When speaking of sports betting, nothing has caught the fancy of the betting public like football betting. Football is made for televisions, which is an added attraction to many gamblers, and the week in between games gives the casual gamblers plenty of time to research games. The most popular football bets are point spread wagers on sides (teams), and over/under betting and we will look at both.
The most common method of betting football includes the point spread, which is a handicap the sportsbooks make on one team to make both teams equal in terms of betting.
With the point spread, the team which is expected to win will be called the favorite, whereas the team which is expected to lose will be called the underdog. The team which is expected to be the winner of the game gives points to the team wished to lose for wagering purposes.
If the Seahawks play the Cardinals, most gamblers would bet on the Seahawks to win the game if all they had to do was choosing the winner of the game.
But if you make the Seahawks a 10-point favorite which changes everything. What this means is that Seattle has to win by 11 or more points for its gamblers to win their bet, whereas those betting on the Cardinals would win their bets if Arizona won the game or lost by nine points or less. If the Celtics win by 10 points, the bet is a push and no money changes hands.
When wagering against the point spread, gamblers are asked to lay 11-to-10 odds, which means that they risk $11 to win $10. This is the way the bookies and sportsbooks earn their money. If you bet $11 on the Seahawks and I bet $11 on the Cardinals, the bookie gains $22 between us, but only gives $21 back to the winner. The additional dollar is essentially the bookie’s fee for approving our wagers.
The second most common method of football betting involves betting on totals, also known as over/unders.
A total is the predicted combined score of the 2 teams which are playing. A number will be posted and gamblers have the options of betting more than the estimated total points will be scored (over), or less than the estimated total points will be scored (under).
In our hypothetical game between the Seahawks and the Cardinals, the over/under number may be 40. Bettors gambling on the over could win their bets if the total combined score was 41 or bigger, whereas bettors gambling on the under could win their bets if the combined total score was 39 or less. Again, if the combined score is exactly 40 points, the bet is known as a push and no money changes hands.
Just as with the point spread, gamblers are asked to lay 11-to-10 odds and risk $11 to gain $10 on each over/under wager.
Money Line Wagers
While wagering against the point spread or on totals make up the huge majority of football bets, bettors also have some other betting options offered to them. One is the money line wager, which is a bet on the game winner without the point spread. But because some teams are given a better than 50% chance to win, money line wagers are made by using odds, so that if you bet on the team which you expect to win you will be asked to risk more than you stand to win.
The money line odds on a game will be something like:
Seattle Seahawks -400
Arizona Cardinals +300
This means is those who bet the Seahawks are required to put up $40 to win $10, while those taking the Cardinals to pull off the upset are required to risk $10 to win $30.
Parlays and Teasers
Other common football bets are parlays and teasers, which are often referred to as exotic bets. In parlays and teasers, gamblers must correctly guess two or more games. On parlays, gamblers have the choice to bet against the point spread or using the money line, whereas with teasers, players change the point spread in their favor.
The primary drawback to betting parlays and teasers is all of your teams have to win or the total bet is a loss. When you choose 4 out of 5 games correctly, your wager is still a loss, as not all of your choices were winners.
Betting football is not tough and there are many gamblers who only come out during football season and take time off when the season finishes, only to come back out the following September.