How to Bet on the NFL

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If you are new to online sports gambling, you might feel a little intimidated when trying to bet on unfamiliar sports like America’s National Football League (NFL). For bettors who spend most of their time on European soccer, betting on the NFL would certainly be a new adventure. To help you better understand how to bet on NFL games, we are offering the following information.

Point Spreads
Unlike money-line wagering on soccer or tennis, bookmakers list NFL games with point spreads. The posted point spread on a particular game is the bookmaker’s attempt to even up the talent differential between two teams. The best way to understand this concept is through an example.

If the New England Patriots, last year’s Super Bowl Champion, were matched against the Cleveland Browns, arguably the worst team in the NFL, in a game being played in New England, the Patriots would be overwhelming favorites to win the game. If the bookmaker were to post a money-line on the game for an outright win, the action would be limited because the bettor might have to lay $1,000 to win a net profit of $100. However, they can create betting interest if they post a point spread. Let’s say the Patriots are favored by 14.5 points. The complexion of the game changes from a betting perspective. Anyone who wants to bet on New England is going to have to “lay” 14.5 points, meaning the Patriots have to win the game by more than 14.5 points for New England bettors to cash a winning ticket. Anything less and the Browns would be the winning side. If the final score were New England 31 and Cleveland 17, the Browns would be the winning side (New England 31-14.5 = 16.5 versus Cleveland’s 17) from a betting prospective. Typically, bookmakers will charge a 10% commission on point spread bets. The bettor would have to lay $110 to win $100 no matter which side they choose to bet.

Over/Under Betting
When a game’s point spread is difficult to handicap, the bettor might want to consider betting on the game’s total. The total is a number determined by the bookmaker. It’s an attempt to predict how many points the two teams in a game will score on a combined basis. Once the total has been set, the bettor can choose to bet that both teams combined go over the total or under the total. This bet would also require a wager of $110 to win $100. Example: The over/under total on New England versus Cleveland is set at 40. If the game’s final score is under that total, the under bettors win and vice-versa for the over bettors. If the game lands right on the total, it’s a push and all bets are refunded.

If you visit some of these sports betting sites (, you will get the opportunity to select a bookmaker that offers both point spread and over/under betting. You could also be presented with other betting options such as parlays (accumulators), teasers, prop bets and future odds betting on the NFL.

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