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The Basics of NFL Betting: A 101 Guide for Newbies

Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the US.

If you’re new to NFL betting or to sports betting in general, we’re here to help with this guide to teach you all about the basics of NFL betting. Armed with this essential knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to decide whether or not NFL betting is for you and when to go all in. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the basics of NFL betting.

Single-Game NFL Bets

Betting The Point Spread

Another popular way to gamble on football is point spread betting. This is when the favored team to win has to do so by a specified number of points (the spread) in order for you to receive a return on your original bet, leveling the playing field for the underdog team.

Betting The Moneyline 

It might not be quite as popular as betting the point spread, this is arguably one of the easiest types of football bets to wrap your head around when you’re still starting out.

The aim of this bet is to pick the winning team for a specified game. 

Betting Totals (Over/Under)

When you bet on the “total” you aren’t betting on the winning team, but rather on the total points scored at the end of the game. This is also known as over/under betting.

You will have the choice to pick either over the given total odds at your chosen bookies or under this number to predict how many points will be scored overall. 

Multiple-Game NFL Bets


A parley is a type of bet that involves multiple events rather than a single game. You can place a combination of a point spread, money line, or total bets each week but rarely in the same game, although the exact rules can vary depending on your sportsbook. 

For parlay bets, a lot of sportsbooks will offer as many events as you wish to include whereas others place a limit on the maximum number. Although parlay bets tend to come with a higher potential reward, you will need to get every prediction right in order to win. 


A teaser bet is a variation of a parlay bet where you are betting against the spread or the total, giving up a potential payout in order to receive spreads that are more in your favor. 

If you are betting on the total, you can also include a teaser bet and some sportsbooks will provide a list of alternatives so you can work the spread both ways for every game. In order to win the bet, all of your selections will need to be correct. 

nfl bets
Photo Cred: Pexels

In addition to the bets we’ve already discussed, you can also wager on the performance of individual players, which team will win the game, and the outcome of a single play.

Prop Bets

Props are an extremely popular and commonly placed bet during the Super Bowl although you can place them at any time during the NFL season. These can usually be anything from the first team to score to how many yards a specified quarterback can make a throw for.

You will receive a statistic for your sportsbook’s predicted total and you can bet on whether it will be over or under. Make sure to double-check the odds you are offered. 


For the ultimate NFL enthusiast, you can even start betting on future NFL games that are to occur in the next year’s Super Bowl. Keen, right? These are called futures bets. 

You can bet on who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy or on the player awards for the season, such as MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, etc. 

Another popular futures bet is team win totals which are when your sportsbook will specify the number of wins for each team (usually including a hook) which you can then bet under or over. This is also sometimes referred to as “season props” by certain sportsbooks. 

Final Thoughts

football referee
Photo Courtesy: Pexels

As you can see, there is plenty to learn about NFL sports betting, but once you’ve mastered the basics, including the things we’ve talked about throughout this article, you will be on your way to making money in no time. 

This will be even easier if you’re already a huge NFL fan as you’ll have the knowledge and the experience to back up your bets, increasing your chances of being successful.

Good luck!