NFL Bets

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

NFL Bets: All the Different Types of Wagers You Can Make on Football Games

Straight Bets: The most common form of football betting. It involves the point-spread. You pick a team in a game and either you get points or give away points. For example, you want to bet on the Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) vs. the New Orleans Saints (+4.5). If you bet on the Cowboys, they need to win by 5 points to win the bet. If you take the Saints, they can lose by 4 or less or win the game and you win the bet. The industry standard for straight bets is -110. That means you need to wager $110 for every $100 you win. If you want to win $20, for example, you would need to bet $22. That is called the “vig” or “juice.” If you do a little research, you can find books that offer -105, which is smart to take advantage of if making straight bets is a big part of your betting dossier, which it should be.

Moneyline Bets: This is when you want to disregard the point-spread. The majority of these bets are made by those wishing to bet on favorites without needing to win by a certain amount of points. Obviously, you will pay for that privilege. A money line NFL bet would look like: San Diego Chargers -180/Kansas City Chiefs +150. You need to wager $18 for every $10 you win if you want to bet on the favored Chargers. And if you think the Chiefs will win the game outright without the benefit of getting points, you will be rewarded for that judgment, receiving $15 for every $10 you bet. Just remember a (-) sign always designates a favorite, while a (+) sign denotes an underdog.

Over/Under Bets (Totals): In this bet, it doesn’t matter who wins the game. You are merely trying to determine if the total points scored in a game will be over or under the number posted by the bookie. It’s easy. If you had to explain one kind of bet to your mother-in-law, this is the one you would pick. Here’s a quick example: Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 44. You decide if the amount of points scored by both teams will be over or under that number. If it lands on 44, you get your bet back.

Parlays: You pick a certain number of teams or totals and place them on the same ticket. To win the bet, all your individual bets need to win. The profits can be potentially large, but they are difficult bets to win, especially the more teams you put on a parlay. You can make a 2-team parlay, which usually pays 13-5. So if you make a $100 parlay on the Cardinals and the over in the Seattle-Tampa Bay game and both bet win, you win $260. A 3-team parlay pays 6-1. A 4-team parlay pays 10-1. Again, losing just one of the games makes the bet a loser and none of the other games have action.


Teasers: Similar to a parlay in that it is a multiple-game bet where you need to win all of them. But the nice part about teasers is that you move the point-spread in your favor. The 3 most popular teasers are of the 6, 6.5, and 7-point variety. So if the games you like are Washington Redskins +2.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys -2.5 and Oakland Raiders +4.5 vs. Denver Broncos -4.5, and you liked Washington and Denver, you could make a two team teaser. If it were a 6-point teaser, you would now have Washington at +8.5 and Denver at +1.5. They obviously do not pay as well as parlays. A two-team 6-point teaser pays 10/11. A three-teamer pays 9-5, with a 4-teamer paying 3-1.

Pleasers: Probably the biggest daredevil bet available on the board. They are the opposite of teasers, in that you make a multiple-team bet and instead of getting points, you give them away. The pleaser isn’t always available, but the common point-dump is 7 points. So if you like the Jets at -3 and the Panthers at +4, a pleaser would make it the Jets -10 and the Panthers -3. If you win, you collect a hefty 8-1. Three teams pays 25-1 and a four-teamer gets you 60-1. And those seemingly-huge payouts don’t even represent the true odds of hitting this type of hail-mary bet.

Halftime Betting: The first half and the final score are not in play. You merely bet on what will happen in the second half. Some people like these bets, as they can sometimes offer good value and offer you a chance to see how the game is playing out before making a move. It works like a normal straight bet or a wager on the total. You just have to act quickly during the halftime period. Oh, and overtime counts toward this bet, both with the spread and the totals.

Prop Bets: Prop bets are bets you make on results within a game, not the game itself. These have become more popular over time. The bigger the game, the more prop bets will be on the table, with the Super Bowl being the king of prop bets. Possible prop bets can be over/unders on individual player performances, like if Tom Brady will throw for over or under 287 yards or if Arian Foster will rush for over or under 91 yards. They can be match-ups between different players, such as which RB will get the most yardage on Sunday or which quarterback will throw for the most yardage. Anytime you are betting on a sub-result within a game, it is considered a prop bet.

Futures Bets: Normally, we bet on events in NFL football less than a week in advance. A futures bet is a bet made on something months in advance. The most popular of these bets is the “Who will win the Super Bowl” bet. But the list of futures bets has grown over the years, allowing you to bet on which team will win their division or conference. You can also bet over/unders on how many games a team will win in a season. Or who the MVP will be or who will lead the league in rushing or passing yards.

“If” Betting: It’s like making 2 straight bets, but the “if” comes into play because you can only bet the second game if the first one wins. You put two teams on one ticket. You have to designate which team is first. That doesn’t mean the game starts first with the second game coming later–you just need to put one team first. Say you make a $110 “if” bet with Pittsburgh -3 first and the Chargers -1 listed second. If Pittsburgh loses, the bet is a loser, no matter what happens in the Chargers game. But if the Steelers win, you win $100, then the same $110 that was bet on Pittsburgh is now wagered on the Chargers game. If you win the second game too, you win a total of $200. If the Chargers lose, you still collect the $100, making you a loser of the $10 vig.

Reverse Wagers: A reverse is basically two “if” bets. You noticed that on an “if” bet, it is critical which team to list first because if that game loses, the bet is a total loss. With a reverse, however, you are making a pair of “if” bets. Using the same example in the “if” bet, you have the Steelers and the Chargers as your two teams. A reverse makes it two “if” bets with both teams listed first. So if you go 1-1, you lose only one of the two reverse bets, regardless of which team it is. It’s basically a way to make “if” bets without needing to worry about which team to put first.

Round Robin Parlays: Round robin parlays allow you to make multiple parlays involving the same teams. All the teams you pick will be parlayed, using every possible combination. You pick all the teams you want involved in the bet and how many teams you want the parlay to be. You can pick 8 teams and make as many different 3-team parlays out of that combination as you want. There would be 56 different combinations. Making a $100 round robin would cost you $5600. Maybe you want to keep it small. You pick 3 teams and make as many 2-team parlays as you can. That would be 3 different parlays. So if you wanted to make a $100 round robin, it would cost $300.

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