How to Bet On Football

Where do you see yourself when you ask how to bet on football? Sports betting continues to rise in popularity and, in particular, betting on football is on the rise. It’s the most popular spectator sport in the U.S. Betting on football just doubles the excitement.

For those that don’t have the experience yet, football betting can be a challenge. In order to have some success, you first need to understand the basics. Here’s what you need to know in order to bet on football.


Traditional Bets – Betting on Football

There are a number of different betting markets when it comes to football. For the inexperienced bettor, it can be overwhelming, but there are really three standard forms of betting that are most popular with football bettors. 

These include betting on the moneyline, point spread bets, and betting on the game total. What follows is a description and example of each.

Moneyline Betting

The simplest football bet is a wager on which team will win the game. That is a moneyline bet. Moneylines, or the odds for each team to win, are expressed as a positive or negative number and reflect the implied probability of each team’s chances of winning. 

An example can help to better explain a moneyline bet. Take this example with Baltimore playing Cleveland.

Baltimore -220

Cleveland +175

In this example, Baltimore is the favorite. Betting favorites are indicated by a negative value. Cleveland, the underdog, has a positive sign in front of its number. That is typical of underdogs.

In terms of placing a bet, a bettor needs to wager $220 on Baltimore to win $100. In betting the underdog, a wager of $100 would win $175 if the Browns won.

Point Spread Betting

Another traditional method of betting on football is using the point spread. Oddsmakers adjust for the difference in teams and assign a point value to each team. The favorite, again signified by a “-” sign, must win by a certain number of points. The underdog, given a point spread with a “+” in front of it, must either lose by a certain number of points or win outright.

We can use the same game from above as an example.

Baltimore -3.5 (-110)

Cleveland +3.5 (-110)

The Ravens are favored by 3.5 points. Bettors will see many point spreads in half-point increments. This ensures that there is not a tie, or what is called a push in sports betting.

We also see a (-110) after the point spread. This is commonly known as the “juice” or the commission charged by the sportsbook for taking the bet. The -110 means that 10 percent goes to the house. A $110 wager on either team would earn $100 on a winning bet.

To win, a bet on the Ravens would require Baltimore to win by four or more points. If betting on Cleveland, a bettor needs the Browns to lose by three or fewer points or beat the Ravens outright.

Totals Betting

The other traditional bet is on the game total. Over / Under bets are favorites of sports handicappers. Bettors can place a wager on whether the final combined score of a game goes Over or Under a total number of points. Here’s an example.

Baltimore O 45 (-110)

Cleveland U 45 (-110)

This game total is set at 45. If a bettor believes the final score will add up to more than 45 points, the wager is placed on the Over. Again, the sportsbooks charge a fee – 10 percent in this case – so a $110 bet wins $100 when betting the Over and the final score is Baltimore 28, Cleveland 21. The total number of points is 49.

Moneyline bets, point spread bets, and totals bets are the most common bets on football. With some time, bettors can learn tips and strategies and improve in these areas. Once they do, they can move on to other types of football bets.


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