predict will win the AFC or NFC division league finals or which team will win the Super Bowl. Bettors can also wager player futures, like which player will be the Super Bowl MVP. Some of the most popular American football betting futures include:

  • Outright Winner AFC
  • Outright Winner NFC
  • Outright Winner Super Bowl
  • Who Will Make it to the Super Bowl

BetMGM PA NFL Futures

American Football Betting Using a Parlay Wager

When it comes to betting on NFL games, one of the most challenging wagers to place and land is the parlay. Bettors can wager a same-game parlay or spread their parlay bet over several games.

A parlay wager is a bet comprising three or more smaller bets called legs. For example, a bettor can wager on the Philadelphia Eagles to win their game, the New England Patriots to win their game, and the Kansas City Chiefs to win their game. All three of these bets must win for the bettor to win their parlay bet. Losing even one leg of their parlay causes the entire bet to fold.

Football In Play Betting

While the top online sportsbooks provide pre-game wagering, many also offer live or in-play betting. The best live betting sites in PA allow bettors to bet on NFL games already in play. Football in play betting sees a bettor wagering on a game already underway using several betting lines like those discussed above.

However, the odds here differ in that unlike pre-game NFL handicapping or prop betting; the odds are not fixed. Instead, the odds here fluctuate according to how the game progresses. As a result, bettors must take great care when they engage in football in play betting to ensure they get the best odds possible.

Additionally, many of the best American football betting sites offer live streaming of the games, so bettors can catch the match and keep tabs on their live wagers.

How to Bet on NFL Games Online – Our Top Tips

Now that we have NFL betting explained, let’s look at several tips and tricks you can use when learning to bet on the NFL online to make sure you get the most out of your American football betting experience. Below, you can find our top five tips for NFL bets.

Tip One: Get to Know the Game

If you want to know how to bet on football and win, the best thing you can do is get well-acquainted with the game and its rules. In this guide, we offer you a section on NFL betting explained and the various rules. While we don’t suggest learning these by heart, having a good understanding will help you to place more accurate bets and be able to get a feel for what is coming next and what may or may not be a lucrative wager. New bettors can also get a handle on all the betting lingo by taking a look at our guide to sports betting terms.

Tip Two: Find the Best Odds for Your Chosen Line

Another key aspect of learning how to bet on football games is looking for the best odds. We recommend browsing several online sportsbooks and comparing the odds they offer for a line you are interested in. When placing your American football bet, use the sportsbook that provides the best odds. While this doesn’t matter too much if you’re wagering a small stake, getting in the habit will help you out when wagering a bigger bet.

Tip Three: Only Use Reputable Sportsbooks

When you bet on NFL games, make sure to use those betting sites regulated by the state. These all carry licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which ensures the sites uphold a high standard of online betting and consistent payouts. Additionally, these sites are legal in PA and will only offer authorized betting options so you can wager safely without hassle.

Tip Four: Manage Your Bankroll

Another key thing to consider when learning how to bet on NFL games is your bankroll. Setting a budget and depositing only this amount into your bankroll will provide you with a limit to stick to. However, placing a well-considered American football bet will help you manage your bankroll so you can wager for longer. One of the worst things you can do while wagering is to bet without considering each one carefully; it is a surefire way to lose money.

Tip Five: Practice Responsible Gambling

Lastly, and most importantly, is to practice responsible gambling. While sports betting can begin as good fun, it can be problematic when bettors don’t know when to stop. In this case, we recommend reading our guide on responsible gambling to access several resources that can help to assist you.

BetMGM PA NFL Betting Lines

How to Bet on Football and Win – The Best Strategies

Bettors who really want to know how to bet on football and win may want to implement several strategies that can help them out. While these strategies don’t guarantee winning bets, they will put you on the path to placing more wagers that end in a win, and show you how to spot excellent betting opportunities when they arise.

1. Try Following the Odds

The minute a sportsbook posts its American football betting odds for a game, they will begin fluctuating until the line is closed. For instance, a team may start as a five-point favorite and, by Sunday, could close at 7.5 points at kickoff.

Finding the best odds when you bet on NFL games is essential. Following the line movement and the odds will help you to see when is best to place your wager. For example, if you want to bet the favorite and the NFL handicapping spread is expanding, you’ll want to wager on the team sooner rather than later to get the best odds.

Similarly, the line movement on Totals odds will also fluctuate according to betting action, the weather, and injuries.

The best way to check the odds is to review those offered at several sportsbooks. If the lines begin moving at several, they will soon shift at all of them, so try to get a bet in before an online sportsbook shifts its odds.

2. Keep Key NFL Numbers in Mind When You Bet on NFL Games

Learning how to bet on football and win involves numbers. There are several key numbers to keep in mind when wagering NFL handicapping bets if you want to take a winning ticket.

The scoring system used for the NFL is rigid. Field goals count for three points, while a touchdown (including the extra point) is worth seven points. As a result, most NFL odds have deciding point values of three, six, or seven, and point spreads for the games are usually set using these figures.

Line movement around these specific numbers is key. For example, placing a wager on the favorite at -6.5 or the underdog at +7.5 is a leading bet since there is a higher probability of either team covering the spread by exactly seven points.

BetMGM PA NFL Game Bets

3. Betting Against the Public

Since more football fans are learning how to bet on NFL games online, there is a lot more public betting taking place. Public betting refers to the wagers placed by recreational bettors who are happy to just throw a few dollars on a wager for fun. Generally, these bettors will back the favorite or the home team in hopes of winning. However, this can cause disproportionate line movement and provide lackluster odds.

As a result, we recommend looking to see if the option of betting against the public (putting money on the underdog) is a more lucrative option, which often it can bet when wagering on a point spread or over/under bet.

4. Take Note Of Betting Trends

While betting trends can be both good and bad, they are worth looking into. Many sharps who bet the NFL for profit will disregard betting trends as they state that the short-term results are not enough to go off of. However, looking at long-term betting trends may help you to place more accurate wagers.

Handy Tip

Betting Trends are patterns that repeat the same result, particularly for point spreads or totals bets.

5. Keep an Eye on the Forecast

The weather plays a significant role in how teams perform in a game and how your NFL bet will play out. For instance, some states, like Pennsylvania, experience snow and rain during the NFL season. So while snow on game day may not cause an issue for the Philadelphia Eagles, teams like the Miami Dolphins who are not used to snow may be at a disadvantage. In this case, if the Dolphins were the favorite to win, backing the Eagles may be a good choice on a snowy day.

List of the Top NFL Teams

When learning how to bet on NFL games online, players will soon discover there are 32 NFL teams that make up the National Football League. These teams come from across the United States and Canada. While many recreational bettors will back the team from their region, experienced professional sports bettors often back the team most likely to win or bring in good returns. Below, you can find a list of all 32 NFL teams:

National Football Conference Teams

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New Orleans Saints
  • New York Giants
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Washington Commanders

American Football Conference

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Denver Broncos
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tennessee Titans

American Football Betting FAQs

Which wager is best for a first bet when learning how to bet on football games?

Is American football betting legal in Pennsylvania?

Can NFL players bet on NFL games?

Does NFL handicapping include over time?

What is the betting public in NFL wagering?

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