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Betting on NFL Football?

By now, you may have noticed that people like to bet on the NFL. A 1999 report by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimated that sports betting across America did nearly $400 billion of business annually – and that was back when people were still using 56k modems. More recent estimates suggest that up to $100 billion is generated every year just by people who bet on the NFL online.

You may already be one of these people, or you’re thinking about joining in. Either way, betting on the NFL can be both fun and profitable – as long as you choose the right sportsbook first. These are the people you’ll be dealing with when you take your NFL betting online. Every bet is a financial transaction, so your sportsbook should be held to the same standards as any other reputable financial institution.

Shop Smart

As with most things in life, size matters. Your ideal sportsbook will have a large and happy customer base; if other people are satisfied with the product, you will probably feel the same way. High cashflow also helps to keep a sportsbook on sound financial footing. Smaller start-up books, like any other businesses, are naturally more prone to risk.

This is why we recommend Bodog and Bovada for people who are truly interested in betting on the NFL. Bodog is the top brand in the business, serving customers around the world for nearly 20 years. Bovada is a newer domain that was created for American customers only; the same NFL odds and betting interface are available at both locations.

Thanks to the internet, it’s a lot easier these days to make educated consumer choices. A quick search for sportsbook reviews will give you all the information you need to know about a book’s financial standing, its level of customer service and the quality of its software. Bodog and Bovada earned the high score of 96% at MyTopSportsbooks, while Sportsbook Review awarded an overall “A” grade with an emphasis on financial stability.

Don’t forget about those bonuses, by the way. It’s industry-standard for a sportsbook to offer new customers an incentive to join – perhaps some free NFL betting, for instance. Make sure to visit either the Bodog or Bovada website, depending on which country you live in, and see what bonuses are on offer.

Know the Betting Odds

Once you’ve done the research and you’ve signed up with a quality sportsbook, the next thing to do is figure out how to place a bet. There are many different ways you can bet on the NFL, but the simplest and by far most popular way is to bet against the spread. Let’s take a look at the betting line from back at Superbowl XLVII:

Baltimore Ravens +4.5

San Francisco 49ers -4.5

The 49ers were the designated home team at the Louisiana Superdome, so they’re listed at the bottom. They were also considered the favorites going into the Super Bowl; the number next to their name shows the point spread, which had San Francisco favored by 4.5 points.

So what does that mean? For a bet on the Niners to pay out, they’d have to beat the Ravens by more than 4.5 points. Meanwhile, a bet on the Ravens would pay out as long as they didn’t lose by more than 4.5 points – and they didn’t. Final score: Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31.

Understand the Game

The beauty of the point spread is that it makes it easy for bettors to figure out how much they’re risking and how much they can win. In a typical spread situation, no matter which team you prefer, you’ll be risking $11 for every $10 you win. The $1 difference is known as vigorish or juice. This is the commission the sportsbook earns for handling your bet, just as a broker gets a fee for handling an investment purchase.

The point spread also helps the sportsbook keep the incoming wagers balanced between the two teams in question. It’s a common mistake for newcomers to think that the aim in sports betting is to “beat the book.” In reality, when you bet on the NFL, you’re competing against and alongside everybody else who places a wager on that game. The sportsbook pays out the winners with the money it collects from the losers – provided the point spread is accurate.

The book will often move the spread back and forth up until kick-off in order to achieve this important balance and minimize financial exposure. You can take advantage of this if you place your bets at exactly the right time, just like the professional handicappers do. There’s no shortage of online resources to teach you how to make NFL picks like a pro. Most people don’t bother, even the ones who really know their football, so the more you learn, the more of their money you could win.