Football is the most popular bet sport in the U.S. with $93 billion wagered per season. American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that the Super Bowl (yes, just one game) drew an astonishing $4.2 billion of bets (even up to $8 billion according to some estimates).
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Both football and the NFL are a part of American life and culture. They’re going nowhere. (And, who knows, soon one franchise may go to the U.K.)
What you’ll find on this page are the best U.S.-friendly betting sites that accept live wagers on football games – in other words, a combination of the best live betting odds, most betting options, and reliable service.
We’ll also explain the basics of football betting, and, towards the end of this page, we’ve written a few words about the most popular events and shocking upsets in the history of the league.
Winning bettors need to keep two things in mind when selecting NFL betting sites:
That’s right: in order to profit from live betting on the NFL, you need accounts at several online bookmakers. There’s no betting site that’s going to give you the best odds 100% of the time. Even a slightly improved betting line can be the difference between making a profit and breaking even.
You can’t just join any sportsbook though, no matter how good its betting lines seem to be. Well, technically you can, but if you hope to get your withdrawal processed successfully, there’s only a handful of sites worth spending your time on.
We’ve spent countless hours rating each website that’s proven to be accurate and reliable so that you don’t have to. These ratings are updated constantly so that if any new sites or trends develop, our readers are the first to know about them.
Before we dive into the more obscure bets, let’s take a look at the three most popular forms of betting on football:
No, it’s not your favorite flavor of jam on your toast each morning, but it can be equally as enjoyable. The “Spread” is the most popular form of NFL betting and refers to a handicapped score that you think one team is going to beat.
In a spread bet, you choose one team to beat their projected “line”. For example, if San Francisco’s line is -3.5, that means that San Francisco would have to win by four points if you chose them. It means they start the game (at least for your purposes) in a three and half point hole.
You can also pick the underdog which is popular way to bet. If San Francisco was playing Philadelphia and they were the underdog, Philadelphia’s line may read as +3.5. That means they would have to lose by less than four points in order for you to win your bet.
If San Franciso wins 24-21, you still win your bet!
The Moneyline is popular as well because it takes the guesswork out of predicting how much a team may win or lose by. All you need to do as a bettor is choose who you think is going to win the game, and apply the odds to your wager. Moneyline odds are always represented as a reflection of a $100 bet.
For example, if we use the same example and San Francisco is a favorite, their line may read as -180. This means you would have to bet $180 to win $100. If you chose Philadelphia, the line may read as +150. This means that if you bet $100 dollars you win $150. The odds are always better for the worse team, which makes gambling on an underdog so exciting!
This may be the easiest of all to understand, and takes the stress out of choosing just one team to follow. The name of this bet says it all: Simply choose whether or not the total score of the game will be over or under the set line. For example, if the line for that same San Francisco/Philadelphia game is set at 41.5 it means that both teams are expected to combine for close to that sum. You as the better simply choose whether it will go over or under that line and reap the rewards.
While these three bets may be the most popular, there are countless ways to enjoy football action from a financial point of view. Further examples are broken down briefly for you below:
As the name suggests, this refers to any bet where the outcome is happening in the future. These can include how many games a team will win, what player will win the MVP, or which team will emerge victorious in the Super Bowl. (For more, read our article on future bets.)
A Teaser refers to two or more bets that are wagered on together, where you can adjust the lines to your favor by sacrificing your money earned. It’s a popular form of gambling amongst experts, and allows for more control over your destiny with a lower payout.
Similar to the Teaser bet, but gives the sport book you’ve chosen the better odds. This allows for a higher payout for yourself but at increased odds. It is not a very popular form of gambling but can be effective given the right circumstances
A Parlay is an incredibly entertaining form of betting. All the bettor needs to do is choose several games (at least two) and link them together under one bet. That means all games the bettor chooses must be correct, but that the payout is exponentially higher with each game added on.
There can be dozens and dozens of prop bets in a single game. It simply refers to one thing happening within a game. Examples can include the number of fumbles, interceptions or sacks and can range to the absurd like length of the national anthem or the color of gatorade poured on the winning coach. Props are incredibly popular for special events like the Super Bowl (which is we have a separate page dedicated on the subject).
NFL live betting is a popular and exciting form of betting. You bet on the action as it unfolds in front of you. This means that the odds change by the minute and you can always win your money back if your pre-match wagers seem to go down the drain.
An example of a live bet can be applied to our San Francisco and Philadelphia example we were using earlier. If you bet on San Franciso to win by four points and they start the game down 14 early thanks to some lucky Philadelphia touchdowns, the “line” will change in San Francisco’s favor. Where they were once expected to win by four, they may be expected to lose by seven! You can now bet on that line and hope San Francisco makes a comeback. This allows for the bettor to constantly be in on the action, regardless of how they may have started.
Live wagering combines the most popular sport to bet on with the thrill and excitement of live-action betting and allows for everyone stay in on the action regardless of how they may have been doing previously.
Here are some tips to make sure you stay ahead of the game:
It may seem obvious, but do your research. Too many uninformed bettors simply wager based on their gut, or their favorite team. This can blind them to facts and analysis that are directly related to the outcome of every single game. Take the time to understand the following factors before deciding where to place your hard earned income.
There are a multitude of trends that affect every game. Has one team won their last six games in a row? Does one team always beat the other? How well does this team do in January? How well does this team do against the spread? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself, and the information is readily available at any trustworthy gambling website.
While several NFL teams play indoors, many don’t. This is where weather becomes a factor. How good is this team in the rain? What happens to this field goal kicker in severe wind? How accurate are both quarterbacks in the snow? Determining the factor of weather can pay huge dividends for you in the future and should aways be looked at before each game.
Football is a bruising, physical game that often results in devastating injury, but also simple wear and tear. Some teams are more rested than the other when they square off each week, and that’s an important factor to consider. If one team hasn’t played in ten days and the other played as recently as six days ago who would you choose if they were evenly matched?
It may seem obvious, but staying up to date on each team’s injured players is was important as knowing who the players are themselves. As the football season progresses, injuries pile up and differ from week to week. A player that is healthy on Wednesday may be injured by the time you go to make your bet on Sunday so always stay informed.
Here’s Our Live Betting Tips Page.
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “the public” when referencing sports betting?
It’s a part a system that’s been outdated for around a decade now and no longer works. This old system suggested that all you need to do to beat NFL betting is to find out who the biggest fish you know has wagered on and then place your bets on the opposite.
The reason this worked in the 80’s and 90’s and the first few years of the millennium decade is because betting shops were small. These sites had $250 to $1000 betting limits and mostly serviced recreational players. Back then bookmakers could anticipate which teams fans had a biased towards and then shade the line in such a way wagers on these teams were so far –EV that wagers on their opponent were +EV.
Now let me go ahead and explain why this no longer works.
While these sites don’t take American bettors, at Pinnacle Sports punters are free to wager up to $30,000 per bet, and can keep betting as many times as they’d like with no maximum, so long as each time they make a bet, the odds move. If the odds don’t move they have to wait 4 hours before wagering $30,000 again. Meanwhile Betfair is a massive peer to peer betting exchange with millions and millions of dollars in liquidity. Here bettors can wager as much as they’d like.
All of these mentioned sites have no choice in the matter – they absolutely have to do their best to set accurate lines. When they fail to do that, they get max. bet to death and all the +EV wagers they are giving out don’t come remotely close to offsetting the $25.00 and $100 bets made by casual sports fans.
Now if you’re thinking “okay, but at recreational sites with smaller limits the lines are still shaded to take fan bias in account,” think again.
There’s something like 200,000 “full time” professional poker players (as in people who make their living at it) all of which understand expected value in gambling. Next add small-time but talented stock traders, financial advisors, investors and businessmen to the list that understand market theory. This is only a portion of the market sharp enough to know, if the Jets are +6.5 at Pinnacle, Betfair, 5Dimes AND Bookmaker and +8 at Bodog or Intertops, obviously +8 is the +EV bet.
You now have several hundred sharp punters having spotted the shaded line and even if this site has a $1,000 max bet, they’re going to pay the price. What’s vital to understand is betting is near an efficient market, sportsbooks don’t and can’t afford to set lines that are off to cater to fan bias; this worked in 2001, but has no place in any serious sports betting discussion in 2011.
To conclude with some actual tips that do work especially well in today’s market, I encourage you to read our articles on teaser betting, prop betting and future betting. Each of these articles contains gems that will get off on the right track to thinking like a winning sports bettor.
Like all great sports, the NFL has its moment to crown a champion each year, and that moment is the Super Bowl. There is rarely a more watched event in all of television, let alone sports, and billions of dollars are gambled on the one game each year. The props bets we discussed earlier number in the hundreds and go right down to what song the halftime performer will sing. There simply isn’t a more entertaining spectacle in all of sports.
The NFL’s Pro Bowl is still considered a bit of a joke considering the players don’t really hit each other, and often the very best players aren’t even there. Never the less, theres a lot of action to bet on every year when the all-stars converge to play some pick-up football, and its fun to get in on the action.
Because the NFL only plays one game a week, the playoffs are the same. There are no three game, five game or seven game series, just one showdown winner-takes-all affair that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The Playoffs last four weeks, culminating in the Super Bowl and offer some of the best gambling opportunities in all of sports.
Every gambler chases the ultimate underdog win, a game that lets you place money on the unthinkable happening, only to see it come true. Below are a few of the biggest upsets in NFL History to give you the encouragement you need to take a few risks in the upcoming season.
Tom Brady wasn’t always the historically great quarterback he is today. In his second year in the league he showed flashes of brilliance but didn’t dominate the way Kurt Warner and his St. Louis Rams did. That didn’t matter to Brady. He led his Patriots to a 20-17 win against one of the most heavily favored Super Bowl teams in history to start growing his legend.
Brady is in this upset as well, but on the wrong side of the football. After leading his team to an 18-0 record leading up the Super Bowl the game was all but sealed until Eli Manning and David Tyree connected for one of the greatest catches in history to help the Giants upset the Patriots 17-14
This game dates way back, but if you have the time you need to go watch it. Joe Namath made a pledge that his New York Jets would win against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Everyone thought Namath was crazy until he led his team to a 16-7 victory.
It goes to show you that anything is possible in sports, and as long as you do your research, stick to trustworthy advice and play within your limits you can open up a world of unlimited potential. Welcome to gambling on the NFL.