Betting on Football can be Easier than You Think
While soccer dominates much of the world's attention on sports, in North America, the king is football. The gridiron game is by far the most popular sport to be played in the United States, and it draws attention from fans all across the globe today.
Sportsbooks in North America offer a ton of betting options on all different football leagues. In fact, they offer more betting options on football than they do on any other sport -- and these bets are available well in advance of the actual events happening.
If you're new to betting on the sport, take a look at our in-depth football betting guide below to learn how to bet on football.
Popular Football Events to Bet On
There are many different football events that you can bet on. We've detailed some of the most popular ones below.
After a few weeks of offseason training camp, teams in the National Football League play three exhibition games that are referred to as NFL Preseason games. These games are practice games that help teams get on the same page, try out new players and get prepped for the games that matter.
You can bet on NFL Preseason games just like you can on regular season and playoff games. Just keep in mind that the teams aren't really motivated to actually win the games, so the outcome might be different than you'd expect.
NFL Regular Season
The NFL regular season begins the Thursday night following the Labor Day holiday in the U.S., which is in early September. Each team plays 17 games over an 18-week period. These games are always hard-fought, with teams going at it as every win matters when there are only 17 in total.
Betting on the NFL regular season is always extremely popular, making up the majority of action that sportsbooks take in each calendar year. Learning how to bet on football really starts with the NFL regular season, which is where you'll have tons of opportunities each week to place moneyline, over/under, against-the-spread and prop bets.
The Super Bowl is the culmination of the entire NFL season, pitting the winner of the AFC and NFC against each other to crown the champion of the league year. In addition to being the championship game for the NFL, it's the most popular singular sporting event in the world each year. Millions of people tune in to watch it, and millions bet on it today, too.
The Super Bowl offers the widest array of prop bet options on the market, from typical prop bets such as how many passing yards a quarterback will have in the game to fun prop bets such as the over/under on how long the National Anthem will last.
College Football (NCAAF)
College football, or NCAAF, is extremely popular in the U.S., and it's become a huge business as well. In fact, NCAAF is almost as popular as the NFL in terms of betting action. This is basically considered the prep league for the NFL, and college teams take it very seriously.
Rivalries abound in NCAAF, adding an extra layer of excitement to each and every week. Plus, teams play roughly only 10 games in the regular season, making every game essential in the hunt for the championship title.
Betting on NCAAF works just like the NFL, though point spreads and over/under totals are typically higher than they are at the professional level.
Canadian Football League (CFL)
Canada's answer to the NFL is the CFL. It's played almost exactly like the NFL game on the field, with a few rule differences that set it apart. Teams are vying for the vaunted Grey Cup title each year, and the betting action is great, too.
When deciding to bet on the CFL it provides a great avenue for bettors to get in on the football betting action during the NFL offseason, as the CFL plays during the summer and into the early fall. You'll have many of the same type of betting options on the CFL as you did with the NFL or NCAAF.
United States Football League (USFL)
The USFL is a league in the United States that was brought back this year. It's an alternative to the NFL, with players trying to prove that they have the talent to make it to the top league in the U.S. The league plays during the spring, giving football fans something to watch during the NFL offseason.
Just like the CFL, there are many of the same betting opportunities in the CFL as there are in the NFL and NCAAF. The talent level isn't as high, and the players aren't as recognizable, but the action on the field and with the sportsbooks is just as hot.
Find a Legitimate Sportsbook
Now that you're familiar with the different football events you can bet on, let's learn how to bet on football step by step.
The first thing you need to do is find a legitimate sportsbook. In this realm, you want to look for a sportsbook that has a gambling license from a reputable regulatory agency. This will help ensure that you are betting with a sportsbook operator that has fair play and security in mind.
If a sportsbook has one of these licenses, they will display it prominently on the homepage of their website and mobile apps. You shouldn't consider playing at any sportsbook that doesn't have one of these licenses, as they may try to cheat you and/or be susceptible to a hacking attempt where your information could be compromised.
Sign Up for a New Account
After you've found the sportsbook you want to bet at, it's time to sign up for a new account. The process will be similar at all sportsbooks, though some of the steps might vary slightly.
You'll have to provide your basic personal information during the sign-up process, including your full name, address and email address. Then, you'll create a username and password, which you'll use to sign into your account every time you want to place a bet on football.
The sportsbook may require you to upload a copy of your photo ID for verification purposes. This is just to make sure that the information you entered on the site matches up with what's on your ID.
Qualify for a Welcome Bonus
At this part of the process, it's time to qualify for a Welcome Bonus. This is a way that sportsbooks try to attract new players to their site. Most Welcome Bonuses work as a match on your initial deposit.
For example, the sportsbook might match your deposit 100% up to a certain amount, say $400. So, if you deposit $400 into your account, the sportsbook will match that and give you another $400. If you deposit $600, your bonus amount will still be $400 since that is the maximum.
Other parts of a Welcome Bonus could be a risk-free bet, where you would get your first bet amount back if it loses, or a completely free bet, where you'd get a bet token worth a certain amount that you can use to bet on whatever you'd like.
In all instances, make sure that you read the terms and conditions of the Welcome Bonus so you know what you need to do to qualify for it and use it so that you can cash out your winnings.
Make a Deposit
To actually get your Welcome Bonus, you'll need to make a deposit into your account. To do this, you need to connect a payment method to your sportsbook account. Most sportsbooks will offer a variety of payment methods, including direct bank transfers, credit and debit cards, and third-party payment processors such as PayPal.
When you navigate to the cashier page, you'll just choose the payment method you want to use, enter your credentials (or log in using a secure portal), select the amount that you want to deposit and click submit. Your deposit should only take a few minutes to process. Then, the money and Welcome Bonus will be available in your sportsbook account to place bets.
Get in on the Football Betting Action
Once the funds have cleared into your sportsbook account, it's time to find the football bets you want to make and place them. During football season, most sportsbooks will list some of the most popular available football bets right on the main screen.
To view all the available football bets that you can make, navigate to the football page on the sportsbook's site using the navigation bar. Here, you'll be able to see every league that has bets available to make. Click on the league you want to bet on, and you'll get the full picture of bets that are available for it.
After you find the bet you want to make, click on it to add it to your bet slip. Enter in the amount you want to bet, and the bet slip will update the potential payout automatically based on the odds for that bet.
Then, click accept, and your bet will be placed. Now, sit back and enjoy the game and root for your bet to win!
If you liked our guide on how to bet on football, check out our football betting tips!