Football is the most popular sport in North America, with millions of fans watching the action each week during the season.
In North America alone the NFL is watched by over 16 million fans each week. That is a staggering four per cent of the entire population of the USA and Canada. Meanwhile, the sport continues to grow in Europe, with the NFL staging games in London each year.
Players hail predominantly from the USA and Canada but increasing numbers of talents are being found in Europe.
It means the NFL is becoming more of a global game, and their showpiece event — the Super Bowl — is watched and followed by millions of supporters each year.
In this guide, we will take you through the basics of NFL betting and the rules of American Football. It means you will get a chance to improve your knowledge of the game, whether you’re new to NFL or an expert already!
Rules of NFL
American Football can seem like a complicated game but in reality it is very simple. The basic concept is to get the ball into the other team’s end zone to score a touchdown. A touchdown is worth six points, while teams can then try to kick a conversion through the goal posts to earn an additional point. The game is played over four 15-minute quarters and the winner is the team with the most points at the end.
NFL is a sport that is all about territory and possession.Two teams face each other and throw or rush a ball down the field. There are generally two teams within an American Football team — the offence and defence.
Let’s use the Panthers vs the Bills as an example. If the Panthers have the ball, they will play their offensive team. The Panthers offence will up at a point where the ball was last stopped, with the opposing team — the Bills’ defence — facing them. The Panthers have four attempts to move the ball 10 yards. If they achieve this, they will earn another set of four plays. The idea is that the Panthers will move down the field and eventually be close enough for a scoring position. Here, they will try and get the ball into the end zone, either by throwing it to one of their players or rushing it through the mass of bodies.
If, for example, the Panthers fail to move 10 yards in four plays, the ball is turned over and the Bills take possession. At this stage, both sides will likely switch their offensive and defensive teams over. This can take time, which is why there are plenty of breaks in NFL. But that means you have more chance and time to bet In Play on American Football, which is much easier to do than other, faster sports like soccer or tennis.
NFL is all about specialities, which is why the players who face each other at the line of scrimmage tend to be big, heavy players. The nimbler, more athletic players are those who hang further back. They are there to either try and score, or stop opponents from scoring. The quarterback is the most specialised NFL player on the field and has command of how plays are made. They receive the ball at the start of the play and will either look to throw the ball, or rush it. Sometimes other players are given the ball to rush it forward.
NFL betting - How to Bet on NFL
NFL is a two-team game and that makes it easy to bet on. There is only usually one outcome to the majority of NFL bets — either it wins or it doesn’t. For example, there are no draws in the NFL and so games that finish even go to overtime, until there is a winner. This means when you bet on the winner of an NFL game, there is no third option.
This is called match betting and is the most straightforward and popular type of NFL bet. Say, for example, you want to bet on the Steelers to beat the Buccaneers. You would select the Steelers odds in the match bet type and enter your stake. You will see the potential payout and, if the Steelers win, you win your bet!
Sometimes NFL games are uneven and there is a heavy favourite. In this case, many NFL betting fans like to use our handicap betting option to even out the NFL odds. The handicap works by creating an imaginary points handicap on the score. For example, the Rams might be 1/5 to beat the Saints — a bet that is not very tempting. But you can add a handicap of -12.5 points to the Rams, in order to bring the odds up to 3/1. If you then bet on this, you will have to hope the Rams win by at least 13 points in order to win your bet!
You can bet on the handicap the other way too. So you may give the Rams a +9.5 handicap. In this instance, only if the Rams lose by more than 10 points do you lose your bet.
Over/Under betting is another bet type that is popular in NFL. This is because there are plenty of points scored in an average American Football game. You can bet on the points total of a match surprising 25.5 points, for example. Or, you could bet that a match will witness under 18.5 points.
The over/under market can also be used on individual teams and players. So you may choose to back the Falcons to score over 15.5 points in a game against the Packers. Or you could back a Falcons running back to score over 12.5 points themselves!
Individual player betting
NFL is a team sport but the individuals are the focus. And this is why player betting is so popular here. You can bet on which player will score the first touchdown, which will run the furthest, which will earn the most tackles and even which will become the MVP at the end of the season.
Most players have a speciality and the odds on them achieving a certain landmark reflect those talents. So, a running back is an offensive player who quite often receives the ball from the quarterback. NFL betting fans would therefore expect running backs to score more points during a game than, say, a fullback.
Equally, you would bet on a defensive end to earn the most sacks. A sack is when a defensive player successfully takes down the quarterback before they can throw the ball. They are impactful plays when they are successful and defensive ends are primed to go for the QB as soon as that ball snaps back.
NFL long term bets
It is also worth noting that you can place overall bets on the NFL, such as season-long bets on which team will win the Super Bowl. The beauty of these bet types is that the markets fluctuate throughout the year. So, you might bet on the Falcons at 15/1 to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season and see them come in to 3/1 if they reach the playoffs!
When betting on NFL MVP markets, it is always worth noting which team you think will win the Super Bowl. Almost every NFL MVP comes from the winning team of the Championship that season — and it’s usually the quarterback or the running back. So make sure to keep an eye on those betting odds and which teams look destined for glory.
Live Football Betting on
Here at Unibet we’re dedicated to bringing you the best odds as fast as possible. And that’s why we make sure every NFL game has live football betting options, so you don’t miss a thing during the match.
Live football betting means you can make decisions about the game while the action is unfolding. You can choose the perfect time to bet on the next points scorer, or the team that will turnover the ball next. You can even place a new match bet on the result if it looks like one team are destined for victory.
Of course, libe football betting features live odds, so the price of a bet can go up and down depending on what is happening out on the field. In the Panthers QB suddenly throws a touchdown with seconds remaining to overhaul the score, then their odds on winning the game will tumble immediately.
Live football on both NFL and College football games is all about timing and following your instincts! And the beauty of the sport is that there is always an event to bet on during the three hours or so it takes to complete a game.
Check out NFL playoffs predictions and odds for some betting tips for NFL playoffs.