The National Football League (or as you probably know it the NFL) is one of the most popular sporting organizations in the world. As is the case with any popular sporting organization, the gambling market is just as big. Curious how big? Here are a few stats to put it into perspective. Super Bowl 51 had $4.7 billion bet on the game which was an 11% increase from the year before. Yes, that is billions with a B.
What does this mean for you? This means there are a lot of opportunities to make some serious cash if you’re a knowledgeable and sharp bettor. Before the internet, sports betting was a logistical nightmare for most of the world. Unless you lived right next door to a casino or book, you were forced to drive long distances or bet with a shady bookie you could only trust as far as you could throw them. Even if you did live by one, you had no options when it came to odds or bet choices and were stuck with whatever that casino or book decided to offer.
Thankfully, though, those days are over, and most everyone worldwide now has access to a multitude of different online sportsbook to place their wagers. The perks of this are more options, more lines to choose from, more bonuses and promotions, and more convenience. The drawbacks, though, are it can be a tall task to try and decide which sites you can trust and which sites are the best bang for your buck or style of betting.
That’s what we’re here to accomplish today. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you choose the NFL betting site that is best for you. If you’re brand new to online sports betting, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll make sure you get started off on the right foot and don’t end up at some second-rate junk shop that parades around as a sportsbook. If you’re a seasoned veteran or serious amateur looking to go pro, we’ve got you covered too. We can help get you pointed in the right direction of some new full-time betting homes or just some additional sites to keep on call for line shopping.
Regardless of where you are in your NFL sports betting journey, we’re here to help.
I’ve Got a Hot Tip! Get Me Betting NOW!
Slow down there speed racer; there is still plenty of time to cash in on that hot tip. There is probably a handful of you that are here because you have a hot tip or prediction on a game and you’re ready to slam that winning bet in before kickoff. We totally know that feeling, so we put this section first on purpose.
Above, is our list of top NFL betting sites. We explain why in the rest of this article but the short and sweet is these sites are the most trustworthy, have the best bet options, are the most customer friendly, have the easiest to navigate interfaces, and are all around the best NFL betting experience that the internet (or brick and mortar) have to offer.
For those of you that aren’t in a rush, we’ve got a lot more information for you so buckle up and prepare to get educated :)
NFL vs. Other Football Leagues
The NFL is easily the largest football league in the entire world and therefore has some different pros and cons in regards to betting on it. While the rules of the game and how the winners are determined are the same for arena football, NCAA football, Canadian football, etc., the betting and more importantly how you make your picks is significantly different.
Access to Information
When you choose to bet on the NFL or any sport for that matter, your first step is usually going to be doing some research to try and make the most educated pick you can. If you aren’t doing research into your bets, there is no way you can be a long term winner unless you are the luckiest human on the planet. If you were to ask serious sports bettors if there is more or less information available on the NFL versus other football organizations, the answer you would get is both.
Due to the high profile of the sport, there are a ton more reporters and analysts that are breaking apart the games and trying to find any and all information they can about the players. There are dedicated networks, radio shows, podcasts, websites, and TV shows for the NFL and for those interested in learning more about the teams and players. While this may exist on a very small scale for the other leagues, it is nowhere near the magnitude it is for the NFL.
This means that you are going to get an overload of opinions, stats, interviews, and breakdowns that you can weigh into your predictions. Since we always say that knowledge is power, this is definitely a good thing. You have to be careful, though, because information paralysis is a real threat. You can find yourself so bogged down with too much information that you are unable to make a decision. The key to getting through this is sorting the information and only paying attention to what you deem is important and blocking out all the rest.
Some would answer our question that there is less information with the NFL than with other football leagues in a lot of regards. Here’s what they mean. In a lot of “smaller” football leagues, you can go watch practices, and you have a lot more personal access to the players and coaches to get more information potentially. In the NFL, everything is locked up tight, and the level of accessibility is significantly lower. This could be seen as a negative or a positive depending on how you slice it. Personally, we see it as neutral because it’s information that your fellow bettors aren’t getting either.
Size of the Betting Pool
As you might have correctly guessed, the size of the betting pool for the NFL versus other football leagues is significantly larger. This is something you can’t control one way or another, just something to be aware of. The reason this is important is it just means that the lines in the NFL are going to swing slower than they might in the other leagues due to the amount of money that will be balanced on both sides. It will take more bettors with more cash to bet the same side to move the line than it would in the smaller leagues.
For example, let’s say that the betting pool for the NFL is 100 people and the betting pool for Arena football is 10 people. Let’s also say that each person is betting $10 on the game. In this example, let’s say that 60% of the bets come in for both leagues and they come in evenly as the sportsbook would like. The bets would look like this:
Before we continue with this example, we need to make sure you understand something. The sportsbooks do not like to gamble. They want to have the same amount of money bet on each side of a game and then take a small fee for taking the bets. This way, no matter who wins the game, they make money. The way they do this is by monitoring the bets and changing the payout odds to entice bets where they need them. If too much money comes in on Team A, they will adjust the payout odds to pay less if Team A wins and more if Team B wins. This should entice more people to bet on Team B and even out the money. They will continue changing the odds all the way up until the game starts to try and keep things even.
Now that we’re on the same page let’s continue our example. If 1 more player places a bet in each league for Team A, let’s look at what that does to the amount of money bet on both sides. The bets would look like this:
The difference in money bet is $10 in both leagues, but the percentage difference is significantly different. In the first NFL example, that is only 1.6% of the total money bet. In the Arena example, though, that is 14.2% of the total money bet. The sportsbook in the second example is going to move the line much quicker to try and even things out. The NFL line might not get adjusted at all and could stay there for a while.
Yes, this is an insanely simplified example, but we did so for teaching purposes. The same will hold true when you scale it up and toss in all the other different variables. The point is that in general, the NFL betting lines are going to move a lot slower than they will in other football leagues. This will, of course, be important when devising your strategic betting plans.
What’s Important in an NFL Betting Site
One of the most important things to know when picking out anything new is what you like and what you don’t like. Imagine going car shopping without having ever driven a car before. You’re not going to have any clue what you like and what you don’t like and more importantly what features to look for and which to avoid. As we’re assuming a lot of you are newer to online NFL betting or sports betting in general, you may not have a clear idea what features even exist.
To help, we’re going to walk you through the criteria we feel is the most important when selecting an NFL betting site. These tips will help regardless if you are looking for a main home site, a site to shop lines on, or just a site to drop a few Super Bowl bets on.
Trust and Integrity
This is hands down the most important trait to look for with any sort of online sports betting. Actually, this is probably important with pretty much anything in life. The majority of NFL betting sites are on the up and up but as is the case with any industry, there are a few bad apples that always seem to creep into the mix somehow. This doesn’t necessarily mean sites that are trying to steal your money, but it can also be sites that pay too slowly, have predatory terms of service, or just don’t treat customers in a good and honest manner.
To combat this, we highly recommend doing your homework and looking for sites that come reviewed, vetted, and recommended. The fact that you’re here reading these means you’re on the right path to making sure you’re protected. We would NEVER recommend a site that we weren’t confident was going to treat you how you are supposed to and deserve to be.
Depending on the level of NFL betting you’re planning on doing, this may or may not be super important to you. As you may or may not know, there are a lot more bets offered for a typical NFL game than just who is going to win or lose. You can bet on who will win the first quarter or half, how many touchdowns a player will have, how many catches or sacks a player will get just to name a few. Seriously, these are only a couple of the loads of different bet options that are available to you.
The thing is, though, these bet options are NOT available on every site that offers NFL betting. As you’ll see in the Different “Levels of NFL Betting Sites below, each one will offer a different number of these bets. Why is this important? The biggest reason that this sort of flexibility in what you can bet on is important is it allows to leverage predictions, knowledge, and tips that you have or get that don’t directly relate to who wins or loses the game.
If you only want to bet on who is going to win the Super Bowl, though, this really isn’t going to be a major criteria for you. Also, most sites of all levels offer more bets on the Super Bowl so if you’re not betting preseason, regular season, or playoff games, this shouldn’t be high on your selection criteria.
Betting and Transaction Limits (Professional Bettors Only)
This one is going to be only important to professionals or big money players. Most sites are going to have betting limits and transaction limits that are miles over anything you’d ever imagine betting. For professionals, though, sometimes you are betting large amounts or at least want the flexibility and ability to bet large amounts at any point on a game.
For this reason, you should really look into what the betting limits are for NFL for each site. Remember, these limits will be different for different types of bets. It’s not going to be a flat number across the board. The transaction limits are also important to look at as you need to be able to get enough money onto and off of the site to bet at the limits you are comfortable with and accustomed to. Keep in mind that the posted limits are usually able to be changed for a big enough player so just contact support if you find a site you like and want to get higher limits.
Website and User Interface
From a sanity standpoint, this may be the second most important behind trust and integrity. The user interface refers to how easy it is to navigate around the site and how everything looks and feels. These are going to be the intangibles that boil down to how easy the site is to use and how it makes you feel while you are there.
If you’re fairly new to online sports betting, this may be a tough one for you to pick out especially without diving in and using the sites. If this is something that is important to you (and it should be), we highly recommend relying on our recommendations because this one is extremely important to us. The biggest things we look for are the organization of the bets, how smoothly lines and odds update, how the bets are presented and if you have options to switch to different formats, and how smooth the entire process is from point A to point B.
We can promise you that this will become more and more important the more time you spend online betting and can also become more and more annoying if you get stressed or are sweating a close game. Not only that, but a bad interface can lead to mistakes and improper bets by accident that can cost you money.
The last thing you’re going to want to look at when selecting an online NFL betting site home is the different bonus programs or promotions the sites are offering. One of the great things about there being so many different sportsbook options online (even though a lot are terrible) is the fact that it breeds competition. The books are forced to have to compete for your business, and the best way they know how to do that outside of a superior product is through bonuses and free money.
Now, one caveat to point out. Don’t abandon an amazing betting site just to go to a garbage site because they have some good promotions. Should you abandon a great betting site for a slightly less great site for a promotion? Maybe temporarily, but the point is that a lot of times the real garbage sites will have the best promotions because they need them to try and lure you in.
That being said, take full advantage of every promotion you can and make sure you read all terms and conditions so you can maximize the advantages. This should definitely be one criteria in selecting a site to place your NFL bets, but it should not be the main criteria.
Different “Levels” of NFL Betting Sites
Lots of different sportsbooks online offer NFL bets. There are no sites that we’re aware of that are 100% only NFL bets, but there are definitely sites that have the NFL in the foreground. While we’re referring to them as different level sites, keep in mind that these aren’t actual levels. You aren’t going to see sites referred to this way, and it will be up to you to glance at them and see which category they fit in. This is just our fancy way of presenting the information.
Super Bowl Only
Almost any site that offers any sort of sports betting is going to have Super Bowl bets available. Sites that never offer NFL might have significantly fewer options, but they’re probably going to have some bets available at least. As the industry grows, there are fewer and fewer sites that don’t offer any sort of NFL betting, but some still do exist. If you’re only looking for a place to place Super Bowl bets, you really don’t have to do much homework about where to bet as it won’t be a big deal. The only thing that will matter really is the trust and integrity.
Popular Game Bets
This is where most of your sites that offer NFL wagers online are going to fall. They’re going to have bets available on every regular season and playoff game and frequently even bets on preseason games. If you’re a casual bettor that just likes making a few easy bets on every game, these sites are going to be perfect for you.
They have just enough options to keep you excited but not too many that you get confused or ever feel overwhelmed. Most likely they’ll have bets on the winner of the game and possibly one or two other small prop bets for you to pick from.
These are going to be the mack daddy sites for anyone that takes their sports betting seriously. These sites are going to offer bets on every single game whether it is regular season or a few players got together in Rob Gronkowski’s backyard to toss the ball around. Not only will they have action on every single game, but they’re going to have every single bet under the sun you could think of.
You’ll be able to bet props on most skill position players, bet on every quarter or half of every game, and ultimately be able to leverage any piece of knowledge or trend you see thanks to extreme betting flexibility. Sites like this are great to have as your home base site where you do the bulk of your betting. You should still have some sites from the other levels here on reserve for line shopping, but the bulk of your work will be done at a site like this.
All of these different levels of sites are great to bet NFL on; it just depends on what your goals and preferences are. If you’re a strictly once or twice a year bettor, any of these will work great for you. If you’re a recreational bettor that likes to keep it simple, you may want to stay away from the all inclusive type sites and stick with the sites that only offer the more popular bet types. The one exception here would be all inclusive sites that are organized well.
And of course is you are a serious player, you’re probably going to need the flexibility of the all inclusive type NFL betting sites.
The Wildcard | Daily Fantasy Football Betting Sites
There is one style of betting NFL online that doesn’t really fit into any of the above sections because it’s really off in a league of its own. If you haven’t heard of Daily Fantasy Football (DFS), that’s totally ok; we will forward this article to the rock you’ve been living under so you can be caught up to speed :). DFS is a lot like your fantasy football leagues you play in with your buddies except on a larger scale and not for a season long commitment. Want to know more about DFS sites available? Check out our these reviews:
In a typical fantasy football league, you and a bunch of your buddies would get together and each draft a group of players to be on your virtual team. Throughout the season, your virtual team would play against other virtual teams, and you would be awarded points based on how well your players performed. The top teams with the most wins at the end of the season would go to the fantasy playoffs and compete, and the team that wins would come out victorious.
Daily Fantasy Sports is a lot like that but with some major differences.
- It does not go on for the entire season. It is usually one day or one week worth of games.
- You are given a salary cap, and each player is assigned a value. You can pick anyone you want as long as you fill the positions and stay under the salary cap. As opposed to the normal version, it does not matter if you pick the same players as someone else. It is entirely possible, though unlikely that you have the same team as another player in your contest.
- Contests and prize pools are a lot bigger. In tournament formats, you may be competing against thousands of other players. The player’s team with the highest score wins. It is not uncommon to have a $20 buy-in tournament online where the winner wins $1,000,000. No that is not a typo. You can buy-in for $20 and win a million bucks in one day.