Variety of Wagers Increases Popularity of NFL Betting Action

Sunday, August 19, 2018 1:43 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 1:43 PM UTC

Here's an in-depth look at the different ways to bet on the kings of professional football, the National Football League. It used to just be about Sundays. Not anymore.

<h2 dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-16a6a7b4-7fff-81ff-ccda-bd8d38bda133">Point Spread Side Bets</h2><p dir="ltr"><a href="" title="How To Bet On Sports">The most popular type of bets on American professional football</a> are straight wagers on a specific team (side), with bettors laying a (moving) point spread — the number of points oddsmakers have assigned to the favorite (the team expected to win the game). Favorites have minus signs (-) in front of their point spreads while underdogs — the team expected to lose the game, according to oddsmakers — have plus signs (+) in front of their numbers.</p><p dir="ltr">Point spreads in the NFL fall from "pick ‘em" to sometimes (highest-ever and now almost unthinkable) 27 points. Points are scored in 1’s (converted extra points), 2’s (safeties; 2-point conversions by the offense; and returned, missed 2-point conversions by the defense), 3’s (field goals) and 6’s (touchdowns).</p><p dir="ltr">NFL teams averaged 21.7 points per game in 2017, the lowest average in the league since 2009 (21.5). The most points scored by one team, including playoff games, is 73, by the Chicago Bears in a 73-0 win over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL championship game. The regular-season record is 72 in the Redskins' 72-41 win over the New York Giants in 1966. That game produced the most combined points in a game (113) in NFL history.</p><p dir="ltr">Here is a sample from from <a href="">Super Bowl LII</a> between the AFC champion New England Patriots and the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles where, as you can see, the closing number was New England -4 to -4½ point (spread) range with only two of these offshore sportsbooks -- <a href=";book=Intertops" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Intertops</a> and <a href=";book=YouWager" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">YouWager</a> -- having the <a href="" title="Betting Terms Glossary">standard -110 vigorish</a> (11/10 odds) one usually finds on games due to them employing penny (1-cent lines) and having so much betting volume from it being a Super Bowl, although as you can see, Intertops and YouWager had -110 juice in their closing lines.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="83" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">In making straight bets on both sides and totals in NFL games, the bottom team (and also the team in ALL CAPS in some rotations) is always the home team in the betting rotation with the corresponding betting (code) number to the immediate left of the team’s name.</p><p dir="ltr">So to bet on a particular side in this sample — let’s use favorites New England as an example — a bettor would have used betting (code) #102 to make a straight side wager on the Patriots, with the highest available (closing) number of points available in this particular sample being the (plus) 4½ at various sportsbooks and the lowest being the (plus) 4 at <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a>, meaning those wanting to back New England would want (to lay) the lower number (4) with prospective Eagles bettors getting the best of it (the highest number) at 4½.</p><p dir="ltr">With underdogs Philadelphia winning this game 41-33 (+12 to +12½), the Eagles “covered” the 4- to 4½-point spreads (ATS = Against The Spread) and didn’t even need the points, winning the game outright as the underdogs. So a $110 wager (at Intertops) would have won $100 and returned a total of $210 at the betting windows or online — the initial $110 bet plus the $100 won by the bettor in this scenario.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Totals Straight Bets</h2><p dir="ltr">A total is the combined number of points scored between two teams in a game and the standard 11/10 vigorish is also applied when betting on totals (although some sportsbooks use lower -105 vigorish to increase their handles and may employ that aforementioned penny line). Again, using Super Bowl LII as an example, we saw a closing consensus total of 49, so <a href="" title="Read More On Over/Under Betting">bettors in the totals market</a> in this game could have bet whether or not they thought more than 49 or less than 49 points would be scored.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="185" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">So with Philadelphia winning by that 41-33 final scoreline, a total of 74 points were scored, seeing the game go "over" — by a whopping 25 points — the betting total. So, "over" bettors won and "under" backers lost.</p><p dir="ltr">To put in a totals bet, you can use the betting code # from either team, just like in college football (NCAAF), the NBA, MLB, the NHL, soccer and other sports. In this case, a winning bettor could have bet either “101 Over” or “102 Over.”</p><p dir="ltr">Despite playing the same four 15-minute quarters in a 60-minute game, totals in the NFL are much lower on average than in college football for several reasons, although the extreme low totals in an NFL season have been close to what the lowest-low total would be in an NCAAF season — in the very low 30s. So why are NFL totals so much lower? A tighter range of talent with fewer teams, with the NFL made up of professionals who are bigger, faster and stronger overall and who play better defense.</p><p dir="ltr">And the closer nature of games in the NFL leads to less passing when trying to rally from behind because fewer teams are down by larger margins in the pro game than with the amateurs. Cupcake-blowout games in NCAAF see scores approaching <a href="">and often exceeding 100</a> (total points), while that’s a real rarity in the NFL, with only four regular-season games <a href="">exceeding the 100-point mark</a> heading into the 2018 season.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">First and Second Half Straight Bets</h2><p dir="ltr">Sportsbooks also post numbers for sides, totals and moneylines for the first and second halves of play in NFL games. Here are the closing offshore numbers from the first half of Super Bowl LII. As you can see, New England was a 2½- to 3-point favorite in the first half of that game. With Philadelphia leading 22-12 at halftime, the Eagles (easily) won their first half point spread bets and didn’t even need the points when all was said and done (+12½ to +13). The “opener” (NE -3 -120) shows where this line (point spread) opened for the first half.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="105" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">And with the first half total closing at 24 in this sample, "over" bettors easily won in the first half with 34 points on the scoreboard at halftime (+10). Second half lines are posted when games go to halftime and any points scored in a potential OTs count toward second half lines so be aware of that betting reality. Wagers on 4th quarter totals are not included in any overtime scoring.</p><p dir="ltr">In this example, in the first half moneyline market, the most value was to be found with the underdog Eagles closing in a +133 to +143 range and leading by 10 at halftime, meaning the +143 on Philadelphia on the moneyline at <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> was the best of the three winning first half bets to be had in this betting market.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Moneyline Straight Bets</h2><p dir="ltr">A moneyline (straight) bet doesn’t involve laying or taking any points, but simply trying to simply pick the outright winner of a specific line with a moneyline market price, set by oddsmakers in a usual three- but sometime four-digit number (betting price compared to winning $100 or $1) that moves depending on what side (team) the public has wagered on.</p><p dir="ltr">Again, using at that sample from Super Bowl LII, we see the moneyline on the favored Patriots closed in a -197 to -210 range. The “opener” — located immediately to the right of the team’s name — is where the moneyline price first opened when it was released to the betting public, in this game, at -245. So in this example, the best (lowest) offshore sportsbook to back New England would have been at <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> (-193), while the best return on underdog Philadelphia was at <a href=";book=Pinnacle" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Pinnacle</a> (+181).</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="131" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">With the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl, backers on the moneyline of Philadelphia cashed in handsomely, with those taking the Eagles early on at the opening +205 price truly “getting the best of it” as they say when holding the best betting number that was on the board for a given game.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Explaining “Push,” “Pick” and "Buying Points”</h2><p dir="ltr">If team favored wins an NFL game by exactly the number of points bettor is laying with his or her wager, the bet is then is considered a “push” and the amount bet is returned. A “push” can happen with both sides and totals, but only when numbers are “flat,” or there is no ½ point involved. Here’s a theoretical working example of an NFL game where both a side and total wager would push:</p><p dir="ltr">COWBOYS -4 Giants; Total: 44<br />FINAL SCORE: Cowboys 24 Giants 20</p><p dir="ltr">If you ever see “pick,” “pick ‘em” or “PK” on a betting rotation, it simply means the game is dead-even point spread-wise (0), giving the sports bettor the chance to simply “pick” his or her winner on an even-money basis, with vigorish applied, of course. A pick can often be the point spread market itself being bet on up or down to a point where a game almost become an even money, moneyline bet in a sense, or oddsmakers will set a game at “PK” and the incoming action will dictate which team becomes the small favorite or if the line stays where it is — even money — and a pick.</p><p dir="ltr">More bettors <a href="" title="Buying Points">“buy points” in the NFL</a> than in any other sport, because of the popularity of the league, their familiarity buying points in the NFL before and the lower overall scores due the nature of the game, making points more valuable because NFL games are much closer than NCAAF games.</p><p dir="ltr">The most common methods are to buy a half-of-a-point (+½) and pay -120 vigorish instead of the standard -110, or to buy a full point (+1) and (usually) pay +130 juice. Some offshores also allow bettors to buy more points on games at obvious higher rates of vigorish.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Parlays (Off The Betting Board)</h2><p dir="ltr">A <a href="" title="Parlay Betting">parlay</a> means combining multiple elements (or legs) of sides and/or totals in a single wager where all of the elements must win (or push) for the bet to pay out and be a winner. Sportsbooks in Nevada let bettors parlay up to 8 sides (or totals) in NFL (and NCAAF) while online sportsbooks <a href=";book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow" title="Top rated Sportsbook">BetOnline</a>, <a href=";book=Bookmaker" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Bookmaker</a> and <a href=";book=BOVADA" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Bovada</a> let bettors combine 2 to 15 NFL teams (or totals), with <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> letting bettors put together lotto-like 25-team parlays.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="" title="NFL Parlay Calculator">Parlay payouts</a> vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but are generally in a tight range so check out the specifics of what each one exactly has to offer. Here is a football (NFL and/or NCAAF) parlay odds payout chart from BetOnline:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="275" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">And here’s is a sample 5-team NFL parlay made off the betting board online which ended up losing, with this bettor wagering $5 on 5 elements at 20-to-1 odds — with all five games having the standard -110 odds — to try to win $100.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="207" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">In the five games on this sample ticket, the Titans (+13) lost to the Patriots in the playoffs 35-14, so this parlay lost on its first selection with New England winning by 21 (-8). And with 49 total points scored in that game, the second selection here — "under" 48 — also lost (by 1 point). The Steelers (-7) selection also lost when Pittsburgh was upset by the Jaguars 45-42, the "under" 41 points in that game also lost (by 46) as both teams went "over" the closing total themselves, and, the fifth selection, the Vikings (-4½), was the lone winner with host Minnesota beating the Saints 29-24, covering ATS by ½.</p><p dir="ltr">And with the Patriots-Titans game being played on Saturday in this sample, this bettor didn’t have to pay attention to the Sunday games on the parlay with it losing immediately with that initial selection.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Parlay Cards</h2><p dir="ltr">Found primarily in the traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Nevada and also now found in progressive states such as Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and Rhode Island who have long awaited the decision to legalize full-scale sports betting — decided on by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 — parlay cards incorporate the use of set numbers. One distinguishing rule to look for on parlay cards (on the back), is whether or not the card is a “TIES WIN,” “TIES PUSH” or “TIES LOSE” type.</p><p dir="ltr">While betting NFL games off the betting board lets players lock in desired moving numbers (in an open market) at a particular point in time, and to mix-and-match point spread, moneyline and totals bets together, parlay cards only offer bettors one set number on sides or totals and often don’t have every game on the betting board and often fewer totals selections.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="439" src="" width="578" /></p><p dir="ltr">There are a number of different types of parlay cards in sportsbooks including ½-point, teaser, mega- or big-teasers, <a href="" title="Teasers &amp; Pleasers">reverse teasers (or “pleasers”)</a>, $100,000 cards and even progressive cards (with jackpots) at some sportsbooks. And almost all parlay cards offer a mix of (some and most weekly NCAAF games as well as usually) all of the week’s NFL games with the occasional game being “taken off the card” (for betting) due to a major injury or something else unforeseen.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead of reading out code numbers to a ticket writer, parlay card bettors work with those set numbers and then fill in the little circles on the bottom stub portion of the parlay card for the corresponding side or totals desired, along with the number of teams (selections, legs, elements) wanted along with the specific bet amount, which often ranges from $1 to $500 on most cards. These filled-out stubs are then fed into a reading machine by the ticket writer at the sportsbook, quickly printing out the bettor’s ticket. Parlay cards are available in sportsbooks mid-week after the opening lines have settled.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="400" src="" width="452" /></p><p dir="ltr">Above, find a sample of a ½-point, 5-team (leg) NFL parlay card ticket from the 2015 season and Week 3 for $3 made at <a href=";book=William Hill" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">William Hill</a> sportsbook inside the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada, which ended up winning $717 (and returned the bettor’s initial $3 wager). Here’s how it won:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="113" src="" width="474" /></p><p dir="ltr">And with all ½ points on this card — a “pleaser” where the bettor took harsher point spreads — there was no need for any “TIES WIN,” “TIES PUSH” or “TIES LOSE” rule.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Teasers</h2><p dir="ltr">A teaser lets the NFL bettor “tease” a desired point spread “up” or “down” a certain number of points for a chosen number of sides or totals (from 1 — extremely rare — to 8 and often more) to be used in a parlay-type wager. Winning teasers pay significantly less than do winning parlays because of the premium paid for buying and applying points. And the higher number of points you choose to us to tease your games by, the lower your potential payout. And like a parlay, if any selection (leg) in the teaser loses, the whole wager loses. Different sportsbooks have different rules on handling “pushes” (ties against the spread, a k a TS), with customer-conscious ones grading them as as pushes and removing those game from the teasers. Many bettors crete teasers off the board which are a mix of the weekend’s NFL and NCAAF games.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="440" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">Some offshores offer sweetheart (or “monster”) teasers allowing gamblers to apply 10 points (or sometimes even more) to a game. Sportsbooks have different limits on the number of teams a bettor can have in a teaser with some offshores allowing up to 10 teams, with Las Vegas shops allowing fewer teams (a chart from <a href=";book=Intertops" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Intertops</a> is above). All off-the-board and parlay card teasers usually let the bettor mix NCAAF and NFL teams for the coming weekend’s slate of games.</p><p dir="ltr">Again, using Super Bowl LII between the Patriots (-4½) and the Eagles and the total (49) in a basic 6-point, 2-team teaser (10/13) as an example, a bettor could have adjusted the game’s (closing) lines in the following ways:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="104" src="" width="372" /></p><p dir="ltr">So, with that (Eagles) 41-33 final, only the Eagles and the "over" would have won in this teaser scenario, meaning the 10/13 odds taken to tease the 6 points were a waste when both Philadelphia and the "over" were winners anyway, at a presumed vig rate of -110 (11/10).</p><p dir="ltr">[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Round Robins</h2><p dir="ltr">A round bobin is a combination of parlays all in one bet, usually combining 2 to 10 teams in a mega-wager that creates multiple parlay combinations of the sides and/or totals selected, creating as many 2-team parlay combinations as possible. If your round robin has four, 2-team parlays (teams A-D) and you are betting $100 on each combination created, the total cost of the round robin would be $600 (6 possible combinations of legs). So the bettor’s 6, 2-team parlays would be (teams) A-B parlayed (for $100), A-C, A-D, B-C, B-D and C-D.</p><p dir="ltr">Round robin teasers incorporate the same working pay possibilities, with the obvious teased-odds providing a much lower-return should the wager end up being a winner, or return money, something rare that round robins can do — see a bettor get some of his or her money back despite losing a leg or legs within a given <a href="" title="Multivariable Kelly Criterion Calculator (for up to 15 simultaneous events)">round robin</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">As when in betting parlays, in the case of a push (or pushes) with sides or totals in a <a href="" title="NFL Round Robin Parlay Calculator">round robin</a> (of 2-legged elements), all parlays that are attached to that element that pushes become straight bets. The payout on each 2-team parlay is generally 13/5 (2.6-to-1). So if this theoretical round robin bet above saw all 6 legs win, then all 6 of the 2-team parlays would win $130 (at $50 each, 2.6 x 50=), winning a total of $650, plus returning all 6 original wager amounts (6 x $50= $300). A bettor could make 6 separate 2-team parlays on these four theoretical teams — the six combinations above — and still reach the same financial end, so a round robin of 2-teamers also serves as a function of convenience in this context by letting bettors only have to make one wager as opposed to 6 different ones (parlays).</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="699" src="" width="474" /></p><p dir="ltr">Sportsbooks have different numbers of teams and odds (and rules) associated with their <a href="" title="Bookmaker's Round Robin Tutorial">round robins</a> — one of the most exotic and looping types of wagers bettors can make, so, do some homework and shop sportsbooks if you’re serious about employing this unique type of bet, actually used more often by both the recreational and pro bettors during the NFL season.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Futures Bets</h2><p dir="ltr">A futures bet is a season-long wager that usually involves picking a team to win the Super Bowl (the NFL championship game), the American or National Conference, or its own division (AFC East, AFC South, AFC North, AFC West, NFC East, NFC South, NFC North, NFC West). Super Bowl, conference and divisional futures odds for the coming seasons are posted before the playing of the previous season’s Super Bowl.</p><p dir="ltr">Here are sample odds for Super Bowl LIII from <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> before the 2018 season:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="349" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">Bettors who wanted to back the Texans in this specific example at that point in time would have gotten 21x (+2100 = 21/1) for every $1 bet on Houston to win the Super Bowl. Here is an example of AFC odds from the 2018 season:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="181" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">And here is a sample of the futures odds for the four teams to win the AFC North heading into the 2018 season:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="56" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Special Props Bets, Regular Season Team Win Totals</h2><p dir="ltr">Sportsbooks will sometimes offer special proposition bets, such as the popular regular-season team win totals marketplace. Here are the the odds from that market heading into the 2018 season from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. So should the Browns win 5 or fewer games in that 16-game regular season, "under" bettors would have been winners, while Cleveland winning 6 games or more would result in "over" bettors cashing in this season-long bet.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="584" src="" width="449" /></p><p dir="ltr">But beware of early movement in these markets, as enough "over" money on the Browns in that specific market at that popular Sin City shop actually drove Cleveland’s win total up to 6, making a push a possibility for those betting at that “flat” number.</p><p dir="ltr">The Browns opened with the lowest regular-season team win total in the 2017 season (4), and, with a final 0-16 record, "under" bettors had no worries that year.</p><p dir="ltr">Here is a sample of AP Offensive Rookie of the Year odds from <a href=";book=5Dimes" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> heading into the 2018 season, with New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State) as the pretty heavy favorite in that market at +155 (1.55x):</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="171" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr">And, also heading into the 2018 season, 5Dimes had posted its unique props bet offering on which two teams would become the eventual AFC and NFC champions and make it to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta:</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="181" src="" width="624" /></p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">NFL Contests</h2><p dir="ltr">Some sportsbooks serve up weekly or season-long NFL handicapping contests with the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest® — <a href="">the world's largest NFL contest</a> — from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in Las Vegas paying out over $1 million to the winner and the top 100 contestants in the 2018-19 version.</p><p dir="ltr">The entry fee for this prestigious contest — now in its 30th season — is $1,500 and in 2017, the SuperContest saw its first $1 million winner with a <a href="">record number of entries</a> expected again the following season. Out-of-state (Nevada) residents who want to enter this and some other high-end NFL contests in Sin City often <a href="">use paid proxies</a> to put in their weekly selections. In the SuperContest®, contestants select 5 NFL games vs. the SuperBook line every week for the entire regular season.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Live Betting (In-Game Wagering)</h2><p dir="ltr">NFL live betting (or in-game wagering) is a modern way to bet on games after they have kicked off allowing bettors at home, using mobile devices, to wager on constantly adjusted moving point spreads, moneylines and totals in a game. This type of betting allows sports gamblers to watch and see how teams are playing, “adjust” any current bet positions and also “lock in” profits.</p><p dir="ltr">Whereas the Monday to Sunday movement of numbers on the betting board can be snail-like after some an initial feeding frenzy after the odds are posted, in-game wagering has a breakneck pace requiring quick decisions like traders after the opening bell rings on Wall Street.</p><p dir="ltr">An example of how an (in-game) point spread and total could change in the NFL? Let’s say the Steelers closed as 6-point favorites over the Ravens, and Baltimore scored 10 points in the first 7:11 with the total at 38. Because the underdog Ravens would be up 10 and getting 6 points as the underdog (+16), sportsbooks would have to adjust their point spread numbers on the Steelers down, as now Pittsburgh’s chances of winning, let alone by 6 or more, have decreased because of what transpired early in this theoretical sample game.</p><p dir="ltr">And with 10 relatively “quick” points scored in the larger context (time remaining) of an NFL game, sportsbooks would have then adjusted their (in-game) point spreads on the total higher — knowing that 10 of the total’s 38 points have been scored with 7:49 still to be played in the 1st quarter.</p>
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