Football is the most popular sport in the United States. Fans are drawn to the physicality and excitement football generates. Betting on football is a vital part of the sports betting industry. Understanding basic football betting concepts will greatly benefit your prospects for success.
Football Bets: Straight Bets and Point Spreads
A straight bet on football is a wager placed on a given game with a point spread. Sportsbooks and odds makers use the point spread to drive the betting on both sides. This is done to ensure that the house profits regardless of the outcome of the event. Let’s say the New England Patriots are hosting the Buffalo Bills, and the Patriots are favored by seven points. If you bet on the Patriots, they must win by at least eight points for you to win. If they win by seven, it is a push and no money is won or lost. To win a bet for the Bills, they would have to lose by no more than six points.
Football Bets: Betting the Money Line
Just like in an online video poker game, a money line bet disregards the point spread and simply chooses a winner. Betting on the underdog to win would yield a high payout because their odds of victory are low. In contrast, taking the favored team with the money line would pay less because they are expected to win. Given the example above, the money line odds for the Patriots would be like -200, meaning you would have to risk 200 to make 100. The odds for the Bills would be like +200. If you bet 100 on the Bills to win, you’d triple up.
Football Bets: Totals or Over/Under
The totals or over/under is the combined number of points the two teams will account for. Odds makers arrive at the number after considering the quality of the offense and defense of each team. A game with two defensive teams would probably have a low over/under, whereas a matchup of offensive juggernauts would warrant a high number. Let’s say the over/under for the Patriots and Bills has been set at 45 and you bet the over. The teams would have to score at least 46 total points for you to win. Basically something like the odds in online slots.
Football Bets: Parlays
A parlay bet allows bettors an opportunity to bet on multiple games at once. This kind of bet is attractive because it garners a high payout with very little risk. The more games in a parlay, the more money you can potentially earn. Parlay bets are more difficult to win because there are more variables involved.