A Beginner’s Guide to Football Betting Online

Two minutes left in the Super Bowl, Chiefs down by six, Patrick Mahomes with the ball on Kansas City’s twenty five yard line…let the excitement begin! 
Not sure of the meaning of the previous sentence?  This article will provide various insights and give you a better understanding into betting on football online.

The Game of Football

Football is played by two teams trying to outscore each other to win the game. Both teams consist of eleven players on offense and eleven players on defense. The offence has four downs to try to advance the ball ten yards to receive a new set of downs, while the defence tries to prevent this. The aim is to get the ball into the oppositions end zone (by throwing/running the football or kicking it through the goalposts). 

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Football Competitions

Football is a global sport, spanning North America, Europe and Asia. However, the three main competitions that football sportsbooks offer markets on are as follows:

  1. National Football League (NFL) – this is the biggest football market worldwide. A 16-game regular season, played from September to December, is followed by playoffs.  The action and excitement culminates at the prodigious Superbowl, watched by 100+ million people worldwide.  The 2020 Super Bowl LIV will be contested by the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francsisco 49ers at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.
  2. NCAA Football – this is where colleges across the United States compete for the National Championship. The vast majority of players entering the yearly NFL draft come from these college teams.  
  3. Canadian Football League (CFL) – this is also a popular football league to bet on. There are fewer teams in the CFL and the rules are slightly different (the defence has to line up one yard from the line of scrimmage, meaning running plays can be more effective). Exceptional players from the CFL are usually picked up by NFL teams.  The 18 game season runs from June to November with the champions crowned at the annual Grey Cup game.

Types of Football Bets

Although football sportsbooks offer a wide variety of markets (some offering 180+), the three most popular betting markets are Moneyline, Point Spread and Game Totals.

Moneyline refers to the outcome of the game. Will either the Home or Away team win this particular encounter.

Point Spread is also known as handicap betting. Football bookmakers will offer a spread total to both teams. The actual total depends on how the bookmakers perceive the game to go, and you will win if the team you back covers the given spread total.

For example – the home teams spread is -6.5 and the away teams spread is +6.5. If you place a bet on the home team (-6.5), they will need to win the game by 7 or more points. If you place a bet on the away team, they can either lose the game by 6 points or win outright.

Game Totals in football betting refers to the total number of points scored by both teams in a game. The sportsbook will offer a number, and you will decide if the total points scored will be above or below that. This is heavily reliant on both team’s offense and defence. For example, if both teams have an amazing offence, but a mediocre defence, the game total will likely be very high.

Many people betting on football like to place accumulator bets. This is when you bet on four or more outcomes. The odds of each bet are accumulated, resulting in higher odds. However, all of your bets will have to win if you are to succeed. See below for an example:

  • You choose the following NFL teams to win – Minnesota Vikings (odds of -200), Phildelphia Eagles (-455), New York Jets (-147) and Cleveland Browns (-250).
  • The overall odds for this accumulator is +333.
  • Therefore, if you place a bet of $10, your return will be $43.04.

General Betting Advice and Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

When betting on football, there are a number of considerations:

  1. Home / Away record of each team.
  2. Points scored and conceded by each team home / away.
  3. Starting quarterback – is it the starter or a backup?

Delving deeper into the three areas above, will provide you with a better feeling of how the game is going to go.

Other parameters highly recommended  to focus on before placing a bet are:

  • Offensive line – players who protect the quarterback once the ball is snapped. If a team has a bad offensive line, the quarterback is more likely to be sacked and the run game will not be as efficient. Therefore, it will be harder for that team to score points.
  • Defensive line – players trying to stop the quarterback throwing the ball or taking down the running back. If a team has a disruptive / exceptional defensive line, they will be able to get to the quarterback easier and disrupt the oppositions offense.
  • Weather – high winds, rain and snow can have a big effect, making teams focus on running the football. These conditions can have an impact on a quarterback’s accuracy and also the wide receivers catching the football.

One major Don’t – try not to bet on very short favourites (-455). Favourites in football are likely to win, but when the odds are so short, there is minimal upside to using this strategy. If you are confident in that particular team winning, I would suggest looking at betting on the point spread instead.

Next Steps in Football Betting Online

Following your extensive research into every aspect of a game, it is now time to place your bet.  There are many sportsbooks offering a number of markets in football, making it possible for you to play a particular game in many different ways. This creates a number of opportunities for you to be successful in betting on football online. Take everything highlighted above into consideration when betting on football online.  Practice betting on a number of different markets to decide which one works best for you and your research.

A word on Betting on College Football

As mentioned in the introduction, betting on NCAA football is an alternative to the National and Canadian Leagues. Many will argue that there is nothing compared to watching or betting on NFL but there are actually some advantages when it comes to betting on NCAA. 

First of all, college football is exciting, no question about it so if you start to feel that national league football is becoming too predictable and "boring" then this is for you. In college football, one team must win, and one loses, a tie is not an option - the teams MUST keep playing!

Some will argue it is a lot more complicated to bet on NCAA as you will for sure not have heard of more than half of the teams. True, just consider the number of teams per division;

Division-I has 130 teams and Division-II has 167 teams.

If this intimidates you then stick to NFL but before you decide, let's think of the advantages when it comes to the odds. Again, ANYTHING can happen. 

Just imagine the potential talent gap between two teams, basically, ANYTHING can happen in a game like that.

The most heard argument against betting on college football comes from those that argue that college football is boring (due to this talent gap), as there might be less than a handful of players in the team that actually know how to play the game.

But you know what, that's what makes it FUN, both to watch and to bet on.

Just think about this, the highest score in the history of NCAA football is from 1916 with a 220-0 score (Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland) and 21 years later we had the 74-72 win for Aggies against LSU. 

The highest score in NFL is from 1966 when the Washington Redskins won against the New York Giants with 74-42, a total score of "only" 113. 

But let's continue. Betting on NCAA football is really easy. The most popular bets are Moneyline, just pick a winner, and spread, bet on how much a certain team will win or lose by.

While you are gathering this knowledge and gaining a better feeling of both the sport and markets, GamblersBet recommend betting with low wagers. 

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