With the NFL season in the rear view mirror, we take advantage of the off season to sharpen up our NFL betting skills. Follow along as we go over the NFL betting basics in hopes of helping you find an edge over the odds makers next season.

When the National Football League is in season, all other sports have to take a backseat in your sportsbook. People go nuts for their football and when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, you often won’t find a heavier-wagered event during the year. The props have become a tradition on its own.

However, you should start off with the sports betting basics and these are the three types of bets you are most likely to see when you start to wager on NFL football.

Point Spread

If you are looking to spice things up a little when you are making your bets, you can always wager on the point spread. What you are doing is betting on a margin that you think the favored team will clear, or that an underdog can keep a score below. Take for example, you have Green Bay favored at home by three points over Chicago in a battle of the league’s oldest rivals. You would see something like, “Green Bay -3” in your sportsbook as the negative sign is always used by the favorite. On the other hand, you will see, “Chicago +3”.

Your options are betting on Green Bay to win by four or more points, or you can bet on Chicago to lose by two points or less or to win outright. If you were to bet on Green Bay but they only won by three, that would be considered a tie and you would get your stake back. The same goes for betting on Chicago if they lost by three.

Money Line

You can also place your NFL picks on the money line, which is a more straightforward bet than the point spread. Here, you only have to pick a winner: no scores, just the winning team. However, you will see it written in a different style from the money. Take two other teams in this example: Denver and New England. Denver might be at home, so they are favored at -150 to win this game, therefore, you would see it as, “Denver -150”. This means that you have to wager $150 to win $100 on Denver as the favorites. For New England, you would see, “New England +130”, and that signifies that you have to wager $100 to win $130 on the underdogs.

Follow the signs that tell you which team is favored and which is the underdog and make your pick accordingly. There are no point spreads to cover, just pick the winning team and watch the funds roll in.


Betting on the total of a game wraps up the basics of NFL sports betting with another simple concept. That is wagering on the total amount of points in a game. The sportsbook sets the total for the game and you have to wager on whether the actual total will go over or fall under the sportsbook total. For the final example: take Kansas City and Seattle. The total will be 47 and if they are two defensive teams, the under could be favored at -140. Therefore, you would see “under -140”. This means the over would be at +120 or, “over +120”.

The same rules as a money line bet will apply, except you are betting on the amount of points scored, and not the winning team.