NFL Football Odds

Betting on the NFL and the Super Bowl doesn’t have to be complicated. While American football odds may seem a bit strange at first, they’re actually quite simple once you know how they work. 

In the US, several states have legal sports betting online, in-person, or both. If you do not live in one of those states, you can legally visit and bet on the NFL and the Super Bowl in the states that have it.

Where Can I Bet On NFL Football Online?

All online sportsbooks in the US take bets on every NFL game and the Super Bowl. However, only these handful of states offer legal online sportsbooks:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Michigan (Launching in 2021)
  • Virginia (Launching in 2021)

To bet online in these states, you must be at least 21 years old and physically located within state lines. But you do not need to be a resident of the state to wager on the NFL.

Before you join a sports betting site or app and place a bet, it’s important to shop around first. The odds for the same event can differ significantly between each of the platforms, which is important because the chances of winning are the same. Better odds in sports betting simply means you’ll win more money if you bet correctly.

Another thing to consider is the online sportsbook bonuses. To compete against each other, online sportsbooks will offer risk-free bets and other promotions that give you free opportunities to bet on the NFL. 

Below, we’ll go over the three online sportsbooks currently operating in the most states.

DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Bonus: 20% deposit match up to $1000
  • App: iOS, Android, Desktop
  • States available in: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia
  • Why we like DraftKings: DraftKings has a great slate of promotions and a solid welcome bonus. It has bets available for hundreds of games and matches.
  • Visit: DraftKings Sportsbook

On top of the competitive odds and exceptional app (4.8 out of 5.0 in App Store), DraftKings will match your first deposit by 20% up to $1,000. So if you deposit $100 into your DraftKings account, you’d receive an additional $20. To receive the maximum, you’d need to deposit $5,000.

FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Bonus: Up to $1,000 in risk-free bets
  • App: iOS, Android, Desktop
  • States available in: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia
  • Why we like FanDuel: FanDuel offers special teaser bets that combine two wagers, plus there’s an eve-rotating list of fantastic promotions. 
  • Visit: FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook offers a risk-free bet to new members up to $1,000. If the bet wins, you win. But if it loses, your money is refunded as bonus cash.

BetMGM Sportsbook

  • Bonus: Risk-free bet up to $500
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • States available in: Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia
  • Why we like the BetMGM App: BetMGM managed to create a sports betting app that’s as exciting as its online casino. Here, you’ll find a robust platform where you can win big in a variety of ways.

BetMGM will double your first deposit up to $500. That means if you deposit $500, you’d have $1,000 in your account to use for NFL betting (or any other sport).

How To Place Football Bets Online

Step 1: Join A Sportsbook

Create an account at an online sportsbook via the website or app. Click the “sign up” or “join now” button and add your information, which needs to match your ID in case they need to further verify your identity.

Step 2: Make A Deposit 

You need funds in your account to place a bet. You can do so using a variety of methods, the most common being credit or debit card, online banking, and PayPal.

Step 3: Place Your Bet(s)

Once you have funds in your account, you can place bets on any outcome the sportsbook offers. Online sportsbooks allow you to place bets as small as $1.00. The maximum will vary but is likely in the tens of thousands or more.

Step 4: Withdraw Your Winnings

You can cash out part of your bankroll, all of it, or leave it all in your account, your choice. When you’re ready to take money out of your account, request a withdrawal and the banking method. Upon approval, the sportsbook will transfer the funds via online banking, PayPal, or whatever the chosen method may be.

Types Of Sports Betting Odds

American Odds

In American odds, the negative number is how much you’d need to bet to win $100. The positive number is how much you’d win if you bet $100.

The standard points spread odds for NFL games is -110. With those odds, you’d need to be $110 to win $100.

However, if the odds were instead +200, you would win $200 if you bet $100.

American odds are the most popular option at US sportsbooks. However, online sportsbooks allow you to switch to fractional or decimal odds if you prefer.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are most popular in the UK. As the name suggests, they express the odds as a fraction, and you can replace the slash with the word “to.” For example, 2/1 odds could be expressed as 2 to 1 odds.

The first number in the fractional odds will tell you how much you will profit relative to the second number. So 2/1 odds would mean the bettor would double a successful bet. For example, a $10 bet at 2/1 odds would result in a profit of $20.

However, you would also get your back bet. So while you would profit $20, you would receive $30 (your wager + winnings).

Decimal Odds

The least common form of betting odds is actually the easiest. Simply multiply the decimal odds by your bet amount, and that’s what will be returned to you if you win.

For example, 2/1 fractional odds is 3.0 in decimal odds. A $10 would mean a return of $30 ($20 in winnings + your wager).

How Football Betting Odds Are Calculated

The NFL odds are calculated based on a variety of factors. Sportsbooks hire a team of “bookmakers,” who use their own expertise, probability, and software to determine the odds of various events.

Bookmakers take everything into account. This includes team form, player form, trades, injuries, matchup history, home-field advantage, the weather, and beyond.

The sportsbook will also charge what’s called a “vig,” which is their fee for placing the bets. Rather than charge for membership, you have to pay a portion of your wager. 

For example, the vig for the standard -110 NFL points spread wager is -10 ($10 for every $100 wagered). The “implied probability,” or the odds without the sportsbook vig, is +100. With the vig added, the odds become -110.

All sportsbooks do this. Some charge higher vigs than others, but -10 is generally the standard.

Further, all sportsbooks use different bookmakers, but they also base their odds on what the competition is offering. If you’re able to bet on sports online, shopping around for the best odds on a wager you’re planning to make can make a big difference, particularly in the long-run.

Example Of An NFL Bet

Let’s say this Sunday Night Football features the Atlanta Falcons playing the New Orleans Saints. If you bet the moneyline, you’re simply betting which team will win. Here’s how the odds stacked up in the 2020/21 season at the DraftKings Sportsbook:

  • ATL Falcons +195
  • NO Saints -225

If you bet $100 on the Falcons and they won, you’d profit $195 (and receive $295). If you bet on the NO Saints, you’d need to bet $225 to win $100.

NFL Super Bowl Odds and Betting

Moneyline/Straight Bets

A moneyline bet is detailed in the example above. You’re simply betting which team will win.

NFL Points Spreads

NFL points spreads are where you’ll find the standard -110 odds. The points spread is the number of points the favorite team needs to win by to “cover the spread.” 

The team with the plus points is the underdog, and the team with the minus points is the favorite.

If you bet the underdog, they either need to win outright or stop the favorite from covering the spread. That means you can win, even if the underdog team loses.

For the Falcons vs. Saints game at DraftKings, the points spread looked like this:

  • ATL Falcons +5 (-110)
  • NO Saints -5 (-110)

If you bet the Falcons and they lose by fewer than five points (or win), your payout would be based on the -110 odds. If you bet the Saints, they’d need to win by five points or more.

Totals

Also known as Over/Under, a totals bet means you’re guessing the total score (both team’s points added together) is higher or lower than the bookmaker’s guess.

Parlays

A parlay is tying multiple bets together to create one wager. All bets need to be correct for you to win the total wager. For example, you could parlay all NFL games played on a given weekend. If the parlay pays out, the win will be significantly higher than if you bet on each event individually.

What Is An NFL Futures Bet?

An NFL futures bet is wagering on a future achievement. Examples include who will win the Super Bowl, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and so on.

For example, you could have wagered that the New England Patriots would win the 2018/19 Championship mid regular season. The payout would be much higher than if you wagered on that year’s Super Bowl, but you would have had to wait several weeks or months for the result.

Futures bets can also lose long before the deciding game. If you bet that the Titans will win the 2020/21 Super Bowl but they lose in the playoffs, that futures bet is lost before the Super Bowl is played.

What Is A Super Bowl Prop Bet?

An NFL prop bet is betting on a specific outcome within a game. For example, who will win MVP or the total number of field goals.

The Super Bowl is when you’ll have the most prop betting opportunities. Still, regular-season NFL games will have a nice selection that can add additional excitement to your betting repertoire.

For the 2020 Super Bowl LIV, some of the prop bets you could find included:

  • The length of the National Anthem.
  • Which team will score first.
  • Whether either team will score in the first five minutes.
  • Longest and shortest touchdown.

The list goes on. And while Super Bowl prop bets are more unpredictable than moneyline and points spread bets, they sure are fun.

Strategies For NFL Betting

Alternate Lines

Sportsbooks offer alternate lines for NFL points spreads that they believe will make you more or less likely to win. 

A common option for an alternate line is a shorter or longer points spread. If the standard spread has the favorite at -5, an alternate line would be -10, which would increase the payout potential. 

Alternatively, you could choose an alternate line that lowers the favorite’s points spread, or one that lists the underdog as the favorite. 

Fading The Public

Fading the public is when you choose the less popular of two bets. If more people are choosing the favorite for an NFL points spread, you would choose the underdog to “fade the public.”

The rationale is that most sports bettors lose more than they win. So if you’re betting the opposite of most sports bettors, you should, in theory, win more than you lose.

This is not a guaranteed method by any stretch. But it is a good concept to keep in mind.

Middling

To bet the middle is to bet on two different results on the same event. This is done when the sportsbook adjusts the lines after you place a bet, and you realize that you could profit either way if you place an opposing bet based on the new odds.

Once you place a bet, your odds are locked in. No matter how the odds change after that, you’re guaranteed that win potential. So if the sportsbook adjusts the odds after, you could potentially find that winning one bet but losing the other would work in your favor.

Betting Odds For The NFL FAQ

Is it legal to bet on the Super Bowl in the US?

Yes. In about half of US states, betting on the Super Bowl, is legal either at retail locations, online, or both. Anyone (usually over 21) can visit these states and legally place a bet, including online. The requirement is that you’re physically located in the state where it’s legal.

This includes office pools as well. According to Legal Zoom, a good rule of thumb is to keep Super Bowl office pools “informal, infrequent, and insignificant.”

How old do I need to be to bet on football in the US?

21 or 18. In most states with legal sports betting, the age requirement is 21. But in some areas, such as at tribal casinos in New York State, those 18 years or older can bet at the sportsbook. For online sports betting, the age requirement is universally 21 and up.

How popular is betting on NFL games?

Very. NFL games and the Super Bowl is the most popular betting option in the United States other than the March Madness NCAA D1 men’s basketball tournament. NFL beats out the MLB, NBA, and all other professional sports. College football is also a very popular sports betting option in the US.

Where can I bet on the Super Bowl?

In US states and jurisdictions where sports betting is legal. The easiest way to bet on the Super Bowl is at online sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. These platforms offer competitive odds and a wide range of Super Bowl bets. New members can receive promotions such as risk-free bets and deposit-matching bonuses.

Is it safe to place NFL bets online?

Yes, at legal online sports betting sites and apps. These platforms employ the highest levels of web security. You’re also protected by state regulators, which prioritize player safety. However, illegal sports betting websites are not safe as legally licensed US sportsbooks. These sites are largely unregulated, and many are scams.

Do online sportsbooks offer in-game, live betting during NFL games?

Yes. All online sportsbooks in the US offer in-game bets for all NFL games and the Super Bowl. In-game, also known as live betting, is when you place a bet after the game has begun. The odds will shift based on how the game is progressing, offering bettors fast-paced sports betting action from kickoff to final whistle.

NFL Betting Terms And Vocabulary

A

Accumulator – A bet with multiple selections, where all selections must win for the overall bet to succeed. Also known as a Parlay bet.

Arbitrage Bet – Where a variation in odds on one market between bookmakers (usually because of different opinions or error) allows a bettor to back all possible outcomes and still guarantee a win.

B

Back – To back an outcome is to bet on a certain selection to win.

Bet – To place money on a specific outcome.

Betting Exchange – Differing to the bookmaker who sets odds and offers on a possible outcome, a betting exchange allows people to bet against each other instead of the bookmaker. The betting exchange acts as a middle man, taking commissions from the stake.

Bettor – Someone who places a bet.

Bookmaker/Bookie – A person who sets the odds at a sportsbook.

C

Correct Score – Betting on the exact score line in a sports match.

D

Double – When just two matches are parlayed into one overall bet. Both predicted outcomes need to be successful for the overall bet to win.

E

Even – A bet placed at odds of +100 (or 3.0 or 2/1). Also known as “double or nothing.”

F

Favorite – The selection that bookmakers rate as the more likely winner of an event.

Fold – A fold represents the number of selections made in a parlay bet. For example, seven selections in one parlay would be known as a ‘seven-fold parlay.’

H

Handicap Betting – Also known as ‘spread’ betting, a handicap involves giving one team an imaginary deficit that they have to overcome during a game for the purposes of a bet. The odds as a result are made more attractive as there is more to overcome.

I

Implied Probability – The odds of a sports bet without the sportsbook’s vig taken into account.

In-Game Betting – Refers to live betting where it is possible to place bets on the game while it is in progress.

L

Lay – To bet against a certain outcome happening (common in betting exchanges rather than traditional sportsbooks).

Longshot – A selection that is unlikely to win in the eyes of a bookmaker.

M

Moneyline – Also known as a straight bet. Betting the moneyline means betting which team will win the game, and points don’t matter.

Multiple – Another term for an accumulator or parlay bet, involving more than one selection.

O

Odds – The chances or probability of a selection winning a fixture according to the bookmaker.

Odds Against – Where the odds are longer than +100. For example, +200. If the selection wins, the amount won is equal to or more than the amount staked.

Odds Booster – A sportsbook promotion that provides better odds than what would typically be offered.

Odds On – Where odds are shorter than +100, for example -200. If the selection wins, the amount won is less than the amount staked.

Outright Betting – Betting on a team to win a moneyline or futures bet.

Over/Under Betting – Involves the bettors betting on total number of points. Other examples include total field goals, passing yards, and so on.

P

Price – Another term for betting or gambling odds.

Punter – The UK term for a person who places a bet. Known in the US as a bettor.

R

Returns – The amount of money or potential money to be won from a bet.

S

Scorecast Betting – Predicting the first scorer and correct score in a fixture.

Single – A bet consisting of one selection on a sports market.

Specials – Bookmakers will often offer special markets which are not usually available, or markets that are available with enhanced odds. Examples include prop bets, exotics, and odds boosters.

Stake – The amount of money placed on a bet.

U

Underdog – The selection that is not expected to win.

V

Value Bets – Bets that have odds that are longer from a bookmaker’s point of view than a bettor’s. The return offered would be more than a bettor was hoping for, making it a good value prediction.

Vig – Short for “vigorish” and also known as “the juice.” The vig is how much the sportsbook charges for taking a bet. The standard is -10, or $10 for every $100 wagered.

Void Bet – When a stake is refunded for a number of reasons, where no winnings are won and nothing is lost, essentially with the bet being cancelled. For example, a game being rained out.

W

Wager – Another word for a bet.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani (shown here at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas) is an experienced online gambling writer who specializes in online casinos and sports betting sites. From the nuances of bonus offers to winning strategies and beyond, his insights have helped countless remote bettors keep more of their money while having fun and staying safe.