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How to Bet on Football

No other professional league in the United States of America comes close to the popularity of the NFL. Tennessee loves its football and has a rich tradition with rooting on its college teams, especially the Tennessee Volunteers. The state’s passion for local football has carried over into its fervent support of the Tennessee Titans since the team moved to Nashville as the Oilers back in 1997.

Up until 2020, Tennessee Titans fans and others in Tennessee were forced to find illegal methods to place bets on NFL games such as unsanctioned offshore sportsbooks or local bookies. Tennessee residents now finally have the legal means to bet on the NFL since the state legalized sports gambling in 2019 and began issuing licenses to sportsbooks in 2020.

How to bet on NFL games in Tennessee

Online sportsbooks and sports betting apps in Tennessee

Tennessee’s sports gambling bill legalized online-only sports betting across the state. Tennessee became the first state to legalize sports betting without any brick-and-mortar locations to go along with its online presence. Sportsbooks that apply for and are issued licenses to operate in Tennessee must be able to book bets and handle withdrawals and deposits online.

Fortunately for NFL bettors in Tennessee, there are many excellent and reputable sportsbooks that have invested a lot of time and money into creating sleek webpages and easy-to-use sports betting apps for mobile devices. You can find a great online sports betting experience from any of the following licensed sportsbooks in Tennessee:

SportsbookLaunch Date
BetMGMNov 2020
DraftKingsNov 2020
FanDuelNov 2020
PointsBetTBD

NFL bet types

  • Moneyline: Bettors who simply want to bet on which team will win the game can place their NFL wagers on the moneyline. The betting favorite’s odds are listed with a “-” in front of them, which lets you know how much you would have to risk to win $100. A team listed at -180 would require a bet of $180 to win $100. Underdog odds are listed with a “+” in front of them, which tells you how much you would win if you risk $100. A $100 bet on a +150 team will pay a $150 profit.
  • Point spread: Against the spread betting is the most popular form of betting on football. A spread, which is basically a points handicap, is applied to both teams, and bettors can then bet on either side with equal or nearly equal betting odds. For example, if the Tennessee Titans are -6.5 home favorite over the Denver Broncos, you can bet on Tennessee -6.5 and win your bet if the Titans beat the Broncos by seven points or more. A bet on Denver at +6.5 would cash if the Broncos win outright or lose by six points or fewer.
  • Over/under: Tennessee sportsbooks post a projected total number of points on every NFL game, and bettors can bet on whether the combined score between the two teams playing will go over or under this posted total. For example, if the Tennessee Titans are on the road against the Minnesota Vikings and the total is set at 44.5 points, a bet on over 44.5 would cash in a 38-20 Minnesota win (58 points) while a bet on under 44.5 would win if the final score was Tennessee 21, Minnesota 17 (38 points).
  • Prop bets: Prop betting takes place on events that happen within the game that are not necessarily tied to the outcome of the game. Some examples include player props like will Ryan Tannehill pass for over or under 275.5 yards, or game props like will the first team to receive the ball score on its opening drive.
  • Live betting: Live betting allows you to bet on the NFL action as it is unfolding. Moneylines, point spreads and totals are rapidly being updated as the game progresses based on what’s going on. Some sportsbooks even offer prop bets on quarters, halves and what the next play will be.
  • Parlays: Parlay bets give bettors the opportunity to combine two or more picks together into one parlay, with the stipulation being that every pick selected must win for the parlay to win. The more difficult a parlay is to hit (based on betting odds and the number of legs selected), the more it will pay.
  • Teasers: Teasers work the same way as parlays, but they are less risky and pay out less because they add points to the sides you like, making them easier to hit. For example, a 6-point teaser of the Tennessee Titans at -4 and the Philadelphia Eagles at +3 would bump these picks to Tennessee +2 and Philadelphia +9.
  • Futures: Futures bets deal with events that are set to occur in the long-term. Examples of futures include which team will win the Super Bowl, which team will win the AFC South Division and what player will win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

NFL teams in Tennessee

The Houston Oilers were founded as a charter member of the American Football League in 1960. They won the AFL Championship in 1960 and 1961. The Oilers joined the NFL in the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and played in Houston through the 1996 NFL season. In 1997, the Oilers became the first NFL team to ever play in Tennessee when they moved to Memphis and became the Tennessee Oilers.

The team moved to Nashville and played its home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in 1998. The team changed its name to the Titans and started playing its home games at Nissan Stadium (then called the Adelphia Coliseum) in 1999. The Titans made a splash in their first season with their new name, advancing to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they eventually fell short against the St. Louis Rams in one of the most competitive Super Bowls of all time.

Tennessee Titans NFL facts

  • Owner: KSA Industries
  • General manager: Jon Robinson
  • Head coach: Mike Vrabel
  • Home stadium: Nissan Stadium
  • Conference championships: One (1999)
  • Division championships: Five (three in Tennessee)
  • Playoff appearances: 18 (eight in Tennessee)
  • Franchise leader in passing yards: Warren Moon (33,685)
  • Franchise leader in rushing yards: Eddie George (10,009)
  • Franchise leader in receiving yards: Ernest Givens (7,935)
  • Retired numbers: Eight (1 Warren Moon, 9 Steve McNair, 27 Eddie George, 34 Earl Campbell, 43 Jim Norton, 63 Mike Munchak, 65 Elvin Bethea, 74 Bruce Matthews)

Top 5 NFL players from Tennessee

Reggie White, born in Chattanooga:

Reggie White went to 13 straight Pro Bowls from 1986-1998, was a first-team All-Pro eight times and was a second-team All-Pro five times over the course of his incredible Hall of Fame career. The Chattanooga native played college football at the University of Tennessee and even played a year with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL before starting his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985.

Doug Atkins, born in Humboldt:

Widely considered one of the greatest pass rushers of all-time, the 6’8” Atkins was a first-team All-Pro four times and a second-team All-Pro six times over his 17-year career. Atkins has two championships under his belt, having won one with the Cleveland Browns in 1954 and one with the Chicago Bears in 1963.

Jason Witten, born in Elizabethton:

Jason Witten converted from a defensive end to a tight end during his time at the University of Tennessee. He went on to be one of the all-time greats at tight end in the NFL, compiling 11 Pro Bowl appearances, 1,215 receptions, 12,977 receiving yards and 72 touchdowns across 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. His 1,215 career receptions rank fourth highest all-time among NFL receivers.

Patrick Willis, born in Bruceton:

Patrick Willis would have likely climbed higher on this list if his career hadn’t been cut severely short due to injury. In just seven and a half seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Willis racked up 950 tackles, eight interceptions and 16 forced fumbles. He made the Pro Bowl in all seven of the full seasons he played, won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007 and was a five-time first-team All-Pro.

Lynn Swann, born in Alcoa:

Lynn Swann didn’t put up huge numbers during his nine-season career in the NFL, but his résumé speaks for itself. Swann is a four-time Super Bowl champion with a Super Bowl MVP award, a three-time All-Pro, a three-time Pro Bowler and an NFL Hall-of-Famer.

NFL Betting FAQ

How does the NFL regular season work?

The NFL is made up of 32 teams that are split into two conferences, the AFC and NFC. Each conference is divided up into four divisions (the North, South, East and West) with four teams in each of them. The regular season runs from September through late December, with all 32 teams playing 16 games each. Each team’s schedule consists of six games against division rivals, six games against other conference opponents, and four games against the opposing conference.

The regular season is set to increase to 17 games as early as 2021 due to a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The new CBA also calls for an update to the NFL playoff structure, expanding the postseason field from 12 teams to 14 teams in 2020.

How does the new NFL postseason work?

From 2002 through 2019, the NFL awarded each of the four division winners in each conference the top four seeds in their respective playoff brackets. Both conferences also added two wild card teams to their brackets, with the two teams owning the best record outside of the division winners in the conference earning the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds.

The two division winners with the best records in the conference would earn a bye week in the first round of the postseason, known as “wild card weekend.” Both conferences featured a No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed matchup and a No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed matchup, with the higher seed playing at home. The winner of these games advanced to face the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the divisional round, with the lowest seed to advance in each conference facing the No. 1 seed. These winners advanced to the AFC championship game and the NFC championship game, with the winners of each conference going on to clash in the Super Bowl.

Starting in 2020, there will now be three wild card spots awarded in each conference instead of two. Only the No. 1 seed will receive a first-round bye. The No. 2 seed will now play on wild card weekend against the No. 7 seed, adding two playoff games to the schedule. There will still be four teams remaining after the wild card matchups, and the rest of the postseason will proceed as it used to.

Why did the NFL switch to a new playoff format?

The most obvious reason is money. Adding two more games to wild card weekend will generate millions of dollars in advertising revenue. This revenue will make the league more money and in turn help the salary cap continue to grow, resulting in the players getting higher salaries, as well.

And while there will occasionally be some bad teams that slip through, more often than not, the last team to make it in each conference is still fairly competitive. This format could create some intriguing matchups that otherwise might not have existed.

How long is the NFL preseason?

Each NFL team plays four preseason games, with the exception of the two teams that meet in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game, which play five. When the regular season schedule switches over to 17 games, the preseason will be cut down to three games, as well.

Is NFL betting legal in Tennessee?

Yes. The passing of House Bill 0001 in 2019 legalized sports betting in Tennessee, which includes betting on the NFL.