7-Step Guide to Betting on Football

Football Player Diving on the Field, Pile of Money
Few things in history have managed to gain the country’s collective attention like high-level football. We watch it, we live by it, we yell about it… And we bet on it in record numbers.

According to ESPN, more than $90 billion is wagered annually between college and the NFL. That number alone is roughly eight times the size of the NFL’s annual revenue. With the reintroduction of the XFL, football betting profits are only set to increase.

Before you place any wagers at the sportsbook, be sure to familiarize yourself with what types of bets you can place. There are some US sports bets that you might not know about.

With such a staggering volume of money changing hands, there are sure to be winners and losers throughout the season. In addition to the basic betting strategies, here’s how you can find yourself on the right side of the equation at season’s end.

1 – Look to the Future

During training camp, every fan has hope that the upcoming season will finally be their team’s year. Bettors who choose to play the futures game take hope to another level by putting money on the final results.

One of the most popular futures options in college and pro football is the end of season over/under win totals. It’s as easy as it sounds and keeps things interesting throughout the year.

In addition, you can raise your risk (and potential reward) by betting on who will win each conference, make it to the Super Bowl or XFL Championship, and some books even offer a play for betting on who will be the league’s MVP.

2 – Track Line Movements

Oddsmakers aren’t trying to predict the score of the games, nor are they trying to make any major commentary on the contest. All they’re trying to do is set things up so that 50% of the money will be on the favorite and the other half on the underdog. The juice (the extra 10% paid out in a loss) is where they’ll make their money.

A line movement can be an indication of where you might want to place your wager. For example, if lines are moving toward the favorite, you might find greater value in the underdog.

One important tip to keep in mind is to try finding a book that will give you the option to view the opening odds. Tracking the movement over the final day or two before a game isn’t nearly as valuable as being able to view the spread’s fluctuation over the course of a week or more.

3 – Go Line Shopping

There’s no shortage of great betting sites to use when it comes to sports gambling. While the sites might have the same games, the lines and spreads may vary from site to site. If you’ve already decided which team you want to bet on, try looking around in a few different places to find the numbers that are more favorable for your play.

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Sportsbook Moneylines

If you’re visiting Las Vegas and looking to place bets, consider visiting both the Caesars Palace and the Westgate casino’s sportsbook.

While it may seem like a half a point or the difference between +120 or +130 isn’t huge, it all adds up over the course of a season. After all, how frustrated would you be if you lose by half a point because you didn’t notice that three other books offered you a better play?

If you are looking to bet on the XFL this season, we recommend you check out one of the top 5 safest XFL betting sites for 2020.

4 – Check the ATS Records

If you’re a football fan, you probably know each team’s record (roughly) throughout the course of the season. However, even the most dedicated fans usually don’t know what each team’s record is against the spread (ATS).

Besides knowing the overall record in season, which is very helpful, you can also pick up on trends under current coaches, quarterbacks, etc. For example, the Rams are 7-2-1 against the spread after their last 10 bye weeks, while other teams might struggle coming off the bye.

You may expect most teams to be between 40% to 60% against the spread due to the nature of what the spread attempts do (even things out), but some teams can have a 75% or higher rate of covering the spread in a given season. Whether you bet on the trends or not, it’s important to get context behind the numbers.

5 – Don’t Play Hurt

Death, taxes, and star players getting injured in the NFL or XFL are just a few things we can always count on happening. Because so many injuries occur on a near-weekly basis, it can be easy to gloss over a crucial player who’s going to be out on a given week.

NFL Eagles Game, Football Tackle

Don’t just focus all of your attention of the quarterback or other skill positions. Lineman, especially the left tackle, can have a major impact on a game. Additionally, an injured defensive back or two can mean the potential for a slightly higher scoring game.

A quick look through the injury report before you place your bet might help you find that little piece of information you need to make a decision.

6 – Be Wary of Divisional Matchups

This trend is not unique to football, but it’s always important to consider. Divisional matchups should be treated differently than other games. When teams play each other twice a year, every year, they tend to pick up on each other’s strengths and weaknesses and game plan accordingly.

If you’re looking to make a play on an underdog, divisional games are typically a better-than-average bet. Historically, divisional games are more closely contested and low-scoring. Additionally, an underdog at home in a divisional game has an increased chance of covering the spread.

7 – Review the Different Football Betting Options

Much like a quarterback changing the play at the line of scrimmage, it’s okay to call an audible before you submit your bet. While the standard plays may include betting on the spread, moneyline, or over/under, there are some moves you can make to create more favorable conditions.

Note: Any time you bet on “alternate” options, you’re accepting that you must risk more money for a lower payout.

Besides the standard lines that usually result in a near-even payout, many books offer alternate lines. For example, you might bet on the DC Defenders at -4 (-110), but you could bet on them at -1.5 (-175). You’ll have more security in your bet, but your payout isn’t going to be close to your original wager.

Another bet to consider is finding a moneyline where you feel the underdog might have a chance to win outright. In the NFL or XFL, nothing is guaranteed, and you can find great value in picking an underdog to win straight up.

Obviously, parlays are a very attractive option because of the high payouts. Just don’t forget that they’re also extremely difficult to win. It’s a tough pill to swallow if you ruin four wins because of just one loss. Don’t get greedy out there.


Turning NFL Sunday or an XFL gameday into a payday isn’t easy, but if you employ the right betting strategies you can start the week with a few more dollars in your pocket. No matter the types of bets you’re using, always remember that it’s important to stick to your bankroll and don’t try to recover losses by betting more!