Betting on football is a great way to enhance your fan experience as well as potentially pad your wallet nicely if you know what you’re doing. If you’re new to the world of sports betting or betting on football, you may not be aware of all the different options you have when it comes to what you can bet on.
No, we are not talking about all of the different games you have to choose from. We are talking about all of the different types of football bets that you have at your disposal. There are seven main types of bets that you can make, and only a few of them have to deal with who the winner of the game is.
In this guide, we’re going to introduce you to all seven of the most popular types of football bets. These are bets that you’re going to see in NFL football, college football, and Canadian football. You’ll actually see them in any form of American football, but these are the three most popular that most of you are probably here for today. We’ll give you an introduction to each bet type and either explain here how they work and how to beat them or we will direct you to a dedicated guide that will break every little detail down.
This information is important to know because having options is huge in sports betting. If all you know how to do is bet on game winners, you’ll never be able to take advantage of most of your predictions and you’ll probably find yourself trying to force bets where they don’t fit just to get action in. As you may very well guess, this is not a winning strategy. We’ve included some helpful tips at the end of the guide to help ensure that utilize these different types of football bets properly and to maximum efficiency.
The most popular of football bets by far is the moneyline wager. This is a bet where you pick who you think is going to win the game and that is it. If you’re right, you win your bet. If you’re wrong and the other team wins, you lose your bet. It does not matter by how many points they win, how ugly the victory is, or anything else. All that matters for a moneyline bet is who has the checkmark in the win column next to their name at the end of the game.
The only thing that can sometimes throw people off when it comes to moneyline bets is how they pay out. It is impossible for the sportsbook to pay out all moneyline bets the exact same. If this were what they chose to do, everyone would bet the favorites in every game, and no one would bet the underdogs. As you can imagine, the sportsbook would be out of money in no time.
So, what they do instead is pay out more money for a correct moneyline bet on the underdog and less money for a correct moneyline bet on the favorite. The difference in how much more or how much less they pay depends on how big of a favorite or an underdog the team is and how the betting public is choosing to bet. The goal of the sportsbook is to get equal action on both sides of the game so that they can turn a profit no matter who ends up winning.
If you’d like to learn more about moneyline bets, how they pay out, and how to beat them, click below to check out our full moneyline betting guide that has all of the details you’re looking for.
The runner-up for most popular football bet is the spread bet. A spread bet in football is a wager that either spots points to a team or “starts them from behind” to try and even the playing field for both teams. It basically sets an expectation for exactly how each team is going to perform. The spread line will tell you how many points each team is expected to win or lose by. The team that exceeds their expectations will be the winning side of the spread bet and the team that does not will be the losing side.
This allows you to bet on teams that you think are going to lose the game but will exceed their expectations. It also allows you to bet on favorites and get a much better payout than you would with a moneyline bet when you think they are going to outperform their expectations.
For example, if the spread on a game is set at +-6, you’ll see that one team is -6 and one team is +6. The team that is -6 is the favorite and in this case is expected to win the game by 6 points. If they win the game by more than 6 points, they have exceeded their expectations. If they win the game by exactly 6 points, they have met their expectations, but not exceeded them which would result in a tie and you getting your money back. If they lost the game or won by 5 or fewer points, they would not have exceeded their expectations which means a spread bet on that team would lose. Yes, the team can win the game, but you still lose your bet. This is a spread bet, not a moneyline bet.
The team that is +6 is the underdog and is expected to lose the game by 6 points. If they lose the game by more than 6 points, they underperformed their expectations and a spread bet on them would be a loser. If they lose the game by exactly 6 points, they would have met their expectations but not exceeded them which would result in a push (tie) and you getting your bet returned to you. If they either win the game or lose by 5 or fewer points, you would win your bet because that is exceeding what they were supposed to do. Yes, the team can lose the game, and you still win your spread bet.
To learn more about spread bets including what half points mean, how these bets pay out, and how to beat them, check out our dedicated spread bets guide below for all of that information and more.
The bronze medal winner for bet popularity for football bets is the totals bet. Sometimes known as an over-under, this is a bet on whether something (usually the cumulative final score) will be over or under a particular number. As we mentioned, the most popular totals bet is on the cumulative total score. The sportsbook will set a line, and you will get to choose if you think more or fewer total points will be scored in the game cumulatively by both teams.
For example, if the totals line is set at 48.5, you can choose to bet that there will be fewer or more than 48.5 total points scored in the game. It does not matter which team scores the points or who wins the game. As long as when you add up the scores of both teams the number is over or under 48.5 (whichever side you bet on), you’ll win your bet.
Usually, football totals bets pay out the same amount of money whether you take the over or the under. The sportsbook adjusts the totals line when they need to encourage or discourage action on a side of the wager. But, there are a few instances where you’re going to see slightly different payouts on totals bets.
To explain these varying payouts as well as everything else you need to know about totals bets, we’ve put together a full guide below for you.
The “fancy” bets of the football betting world are the parlays, teasers, and pleasers. If you’re brand new to sports betting, we recommend that you steer clear of these bets initially because they can be a little confusing and at times can cause you to make mistakes if your fundamentals are not sound. Don’t worry, you are not missing out on any better odds or better chances of winning. They are merely a different type of bet that requires the same skills to beat. There are no special odds that make them any better just because they are more confusing.
Now that we’ve made that clear let’s talk about what each of these three bets actually is. A parlay is a bet where you combine several individual bets to make one big bet. In order to win your parlay, you need to win each of the individual bets. For example, let’s say that you had a strong pick in the Sunday Night Football Game, the Monday Night Football Game, and the Thursday Night Football Game. You could bet all three of these games individually if you wanted to.
But, you could also turn them into a parlay. If you parlayed all three of these games, you’d win a lot more money for the same sized bet if you correctly picked all three games. But, if you picked one game incorrectly, your entire parlay would be dead.
How much more money? Well, it continues to go up the more and more games that you add to your parlay. A 3-team (3 bets) parlay pays out at 6 to 1. So, if you put $10 on those three games as a parlay and won all three, you’d win $60 in profit instead of about $27 if you bet the spread individually on each and won. But, here’s the catch again. If you lose one game on the parlay, you win $0. If you lost one of the three games betting them individually, you’d still profit about $8.
Teasers are a lot like parlays except that every spread is shifted in your favor by a selected number of points, usually 6, 6.5, or 7 in football. The same rules of parlays apply where you still need to win every single bet to collect. But, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to win all of your bets because you’re getting spotted an additional 6-7 points on every single bet. Because this is going to be a lot easier for you to win, you will win more often, but you won’t get paid as much.
Pleasers are the exact opposite of teasers. Instead of the point spreads moving in your favor, they move against you either 6, 6.5, or 7 points. So now, all of your bets need to cover by an additional 6-7 points in order for you to win. As this is more challenging, you’re going to get paid a lot more money when you hit one of these correctly. The same rules of parlays also apply to pleasers just like they did with the teasers. You have to win every one of your individual bets for your ticket to pay off. If you lose just one game, you lose the entire ticket no matter how many games you got right.
These are very brief introductions to these three types of bets. In order to make any of these wagers, we highly recommend that you do a little more in-depth reading to learn all the ins and outs that you need to know. To help you with that, we have a very thorough guide linked below that breaks all three of these bet types down step by step. We’ll talk about how they work, how they pay, and how to beat them. Did you know that unless you’re betting a certain set of odds the sportsbook is taking extra money off the top from you? That’s our little teaser to point out who important this guide is for you to read.
One of the most wide-reaching and inclusive types of football bets are proposition bets. Pretty much every bet that does not fall into the above categories (and some that do) are prop (short for proposition) bets. A proposition bet is a wager where something is proposed to either happen or not, and you bet on whether it will happen or not. Odds are placed on the likelihood of each prop happening, and you’re rewarded if you’re right.
Here are some examples of football prop bets.
These are only a few of the many prop bets that you’re going to see on a lot of football games every week during the season. In reality, there are probably hundreds if not thousands of different types of football prop bets that you can get action on. It all depends on what the sportsbook you’re betting with decides to offer action on. Some sportsbooks love to offer action on props while some stick to the more conventional bets.
We can say that you will get more prop action by betting online, so if that is something that you are interested in, make sure you look online for your action. Also, you’re going to get more prop bets everywhere based on how high profile the game you are betting is. A preseason football game between two awful teams might not have a lot of prop bets offered. But, the Super Bowl is famous for having the most and the most insane prop bets available.
If you’d like to learn more about prop bets, make sure you check out our prop betting guide linked below. We’ll talk about which prop bets you should bet and which you should stay away from. We’ll also talk about the things you need to know to give yourself the best chance to make money as a prop bettor.
Before you head out to make your bets, we have three quick tips that we want to make sure that we cover with you to ensure that you’re interpreting this information correctly and maximizing your potential to make the most money betting on football. As for actual strategy on how to make these bets and pick winners, we recommend you check out our main football betting strategy section where we have tons of information and resources to help you down that road. Before you go, though, please read through these three quick tips.
Consider all of these different types of football bets to be tools. Does a mechanic use every single one of their tools on a job? Does a baker use every single pot and pan when they’re baking something? The answer to both questions is no. They only use what they need to get the job done depending on the specifics of the job.
This is how you should treat your football betting with these different types of bets. Each game is going to be like a different job where you’re going to have to decide which tools are best fit to get the job done and make you money. If that means that you never bet anything but moneyline bets, that’s completely okay. If you always bet spread bets and then once in a blue moon bet a parlay, that’s okay too. If you use all of these bets every single week and have a very diverse betting strategy, also fine.
It just comes down to you utilizing the types of bets that best fit the particular situation at hand. Our next tip will help you to figure that out easily.
A lot of football bettors of all skill levels approach betting completely wrong. What they do is pick out a type of bet they would like to make on a game and then begin researching the game to try and find the right side of that bet to be on. The problem with this is that it creates opportunities to force bets and it can blind you to better value opportunities that might exist with a different type of bet.
The way to remedy this is instead of choosing a type of bet and then doing your research and predictions, predict how you think they game is going to go first and then look through that to see what types of bets are the best fit. If you work to come up with a detailed storyline of how you think the game is going to go with what you think is going to happen every quarter, who is going to be scoring, and how many points are going to be score, you’re going to have a very good prediction of what you think is going to happen.
Once you do this, then you can look back and decide which bets you think might be a good fit. Found a few games that you think the spreads are way off? Maybe this is a great opportunity to bet a pleaser and make a lot of money? If you had approached those games looking for moneyline bets, you might miss the fact that the spreads are way off. This method will also help you to pick up on a lot of different prop bets that may be tucked away with value that you would never even have imagined to look at.
Start with a full game prediction in as much detail as possible and then look at the types of bets that you think might be a good fit. Look at what lines are being offered and then make your bets (or don’t) accordingly.
The last tip that we want to give you before we send you out the door is a general warning. Do not bet any football bets that you do not completely understand. If you don’t know exactly what has to happen for you to win your bet, how that bet pays out, and any nuances that might show up, you are not prepared properly to make that wager. If you go forward with the wager, you’re now just gambling and can’t rationally expect to make any money betting on football in the long term.
Take the time to fully understand a bet before you make it. We’ve provided all of the information and resources you need above. Just take the time to review it for as long as you need until you 100% grasp what you’re getting into. Be smart and disciplined about your football betting, and you’ll set yourself up to reap the financial rewards!