American Football Betting Strategy: Money Line, Spread and Totals

American Football Betting Strategy: Money Line, Spread and Totals

The NFL season is underway again, and fans of American sports can again get their teeth into some juicy American Football betting. But whether you're a newbie just beginning to dabble in the world of American Football, or a seasoned pro watching the new season for signs of early trends, there's a basic decision to be made in how to approach you betting.

Game Lines

Top bookmakers generally provide 'game lines' markets for every week of the NFL season. These lump together the odds for the money line, spread and totals; which represent your basic odds for a win, a handicap, and the total points scored in the game. Each of these markets offers different value to punters, depending on your tactics.

Money Line

The 'money line' market is the bedrock of American Football betting. This is the market to choose if you just have a hunch about who will win, or if you choose to play the numbers and bet regularly on the favourite or underdog. Odds here, however, rarely extend beyond evens. For example, in the first week of the 2013 season, the Washington Redskins were rated at 20/29 to beat the Philadelphia Eagles over at Bet365 Sports. This means a bet of £10 would land £16.89 (including your original stake) if they did triumph. Underdogs the Eagles were rated 23/20, so £10 would return £21.50.

Spread Market

If you prefer to play it safe when seeking a win, the 'spread' market is the way to go. This market works like a handicap in that it gives your call a margin of error by awarding extra points, or boosts your odds and applies a handicap of minus points, to your chosen team. Taking the Eagles at the Redskins again, a -3.5 point handicap pushes Washington's odds to 20/21, and a boost of 3.5 to Philadelphia rates them at 20/23.

The 'spread' market is not just useful in tight games, when you want to buy your bet a bit more leeway, but a great way to boost your odds when you're sure of your stats. For example if a high scoring team is facing a frail defensive line, or when you spot a tactical advantage that could be a game changer. And when you're betting on a sport as statistically well catalogued as American football, there's every chance of spotting a good punt this way.


If you're really confident of picking a score this way, you might want to consider the 'totals' market. The odds are rarely great, for example Eagles at the 'skins is 10/11 whether you bet over or under 52 points, but it's a statistic that's among the easiest to call. There's even a good argument that it's safer to build an accumulator from the total points market that the money line: as stats on how many points a team scores/concedes tend to be more reliable than simple form.

Expert gamblers might want to consider viewing the lines by half, or even by quarter, to get extra value from statistical knowledge. Bet365 Sports even provides a selection of stats to help you make a decision. And if you can work out which teams are fast starters, and which are slow out of the gates, you can maximise returns by betting on specific periods of the game. So head over to Bet365 Sports today to enjoy some American football betting.

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