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Football Betting Guide for 2022

Want to learn how to bet on football? Well, good news — football betting isn’t difficult to learn. You could even win some money once you got the hang of things and learned a few strategies.

We’re going to help you out. Below, we show you how to bet on football online, including where to find the best sportsbooks, how to understand football betting odds, and the types of wagers you can make.

We recommend reading this football betting guide from start to finish, but you can use the jump links below if there is a specific topic you want to learn about.

How To Bet On Football Online

The easiest way to bet on football online is to use a top-rated football betting site. In this section of our football betting tutorial, we’ll show you how to find a sportsbook, sign up for an account, and make your first bet. Then we’ll show you how you can also make football wagers on your mobile device.

Let’s dive in!

Choosing a Football Betting Site

Choosing a football betting site

The most critical decision you’ll make when you start betting on football online is which sportsbook you’ll use. You want to set yourself up for success by choosing a safe and trustworthy betting site that has all the features you want.

Here are some of the features that will affect your football betting experience the most.

  • Betting Markets – You want a sportsbook with a wide variety of betting markets. That includes different leagues, such as the NFL and NCAAF, as well as different types of wagers (props, futures, moneylines, etc.).
  • Betting Limits – There’s no point in signing up for a site if its betting limits are less than what you want to spend. Most US betting sites accept wagers between $1 and $5,000, but other sites accept wagers of up to $20,000 or more.
  • Competitive Odds – Football is the most popular sport in the US. Bookmakers know how popular the sport is, and they often offer worse odds for football than other sports. The best football betting sites will offer competitive prices.
  • Football Bonuses – Many sportsbooks offer special promotions for football bettors, including free bets, reduced vig, and football betting contests. These promotions are beyond the traditional welcome bonuses that these sites also offer.
  • Live Football Betting – You can have even more exciting betting experiences when you choose a betting site with live in-play wagering. Live betting allows you to place bets with up-to-the-minute odds during the middle of the game.
  • Prop Bets Builder – Prop bets add variety to traditional betting experiences. Some sportsbooks have props builders that allow you to determine your own betting opportunities for specific players and statistics.
  • Early Cash Outs – Some sportsbooks allow players to cash out their bets early before the game has officially ended. These early cashouts typically offer a lower cash amount, but you can use them to prevent more significant losses.

Now that you know some of the features to look for, you should be able to tell which sites are best for football bettors. You can find a bookmaker on your own, or you can choose to join one of our recommended sportsbooks listed below. You’ll find even more suggestions later in this football betting guide, too.

You can also find more football betting site recommendations elsewhere on our website.

How To Sign Up and Make Your First Deposit

Once you’ve figured out which sportsbook you want to use to bet on football for real money, you’ll need to create your account. We’ll walk you through this process step-by-step, using BetUS as an example.

Check out our in-depth BetUS review for more information.

The first step is to click the link above, which will take you to the BetUS website. You’ll want to find and click on the JOIN button, which is located at the top right corner of the screen. You’ll need to enter some demographic information on the following page.

  • First and Last Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Mobile Number
  • Zip Code
  • Email
  • Password

BetUS also allows you to set up your communication preferences and include referral details on this screen. Once you have entered that information, click the create account button.

Sign-up form at BetUS

After your account has been created, you can log in. Most online sportsbooks, including BetUS, will automatically redirect you to the cashier. If you don’t get automatically redirected, you can click the Quick Deposit button.

Before you can make your first deposit, you need to decide which banking method you want to use. Most US betting sites allow deposits with cryptocurrency, credit cards, or bank transfers.

We recommend using cryptocurrency because it’s the fastest option and the most likely to get approved. Many sites also offer additional bonuses for cryptocurrency deposits.

BetUS cashier

Once you’ve chosen a banking method, you can click on it to continue the deposit process. Your first step will be to enter the amount you want to deposit. Also, if you want to collect a betting bonus, you’ll need to enter the promo code at this stage. After that, you can continue following the on-screen instructions to enter your financial information.

Where to enter a bonus code on BetUS.

After your deposit has been finalized, your bonus funds should automatically appear in your account. You are ready to start real money football betting.

Placing Your First Bets

To wrap our tutorial on football betting online, we want to walk you through how to place your first bet. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process.

Start by clicking the sportsbook button on the top of the home page. The main sportsbook page typically features sporting events in chronological order. So, you can see football betting options right away if there is a game coming up in a few minutes.

If you’re placing your bets ahead of time, you can navigate to the real money football betting options from the menu on the left side of the screen. American football is typically listed at the top because it’s so popular.

Football betting at BetUS.

When you click on the football button, you’ll see a list of leagues to bet on. NFL is typically listed at the top, followed by NCAAF and special events for these leagues. Click on a specific league to see the upcoming games that you can bet on. They’re listed in chronological order. You can also search for a specific team if that is easier.

There are four wagers that are always listed on the main screen. They are the point spread, moneyline, total, and team total. If you want to bet on any of those wagers, you can click on it to add it to the bet slip with a single click. Once a wager is added to the bet slip, you need to type in the amount of money you want to bet.

How to add a wager to the bet slip at BetUS.

You can also click the show props button to view more betting options for that game. Common props include which team will score first, total touchdowns in the game, and winning margins.

Click on any wagers that you want to participate in. Once they have been added to the bet slip, you can create parlays, teasers, and if bets. The sportsbook will notify you if particular wagers can’t be parlayed together.

Finalize your bets by checking the risk/win amount for each bet. Then press the “Place My Bets” button. That’s all there is to it! Now that you know the basics of how to bet on football, you can explore additional features, like live betting and props builders.

The most important football betting advice we can offer is to research the teams and players you want to bet on. Our football picks can help you figure out the safest football bets based on recent stats and other information that will affect players’ performance.

Betting on Football from a Mobile Device

You don’t have to wait until you are in front of a computer to place your football bets. All the top football betting sites have a mobile site or betting app that allows you to bet on the go.

These mobile betting sites have the same functions as desktop sites. So, you can create your account, make deposits, claim bonuses, manage your bet slip, and even enjoy live betting from your phone.

The only difference is that the mobile site is optimized to fit your device’s smaller screen. As a result, they may have additional navigation menus, or the information will just appear smaller.

Check out our recommendations for the best football betting apps for more information on how to bet football on mobile devices.

Which Football Leagues Can You Bet On?

Football leagues and events

Most people who bet on American football for real money exclusively bet on the NFL. Of course, the NFL is the largest football league, so it gets the most attention. You might be surprised to know that there are several other football leagues you can bet on.

Here are a few different options you might want to consider.

  • College football is almost as popular as the NFL. It’s also an excellent choice for bettors because there are many more teams in the NCAA, which means more options to bet on. Here are the best college football betting sites.
  • The Alliance of American Football is a secondary professional league that hosts games between the NFL season. AAF games are not as prominent as the NFL, mainly because it has only been around since 2019. They still offer exciting betting opportunities, though – but only if you know where to bet on the AAF online.
  • American football is not limited to the USA. The Canadian Football League is another exciting professional league you might want to bet on.
  • The XFL, or Xtreme Football League, is another secondary football league that competes when the NFL is in its off-season. It’s similar, but there are a few rule changes that should affect how you change your betting strategies. Our XFL betting sites page will get you up to speed.

Betting on other football leagues is a good way to practice handicapping and enjoy betting without the influence of mainstream hype. You can usually find better odds on these leagues as well.

When choosing which betting site you want to use, it’s essential to consider which leagues they offer wagers on. The more leagues they have available, the more betting opportunities you have.

Almost every betting site has options for betting on the NFL and the Superbowl, but you still want to be picky about where you bet online for real money. Fortunately for you, we also have a list of recommended Super Bowl betting sites on our website.

Types of Football Bets

Types of football bets

You might be wondering what you need to know about football betting. Well, one of the first things beginners ought to learn are the types of bets that sportsbooks offer. These are the types of football bets you should learn first.

  • Moneyline – A moneyline wager is a straightforward bet on which team you think will win the game.
  • Point Spread – When you bet on a point spread, you bet on which team you think will cover the spread. If you bet on the favorite, the team needs to win by more than the spread, while the underdog needs to win or lose by less than the spread.
  • Totals – Totals bets or over/unders allow you to bet on whether the total points scored during the game will be higher or lower than the number set by the bookmaker.
  • Props – Proposition bets are wagers on different aspects of a football game besides the final score. There are dozens of props bets available, including which team will score first, the number of field goals scored in the game, or how long the longest and shortest touchdowns will be.
  • Futures – Futures bets are wagers on events that will happen in the future. For example, you can bet on which teams will make it to the Superbowl or which players will be included in the Pro Bowl.

These four types of wagers cover the basics that are available for any football game. As long as you understand these options, you have a solid understanding of what to know about football betting.

Multiples Bets on Football

All the wagers we’ve covered so far have been single wagers that you place independently. Another option is to place multiple bets together. There are several different ways to combine bets.

Parlays are not a specific type of wager. Instead, they are a way of combining multiple wagers into one bet. For example, you can bet on the point spread for multiple games or bet on the point spread, totals, and props for a single game. Parlays are all or nothing, so you have to win all of the bets included to win.
Teasers and Pleasers
These bets are particularly popular for football betting in the USA. Teasers and pleasers are specific types of parlays where all of the incorporated bets have to be point spread or totals, and the odds get modified. Teasers move the odds in the bettor’s favor, so the payouts are smaller. Pleasers change the odds, so they are against the bettor, but they offer significantly larger payouts if you get it right.
If Bets
An if bet is another type of parlay where you bet on several events in a specific order. For example, you can bet that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win their game, followed by a win from the Green Bay Packers, and finally, the Oakland Raiders will win. You have to win the first bet for the subsequent bets to be active, and you choose the order.
Reverse Bets
Reverse bets are a different kind of if bet. Essentially, you place the same bets as you would in an if bet, but this option covers every possible order. Using the example above, a reverse bet would include Green Bay-Tampa-Oakland, Green Bay-Oakland-Tampa, Oakland-Green Bay-Tampa, and so on. You place several bets, which requires a higher initial stake, but the potential return is much higher.

Multiples bets are not listed on the betting page. Instead, you add individual wagers to your bet slip and then create parlays or teasers by combining the wagers in your bet slip. It’s very exciting to bet on multiples because the potential payouts are higher than if you placed each bet individually.

However, there is a lot more risk involved.

What Are The Safest Football Bets for Beginners?

If you want to know how to bet on football and win, we recommend starting with the basics. Focus on the simple point spread bets or totals to start with. Another option is moneyline bets. Moneylines are relatively easy to win, but they don’t offer as high of payouts as other betting options.

Once you have experience with those bets, then you can add some props bets or experiment with parlays. But it’s crucial to master the basics first!

Beginner Guide to Football Betting Odds

The next part of our guide to football betting for beginners is all about understanding betting odds. This information can be confusing at first, but it’s crucial to take the time to understand it because the betting odds affect your payout.

Favorites vs. Underdogs

Betting odds show how much you’ll win or how much you need to risk depending on which team you bet on. The team that is most likely to win is the favorite, and the team that is less likely to win is the underdog.

If you bet on the favorite, the odds will show you how much you need to bet (the risk amount) to win $100. Favored odds are shown with a minus sign in front of the number. The return will also include the amount you staked. Keep in mind that the vig or juice, the bookmaker’s fee, is built into the odds, too.

Here are a few examples so that you can see how the odds for football betting works.

Team Odds Risk Amount Needed to Win $100 Return on $100 bet Risk Amount Needed to Win $10 Return on $10 bet
Indianapolis Colts -470 $470 $21.28 $47 $2.13
New England Patriots -135 $135 $74.07 $13.50 $7.41
Buffalo Bills -650 $650 $15.38 $65 $1.54
When you bet on the underdog, the odds show how much you need to risk to win $100. This is easier to understand compared to betting on favorites.
Team Odds Risk Amount Needed to Win $100 Return on $100 bet Risk Amount Needed to Win $10 Return on $10 bet
Cleveland Browns +115 $86.96 $115 $8.70 $11.50
Atlanta Falcons +330 $30.30 $330 $3.03 $33
New York Jets +475 $21.05 $475 $2.10 $47.50

American odds are always based on $100, but you don’t have to bet that much. You can also change the way the odds are displayed at most online sportsbooks. Once you add the wager to your bet slip, you can change the bet amount or win amount, and it’ll automatically fill in the other number for you.

We recommend adding some football bets and fake wagers to a betting slip and then tweaking those wagers to see how the payouts change. This can help you understand how football betting odds work much faster.

How to Bet on Football and Win

Football betting strategy tips

Maybe you already have the basics of football betting down, but you’re here to get some football betting help that will take your betting strategy to the next level. In this portion of our football betting guide, we’re going to give you some tips and strategies to help you bet on football online and win.

Football Betting Strategy for Beginners

If you’re new to football betting, there are a few basic strategies that you need to master first. The most important thing to remember when you are starting out is to keep it simple!

When you bet on football, you need to be familiar with football. Watch the games, read previews and reports, listen to commentary, and pay attention to players that get injured. All those activities will help you get more information about the teams. Then, you can use that information to form your own opinions about which teams you think will perform better in various situations.

Once you have gathered that information, you can start to use it to make predictions. Analyzing different pieces of information will help you look for trends and understand which factors will affect the game’s outcome.

The more information you have, the better! Don’t try to guess what will happen blindly. That just makes it easier for the sportsbook to take your money.

You also need to understand fundamental sports betting strategies, including the importance of sticking to your budget and how to compare odds from different sportsbooks. Here are some resources that will help beginner sports bettors master the basics and explore additional strategies.

Handicap Betting

Handicapping is the key to winning more football wagers, but there is a lot to understand about it. First of all, you need to understand that the purpose of football handicapping is to make accurate assessments of the likelihood of specific outcomes. That means you need to analyze the likelihood of the event, as well as the value you could win from betting on that event.

For example, if one team is heavily favored over another, it’s easy to predict which team will win. However, the bookmakers’ odds will reflect that. Therefore, it might not be worth it to bet on that team if the odds don’t offer a worthwhile payout.

Football handicapping is all about figuring out the implied probability and whether or not it offers value for bettors.

Handicapping is important, but goes beyond what we can cover in this football betting guide. So, check out these pages for more information on betting for value, what football handicapping is, and some handicapping strategies that will help you bet football successfully.

Tips for Specific Types of Football Wagers

Football betting strategy

Another critical aspect of learning to bet on football is learning how to adjust your strategies based on the types of wagers you want to make. For example, betting on which team will win is entirely different than betting on the overall score of the game. Similarly, betting a week before the event is different than placing a bet at halftime.

You need to adjust your thought process to reflect the type of bet you are making. Here are some specific tips and resources for different types of football betting.

  • Football Point Spreads – Did you know that more than 40% of NFL games have a winning margin of less than 14 points? Knowing that information can help you find spread bets worth making and avoid bets that are impossible to beat.
  • Football Totals – Many gamblers tend to bet the over because they want a more exciting game. However, that is not always the best strategy. The best way to bet on totals is to predict what you think the score will be based on the teams’ offensive and defensive plays.
  • Live Betting Strategies – If you plan on making your wagers while the game is happening, you need to know some information ahead of time. For example, what kinds of plays will a coach run if his team takes a big lead early on in the game?
  • Parlays – When you make parlay bets, you have to win all your bets. That means you need to be intentional about which bets you combine and the kinds of parlays you make.

Those are just a few examples. No matter what kind of bets you want to make, you need to make sure your strategy aligns with the bet you are making, and that the bets offer enough value at the odds available.

Common Mistakes in Football Betting

Sometimes, the most important football betting help we can offer is about what you shouldn’t do. Here are a few common mistakes that amateur bettors typically make.

  • Don’t choose your wagers based on your favorite teams. There are plenty of positive ways to show your team spirit. Losing money on emotional bets is not one of them.
  • You don’t have to place a wager on every game, and you certainly don’t have to make the same wagers every time. So don’t bet just for the sake of it.
  • Losing your bets is never fun, but don’t get caught up in the trap of chasing your losses. Everyone loses sometimes, especially when they are starting out. By the same token, don’t get greedy when you start to win.
  • There is a lot of hype in football. Bookmakers often take public opinion into account when they set the odds. You need to take information with a grain of salt.
  • Many gamblers forget about significant factors that will affect the outcome of the game. Things like injured players, home-field advantage, and even weather can impact your betting decisions.

The best way to avoid these common mistakes is to think about which teams you want to bet on and why before you start betting. Make sure you think about different factors that will affect the game’s outcome.

Another option is to check out our football betting blog. Our expert handicappers explain why we think one particular bet or another offers good value. They should help you make more profitable bets beyond the advice we offer in this football betting guide.

More Football Betting Advice

We have just begun to scratch the surface of strategies for football betting. The strategies we have explained so far are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t stop there.

Once you have mastered those strategies, you will be ready to move on to more advanced betting techniques. Our football strategy guide is full of additional resources that will help you take your bets to the next level.

Football Betting Glossary

We have covered a lot of information in this football betting tutorial. However, some of that information won’t make any sense if you don’t know the meaning of certain words or phrases. Here are some common football betting terms you should be familiar with.

  • Against the SpreadBetting against the spread means that you are betting on the point spread instead of betting on a moneyline or other wager.
  • Chalk TeamThis phrase is another way of referring to the team that is favored to win.
  • Cover the SpreadWhen you win a point spread bet, it is known as covering the spread.
  • DimeA dime in football betting is a $1,000 wager. It is 10x the amount that the American odds are based on.
  • DogSome bettors shorten the phrase underdog to dog when referring to the team that is less likely to win.
  • Future WagersBetting on futures is betting on long-term events, such as various championship events or the MVP of the season.
  • HedgeWhen you hedge your bets in football betting, you are betting on the favorite team even though you will only receive a small payout. You can read a guide that explains hedging in sports betting in more detail on our website.
  • JuiceThe juice is the fee that bookmakers charge for their services. It is built into the betting odds. For example, if the odds are -110, you need to bet $110 to win $100. That extra $10 is the juice.
  • No ActionIf a bet has no action, it has been canceled. There are several reasons that a bet may have no action, such as the game getting canceled. Another example is bets based on specific players, such as the number of passing yards Tom Brady will have. That bet can’t have action if Tom Brady doesn’t play.
  • Advantage PlayerA single wager that covers multiple selections. All selections must win for the bet to be successful. Also known as a parlay.
  • ParlayA parlay bet is a multiples bet where two or more wagers are combined.
  • PleaserPleasers are a specific type of parlay where the odds have been modified against the bettor. They are more challenging to win, but they offer a higher payout. Pleasers are the opposite of teasers.
  • PushIf your wager ends in a tie, it is said to push. You would get your initial wager back, but you won’t win any additional payouts.
  • Rotation NumberThe rotation number is the number that ticket writers use to refer to various teams to eliminate confusion. You’ll see the rotation number listed at the beginning of the odds for each event.
  • TeaserA teaser is a type of parlay where the odds have been adjusted to make it easier to win. Teasers offer lower payouts than traditional parlays. They are the opposite of pleasers.
  • The HookWhen you bet on point spreads or totals, the odds include a half-point to prevent pushes. If you win or lose because of that half-point, you win or lose by the hook.
  • Vig or VigorishThis term is another name for the juice or the commission that bookmakers take for their services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Football Betting

Can I win real money betting on football online?
AYes! As long as you risk real money and you use a reputable betting site, you can win money in return.
When can you bet on football?
AOnline sportsbooks begin accepting bets one to two weeks before the game for most regular season and playoff games. You can also bet on football futures for events like the Superbowl months in advance.
What is the best way to bet on football?
APoint spread betting is particularly popular for football bettors because the point spread equalizes the teams. Totals bets are also an excellent choice for beginner bettors.
How can I win big on a football bet?
AThe amount you can win for each bet is based on the odds for that wager. If you want to increase the amount you can win, you can try combining bets in parlays, pleasers, or if bets. Remember that higher payouts also come with increased risks.
Is betting football profitable?
AIt is possible to earn a profit while betting on football. In fact, many professional bettors make their livelihoods that way. But remember that even professionals lose sometimes. To make a profit by betting on football, you need to choose your bets carefully and use handicapping strategies to your advantage.
What is the best football betting strategy?
AIf you want to bet on football and win, you need to combine several strategies to work in your favor. The most important football betting strategy to start with is to use information and statistics about the teams and players to guide your bets instead of just betting on the team you like the best.
How do I win my American football bet every time?

Unfortunately, you’re not going to win every football bet you make. No one does. You can even bet on the favorite every single time, and you’ll still lose a good percentage of the time (because upsets happen!).

The good news is that you don’t have to win every single football wager to be a winning bettor. Most successful bettors have a win-rate of somewhere around 55%, which means you have a large margin for error.

What does the + and – mean in football betting?

The plus and minus tells you who the underdog and favorite are. The odds for the underdog will have a “+” in front of it, and the odds for the favorite will have a “-” in front of it.

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