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The NFL is the gold standard for sports betting in the United States. It generates the most action of any professional sports league, with billions of dollars wagered every year at sportsbooks and online NFL betting sites.
Betting NFL games is far easier than other sports in terms of variety and accessibility. Every game from the regular season through the NFL Playoffs includes spread and moneyline betting, with tons of additional prop bets, parlays, altered spreads and teasers to choose from. Bettors also have several different options when choosing an NFL betting site to place their wagers. Picking the right one makes all the difference.
Illegal offshore sites are not just unlicensed and unregulated. They also don’t offer as many payment options and can make it very difficult to withdraw funds and get paid in a timely fashion, if at all. Customer service can be an issue as well. It’s often difficult to speak with a real person and get actual answers on pressing issues with your account. Not to mention the fact that these are unregulated vendors offering no guarantees should they ultimately get shut down. Bettors don’t have any assurance they’ll see any of their money again should that happen.
We deal exclusively with legal sportsbooks to ensure the safest, including the most profitable NFL betting experience. Check out our list of the best NFL betting sites, along with everything you need to know to cash in on the gridiron. Just enter your state to see the best options available to you and read our unbiased reviews.
We use a thorough review process based on first-hand experience testing sites from sign-up to withdraw and everything in between. That allows us to compare different criteria and compile ratings based on important factors that make for the best NFL betting experience.
With multiple sites competing for your business, sign-up incentives and bonuses are one of the best ways to stand apart. Some even offer free bets and match first-time deposits. We’ve carefully looked at the terms and conditions to sort through the noise and see which sites truly offer the most value for new user sign-ups.
This is overwhelmingly the most popular and efficient way to bet NFL. Why would we spend all our time looking at the desktop version of a site that may not have a solid mobile platform? Most users prefer mobile for convenience and immediacy, which is essential for in-game betting. We want to make sure you can use these sites to bet like everyone else – from your phone.
Bettors should be prepared to give some personal information during the sign-up process, but normally it’s a relatively pain-free experience. The easier it is to sign up and get started, the better.
Most online betting sites now provide multiple payment options, including PayPal. Other options might include credit cards, Visa Gift Card deposits or bank transfers. We’ve gone through these NFL betting sites to find the online shops with the most variety for a stress-free deposit process.
It’s important to get the best possible odds when betting NFL games. If you’re looking to bet on the Green Bay Packers over the Minnesota Vikings, for example, one site could list the Packers as 3-point favorites while another has them at -3.5. Some sites also charge more on the “vig” or “juice,” essentially a small tax on each bet which the sportsbook collects on losing wagers. We’re looking for sites that consistently list the fairest odds without overcharging on the vig.
So, you know which NFL game you want to bet. It shouldn’t be hard to navigate a betting site and quickly find the wager you’re looking for. Same goes for in-game betting, where live spreads fluctuate in real time. We’re also looking at things like tracking previous bets, making clear where and how to withdraw funds, etc. The bottom line is that making NFL bets should be a fun, easy experience with no logistical hassles from the site itself.
Yes, it’s perfectly legal to bet on NFL games with regulated betting sites in states that have legalized sports gambling. States that currently offer legal online sports betting include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Indiana, Rhode Island, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, and West Virginia. Other states such as Colorado and Illinois have already legalized gambling and are expected to roll out online betting soon. Michigan appears on the horizon as well.
Whether you’re an emotionless sharp or just looking to have some fun, the NFL has loads of betting options. Making money and building a bankroll should always be the first goal. Finding information and statistical analysis is much easier in the NFL because it’s more popular and brings more attention than any other sport. Things like injury updates and advanced analytics are readily available and make it easy for anyone to break down the betting lines throughout the week before making an informed decision. Think you know more about the NFL than your friends? Prove it and make a profit while you’re at it.
NFL lines are also more consistent across different betting sites than other sports. That makes it simple to spot value with outlier lines. It’s extremely rare for NFL games to be taken off the board, so shopping for the best odds is a straightforward process with every game listed at every site. Same goes for free bets and bonus shopping, where bettors can look for the most lucrative sign-up deal or deposit bonus.
As far as entertainment goes, the NFL is tough to top. It’s a completely engaging experience with countless ways to live stream and watch every game. It’s super easy to track bets minute-by-minute via social media. And with mobile betting, any local bar showing games is now your personal sportsbook. Betting on Horizon League basketball can be profitable, but it doesn’t offer the same communal experience. NFL already dominates the sports news cycle and Monday morning water cooler. Making spread bets or constructing parlays with a group of friends takes it to a new level.
Plus, let’s face it, most NFL teams are out of the race midway through the season. Betting a reasonable amount on a hometown team like the Miami Dolphins is a fun way to stay engaged throughout the year. And, let’s say they’re 14-point underdogs and lose by 13. “At least they covered” can be a comforting phrase late in the schedule.
This is generally what separates profitable NFL bettors from everyone else. Games swing on last-second touchdowns and missed kicks all the time. Every point matters with NFL spreads. Studying NFL betting lines as soon as they come out is important. Handicappers aren’t perfect, and there’s often value on certain games early in the week.
Conversely, bettors can wait and see if games they like reach a more favorable spread later in the week before placing a bet. Lines move throughout the week based on things like injuries, weather, early sharp action and heavy one-sided betting. Paying attention and understanding why a line fluctuates is essential in knowing when to bet a game. You’ll have more information to go on later in the week, but the value might not be what it was when the lines opened.
First things first – where is the game being played? The general rule is still three points for home-field advantage, meaning The Vikings would be 3-point favorites in Minnesota against an equal opponent. Make sure a home game is a true home game, too. There will technically be a “home” and “away” team for neutral-site games in London, but sportsbooks won’t adjust the spread for home-field advantage.
Checking injury reports and the weather can also help explain the lines. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you know as much as possible about the injury reports before betting on games. Same goes for weather. If a total looks too low for an Indianapolis Colts-Buffalo Bills game in November, there might be heavy snow in the forecast. It’s harder to score points in a blizzard.
As for the actual betting, here’s where most people go wrong. Making bets at a profitable pace only works with bankroll management and discipline. If you win four $100 bets and lose one $500 bet, that 4-1 record doesn’t matter. You’re still down $100 plus juice. Once you’re set on a system, it’s essential to stick to it. Making emotional bets leads to poor money management, especially when increasing bets to chase losses or doubling down after a big score. Stick to the script and you’ll have a much better chance at building the bankroll over time.
Lastly, research individual matchups as best you can. There’s way more parity in the NFL than college football and upsets happen all the time. Games tend to be closer among divisional opponents, for example, due to familiarity. And some players just fare better against certain teams. New England Patriots quarterback Tom has 11 career losses to the Miami Dolphins and just three to the Buffalo Bills, even though the Bills and Dolphins have been relatively equal over the past two decades.
Games will look something like this when listed at most NFL betting sites.
|Green Bay Packers||+3 (-110)||O 46 (-110)||+140|
|San Francisco 49ers||-3 (-110)||U 46 (-110)||-175|
The first number next to either team is the point spread, or betting line. That -3 means the 49ers are favored by three points and need to win by four or more to cash the bet. The +3 next to Green Bay means the Packers are three-point underdogs and will hit as long as they don’t lose by four points or more. Bets end in a push and everyone gets their money back if the 49ers win by three.
The -110 next to either team is the “vig,” or “juice.” The number simply shows how much a bettor needs to risk in order to win $100. So whichever team the bettor picks, they’ll need to risk $110 to win $100.
The 46 is the total, or over/under. O stands for over for bettors who think the two teams will combine to score more than 46 points in the game, while the U stands for under.
The final number is the moneyline. This eliminates the point spread and gives bettors the option to pick the winner straight-up with adjusted odds. At +140, any $100 bet on the Packers will pay out $140 should they upset the 49ers and win the game. With the 49ers at -175, Bettors need to risk $175 in order to win $100.
We’ve already compiled a list of the top NFL betting sites to choose from. Now you can sort through the ratings and find the right online sportsbook for you. If you’re just looking to make a few casual bets, find a book with lower bet minimums. And see what kind of lines they offer compared to other sites. Some betting sites will always reflect the general market, while others might take a stance on certain games and offer a different price. It’s all about what suits you personally.
Again, you want to take advantage of first-time signup offers. It shouldn’t be the only criteria when placing a bet, but it’s a great tiebreaker. If a few NFL betting sites look good to you, take the one with the best promotional offer and go from there.
Once you’re ready to sign up, you’ll want to have the following information available to complete the registration process – photo ID, full name and address, birthday, proof of address and payment method. Once your account is set up, choose the deposit option that makes the most sense for you. That could be Play+, PayPal, Visa, bank transfer, etc. Then select an amount that fits your budget and make your first deposit.
There’s no shortage of NFL games to choose from with a full Sunday slate and additional primetime action on Thursday and Monday. Take a long look at the spreads and see if any jump out. If a line seems way too high or too low, do some additional research. You might have missed a big injury or storyline impacting the spread. Make sure to take a look at other online betting sites to compare their lines and juice. And remember, it’s better to pick a few games you really like instead of throwing money at every game on the schedule.
Once you’ve made your selections and settled on betting amounts, it’s time to fill out your betting slips. Make sure to double and triple-check the teams and numbers to ensure you’re making the bet you want. Fat-fingering the over instead of the under can happen, but “I meant to bet the under” won’t get you a refund after the fact.
This is the fun part. Don’t get too discouraged if a team you bet on falls behind early. NFL games routinely swing back-and-forth and can change on a single play at any time. That’s why it’s the most exciting sport to bet on. This also creates a lot of value on in-game betting, which we’ll discuss further below.
The moneyline is the most straightforward NFL bet to make. You’re betting on a team to win the game straight up. Betting the moneyline on the favorite means you’ll have to risk more than you stand to win. Taking the underdog means winning bets will pay out more than you risked. Sometimes much more, depending on how mismatched the two teams are. Moneylines are listed on the sites like this:
Dallas Cowboys +235
New England Patriots -295
Since New England is a significant favorite, bettors taking Patriots moneyline need to risk $295 in order to win $100. A $100 bet on the underdog Cowboys would pay out $235 if the Cowboys pull off the upset and win the game. Underdog moneylines are a popular NFL bet because upsets happen all the time and the payoff can be lucrative.
Spread betting is essential to NFL betting and allows us to fairly wager on all games, even if the two teams are totally mismatched. Handicappers assign a point spread to every game early in the week. It’s essentially a way to generate bets on both sides and even-out the game from a betting perspective. You’ll see the favorites listed with a “–” while underdogs have a “+.” Here’s how a typical point spread looks:
Dallas Cowboys +6.5 (-110)
New England Patriots -6.5 (-110)
This tells us the Patriots are expected to win as -6.5 favorites. Unlike the moneyline, Patriots bettors only need to risk $110 to win $100. But the Patriots need to win the game by 7 points or more to cover the spread and win the bet. Taking Dallas +6.5 means Cowboys bets will pay out as long as they don’t lose by 7 or more points.
Totals are sometimes referred to as the over/under. Rather than betting on a team to win or cover a point spread, you’re betting on how many total points will be scored in the game between the two teams.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
Over 46 (-110)
Under 46 (-110)
If you think the final score will be more than 46 combined points, a $110 bet on the over will win $100. Same for the under, with a $110 bet paying out $100 if the teams score less than 46 points combined. The individual team scores are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if the Patriots win 47-0 or 27-20, because the total goes over 46 points with either final score. If the Patriots win 21-20, that’s a win for under bettors as the total of 41 points scored is less than 46.
There’s often more value betting the under in the NFL because the over is a more popular bet. Emotional bettors like to cheer for touchdowns and high-scoring games, so they bet the over more frequently. Smart bettors gladly cheer for turnovers and field goals if there’s money to be made on the under.
Prop bets are low-risk, high-reward plays in which bettors try to correctly predict the outcome of multiple games. Parlays can include as few as two games or as many as 10. The more games included, the higher the potential payout. The trick is that all the games need to hit in order to cash the bet. A five-team parlay with four winners and one loser pays nothing. Here’s how a typical three-team NFL parlay might look.
Chicago Bears +6.5 over New York Giants
Houston Texans -3.5 over Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers ML (+350) over New Orleans Saints
Parlays can include any combination of point spread, total and moneyline bets. Above we have two point spread picks with the Bears and the Texans, as well as the Panthers to upset the Saints with a moneyline bet.
The above parlay would pay out roughly $800 on a $50 bet if all three games hit. Adding a fourth game, such as the Atlanta Falcons -4.5 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, would pay out nearly $1,500. It’s not easy to correctly predict all those games with no slip-ups, but the profits are huge.
This is why finding an NFL betting site with a strong mobile platform is so important. In-game live betting is changing the way people wager on NFL, with updated lines and betting opportunities throughout the entire game. Top New Jersey online sportsbooks were all over this and have long offered robust live betting markets. The same is true for the top sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. Expect the best sites in your state to showcase this feature.
While the handicappers set the point spread and total before the game, those numbers change in real time based on what’s happening in the game. And you can bet as many times during a game as you want. There’s a lot of value here, because sportsbooks are setting new lines at a rapid pace. And this is why watching the games is important.
Let’s say the Buffalo Bills are 4-point favorites over the Denver Broncos and you pick Buffalo to cover the spread. The Bills could have a fluky turnover on their opening drive, like a botched snap that sails over the head of the quarterback. If the Broncos recover the ball in the end zone to go up 7-0, it doesn’t mean they’re going to control the game. They got lucky on one play. But the in-game live point spread will be adjusted as a result of the touchdown, and the Broncos would likely then be favored to win. If you recognize it as a fluky play and still think Buffalo will win the game, that’s a perfect opportunity to jump on the live in-game spread on the Bills.
Futures bets are a great way to follow the NFL from the preseason to the Super Bowl. One of the most popular preseason bets is team win totals, where bettors predict how a team will do over the course of a season.
The book could set the Minnesota Vikings win total at 9.5 (-110). If you think the Vikings will win 10 or more games that season, a $110 bet on over 9.5 would pay out $100. Same payout structure if you think they will win less than 10 games.
One can also bet on things like divisional winners, the NFC Champion and individual award-recipients before the season starts. Those bets are still available once the season kicks off, but the odds are adjusted each week based on recent results.
The Super Bowl is the biggest sports betting day of the year in the United States. The American Gaming Association is predicting U.S. bettors will wager approximately $4.76 billion on Super Bowl LII alone. All the bet types listed above are readily available, but the Super Bowl includes hundreds of additional prop bets. You can bet on individual player performance, with over/unders set on things like Tom Brady to pass for more or less than 275 yards. You can even bet on the duration of the National Anthem or whether the coin toss will be heads or tails. Placing a few Super Bowl bets adds to the excitement level, especially when conversation at the annual neighborhood party grows stale.
The Pro Bowl is the NFL’s annual All-Star game played the week before the Super Bowl. The best players from the AFC play the best from the NFC and most bet types available for the Super Bowl can be made on the Pro Bowl as well. It’s a more casual game atmosphere than normal, but those bets all count the same.
Futures odds are available throughout the season on things like NFL MVP winner, Rookie of the Year and Super Bowl MVP. One can also bet on more position-specific futures like Defensive Player of the Year.
The NFL regular season is 17 weeks long, with a full slate of day games Sunday and night games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday. Again, lines are eventually listed for every game regardless of injuries and in-game action is open on every game all season long.
These are the common elements players should be looking for with an NFL betting site. Making sure your personal information is safe and that payment will be handled in an efficient, timely manner is most important. Variety of bets available and mobile layout are also huge. Being a profitable bettor means looking at every game on the board, not just picking from a select few. And bonus/rewards programs are a great way to get started on the right note with a new site. Just make sure to read the terms and conditions on said bonuses and free bets to make sure they’re as advertised.
Find the site from our list that works best for you and click to get started. First, you’ll provide basic information such as full name, email and date of birth. Then you’ll create a user ID and a safe password, as you would registering for any other online account. You may also be asked to provide the last four digits of your social security number and phone number at this stage. This is standard practice.
Next, you’ll provide your address to prove you reside in a state where online betting is legal. After accepting any available bonuses or promotions, you’ll be free to make your first deposit via your preferred method.
If you get stuck at any of these steps for whatever reason, most sites list a “help” or “contact” section on the registration page. Use that to get in touch with a customer service agent to help finalize your account.
Once you have an account, the deposit page will show all your available payment options. PayPal is one of the most popular, and many bettors use the virtual Play+ card and use their credit or debit cards to load money on it for sportsbook deposits. Check with the individual sportsbooks to see whether or not they offer credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, bank deposits and e-checks.
Professional handicappers are the ones setting the NFL point spreads used for online betting each week. Then there are sports bettors who handicap games and set their own point spreads. These aren’t for public consumption. Rather, bettors use these to compare and find value when they think the sportsbooks get it wrong.
It’s important to note that anyone can handicap games. It doesn’t take a complex system or algorithm. Simply looking at the schedule each week and setting your own lines off the top of your head will give you a better understanding of NFL point spreads and how to profit off them.
Gambling.com has the bettor’s best interest in mind. That’s why we only work with legal NFL betting sites instead of offshore books. Our award-winning staff knows the industry inside and out with years of experience in sports betting, online casino and more. That allows us to provide accurate, in-depth reviews for users looking for the best legal NFL betting experience.
"An experienced bettor with a decade writing about sports and gambling, Dan's expertise includes college football, college basketball, golf, the NFL and more."
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