The Only Guide Beginners Need to Learn How to Bet on NFL Games

Looking for a complete guide on how to bet on NFL games? The OddsIndex NFL Betting Guide brings you the perfect no-nonsense guide with an in-depth look into the sport, strategy, and available sportsbooks.

American Football is one of the biggest sports in the world, with an international appeal. It seems impossible to avoid the hype, and nothing beats watching the game with other like-minded fans. But what about betting on the NFL games? 

Betting on NFL games can make even the most boring of contests feel like the Superbowl final. But not all Americans know how to do it.

We’ve made this comprehensive guide for fans of all levels to help you understand how to bet on NFL games. We’ll cover the football basics and the keys to any good football betting strategy. After this, you’ll be devising bets with more tactical astuteness than Tom Brady presiding over a match-winning play.

Betting on the NFL has never been easier, with it set to get bigger and better with each season. Understanding how to bet on football is the first step towards mastering football betting online. 


  • How to Bet on NFL Games
  • The Best Sportsbooks for NFL 
  • How to Read NFL Odds 
  • How to Compare NFL Odds
  • How to Claim NFL Bonuses
  • NFL Betting Strategy
  • Useful NFL Betting Resources
  • NFL Schedule

How to Bet on NFL Games

A whopping 52 percent of adults in the country watch the sport, and it’s more than twice as popular as its nearest competitor, baseball. The industry is huge, and the NFL alone rakes in more than $12.2 billion annually. Yes, you read that correctly – the money here is out of this world. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the football betting industry in the US is huge.

With so many people turning to NFL betting, let's take you through some of the options you have when placing bets, so you know how to bet on NFL games. There are so many ways to stake the games, and different betting sites will also have diverse options: 

NFL Moneyline Betting

Moneyline bets are quite basic as you just back a winner for the match, although bear in mind that the teams with negative odds are the favorites, and you’ll cash in more if you back an underdog (everyone loves an underdog...).

It’s important to remember that whilst the underdog will have better odds and lead to larger winnings, they’re placed as the underdog for a reason. It’s worth being up to date with the latest trends and stats so you can be confident going into your bets. 

In the Bills and the Jets game, the Bills are the favorite, with odds of -650. The ‘-’ allows bettors to spot this clearly, and you can highlight the underdog with the ‘+’.

NFL Spread Betting

Spread betting is a way to even up the odds, as the NFL has several franchises that dominate the sport and usually come up trumps against the minnows. 

So the favorite is listed with a projected winning margin, and if you stake on them and they win by more than this, you cash in your bet.

As an example, the Bills are listed as 4.5-point favorites as indicated by “-4.5” on the betting line. This means Buffalo must win the game by five or more points for a wager on the team to be considered a winner.

Conversely, the Cowboys are listed as 4.5-point underdogs, as indicated by “+4.5” on the line, and will reward loyal sports bettors with a win if they can produce any result other than losing by more than four points.

NFL Over/Under Betting

Over/under bets allow you to decide whether a game will finish over or under a certain value, which is determined by the bookmaker, although you can also bet on other areas using the same system. For example, you could predict that the two teams will score over ten touchdowns between them.

You’ll have the choice between the over or the under, these are represented by the letter “o” or “u”. If you think less than 47 points will be scored for the Bills and the Jets, you’d be backing the u47.5. 

NFL Prop Betting

Prop bets are on individual factors/players and the numbers they post in a match so that you can make predictions based on statistical evidence from previous games. 

For example, you could stake on a certain number of touchdowns, a quarterback’s passing yards, or bet on a certain running back to score.

NFL Parlay Betting

Parlays are bets that combine multiple outcomes. For example, you could bet on the result of three NFL games taking place on the same night. You can bet on each game individually or you can roll them up into one and make a parlay. If you make a parlay, each pick has to be correct. If just one pick is incorrect, the whole bet loses.

The benefit to making parlays is that the odds are a lot longer, so you can win more cash.

NFL Futures Betting

You don’t have to stake on every single game if you don’t want to. Instead, you could place a few outright bets (also known as specials) at the start of the season such as who will be the Super Bowl finalists, or you could speculate on who will be the NFL’s MVP for the campaign.

NFL Teasers Betting

Teasers add an intriguing layer of complexity to parlays by enabling you to adjust the point spread on each leg of the bet, with the cost of this flexibility coming in the form of a reduced payout. 

Teaser bets can include as few as two legs and as many as 15 legs. But like with parlays, each leg of your teaser must win or push for the bet to be determined a winner.

Take the Buffalo Bills, who are pegged as 5.5-point favorites against the Cowboys, and Buffalo and Dallas each sport -110 odds of covering (i.e., beating) the spread, meaning you must bet $110 to win $100. The Eagles are 3.5-point favorites versus New York.

Combining two of these picks (e.g., The Bills to cover the -5.5 spread and the Giants to cover the +3.5 spread, both individually priced at -110) in a parlay gives you an odds boost up to approximately +265 (because the chances of both happening are less than any one individual bet), which means a $100 bet will win $265 if both your picks win. You can also combine your picks for this game into a teaser, where you can adjust the line in your favor but with a lower payout.

In teaser bets, you can adjust the point spread by a fixed amount of points in your favor, usually 6, 6½, or 7 points.

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The Best Sportsbooks for NFL Betting

Below are all the latest football betting sites, allowing you to grab some fantastic bonuses from the best-licensed sportsbooks in the United States.

You can quickly check what sportsbooks are available in your state, ensuring you can get involved in the NFL betting action.

And don't forget, you're not just limited to opening one account - you can sign-up for any of the sportsbooks available in your state and claim the bonuses on offer. 

With so many football betting sites to choose from, it's a perfect time to join as many sportsbooks as you like, allowing you to increase your bankroll easily and access varied betting odds and markets.

How to Read NFL Odds 

Something else you need to consider when you’re learning how to bet on football is the odds. Otherwise known as betting lines, the odds tell you how likely a team or individual is to complete a certain task. These lines are expressed as positive or negative numbers.

For example, the Buccaneers might be listed as -400 favorites against the Steelers. The figure -400 basically means that you need to put $400 on to win $100. Of course, you don’t have to stake $400, it can be any amount you like.

You can bet $100 and win $25 or stake $25 and win $6.25. However, US betting odds tell you how much you need to bet to win $100. So, in this example, -400 means that you need to be $400 to make a $100 profit. That’s why it’s best to explain football odds in this way.

Favorites vs. Underdogs

Everyone loves an underdog, right? This is especially the case in betting on football. If we stick with this example and say the betting line for the Steelers is +300, that means you’ll win $300 for every $100 you stake. If the odds for the Steelers were +600, you’d win $600 for every $100 you wager. This is how football betting odds are decided and, in turn, how you can determine who is the favorite.

If you need to bet more on one team than the other to win $100, then that team is the favorite. So, in the above scenario, the Buccaneers are favorites at -400 because you need to bet $400 to win $100. In contrast, you only need to bet $33.33 on the Steelers to get the same return.

A quick way to spot the favorite is to look out for the ‘-’ in front of the displayed odds. 

It’s also important to remember that the odds are just a bookmaker’s opinion. These opinions may be based on statistics, results, form, and experience. But bookmakers aren’t always right. So, as we’ll explain later in this guide on how to bet on football, you should be looking for spots where the odds don’t align with your game analysis.

How to Compare NFL Odds

Navigating your way through the NFL betting markets can be confusing and time-consuming.

Everyone wants to get the best odds for their picks. Here at OddsIndex, we have a powerful odds comparison tool that allows you to quickly and easily see the best betting odds at all the leading sportsbooks in your state.

Waste no time, as our tool provides the latest and best odds every 5 minutes, showing sportsbooks and events unique to your location. 

So why waste time checking numerous websites when our odds comparison tool does the hard work for you?

How to Claim NFL Bonuses

If you're looking to use football sportsbook promo codes to claim a new customer bonus, it's a simple process to sign-up for most sportsbooks.

Here is our step-by-step guide to joining a sportsbook.

  1. Decide what sportsbook and promotion you want to take advantage of.
  2. Navigate to the sportsbook's homepage or download their app and click on the join now/join here/registration button.
  3. Complete the registration form with your details, including your address, email, and telephone number.
  4. In some cases, you’ll need to input the relevant promo code to activate the bonus. 
  5. Next, you will need to verify your identity by providing a copy of some photographic ID, such as your driver's license.
  6. Once your account is verified, head to the promotions page, read the terms and conditions for the offer you are looking to claim, and opt-in to the promotion if necessary.
  7. Now it's time to deposit funds into your account - ensure you deposit enough to claim the bonus you are looking to use. For example, if the offer is a 100% matched deposit bonus up to $100, and you want to max this offer out, ensure you deposit $100. Also, double-check if any promo code is required when making your initial deposit.
  8. Make your qualifying bet, and your bonus should be released per its terms and conditions.

NFL Betting Strategy: Change The Way You Bet Forever

Okay, so we’re into the final third. The touchline is in sight, and you’re about to score a touchdown. To help you get down the final stretch without falling, here are some quick football betting strategy tips you can use each time you place a wager.

Back the Favorites

We can all be tempted by large payouts which promise to increase our bankroll. It’s human nature to root for the underdog. However, they’re the underdog for a reason. Across all teams, the favorite won 64.2% of the time last season. 

Specific Teams to Back

Think about how the two teams match up to one another. Teams who are great at running the ball (Bears, Ravens and Browns) will likely benefit from going against teams with poor run defense. 

Quality of Roster

Quarterbacks will be driving the offense, calling the play, and making the first forward pass. These players are typically at the top of their game, yet there are some clear QBs to avoid. We don’t like calling them out, but best to steer away from the Texans, Giants and Falcons…. 

Bet within your limits

In simple terms, don’t bet more than you can afford. Make sure your stake is a small percentage of your total bankroll.

Look for Hidden Value

We referenced odds earlier in this guide and said they’re based on a bookmaker’s analysis. That’s true, but as we know, the bookies aren’t always right. 

They could represent hidden value if you can find odds that don’t match your take on a game. For example, if the Jets are +200 but you think they’re a +100 shot, this is a smart bet because you’re getting more value, according to your take on the game. Alternatively, you may prefer an early future bet on Superbowl Odds if you're familiar with team statistics. 

Don’t Trust the Noise

Football is one of the most watched sports across the US. However, this doesn’t mean everyone is as familiar with the sport, leaving them open for exploitation. 

Football has a huge cultural presence, and with that comes some assumptions that some of the familiar teams, such as the New York Jets and New England Patriots, can dominate all games. In fact, the Patriots failed to make it further than the Playoffs last year after defeat to the Bills!

Sportsbooks may exploit this and raise the juice for some of these games, resulting in some gutting losses. 

Avoid Ambitious Payouts

As avid bettors ourselves, we’ve been there. Parlay betting is a one-way ticket to losing your bankroll. We know how exciting those large payouts can be, but ask how many times you could guess a coin toss in a row. Those are 50:50 chances, so why are your odds of picking prop picks any better? 

Do Your Research

Most people bet on instinct, but the pros use data to guide their decisions. This, of course, doesn’t always work out the way it was meant to. However, if you can compare the stats between two teams, look at recent results, scroll through the starting line-ups, and consider the weather conditions, you stand a better chance of being right.

Useful NFL Resources

As the most popular sport in the US, there is no shortage of resources available to take your betting game to the next level. Here is a list of our favorites which we often use to cite our own analysis and picks. 

NFL Schedule: What You Need to Know

A regular NFL season is 18 weeks long. However, it has dates throughout the year that need to be noted, so bettors do not miss out on opportunities. 

This includes the offseason, playoffs, and the all-important Superbowl. We’ve detailed all important dates this season to avoid any late upsets. 



August 11-14

Preseason Week 1

August 30

Cutdown day

September 8-12

Regular Season Week 1

November 1

Trade Deadline

January 7-8

Regular Season Week 18

January 14-16

Wildcard Games

January 21-22

Divisional Playoff Games

January 29

Conference Championship

February 5

Pro Bowl

February 12

Super Bowl LVII


Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

Which Players are Eligible for NFL Sportsbook Promo Codes? 

It's worth checking whether or not sports betting is legal in your location. Each state will have its own legalization of sports betting which can be tracked with our own tracker. If you're over the age of 21 and you have sportsbooks operating in your state, then you'll be eligible to sign up for an account with the above promo codes. 

How do I use the NFL Sportsbook Promo Codes? 

Before setting up any sportsbook account, check the NFL sportsbook promo codes and cash bonuses above for relevant promo codes. Otherwise, you may find that the bonus is invalid. Each operator will have a different sign-up procedure, our unique reviews look at the usability of each in more detail.  

What Mistakes Should I Avoid when using Football Betting Best Promo Codes? 

As sports bettors ourselves, we have been burned a few times. You should always look out for terms and conditions regarding bonuses and make sure you maximize the bonus value. More often than not, offers will match your initial deposit and you'll want to stretch this to suit your bankroll. The other obvious error is letting free bets or bonuses expire. Check the expiry date and make sure you use them by then!


Our full list of Football sportsbook promo codes allows fans to get in on the action and bet alongside other like-minded fans. 

If you're interested in more Football content, check out our resources and visit our odds comparison tool to compare the latest odds.