Online Sports Betting- How to Bet On Football

American football in both the NFL on the professional level and in college through the NCAA is the biggest betting sport in the US. It also offers global appeal for avid sports bettors all around the world.

Sports betting in general has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry in the US alone through land-based and online sportsbooks, offshore sportsbooks operating online such as HRWager and private bookmakers. Of all the action these sports betting venues take in, football accounts for a big chunk of the total money bet.

The two biggest ways to bet on any football game are with the use of a pointspread and a total line. Given just how big football has become, there are any number of other ways to add even more betting excitement to the action on the field.

Betting on a Football Pointspread

The pointspread in a football game is a handicapping tool that is used level the playing field between the favorite and the underdog. One popular misconception is that a pointspread is a prediction of the margin of victory between the two teams. This is because many pointspreads involve a unit of scoring in the game such as three-points (field goal) and seven points (touchdown and extra point).

The pointspread for any game is designed to even out the money bet on either side (or team). Bookies make their money on the 10 percent commission charged on losing bets, so their goal is to have the total money bet spread evenly on either team.

A typical pointspread for a NFL game is presented as follows:

Washington Redskins +7

Dallas Cowboys -7

The road team is always listed first followed by the spread. A plus (+) sign indicates the underdog and the minus (-) sign indicates the favorite. In this game, Dallas must win by more than seven points to win the bet. If Washington wins or loses by six or fewer points, it would win the bet. If Dallas wins by exactly seven points, the game is considered a PUSH (tie) with no betting action.

Most football spreads will include a ½ point to avoid the possibility of a PUSH.

Betting on a Football Total Line

The other main bet in any football game is the OVER/UNDER on the total combined score. This would include any points scored in overtime. Using the same game as above, the posted total line would look like this:

Washington Redskins   (Over) 49

Dallas Cowboys          (Under) 49

In this scenario, you are betting that the total combined score in this game goes OVER 49 points or it stays UNDER 49 points. It does not matter which team wins or loses since the two scores are simply combined.

If the total score adds up to exactly 49 points, that bet ends as a PUSH. That is why most total lines also have a ½ point added to the whole number.

Other Football Betting Options

Anyone looking to bet a football game straight-up can use the posted moneyline odds. It costs you more to bet the favorite to win with a bigger return betting the underdog to win. That line might look like:

Washington Redskins +300

Dallas Cowboys -450

You would have to risk losing $450 to win $100 betting the Cowboys. You could win $300 on a $100 bet is the Redskins won as underdogs.

Futures and props are another popular way to bet on football. An example of a NFL futures bet is which team wins that season’s Super Bowl? An example of a prop bet for games would be which team scores first?