Betting on football is an American tradition with family and friends making friendly bets on their favorite teams. Inside the US there is an entire network of bookies, office pools and the like making weekly bets during football season. However, in terms of legal gambling only in Nevada can open wagering be made on any sport and that includes football. With football being the number one sport in America, particularly the NFL which still garners very high ratings for its games, there is no end in sight in terms of gambling on football.
In Vegas, the casino Sports books will make their money by collecting the commission on the best that loses, often called a “Vig”. With odds of 11 to 10, this means that for every ten dollars you place in the bet, an extra dollar is needed. So, $100 bet will require $110 so that the commission is covered in case you lose. So, if you were to bet the $110 dollars and win, you keep it all. However, if you lost you would have to pay the $110.
For official sports bookies, they would ideally like to have evenly matched teams each week play, but that does not happen too often as one side will be favored over the other which is where most of the better action would take place. So, to compensate for an underdog team the bookies will assign a line or point spread to help even the odds in terms of betting.
What is the Point Spread?
While most people believe the point spread is the actual predicted margin that the winning team will accomplish, the truth is that it is the points selected where the handicapper’s believe that the bet will be evenly split on the two teams. Quite often, you’ll see the point spread fluctuate during the week before the game based on the information that comes from the teams such as player injuries or suspensions that may alter a team’s ability to score or even win the game.
So, with the point spread in place you can bet on the underdog team and still win the bet even if they do not win the game. For example, if you bet on Chicago which is favored to win the game by 10 points and they only win by 7, then you lose. Conversely, if you bet on San Francisco who is a 7 point underdog and they lose by 3, then you win. In most cases, the tie games in terms of the point spread generally go to the house which is why you’ll see a considerable number of three, seven, ten and other point spreads that are common in the outcomes of the game.
What Other Types of Bets can be made in Football?
There are a number of other ways you can bet on football aside from just betting the spread. People who bet frequently will use the different methods to help cover their wagers.
The Straight Bet
This is where you bet on the outcome of a single game only. You can bet the favorite or the underdog and you can select the over/under of the total points scored as well.
The Over/Under Bet (also known as The Total)
This is where you bet on the total amount of points that will be scored by both teams in a single game. There will be a wager line where an estimated total amount of points exist and you bet either over or under that amount with ties generally going to the house. For example, if the prediction is that New York will score 17 points and Baltimore will score 21, then the total amount of point will be 38. You can either bet that the final score will be over or less than 38 points.
The Parlay Bet
This is arguably the most common form of betting on football where a series of games are linked together for betting purposes. Many parlay cards will have a selected number of games to bet on for the week, including the over/under. A parlay card generally does not require that you bet on all the games, but there is usually a minimum number which must have a bet. All of the bets must win in order for the parlay card to pay off.
The advantage of a parlay card is that there are odds thrown into the mix. For example, betting on three games may offer 3 to 1 odds which mean that if you are correct on the games that you bet on, you’ll wind three times the amount of money that you wagered. The more games that you choose to bet on, the higher the odds will be. However, if you miss any of your wagers then you lose and forfeit your bet to the house.
Parlay bets are highly popular because of the odds, but you might be better off to simply pick several games “straight up” and foregoing the parlay which would increase your odds of making back more than you wagered.
This is another interesting way to wager on football. A teaser consists of a single bet that has two or more propositions where you can adjust the point spread in your favor. With the teaser in place, a standard wager you can add or subtract a number of points from the spread in order to create better odds for you to win. Therefore if you bet on two games, one where Kansas City is favored by 7.5 and another where New England is a 3.5 underdog, you can take 6 points from Kansas City to make then a 1.5 favorite and add them to New England so that they have 9.5 points. This will certainly increase your odds of winning, but you may have limits to your bet or have to put up more money.
These are the basic wagers in how to bet on football. While each area of the country has its own special house rules and the like, most people tend to follow the Las Vegas sporting line when it comes to betting on who will win.