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Common Football Bets

Baseball might be the national pastime, and basketball might be on the rise, but football is currently the king of the sports world. Between college football and the NFL, football dominates the sporting landscape like no other.

That includes the sports betting market, with fans eager to try their luck and place bets on both college and pro football games. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to bet on football, and if you have a good understanding of at least a few of the common football bets, you can join in the fun!

Betting on football in Tennessee

Tennessee expects to be ready to allow sports betting as soon as November 2020, if not before. Regulations have been finalized and the Tennessee Education Lottery is reviewing initial applications from operators of online sportsbooks. Once they are approved and the first sites are launched, TN is sure to become a hotbed for legal sports betting.

Whether it’s football or any other sport, Tennessee residents and visitors to the state will be able to place bets at online sportsbooks. Online betting on football is expected to be available once the season starts. As long as you’re at least 21 years of age, any kind of betting on football in Tennessee will be fair game.

Types of bets you can make on football

Football offers myriad betting options, making it suitable for bettors of all experience levels. It’s possible to place bets on individual games by predicting either the result of the game or the number of points scored in the game.

Confident bettors can even place bets on multiple games at the same time, either as individual bets or part of one large bet. There are also football bets that have nothing to do with the outcome of the game but rather events that take place during the game or stats that individual players compile during the game.

Finally, bettors can also bet on football futures. These are long-term bets regarding how many games a certain team will win, what teams will win a championship, and awards that players will win at the end of the season, among a wealth of other options.

Point spread

Betting based on the point spread is the most popular type of football betting. Sportsbooks assign every football game a point spread.

This is essentially an assessment of which of the two teams is the favorite and which is the underdog. The point spread also indicates how much better oddsmakers believe the favorite is than the underdog.

If it’s a close matchup, the point spread may only be two or three points. In a more lopsided matchup, the spread could be seven to 10 points. In college football, there are more likely to be huge mismatches, sometimes leading to spreads of 30 points or more.

With this type of betting, the goal is not necessarily to pick the winner of the game but rather to predict the outcome of the game as it pertains to the spread. For example, the Titans might be 4.5-point favorites in a game against the Raiders.

In this game, you wouldn’t pick the winner. You would be picking whether the Titans will win the game by at least five points. If the Titans were to win the game 17-14, the three-point margin of victory wouldn’t be enough to cover the spread.

That means the Raiders would be considered the winners against the spread, so anyone who bet on the Raiders would profit from the game while everyone who bet on the Raiders would lose.

When looking at this matchup on paper before the game, you would most likely see Titans (-4.5) vs. Raiders. The negative number next to the Titans indicates that they’re the favorites in the game.

You might also see Raiders (+4.5), with the positive number indicating to bettors that the Raiders are the underdogs. You should also keep in mind that not all sportsbooks will have identical point spreads for the same game.

It’s also possible for point spreads to change, so you might place a bet on the Raiders +4.5 points on Wednesday, but by Friday, the bet listed could be Raiders +5.5 points. Sportsbooks can change their point spreads at any point for myriad reasons.

When you bet on football against the spread, you should also know that your profit won’t be as much as your wager on a winning bet. Most point-spread bets in football are given out with -110 odds. This means that you need to bet $110 on a game to make $100 in profit with a winning bet.

Offering these odds is what allows sportsbooks to make a profit on every game if betting on both sides of the spread is equal. Oddsmakers will often change point spreads as a way to encourage equal betting on both sides, which is one reason why you might see betting lines change in the days leading up to a game.

Moneyline

Betting the moneyline in football games is one of the simplest forms of sports betting and can be a good way for beginners to get accustomed to betting. Moneyline betting is simple in the sense that you’re only picking the winner of the game straight-up.

For a game between the Titans and Raiders, you don’t have to worry about the point spread. Just pick the team you think will win.

However, things get a little more complicated in moneyline betting with regard to the amount you wager and the amount you might win. While the point spread is the way oddsmakers dictate favorites and underdogs, the two teams in a football game will have a different moneyline that indicates which team the oddsmakers believe is the favorite.

For example, the Titans might be favored with a moneyline of -200, while the Raiders will be the underdog with a moneyline of +180.

In this scenario, you would need to bet $200 on the Titans to earn a profit of $100 if they were to win. Meanwhile, if you bet $100 on the Raiders and they win, your profit would be $180.

In other words, the more a team is favored, the more money you have to risk to earn a significant profit. In contrast, underdogs offer a higher payout because oddsmakers believe they have a low probability of winning.

While betting on football games using the moneyline sounds simple, turning a profit can be a little more complicated. It may seem easy to bet on favorites a majority of the time, but the profits for each individual game will be small while the losses will be great in the event of an upset.

However, if you can accurately predict when underdogs will win, your profits will be larger than your wager, and you can make a significant amount of money with just a few games.

Over/Under

If predicting the results of football games feels like a daunting task, it’s also possible to bet on the number of points that will be scored in a game by both teams. Along with a point spread, oddsmakers assign a “total” to every football game. This is a projection of the total points when you add the score of each team together.

For example, a game between the Titans and Raiders might have a total of 38.5 points. If you bet the under, you are banking on a low-scoring game, but if you predict a high-scoring game with both teams scoring a few touchdowns, you’ll want to take the over.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what team scores more points, only that points are scored. A game that ends 24-21 is no different from it ending 35-10. The over, in this case, would win either way.

When you bet the over/under, you still have to consider the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, just in a different way. Are these teams better offensively or defensively? What would be the result of a weak offense facing a weak defense?

If you can project these kinds of matchups better than picking a winner against the spread, making an over/under bet might make sense.

Of course, much like with moneylines and point spreads, oddsmakers will change the over/under number based on public betting. There is also a significant difference between college football and the NFL when it comes to the total.

For a variety of reasons, college football games tend to be higher scoring than NFL games, so keep in mind that the over/under numbers will be significantly greater when looking at college games.

Parlays

Parlays are a type of multi-game football betting that’s typically reserved for more experienced bettors. Essentially, you are making bets on multiple games, but if you bet wrong on just one of those games, you lose the entire bet.

On the other hand, if you bet correctly on every game in a parlay, the payout will be greater than if you bet correctly on each game individually.

Some parlays will involve the same game. For example, you could bet on the Titans (-4.5) to beat the Raiders against the spread, while also betting on the over on 38.5 points. If you make separate bets of $100 on each and both were successful, your payout would be $381.80, meaning a profit of $181.80.

However, a parlay bet on the Titans -4.5 and the over on 38.5 points would give you a profit of $260. Of course, if you lost just one of those bets, you would lose the entire parlay.

Naturally, the numbers tend to get complicated when you start mixing point spreads, moneylines and over/unders within the same parlay. But the simple rule to remember with parlays is that the more games you include in the parlay, the higher the potential profit.

It also makes it less likely that you hit on all of the bets. This is why parlays are usually made by experienced bettors who have great confidence in their picks.

Prop bets

Prop bets during football games are popular with bettors of all experience levels. The list of available prop bets and the odds on each one can vary based on the individual sportsbook.

However, most props don’t require the same type of calculated examination as picking against the spread, finding value on the moneyline or making a decision on the total points scored in a game.

Some of the most common prop bets in a football game include the team that will score first, whether the first scoring play will be a touchdown or field goal, the last team to score in the game or the total number of touchdowns in the game. There are also prop bets based on the performance of individual players.

This can include the over/under on a quarterback’s passing yards, the over/under on a running back’s rushing yards, the over/under on a player’s receiving yards or the over/under on the number of sacks or interceptions by a defense.

The list of potential prop bets in a football game is almost endless. Not every sportsbook is going to offer odds on every possible prop bet. However, the Super Bowl is one game where bettors can be sure to find a long list of available prop bets.

Live betting

Just because a game begins doesn’t mean betting has to end. Sportsbooks continue to alter point spreads, moneylines and over/under totals throughout the course of a game, which allows bettors to partake in live betting during football games.

Even if you have already bet on a game, you can make separate bets on that same game.

For example, a game between the Titans and Raiders might begin with the Titans favored by 4.5 points and an over/under of 38.5 points. If the Titans score a touchdown on their opening drive, the point spread could increase to 6.5 points, and the over/under could increase to 41.5 points for live-betting odds.

Both the point spread and point total will continue to change over the course of the game, and live betting can continue until the final seconds tick off the clock.

Futures

Betting on futures is one type of football betting. As the name implies, this involves betting on things that will happen in the future as opposed to betting on specific games.

The most popular type of futures betting is picking the winner of the next Super Bowl. Sportsbooks will have moneylines on all 32 NFL teams based on the probability that they will win the next Super Bowl.

Those moneylines are set almost immediately after the previous Super Bowl. Naturally, they will change during the offseason as perceptions of teams change based on offseason moves. Moneylines will also change during the season based on the performance of each team as well as injuries to key players.

Obviously, with 32 candidates to win the Super Bowl, these aren’t easy bets to win. However, the moneylines offer significant payouts.

Even the betting favorite for next season’s Super Bowl will have a moneyline around +500 or +600, while the fifth-highest favorite might have a betting line of +2000.

In college football, there are also futures moneylines for what team will win the national championship or a particular conference championship.

Futures betting can also include betting on team totals. This means sportsbooks will set an over/under on the number of games a team will win next season. For example, the Titans might have an over/under of 10.5 wins.

Bettors will predict either 10 wins or fewer or 11 wins or more for the Titans. Naturally, this total can change during the offseason based on the team’s offseason moves or public betting.

The other type of futures betting involves annual awards. In college football, betting on the annual Heisman winner is popular.

In the NFL, many bettors will place wagers on league MVP, Rookie of the Year and several other awards. Typically, several players will receive a moneyline based on the probability that they will win a particular award. There will also be a “Field” option, which means you’ll profit if anyone not listed wins the award.

The last word on football bets

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways people can bet on football. Regardless of your experience level with betting, there are ways to enhance the experience of watching football by placing bets on games, whether short-term or long-term bets.

It’s also worth noting that the industry is growing as more states introduce legal sports wagering. With betting on football becoming more widely available, why miss out on the fun?