Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LV
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LV

NFL betting guide: Bet types, rules, Super Bowl information, odds, in-play and more

One of the fastest growing sports in the UK, American Football is going from strength to strength and there are now four regular season games being played in London and the annual NFL Super Bowl every February being one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet.


There are so many intricate rules and nuances in the NFL that take time to learn, but for beginners and those looking for a betting interest it’s all pretty straightforward – as the aim of the game is to get into the end zone to score a touchdown.

A touchdown (TD) is worth six points and teams then have the choice of kicking an extra point, similar to a rugby conversion, or going for a two-point conversion which involves the ball being placed two yards from the end zone with the attacking team trying to get it back in the end zone, via a run or a thrown pass, in the same way as a touchdown is scored.

When moving the ball up and down the field, each team has four attempts (called downs) to move the ball at least 10 yards – if they can’t get 10 yards in those four downs then possession is handed over to the other team. Once teams get to a ‘fourth down’ and they’re still way off making ten yards, they usually kick the ball away (called a punt) to push the opposition back deep into their own territory.

If they’re close to the opposition end zone, but feel they can’t score a touchdown, they can opt to kick a field goal, which is worth three points.

A game of NFL is 60 minutes, split into four 15-minute quarters and another big positive in terms of NFL betting is that there are rarely draws, or ties, given that if a game is level after 60 minutes it goes into overtime.

The NFL is the only one of the four American major sports that still has ties involved, but since 1974 when the overtime rule was introduced there have only been 25 ties in total in the NFL.


With this rise in popularity comes a rise in betting around the NFL, which is mainly played on Sundays but also has Thursday and Monday night games during the regular season before three weeks of play-offs leading towards the Super Bowl.

A main attraction of NFL betting is the fact that most games take place on a Sunday at around 6pm, with the later games kicking off at 9pm, leading to plenty of opportunities for accumulators and in-play NFL betting on multiple games at the same time.

Those fans who tune in to the excellent NFL Red Zone show can see every touchdown scored just after it happens, which is great news for those betting on multiple game accumulators or betting on players to score touchdowns.

The major betting markets for NFL include the match result, handicaps, total match points and multiple team accumulators, while individual player betting is popular in particular backing players to find the end zone to score a touchdown.


Pre-season is always full of promise and hope for every NFL team, as you never quite know who is going to be strong and who is going to over promise and under deliver. Every year multiple teams make the play-offs having previously missed out.

Betting on the Super Bowl is very popular, as there is some great value available if you fancy a team, like the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, to make the big game having previously won just four games the year before.

You can also go early and predict who will win the MVP of the league – this is the player voted as the best in the entire NFL during the regular season (before the play-offs kick in). You can also take a very early swing at the MVP of the Super Bowl, although that particular market is usually best left until we know the two teams involved.


Due to the lack of ties, the match result is the easiest way to bet on the NFL, sometimes this is known as the ‘straight up’ market in the United States, although with just two results possible most weeks the odds will not be huge – and many opt to go for a multiple team accumulator.

NFL Handicap betting is most popular for many bettors. Often called the point spread, this sees one team given a points handicap, and you’ll often hear talk of whether that team ‘can cover’ that spread in the game.

Put simply, if the New England Patriots are given a -6.5pt handicap against the Miami Dolphins, they then have to win by seven points or more for you to collect your winnings. Conversely, it also means that if you fancy a big underdog will keep it close, you can back them with, say, a +10.5pt handicap and hope they just stay in touch to win.

As with football when you bet on the under/over on goals, betting on the total points to be scored in the match is another popular route into NFL betting. The points ‘line’ is set by the bookmakers calculated by how many points teams usually score or concede and you decide whether you think there will be more or less points in that game.

Things to consider here are weather conditions, team news, and even the surface and stadium the game is being played, as an indoor dome with an astro turf playing surface is naturally more conducive for point scoring, with players able to run faster and now wind or adverse weather to restrict throwing or kicking.

With both the handicaps and total match points you can also select your own alternative points handicap and match points to get larger or shorter odds.


You can bet on all types of player markets, but the most popular is the touchdown scorer market, where you simply back one player to find the end zone.

Another popular feature here is adding multiple players into a touchdown accumulator, and watching the NFL Red Zone show hoping it’s your man scoring the points.

For quarterbacks you can bet on how many touchdowns they throw, and how many yards their passes travel, while for running backs and receivers you can wager on the amount of runs and catches they make as well as the respective yards they take the ball.


These NFL RequestABets are proving even more popular, as you can tag in almost any individual bet you want into one wager to cover all bases and really get your odds up. For instance, you could back the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Houston Texans, by seven points or more, with over 50 points scored in the game and even throw in two touchdowns scorers – resulting in a hefty profit.

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