Betting on Football Online – Regulated and Legal Football Betting
Despite all the challenges presented to sports bettors in the United States, it is estimated that there are billions of dollars gambled every year on football. College and professional football are two of the most popular sports in the country, so it should come as no surprise that gamblers want to get in on some action when watching their favorite team or an important game.
If you are a fan of football but for some reason haven’t made any bets on it, or if you just don’t quite know where to begin, we are here to help! This football betting page is designed to bring you up to speed on everything there is to know about betting on the game but in a simple-to-understand format. No need to complicate things here – we want you to finish reading this page and feel confident making your bets!
Items covered on this page:
- Types of Football Bets
- Moneyline Bets
- Point Spreads
- Totals Bets
- Prop Bets
- Attributes of a Good Football Betting Site
Types of Football Bets
Seeing that football betting is such a large part of overall sports betting in the United States, it should come as no surprise that there are many different types of bets that you can make on the sport. Let’s cover the main categories here.
There are two types of bets that you can make on the outcome of a single game. The first of these is called the moneyline, and it refers to a wager on who is going to win the game regardless of the score. Of course, some games are total mismatches on paper, making it pretty easy to determine who will win the game. To ensure that a sportsbook doesn’t take a bath on everyone betting on the better team, it costs more to bet on the favorite than the underdog.
To illustrate what we mean, here is what a moneyline would look like for a game:
- Buffalo Bills +280
- New England Patriots -320
In this scenario, the Patriots are the heavy favorite, so if you want to bet on them, you would have to wager $320 for every $100 you wanted to return in profit. By comparison, if you wanted to bet that Buffalo was going to pull off a huge upset, you would be paid $280 for every $100 bet on that outcome.
The other type of straight bet in football is the point spread. This is a bet that allows for both sides to have to wager the same amount (typically $110 to win back $100) on either side of the game. The way a sportsbook can offer this bet is by placing a handicap, called the point spread, on the favorite. This is a very popular bet amongst gamblers. Here is the same example as above but with the point spread line that would correspond to that moneyline:
- Buffalo Bills +14.5
- New England -14.5
So, for this bet, both sides would cost the same, but if you took New England, you would already be at a disadvantage of -14.5 to 0 when the game starts. Therefore, you would need the team to win by 15 or more points to win your bet. Conversely, Buffalo wouldn’t even have to win the game for you to win a bet on them. As long as they lost by 14 points or less, the bet would be a winner.
Many people ask why there is a half a point listed – this is to ensure that there will be a winner in the bet, and the sportsbook will get paid.
Some players like to bet on the number of points scored in a game rather than picking a side. This can be due to weather, injuries, or the game being too close to call. Bets on the score are called totals or Over/Under Bets. Here is the same game, but with the totals listed next to the point spread:
- Buffalo +14.5 – (o 44.5 -115)
- New England -14.5 – (u 44.5 -110)
While you see a total listed next to each team, this line is for the total points scored by both teams in the game. And in this instance, the oddsmaker believes it is slightly more likely that he game will go over the total, so it costs slightly more (-115 vs. -110) to bet on that side.
Totals bets can also be made on the halves and quarters of football games and also on one team’s score, but the most popular is the final score of both teams combined.
If you are interested in branching out from individual bets, you have the option of combining bets together on football. These bets are called parlay bets, and they allow you to bet on many combined outcomes of games. The minimum number of bets in a parlay is 2, and the maximum is typically set by the individual sportsbook.
You could bet on the winner of two or more different games, or in the case of our example, you could parlay the winner of the game with the total number of points scored. The only thing sportsbooks won’t let you do is to parlay the point spread and the moneyline on one ticket. For other parlay rules, you should refer to the individual sportsbook.
Now, there is some risk that goes along with the bigger payday that comes from making parlay bets. The larger the parlay, the better the payout. However, with each additional game added to a parlay, the odds of winning become tougher. To make matters worse, if you get all the bets right except one, you lose the entire bet. This is when players tend to hedge their bets, but there is an entire page dedicated to that strategy.
Another way you can make a combination bet with football games is called a teaser. In this bet, you are “teasing” the point spread on either side to make it more attractive to you and easier to win. Of course, you will be paid less on any winning bets, but you do have a higher probability of coming away a winner.
In football, there are three sets of teasers:
As you add more points, the bet costs more money. As we mentioned, you can apply this number of points to the side on which you want to bet, and that includes the totals bet. Let’s look at the point spread example showing the effect of a 6-point teaser:
- Buffalo +14.5
- New England -14.5
After teasing the side:
- Buffalo +20.5
- New England -8.5
As you can see, the way each team can win the bet has dramatically changed as a result of applying the extra points. The minimum number of bets you have to have in a teaser is 2, and the maximum is once again set by the individual sportsbook.
Proposition bets are bets that answer questions about individual scenarios surrounding a game and its players. This can range from the team to score first to how many passing yards a quarterback will throw in a game. Prop bets are very similar to totals bets in the way they are listed, and the novelty of them makes them attractive to a sportsbook, as many amateur players tend to bet on them.
Prop bets are very popular when betting on football, and this is most evident when it comes to the Super Bowl. In fact, for Super Bowl 52, one sportsbook listed over 900 different prop bets around the game. Many of these bets are designed for people who aren’t necessarily big football fans and include some things like:
- Will the anthem be more or less than 2 minutes in length?
- What color will Lady Gaga’s hair be when she appears on stage?
- What team will win the coin toss?
- Will the coin toss be heads or tails?
- What is the jersey number of the player to score first?
- What color Gatorade will be poured on the winning team’s coach?
You can see why these bets have an allure to novice gamblers, and we think that there will be much more of these types of bets available as regulated sports betting spreads throughout the United States.
Attributes of a Good Sportsbook
One thing that we at GamblingSites.com have learned over the years is that not every site is the same. In fact, there are many differences when you dig into the details, so finding the right sportsbook for you means looking for the following items.
Some sportsbooks offer all the college football games, while others limit games either by region or popularity. If you want to be able to make the most of your betting knowledge and money, then you want access to as many games as possible.
This goes for the bet types as well, of course! You want to find books that allow for as many parlay games as you would like to add to one ticket and all the bet types and prop bets that satisfy your gambling urges.
With dozens of games available to bet on each week during football season, being able to watch a game that isn’t broadcasted in your area is another reason to choose one sportsbook over another. Sometimes a sportsbook will give you the chance to do this online, as well, by streaming games from their sites. When you have some money on an obscure college team, the worst thing that can happen is not being able to watch your action as it unfolds.
Live Betting Odds
Over the last few years, in-game betting has become very popular. Not only can you bet on things like which team will score next, but the odds on who will win the game can also move during the action. This gives you a chance to double down on a bet if you think your team is going to make a comeback. Having access to live odds from your mobile is an added bonus so that you can see the odds change in real time.
Sportsbooks do an awful lot of work to get you to join them as a player, but the best ones do just as much to keep you an active and loyal player. You should be looking for sportsbooks that offer some sort of loyalty or VIP program, such as a free bet for every 10 placed, etc. There are lots of ways a company can earn your loyalty, and all of this goes directly to your overall profitability as a gambler in the long run.
The Future of Football Betting
We are in an interesting period of time in the US sports betting world. As each state decides whether or not to regulate sports betting for its residents, one thing is clear: the game has never been more popular from a betting perspective. Sports shows often discuss the odds and point spreads, and once sports betting is legal across the country and out of the shadows, we are bound to see a whole new group of fans become gamblers.