There is no shortage of betting markets when it comes to the NFL, and for those of you who are new to the game or at least new to betting on it, here is a guide to the betting markets you need to know about before and during the season.
Read on below for our NFL betting guide.
NFL Betting Guide
Outright betting on the NFL remains a great way to make a profit while betting on the premier competition in American Football, but of course you have to have some patience because these types of bets are not ones that pay out quickly, unless you have placed them during the final days of the season. NFL outright markets are straightforward – you are betting on subjects such as Super Bowl Winners, Conference Winners and Division Winners, and these NFL prediction markets are available all season long so you can wait to see how a team performs before backing them in one of these markets. So what markets are available? Read on…
Super Bowl Winner
The Super Bowl Winner market is exactly what the title says – you are betting on who will win the Super Bowl and be crowned world champions. This market goes live very early on – you can bet on the next Super Bowl winner as soon as that year’s Super Bowl ends – and the earlier you bet on it, the bigger the price you will get in most instances. Every NFL team is backable in this market, but of course the likes of the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be a short price from the start. Prices will fluctuate as the season wears on though, meaning a horrible run of form could see a favourite slide down the betting while an excellent run could see an outsider climb up it.
Much like other American sports leagues, the NFL is split into two conferences with 16 teams competing in the AFC and 16 competing in the NFC. This market does not require you to back the team that will win the Super Bowl, you just need to back the team that will represent their respective conference in the big game. Every team tends to be available at backable odds, albeit some are a lot shorter than others, so this is a market that offers the chance to make a tidy profit when betting on the NFL. But of course, those prices will fluctuate as the season unfolds so if you fancy one of the favourites early on, it is probably best to jump on them early. Alternatively, if you like the look of a dark horse, you might want to wait a few weeks to see how they are performing. Their odds will shorten in this time if they perform well, so you may not want to wait too long to back them.
And not only is the NFL separated into two conferences, those conferences are then divided into divisions. Each conference features four divisions and in each division there are four teams. For this market you do not need to worry about who are crowned Conference champions and who are crowned world champions, you are betting on who will finish top their division standings at the end of the regular season. While some divisions will have clear favourites, others will be wide open and that means a really healthy profit could be made by betting on this market. But as with any outright betting market, the odds will shift around as the season progresses and if one team starts to take control of their division, their price will soon shorten.
The Money Line market is just like the Match Betting market in soccer – you are betting on who will win the game. However, this is not an easy way to make a sizeable profit when betting on the NFL because the only way you are going to land a big return here is by successfully backing an underdog to be victorious, and while upsets do happen you really have to be very confident about it to use this market. But don’t worry, that does not mean you should rule out betting on the outcome of a game because this next form of betting offers much more appeal than Money Line.
Ever wanted to back a team to win but think their Money Line odds are far too short for you to claim? Spread betting offers you the chance to back a favourite at bigger odds, while you can also get even larger odds if you are looking to back an underdog.
Spread betting could not be any simpler. The bookmaker will give the favourite a fictional handicap and the underdog a fictional head start. So, for example, if New England were favourites for a game against Buffalo, the bookies could give the Patriots a -6.5 handicap with the Bills +6.5. At the end of the game, depending on which bet you placed, you would either knock 6.5 points off New England’s total or add 6.5 to Buffalo’s total. If your team still wins the game after this adjustment, your bet would be a winner.
For example, if you backed the Patriots -6.5 and they won 21-13, they would still be 14.5-13 winners once the handicap was taken off so your bet would be a winner. If they won 20-14, after the 6.5 points were removed they would be 13.5-14 losers which means your bet loses. If you backed Buffalo +6.5 and they lost 20-14, you would be a winner because the Bills would be 21.5-20 winners once you add those five points on.
The bookmakers offer Spread Betting for every single game and there will always be a variety of handicaps to choose from. Usually it is a case that the bigger the spread, the bigger the price so for those games where one side is a massive favourite, you may end up having to back them to win by a large margin in order to land a decent return.
Player Prop Betting
We all know that American sports are very stats-driven and that makes them perfect for betting on because you can always get the numbers you need before placing your bets. Is a dominant running back coming up against a defense that is terrible against the run? Is a quarterback coming up a dreadful secondary that struggles to defend against the pass?
The stats will always be there to tell you whether or not a player is going to have a big day. And that brings me to Player Prop Betting, which has become increasingly popular over the years. No longer are you restricted to betting on the outcome of an actual game, you can now bet on how individual players will perform during the game. From how many yards a quarterback will pass for to how many yards a running back will rack up on the ground. From how many yards a receiver will notch to how many all-purpose yards that durable back will record, you will have plenty of options for every single game.
For example, when the Minnesota Vikings play the Detroit Lions the bookmakers will offer you the chance to predict how many yards running back Adrian Peterson will rush for. Usually this will be done in an Over/Under format with the bookie setting a benchmark, ie. it could be plus or minus 84.5 yards. So if you back Peterson +84.5 yards your bet will be a winner if he runs for 85 yards or more, and if you back Peterson -84.5 yards and he runs for 84 or less, you will be a winner.
In Player Prop Betting you got an example of Over/Under Betting. Well, Over/Under betting is not just restricted to the players because you can also bet on markets like Total Points, First-Half Points, Second-Half Points etc. The bookmakers will offer you a host of options to choose from, it just depends on how many points you expect to see in a game. Are two great defenses going to be on show? If so, go for a low total. Are two incredible offenses going to keep the scoreboard staff busy? Go high.
For example, when the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints went head-to-head in 2015 it was inevitable that the two high-powered offenses would rack up the points against two of the poorest defenses in the NFL. Prior to the game the bookies may have offered odds on such points totals as 64.5, 78.5 and 89.5, with punters given the opportunity to go over or under. Between them the Saints racked up 101 points so if you had backed them for +89.5 Total Points you would have been a winner. And of course, if you had gone Under 78.5 Total Points your bet would have been a loser.
Over-Under Betting is a great way to make a profit when betting on an NFL season and you will not be short of options each and every week because these markets will be available for every game from opening weekend right through to, and including, the Super Bowl.
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