Understanding How To Bet Football

Sports gambling is experiencing maybe its biggest boom in popularity ever. That popularity is the result of more states legalizing sports gambling, opening up this lucrative industry to millions of more players. Apps like FanDuel and DraftKings are partnering with professional leagues and if you watch a game nowadays, you can't go one commercial break without seeing a commercial advertising sports gambling. While every sport has their share of bets, by far the most popular sport to gamble on is football. There's just something about the sport of football that makes it the perfect sport to gamble on. And since it's football season, we thought we'd give you our comprehensive breakdown on how to bet on football so that you can join in on all the exciting and thrilling action - and hopefully win a little money! So let's get to it!

Betting On Football: The Big Three

There are a lot of different bets players can place - not just on football but in general when betting on sports - but the big three are the spread, money line and over/under. Let's take a closer look at each of these three as they relate to football.

  • Spread Bets

The spread is a certain amount of points that the oddsmakers think a game will be played within. The favorite team will always be "laying points" and the underdog will always be "getting points". So what does that mean? Let's take a look at an example…

Team A is the favorite and Team B is the underdog. Let's say the spread is 5 points. That means that Team A, the favorite, will be -5 (they'll be laying 5 points). And Team B, the underdog, will be +5 (they'll be getting 5 points). In other words, you'll either be taking away 5 points or adding 5 points to the final score depending on who you bet on. If you bet on Team A to win -5, then they need to win the game by MORE than 5 points. So if the final score is 28-20, you win! But if Team A wins a close game like 23-20 then you would lose your bet since -5 would make the betting score 20-18 in favor of Team B.

If you bet on Team B then they could actually lose the game but you could still win your bet. That's because they are getting 5 points. So if the final score is Team A 23 and Team B 20, you win! Because they are getting 5 points, Team B could lose the game by less than 5 points and you win. If Team B wins the game outright you would also still win your bet.

  • Money line

A money line bet is a bet on the outright winner of the game. No points are laid or given, you just need your team to win. The favorites will have odds with a negative amount, meaning you'll see numbers like -110 or -200. Underdogs will have positive odds, meaning you'll see numbers like +150 or +350.

If you placed a bet on Team A, the favorite, to win at -110 odds, you would need to place a $110 bet to win $100 back. That's because they are the favorites so the odds reflect that and the risk is lower.

If you placed a bet on Team B to win at +200, that means a $100 bet would win you $200. That's because they aren't expected to win so if they do, the payout would be bigger.

  • Over/Under

Over/under bets are fun because you aren't rooting for either team to win, you're just hoping they score the right amount of points. The oddsmakers will set the over/under for every game based off the teams playing. If both teams are high scoring teams then the over/under will be high - maybe in the high 40s or low 50s. Two defensive minded teams will have a lower over/under, probably in the 30s.

Let's say the over/under for our game is set at 40. If you bet the over, then the COMBINED scored must be over 40 in order for you to win your bet. A bet on the lower means that the COMBINED scored must be lower than 40.

Sometimes you will see over/unders set at 40.5. If you place an over, then the COMBINED scored must be 41. An under bet would need the COMBINED scored to be 40 or less.


Football has some of the most popular prop bets - both game and player - that sports betting has to offer. Prop bets are specialty bets that have nothing to do with who wins or loses the game. You're just looking for specific actions to happen…

  • Game Props

Game props are things like 'Which team will score first', 'What will the first score of the game be', 'will there be a safety'. Game props can also be bets that are only on the first half - like spread and over/under - which only take in account what happens in the first half.

  • Player Props

Player props are bets on players hitting specific totals. They could be 'Quarterback A throwing at least 2 touchdowns', 'Running Back A rushing for over 100 yards'. One of the most popular player props is the 'Anytime scorer'. That's when you bet on a specific player to score a touchdown at any point during the game.

Both game and player props are fun as they don't involve picking a winner. You're rooting for certain things to happen which adds a different type of excitement to your game.


So there we have it! Our look at betting on football and some of the most popular and well known bets you can place. Remember, do some research before you place your bets. Look at matchups of the two teams, look at weather for the game. All of those things will affect the game and could be the reason you win or lose your bet. So the next time you're ready for a sports gambling session, brush up on the types of bets and pick the ones that best suite your type of risk and betting. And good luck!