Betting Guides

Beginners Guide to NFL Betting

The NFL (National Football League) is the pinnacle of American Football, consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) and culminating in the Super Bowl, which is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar.

In this guide we will look at betting tips and strategies to improve your NFL betting experience, covering the wide variety of betting markets available across the competition.

Main NFL Betting Markets

There’s a vast array of popular NFL betting markets, from simply selecting the winner of any game or outright market, to handicap betting, over/under markets and more. Let’s take a more detailed look at the available bets, including the increasingly popular prop markets (betting markets on outcomes that don’t have anything to do with the final score).

Money Line

The Money Line is the most straightforward of NFL bets. It’s a 2-way market where you simply pick which of the two teams you believe will win the match outright.


In NFL betting, the favourite is assigned a spread for the projected winning margin. For example, Super Bowl LVIII features the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers might start as a –2 point favourite, with the Chiefs at +2. So, if you back the 49ers on the spread, they will need to win by 3 points or more for your bet to prevail. If you back the Chiefs, then your bet wins if they win, but even were they to lose the game by 1 point, your bet will still payout.

Total Points

In much the same way as Rugby Union, there are usually quite a few points scored in NFL games. This is a 2-way over/under market and can add excitement to watching the game, even if you don’t particularly care as to which team wins it. For example, the Total Points spread for Super Bowl LVIII might be over/under 47.5 points. Back over if you anticipate 48 points or more in the game; back under if you think that no more than 47 points will be scored.

First Touchdown Scorer

A simple bet where you select the first player you think will score a touchdown in the game - a very similar bet to picking the first goalscorer in football, or first try scorer in rugby union. As with those sports, you can also bet on the last touchdown scorer or to score a touchdown at any time in the game.


There are always a few outright markets you can bet on in any sport and the NFL is no different. Which team will win the Super Bowl? Who will win the AFC? Who will win the NFC? You can also bet on any of the 8 divisional winners – AFC East, North, South and West and NFC East, North, South and West.

Half Time/Full Time

Another bet that anyone who likes a punt on football should be familiar with. Simply predict the outcome of the game at both half time and full time. This can be a better market to use than the Money Line if you’re looking for better odds in a game with a strong favourite.

In-Play Betting

There are several options for in-play betting in the NFL, such as Next Touchdown, Next Sack and Next Field Goal. This is a great way to maintain interest if you’re watching live as the game develops.

First Scoring Play

Decide which play you think will result in the first points of the game for either team. For example, in Super Bowl LVIII, the options would be:

  • San Francisco 49ers Touchdown
  • Kansas City Chiefs Touchdown
  • Kansas City Chiefs Field Goal
  • San Francisco 49ers Field Goal
  • San Francisco 49ers Safety
  • Kansas City Chiefs Safety

Winning Margin

Winning Margin bets don’t require you to predict the exact winning margin, as bookmakers will offer a range of winning margin spreads. For example, you can bet on a team to win by 1-6 points, 7-12 points, or 13-18 points.

Highest Scoring Half

Exactly as it suggests, this is a bet where you just have to predict which half will see the most points scored – 1st Half, 2nd Half or, relatively unlikely, Draw.

Highest Scoring Quarter

As with the Higher Scoring Half, but taking all four Quarters of the game into consideration. That obviously makes it more difficult to predict, but potentially more lucrative.


What we in the UK would refer to as an accumulator. For example, you might select a Money Line bet from one game, a Spread in another and a Total Points bet in another. All your selections need to win for your parlay to payout.

Other NFL Betting Markets

  • MVP (Most Valuable Player) - a highly prestigious award given to the player deemed the most valuable in the NFL during the regular season.
  • Prop Bets – there are numerous prop bets available on the Super Bowl, including who will win the coin toss, the length of time it takes to sing the US National Anthem and what colour Gatorade will be used to drench the winning coach at the end of the game.

Key Events in the NFL Calendar

Here are the main events surrounding the NFL season:

  • Super Bowl - the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of the NFL season, being the championship decider to see who wins the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. The game is played between the AFC and NFC champions. These days, the game is played on the second Sunday in February.
  • Draft – the NFL holds a draft of college players each April. It consists of seven rounds, with each of the 32 clubs getting one pick in each round. The draft order for non-playoff teams is determined by regular-season record. The Super Bowl champion always drafts last, and the losing team from the Super Bowl always drafts next-to-last.
  • Regular Season – the NFL regular season is an 18-week, 272-game campaign, which begins the first Monday in September and concludes the week after New Year. Each team faces 14 opponents over the 17-game regular season, using a predetermined formula.
  • Postseason - the NFL playoffs are a 14-team single-elimination tournament, featuring seven teams from each conference - the winners of each of the four divisions, plus three wild card teams. The postseason is run on a knockout basis until the AFC and NFC champions are determined.

NFL Betting Strategies

As with all sports, there are some basic tips and strategies that can help you when bet:

Research Form & Injuries

Check out the form of the teams (including any recent head-to-head meetings) and key players. Injury news can also be crucial. In the NFL, the absence of a star quarterback can be pivotal to a team’s hopes of success.

Use Betting Offers

Some bookmakers have betting offers that can be utilized on the NFL, such as offering a free bet if you stake a certain amount per week. This can give the bettor an overall edge if used sensibly. You can find all the latest and best NFL betting offers right here on

Home Field Advantage

Home advantage can be a factor in the NFL given the distances between many of the teams, particularly given how different the weather conditions can be across the country. Research how a team has played at home or on the road in the season.

NFL Betting FAQs

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How Competitive is the NFL?

The Draft system means that it’s very difficult for any team to have long-term prolonged success, while struggling teams can always turn their fortunes around.

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What NFL Bets are Best for Beginners?

As with any betting, it’s down to your personal choice, but betting on the spread can be a sensible option if using small stakes to begin with.

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Is There Live Betting Available on the NFL?

Yes, many bookmakers offer bettors the opportunity to bet on the game in-play as the action unfolds.