Different Betting Types in American Football

Different Betting Types in American Football

Published Date · May 15, 2024 ·Read Time · 5 mins

How does the Point Spread Work?

The most popular option for betting on football in the US is the point spread. The spread is based on how many points the oddsmakers think will decide the game. For this example, let’s say the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the New York Jets. And for this game, the spread is 7 points in favor of the Chiefs. This essentially means, in betting terms, that the Jets are starting the game with a 7 point lead. Oddsmakers set the line based on how close they believe the game will be and what the final score differential will be. In this example, the bet would look like either Kansas City Chiefs (-7) or New York Jets (+7) depending on which side of the bet you took. If you pick the Chiefs’ side, the minus 7 shows that the Chiefs have to win by more than seven points to have the wager payout. If you pick the Jet’s side, the plus 7 shows that the Jets cannot lose by 7 or more. If the score differential is exactly 7, that’s called a push (or a tie in non-betting terms) and neither you or the sportsbook wins and you get your original bet back.  

What is a Moneyline Bet in Football?

The moneyline bet is the most simple bet in terms of what you’re wagering on. The moneyline is the gambling way of saying “pick the winner of the game”. Unlike betting on the spread, the moneyline has a clear distinction between the favorite and the underdog. The favorite will have a negative odds number while the underdog will have a positive odds number. Remember betting the favorite will pay out less but is typically safer while betting the underdog is riskier but has the better payout. This is the type of bet where a lot of value can be found. 

What Does Over/Under mean in Football?

When looking at betting lines, the larger number typically with the O/U next to it stands for Over/Under. The odd makers set this number as the estimated number of points to be scored in a game. Taking the over means you believe that more points will be scored than the given number while taking under means that you think there will be fewer points scored. Many sportsbooks will have a decimal in the O/U number to prevent a push. For example, our Chiefs vs. Jets game may have an over/under of 56.5. If the total points scored is 57 or above, the over hits. 56 or below and the under would be the winner of the wager.    

What is a Prop Bet in Football?

A proposition bet (or prop bet) is a bet you can place on anything that happens during a match or broadcast, even things that don’t affect the outcome. Here are some top NFL prop bets you can find at most top-rated sportsbooks. 

Player Props: Do you think Tom Brady will throw for more than 2.5 touchdowns in the game? What about Ezekiel Elliot rushing for less than 75.5 yards? Will player props, you can wager on the top players and how they’ll perform in each game statistically. 

Team/Game Props: Similar to the player props but with more options when looking at an overall team level. Will the Bengals have more than 1.5 interceptions against the Giants? You can make that wager. Some other team props are more time-sensitive wagers such as; which team is the first to score or who will be the first team to 7 points? Other props that are included in this are wagers like will the game go into overtime or will the total score at the end of the game be an odd or even number?

Novelty Props: While typically only available during the Super Bowl, novelty props are a fun way to have a piece in just about every part of the action. Some of the main props listed in online sportsbooks are: what will the coin toss land on, what color will the Gatorade be that’s poured on the winning coach, and how long will the National Anthem be?

Football Team

Football Futures

The fun thing about futures betting is that there’s always a bet to make, even in the offseason. Futures are wagers made on events in the NFL that could happen as early as tomorrow or as late as almost a year from when the wager was made. Some of the more popular future bets are “Who will win the SUper Bowl next year?” and “Who will have the most regular season wins?”. Future bets are very popular because they often have wagers with really good payouts. The futures can be about specific division winners all the way to who will win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

NFL Parlays

Parlays are quickly becoming one of the most popular sports betting options as of late because of their large payouts. A paraly is when you make two or more wagers in the same bet. The good news is that the more picks you make, the better the payout if you win. The bad news is that all of your picks in the parlay have to hit in order to win. Let’s look at this example: you wager $100 each on New York (-150), Chicago (+170), and Los Angeles (-120). If they all win and you bet them separately, your payout would be $320. But if you put them all in a parlay, the total payout would be $725. Just remember though, if one of the games doesn’t hit, then your payout is $0. 

Live Betting

Live betting takes many of the bets above (point spread, moneyline, and over/under to name a few), and gives you the option to wager on these offers in real time. What this means is that while the football game is going on, you can make a wager like you could before the game but with odds that change with the result of every play. For example, the Falcons and the Packers start the second quarter with a score of 17-10. Before the game started, the Over/Under line was 42 points. With only a quarter of the game passed and the original Over/Under more than halfway hit, the Live Betting Over/Under is now 56. This means that the oddsmakers expect this game to continue to be high-scoring. These bets are incredibly popular as there can be a great value with the odds continually changing and it makes every play during the game incredibly important. 


Ian Dincuff

US Content Writer