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How to bet on American Football – Betting Strategy

America’s most popular sport has made its way across the Atlantic, quickly becoming a favourite amongst the Irish public. Offering a vast number of stats and simple but valuable betting markets, it’s no wonder bettors are turning their attention to American Football.

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Discover the basics of American Football, the betting markets available and a range of tips and strategies to help you improve your betting tactics.

What is American Football?

American Football is a team sport where the aim of the game is to score the most points. This can be done by getting the ball to the opponent’s end zone, known as a touchdown, or by kicking it between their goalposts. A touchdown is worth six points and can be converted by also kicking the ball between the goalposts for an additional point.

To get the ball to the opponent’s end zone, a team must travel up the field with the ball. For every 10 yards, a team has four attempts to move the ball. If they have used all their attempts but haven’t been successful in travelling the full 10 yards, they must give possession of the ball to the other team.

Each American Football team is split into two, the offensive and the defensive. The offensive are responsible for scoring points, while the defensive attempt to retrieve possession of the ball from the opposition’s offensive team, giving it back to their own.

The main league in American Football is the NFL, and these games consist of four quarters, each lasting for 15 minutes. At full-time, if the two teams are drawn, the game continues into overtime where a winner is established.

How To Bet On American Football

When betting on American Football, the first step is to identify the online betting site, or sites, you wish you use. It’s a good idea to place bets across different betting sites rather than only ever using the same one because different betting sites will offer different odds on each market.

To choose your betting site(s), consider the following:

  • The betting markets they offer and their odds
  • The welcome or sign-up offers available
  • If they provide in-game betting

Being an American sport, you’ll find that American sites may offer more range or better odds. However, if you are not used to the American style of presenting odds, it’s better to stick to Irish betting sites where the odds are presented as a fraction or a decimal.

Once you’ve picked your bookmaker, placing your bet is simple:

  1. Sign in or register to the betting site
  2. Activate any welcome offers you want to use
  3. Navigate to the American Football section, also sometimes referred to as NFL if that’s the only league they focus on
  4. Find the game and market you want to bet on and check you are happy with the odds quoted
  5. Enter your wager and place your bet

Betting Markets

Within American Football, there are three main betting markets that you are likely to be familiar with if you partake in betting on other sports. These are match bet, points total and handicap. Here’s how they work:

Betting MarketHow It Works
Match betA match bet, also referred to as a moneyline bet, is simply betting on a team to the game. This is the most popular form of bet for American Football. This market offers two outcomes, a win for the home team or a win for the away team. Draws are not typically offered due to their rarity. This is because if a match is at a draw when full-time is reached, the match goes into overtime until a winner is identified. Make sure when placing a match bet that any overtime is included.
Points totalPoints total is an over/under betting market focused on the total number of points at the end of a match. Your chosen betting site will set a line, or a number of points. You then simply have to bet whether you think the final total number of points will be over or under this line.
HandicapThe handicap market, also known as spread betting, aims to level the playing field of a match by giving one team a points advantage. For example, if the Chicago Bears were given a handicap of +3, it means that they would start the game with a 3-point lead. If you then bet on the Chicago Bears to win with the handicap, it means that they would either need to win the match or lose by no more than two points for your wager to win.

While these are the three most popular markets, there are a few other betting types you might come across.

Individual player betting

As with all big team-based sports, a lot of interest is given to the individual American Football players. This gives the opportunity for more specific bets to be placed on a match or tournament. For example, the player to score the first touchdown and the MVP of the NFL are two very popular bets on individual players. For those with a higher interest in the sport, this gives you the chance to study the player’s history and performance as well as the team as a whole.

Outright betting

Outright betting works very similar to match betting, but instead you are placing a wager on the winner of an overall tournament, such as the team to be crowned the NFL Champion. This is a long-term bet where you want to pay close attention to the odds to find the right time to place your wager. This is because the odds on each team will continuously fluctuate based on what happens throughout the season.

Live betting

Most betting sites will also offer live betting on American Football. This is where you can place bets on a match as it is happening, making real-time decisions based on what you see. With American Football, this isn’t as easy to do as in other sports due to the time difference. For games played on a Sunday, the kickoff time will tend to be either 6pm or 9pm GMT, making it possible for most punters to participate in live betting. However, games played on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays can fall during unsociable hours here in Ireland.

Tips And Strategies For Betting On American Football

Handicap betting

When betting within the handicap market, it can pay off to place your bet as early as possible when the handicap is first released. This is because the handicap will change the closer you get to the game and you are likely to get the best value at this time.

Research, research, research

As with all betting, do your research before placing your bet. Get to know the teams and the players, look at their history and recent performance and consider if there is anything that could impact their game. Location is also important as a team may have a home-field advantage.

Make your own decisions

Being a popular sport, there is a lot of media noise around American Football. Stick to the facts you know and make a decision based on stats and information, rather than media hype.

Bet against the public

One big strategy for betting on American Football is to bet against the public. If everyone is betting on a particular team to win an upcoming match, the odds for the other team will slowly start to increase, making the popular choice less attractive and adding value to a bet on the less popular team.

American Football Events

  • NFL League – The NFL is the most popular league in American Football. Each year a team is named NFL Champion and the final game in this season is the Super Bowl which offers plenty of betting opportunities.
  • College League  – The College league continues all year round and is a highly competitive league with national and local tournaments.
  • The American Football World Championships – This is an international competition taking place every four years between national teams.