How to Bet on the NFL

After spending hours upon hours combing through dozens of online sportsbooks with NFL odds, our team of experts at The Sports Geek proudly presents our list of the top real money NFL betting sites.

Using a long list of extensive criteria, we analyzed almost every aspect of each site to ensure that they will provide you with the best possible combination of safe betting, great odds, and a fantastic overall online gambling experience.

We should mention that none of the sites that make any of our recommendations lists ever pays for placement on these lists. We do this to remain as objective as possible so we can provide you with quality info without any outside influence. Later in the article, you’ll find a few of the criteria we used in making our selections. We encourage you to use these as a reference when looking at any other online NFL betting site you might be considering.

Resources for NFL Betting

Free Expert NFL Picks

The first great resource you will find on The Sports Geek is our expansive library of expert picks. Here, you will find hot tips and critical insights that can not only help to inform your picks but will also give you an inside look at what the pros are thinking. We provide a detailed analysis of the match, including info on previous games, top players, and many other statistics. Our picks are here to help you bet on NFL games online. Watching these picks are also helpful because you will see correlations and patterns emerge over time that you can incorporate into your strategy. These picks are like having a mentor who can give you all the inside knowledge while you learn how to bet on the NFL online.

NFL AI Computer Picks

On top of expert picks, we also give you access to our advanced AI picks. As you surely know, “AI” stands for “artificial intelligence.” We used extremely complex algorithms and predictive models to take into account hundreds of different factors and statistics. These models help us predict the most statistically probable outcome for the given match. The best thing about using an AI model is that the model learns and improves over time. It takes into account each incorrect pick as a data point to help refine the model to be more accurate in the future.

NFL Betting News

One of the essential parts of successful sports betting is staying up with current events and reading NFL news. While statistics are great and give you a ton of information, sports aren’t entirely quantitative. Knowing what’s happening around the league will help you learn where to go big and where to pull back. Also, keeping a pulse on the league will enable you to identify opportunities well in advance, which gives you more time to make bets and more time to strategize. We track all the breaking NFL news and report it all on our news page. Our up-to-the-minute news section will keep you informed about everything from league controversies to upcoming rivalries.

NFL Betting Blog

In addition to keeping current with the news, we also take on tons of other great topics in our NFL blog. This section has dozens of informative pieces that go well beyond current events. You can get lost for hours in all the guides, tips, and analyses we’ve accumulated over nearly two years of writing. In our blog, you’ll find everything from comparisons of different strategies to analysis on division matchups.

NFL Betting Strategy

Finally, we provide you with excellent tools to help you build your own NFL betting strategy. Being a successful NFL bettor goes way being just picking a winning team, and you need to know all the ins and outs if you want to come out on top. Our strategy resources can teach you everything from the basics to how to bet real money on the NFL. Here, you will find a vast collection of knowledge to benefit both the beginner and the pro.

What Makes a Quality NFL Betting Site?

Signup Bonuses

One of the first things you will see when you register for your new online NFL betting site is that you will likely qualify for a new player signup bonus. This bonus is exclusively given to new players as a way to lure them away from competing sites. Most of the time, these bonuses come in the form of a deposit match when you initially fund the account.

Let’s say your new NFL betting site is offering a 50% match on the first $500. This means that if you start with more than $500, they will add an extra $250 to your bankroll.

This massive influx of cash can have a considerable impact on which bets you can take. Always be sure to take full advantage of these one-time freebies.

NFL Betting Promotions

Promos are similar to signup bonuses, but they are much less exclusive. These regular events are run by almost every NFL betting site to encourage players to bet on NFL games online more often and place bigger bets. They can come in the form of everything from bet matches to odds boosts. Check back regularly to see which promos your NFL betting site is currently running as they change frequently. Lots of time, the promos will overlap with bets you are already planning to make, but you need to be opted in to get the promo value.

Competitive NFL Betting Odds

NFL FootballJust as with any sports betting site, you must bet on an NFL betting website that offers the best possible odds. NFL betting odds are how the sportsbook communicated the payout that goes along with a specific bet. We’ll discuss NFL odds more later on, but the most important thing you need to know is that you want to play on a site with the best odds, so you maximize your winning when you hit.

Because each bookmaker makes their odds, you’ll find a wide range of odds being offered on the same bet across the web. Thankfully, we’ve helped narrow things down by recommending NFL betting sites that offer some of the best odds anywhere on the internet.


You may be familiar with cryptocurrency, digital money, which took popular culture by storm in 2017 with Bitcoin’s exploding valuation. Cryptocurrencies offer a range of benefits that means they lend themselves to online betting. These digital coins are easier to transfer, offer much more anonymity than typical payment methods, and generally incur fewer fees. With millions of people exchanging thousands of different coins, you’ll find lots of options to play using crypto. Some NFL betting websites even offer exclusive promotions to players who use crypto to fund their accounts.

Strong Security

Of course, we can’t discuss online gambling without discussing website security. You must play on online NFL betting sportsbooks that keep all your data secure using state-of-the-art technology. When choosing the sites that made our list of recommendations, we looked for sites with a long history of putting players first. We wanted NFL betting sites that use advanced encryption and cutting-edge software to protect players from any form of intrusion. When playing on any of our recommended sites, we can promise you will have the safest possible online betting experience.


In addition to top-notch security, players must be able to access their account and bet on a variety of platforms. We chose NFL betting sites that provide players with the ability to bet on NFL football games using PC, tablets, or mobile devices. This puts the player in control and enables you to take advantage of every opportunity that may pop up, even if you can’t get to a computer. In this day and age, players expect this convenience, and each of these sites delivers.

User Interface

Bovada on iPhoneTo go along with their variety of platforms, we also looked for websites offering an exceptional user experience. Each of the sites we selected has made significant investments in building user experiences by designing websites that are intuitive, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. Not only will betting on these platforms be easy, but you’ll enjoy being on the site.

Customer Service

And finally, good online NFL sportsbooks must offer fantastic customer service. Each site on our list provides 24/7 support via multiple channels, including phone, live chat, and email. With tons of satisfied customers and the ratings to back it up, these sites take care of their players. If you should ever have an issue while playing on one of these recommended online sportsbooks, you can bet sure you will get a quick and professional resolution.

Understanding NFL Odds and NFL Betting Lines

The first step to start betting real money on the NFL is to understand odds and lines. These are simple concepts but can look intimidating at first. These are compact, information-dense tables that tell you everything you need to know about a bet. We’ll give you an overview of these concepts then show some real examples later on.

Betting Increases NFL Engagement

First, let’s take a look at odds. As we mentioned before, odds are how a bookmaker communicated that payout on a bet. Most often, these will be represented as a positive or negative number. If the number is negative, that team is favored to win. If the number is positive, that team is expected to lose. The numeric value represents the payout in relation to betting one dollar.

For Example:

If a bet is paying +300, this means you would win $3 on a $1 bet for a total payout of $4 (winnings + original bet). If a separate bet is paying -300, you will win $.33 on a $1 bet, resulting in a total payout of $1.33. As you might expect, the better a team is expected to do, the less you win betting by on them, and conversely, the worse a team is expected to do, the more you win by betting on them.

Second, the “spread” (or the “line”) shows you how badly a team is supposed to get beat or how much they should win by. We’ll talk about betting the spread next, but you just need to know that it is represented by a positive and negative number assigned to each team, usually in increments of half a point. If a team is showing -5.5, they are expected to win by 5.5 points, and if a team is showing +5.5, they are expected to lose by 5.5 points.

Most Popular NFL Bets

It used to be that “sports betting” meant simply picking who you thought would win a given game. Over the years, things have progressed, and betting is now much more involved and much more complex than simply picking a winner. We’ve highlighted a few of the bet types you’ll run into when you get started betting on the NFL. Keep in mind that while each of these can provide some variety, by no means do you need to use all of them. Most pros only use one or two bet types and work to refine their skills from there. We suggest you see which work best for you, then stick to those. Check out the video below from for a brief introduction on how to bet on NFL games.

NFL Spread Bets

Betting the spread is one of the most common ways to bet on the NFL online. When learning how to bet real money on the NFL, these are the bets you should start off with. The idea behind spread betting is to “level the playing field” between two teams with different levels of skill and different expectations. No two teams are ever perfectly matched, and there will always be small differences that contribute to one team being more likely to beat the other.

Bookmakers adjust for these variances by offering what is called the “spread” or the “line” to equalize the teams. The spread reflects how many points a team is expected to win or lose by. If sportsbooks didn’t offer this spread, everyone would simply bet on the favorite every single time. Since the payout for picking the winner is the same for two unequal teams, this is their way of adjusting the expectations needed to win the bet. Let’s look at an example.

Team 1
Chicago Bears
-5.5 (-105)
NFL Spread Bet
Team 2
Detroit Lions
+5.5 (-125)

Here we see that the Bears are projected at -5.5 while the Lions are projected at +5.5. As we discussed earlier, the negative number denotes the favorite. We read this as “the Bears are expected to beat the Lions by five and a half points.” These bets equalize the teams because rather than winning being the goal, beating these expectations is the goal. One thing to note is that the half-point is generally used to prevent ties. If the bookmaker doesn’t use half points, there is the possibility of a “push” or a tie.

You win one of these bets by “beating the spread”.

Simply put, this means your team needs to do better than the expectation represented on the spread. Using our example above, the Bears not only have to win the game, but they must win by more than 5.5 points. If the Bears win by 6, you win. But if they only win by 5, you lose. Conversely, If the Lions lose by 5, you win. But if they lose by six, you lose. Obviously, if the Lions were to win the game, you would also win as you bet on the underdog.

One thing to keep in mind when learning how to bet on the NFL online is that the line in NFL spread betting is not set in stone. The line will change as the bookmaker tries to balance bets. Their goal is to have an equal value of bets on both teams, so they adjust the line to encourage or discourage betting. Let’s say they have too many bets on the Bears and not enough on the Lions. They could move the line to -6.5, meaning the Bears need to do even better to win the bet. Simultaneously, this makes the Lions more attractive because they can do worse than before and still win the bet.

NFL Moneyline Bets

Placing moneyline bets is also quite popular across a wide range of NFL sportsbooks online. These are more straightforward forms of betting where you focus on just picking the winner. However, while you are selecting the winner, these bets are not a 50/50 proposition. Just like with spread bets, the teams still aren’t even, and we need a way to account for that. With moneyline bets, rather than adjusting the expectations, we change the payouts to account for the inequity between teams.

This is how your NFL betting site would show a moneyline bet. Each team is assigned a number that represents the payout that relates to betting on that team. This number also tells you who is expected to win and who is expected to lose. Just as we mentioned before, negative numbers are associated with the favorite, while positive numbers are associated with the underdog.

Team 1
Chicago Bears
Moneyline Bet
Team 2
Detroit Lions

The big thing to remember when placing a moneyline bet is that your team still needs to win the game to win the bet. Unlike spread betting, if your team loses the game, you lose. Also, the payout that corresponds with your bet is scaled to the probability of your team winning. This means that you often win much less when you successfully bet on the winner. Let’s take a look at the result of a winning bet on each of the team in our example

First, let’s say you bet $1 on the Lions, and they win this game. They are offered at +220, meaning they are expected to lose. As a result of them defying the odds and winning, you win $2.20 plus the $1 you bet for a total payout of $3.20. Not a bad return on $1 bet!

Next, let’s say you place a $1.00 bet on the Bears, and they win. In this case, they are favored to win at -305. This means you win just $.33 plus your $1 bet for a total payout of $1.33. As you can see, a significant difference compared to betting on the Lions.

As you would expect, you get rewarded for successfully betting on the team everyone expects to lose. This is why you hear about Cinderella stories that make people rich. In our examples, we win much more by betting on the Lions because the chances of the Lions winning was expected to be very low. Maybe they had a key player out, or perhaps the Bears are on a hot streak. Regardless of what makes the team different, you’ll see those factored into the odds. The real opportunity in moneyline betting is to use your knowledge to find bets where you think the risk reflected in the odds is less than the risk in reality. Finding these bets will make you more successful.

NFL Over/Under Bets

Let’s say you aren’t interested in betting on a specific team, but rather in the game as a whole. Over/under NFL bets enable you to bet on the total points scored in the game rather than on who will win. Let’s take a look at our previous example to see how the over/under works.

Team 1
Chicago Bears
o37.5 (-115)
Over/Under Bet
Team 2
Detroit Lions
u37.5 (-115)

On the left, you will see two numbers designated with “O” and “U.” These represent the line that differentiates and over bet versus an under bet. Even though these lines up with teams, the team is irrelevant. In our example, we can either bet that the total points scored will be over 37.5 or under 37.5. As you will see, these bets pay the same at -115.

It’s worth noting that unlike a moneyline bet, there is not a “favorite.” Since both bets are offered at -115, you would win $.87 on a $1 bet. This is how the house makes money. Both sides of the bet pay like betting on a favorite, and one bet earns $.87 while the other loses $1. Although more conservative, these bets can be useful if you have reason to believe a game will be particularly offensive or defensive.

NFL Prop Bets

The last form of betting we’ll discuss is NFL prop betting. These bets are sometimes the most fun, and they can add a whole new level of excitement to betting real money on the NFL. Prop bets are wagers you place on specific outcomes within the game. For example, you might be able to bet on who will win the coin toss, which team will score first, or the number of rushing touchdowns by a specific team. Prop bets can make real money NFL betting significantly more complicated, particularly when they are part of a larger parlay.

NFL Prop BetsA significant advantage of NFL betting online is that online sportsbooks with odds on the NFL can provide a ton of prop bets brick-and-mortar sportsbooks aren’t equipped to offer. Since your typical live sportsbook has so many different things happening at once, it can be tough to support some of the more granular prop bets that are widely available online.

If you decide to play on any of the NFL betting sites like the ones above, you’ll have access to a vast array of exciting prop bets that can make every single aspect of the game enjoyable.

But keep in mind prop bets aren’t just pure luck. Not all prop bets are the same, and which ones you choose to bet on can have a significant impact on your winnings. While some are dumb luck, others take much more skill to bet on effectively. If you just want to have fun, try any that sound interesting. But if you are a serious bettor, look for the prop bets that require skill. Some bets can be more predictable and more profitable with the right research and the right skills.

Future Bets on the NFL

While not necessarily a type of betting altogether, it’s worth mentioning future bets. Just as you might suspect, these are bets placed long in advance of an event taking place. The most common of these is betting on a team to win the Super Bowl. Depending on when you place your bet, the payout can vary dramatically. Betting on your team to win before the season starts will pay much more than betting on them to win after they win two playoff games. These bets can be great for people who want to place a few super long-odds bets or people who want a bit more hands-off betting, but still want a bit of skin in the game.

NFL Betting Summary

Betting on NFL games can add some excitement and can make watching the game much more profitable. With lots of betting styles, super competitive games, and a postseason that provides some of the best entertainment in sports, NFL betting should be on your radar even if you aren’t currently an NFL fan. Be sure to use all the resources here and elsewhere on The Sports Geek to help you learn how to bet on the NFL online successfully. We have a ton of great content that will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls while also helping you improve rapidly. Always bet on NFL games for money responsibly, have fun, and good luck!

NFL Betting FAQ

Yes, betting on the NFL is legal in many states across the United States, as well as on many reputable NFL betting sites like the ones that made our list.

Yes, there are a wide range of online sportsbooks offering odds on NFL games. We’ve narrowed down a few of the best and provided them in the list above.

If you were wondering, 'where can I bet on the NFL online?', we've got you covered. We recommend betting on the NFL on the sites listed at the top of the page because they will often have better odds, offer more prop bets than live sportsbooks, and have all been verified secure.

The best type of bets for you will depend on your skill, knowledge, and risk tolerance. If you are looking for a more straightforward bet, you may want to stick to simple moneyline or over/under bets. If you are more advanced or want more in-depth bets, spread bets or prop bets may be for you. If you only want to place one bet for the whole season, check out future bets.

As with any sports betting, the best strategy is to be an informed bettor and look for value. The Sports Geek can provide you with tons of information on how to bet on NFL games to help refine and perfect your strategy until you are crushing the books.

Yes, a bettor can place parlays across a vast number of bets just like they would in many other sports. These parlay bets can significantly increase potential payout if they hit. Parlays are extremely common throughout NFL betting sites.