Your Best Bet for NFL Betting Is

It’s the height of football season and your buddies all talk about their big wins on this game or that. They’re laying bets on their favorite teams and making a little extra. You don’t have to ask for a coaching session and admit you don’t bet (yet), too. Just read these tips and check for odds information. You can place bets there, too.

You best bet to start betting legally is online. That’s because bookmaking, or taking bets on a large-scale, remains illegal in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Many online betting operations and casinos operate from these four states. The U.S. regulates these bookmaking operations under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

NFL Odds Betting Basics
In football betting, you’ll mainly use three types of bets: the money line, handicap or points spread, and total points. When starting out betting, you’ll make a straight bet, or a single bet on a single outcome. When you get the hang of betting, you might want to try a parlay bet which means you bet on the outcomes of a number of games, but to win the bet all of your teams in the parlay must win.

Money Line
The money line bet hinges on win or lose. It uses no points spread. Rather than points, the money you can win adjusts depending on the odds. The base increment is $1. The favored team has a minus sign (-) before its odds, the underdog has a plus sign (+) before its odds. For example, if the Jets played the Dolphins and the odds looked like this:

Jets +160
Dolphins -180

you would know that the bookmakers favored the Dolphins to win. If you placed a $10 bet on the Jets (the underdog), you’d win $16 if they won. The bookmaker would return to you $26. If you wanted to bet on the Jets (the favorite) your bet of $18 would win you $10 if they won. The bookmaker would return to you $28.

Handicap/Points Spread
You’ve probably heard commentators on ESPN talking about the points spread of a game. Bookmakers, usually based in Las Vegas, NV, calculate odds, team handicaps, and a points spread for every pro football game based on complicated formulas accounting for everything from team health to how the quarterback threw in practice to how the kicker’s last date went. Since these factors change, so does the points spread. When you place a bet, your bet uses the points spread at that time. (When you place them in person, your bet ticket shows the spread at that time.)

When reading the match up data for a game, the point spread appears to the right of the favored team and the minus sign indicates the favorite. Returning to the Jets vs. Dolphins example, the data would look like this:

Jets 40
Dolphins -6.

So, if you bet the Dolphins to win, they’d need to beat the spread – winning by at least seven points – for you to win. If you bet the Jets to win, you’d win the bet:

• if the Jets win.
• if the teams tie the game.
• if the Jets lose by six points or less.

The bookmaker declares the bet a push if the Dolphins win by six points exactly, and returns to you the amount of your original bet.

Total Points or Over/Under
In a total points bet, you wager on whether the total of points scored by both teams goes over or under the bookmaker’s prediction. The points spread has no effect. You’ll see the over/under (o/u) to the right of the underdog and above the spread. Using the Jets vs. Dolphins example, the data would look like this:

Jets 40
Dolphins -6.

The over/under for this game is 40.

You’re ready to peruse the week’s odds now and start betting. You’ll find the NFL football odds at including the spreads, totals, and money lines as calcualted by Covers and six other bookmaking organizations.

Learn more about intelligent betting here >