Interest in the NFL in the UK seems to have spiralled in recent years, even surpassing the initial flurry of late 1980s attention the sport of American football when Channel 4 began broadcasting a weekly highlights show. The bookies have recognised this re-kindled interest in the NFL and American football in general, and now offer betting opportunities on all the season's NFL games. You can usually bet using the traditional UK method of odds, or the US style of handicap lines. You can read about these two methods later on in this article.
The easiest way to bet on an NFL game is to select the winner. When it comes to UK sports books, teams are usually given 'traditional' odds, i.e. 4/5 to win, or 1.80 if you prefer the decimal odds format. You can bet on a draw or 'tie' if you wish, but as in all American sports ties are very uncommon. If an American football game is tied at the end of regulation play then ten minutes of overtime are played. This is 'sudden death' overtime in so much as the team that scores first wins unless the other team has not had possession during overtime and unless the scoring team score a touch down on their first possession.
The 'US' style of betting is very different, but many of the UK's latest betting sites will allow you to bet on NFL games in this manner. There are two types of betting – spread betting and moneyline betting.
A sports book where you can spread bet will set a points spread on the basis of one team being favourite. This means that the less favoured team will be given a points advantage as a form of handicap to the favourite. For example, say the Miami Dolphins are given a 7.5 point spread against the New England Patriots. This means – in betting terms – that the Dolphins begin the game 7.5-0 up. If you bet on the Patriots, they would have to beat the Dolphins by at least eight points (as you cannot score half a point) to win, so if the score ends up 23-20 to the Patriots, the Dolphins are the 'winners'.
A moneyline bet is practically identical to the traditional UK way of betting, although the way the odds (or 'line') are presented is something punters used to traditional odds or decimal odds may struggle with. The game favourites will always be presented with a negative number, while the underdogs will always be presented with a positive number. For example:
New England Patriots -175
Miami Dolphins +200
If the number is negative, then that is the amount of money you would need to wager if you wanted to win exactly $100. If the number is positive then that the amount you would win if you were to wager exactly $100. In short, the favourite in an American football game is always 'odds on'.
To convert from moneyline odds to decimal odds, divide one hundred by the number and add one if the number is negative, or divide the number by one hundred and add one if the number is positive. In the example above, the Patriots are 1.57 (or 4/7), and the Dolphins are 3.00 (2/1).
The most common 'other' bet when it comes to American Football is the total. This is an estimation by a sports book of the amount of points that will scored in a game. You can decide if you think the total number of points scored will be lower or higher than the predicted total. If you are into spread betting then you can also wager upon just how many points the predicted total will be out by.
Most other bets are the same as UK-style bets, but they have different names. If you bet on other aspects of a game, such as the number of field goals that will be scored, or the amount of yards rushed by an individual player, then this is known as 'prop betting'. You can bet on accumulators too on NFL games – this is known as 'parlay' betting.
Unlike, say, football, there are no 'other' competitions in NFL betting. In football you have the EPL, the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, the UEFA European Champions league, and so on. In the NFL there is only one competition, the NFL itself culminating in the Superbowl.
You can bet on outright conference or divisional winners, though. The NFL consists of thirty-two teams split into two conferences – the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. Each conference is then split into four divisions – East, North, South and West. You are of course free to bet on the winners of each conference or each division.
Six teams from each conference reach the playoffs each season – the four divisional winners and the two teams with the next best records, known as 'wildcard' teams. These twelve teams are whittled down via a series of games until only two teams from each conference remain. These two teams then play for the honour of being declared conference champions.
Virtually every single sports book site understands that there's plenty of potential markets for all forms of sports betting these days – long gone are the days where everything revolved around horse racing, greyhounds and football. Any sports betting site, and certainly all the best online betting sites listed here, will give the option of betting on the NFL.
One thing to bear in mind, though. The main NFL season only runs from September until the end of December, making it one of the shortest sporting seasons anywhere. If you want to bet on the NFL in the middle of summer, then you're going to be out of luck.
The pre-season in the NFL usually commences at the start of August, but pre-season games are notoriously difficult to predict. Teams are usually giving 'borderline' players playing time during these games, so betting on these games is usually best avoided.
Post-season in the NFL (in order words, the playoffs) begins in January, and ties are played on a weekly basis until the two-week break that precedes the Superbowl, where the new NFL Champions are crowned.
Online betting sites love nothing more than to gain new customers, so they will typically offer specials deals for NFL betting fans in order to acquire their custom. If you want to get bonuses and promotions, then you will need to hunt around sports betting sites just as the new NFL season commences, which don't forget happens in September each year. Other times to check are the first week in January when the playoffs commence, and of course the two weeks leading up to the Superbowl.
Whether you're a regular NFL sports bettor or not, it's always worth hunting around the leading sports betting sites at this time in order to obtain for yourself a decent deal or two. It always pays to get a little extra for your wagering wonga!
Of course, here at LatestBettingSites we will keep you in the loop with all the latest promotions.
Professional football in the US had been around since 1892, but because of the country's size teams played in regional leagues. By 1920 travel had become affordable, and the 'American Professional Football Association' (APFA) was formed by ten teams from across four states. The Decatur Stanleys (now the Chicago Bears) and the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) are the only two founding members still in the NFL.
The NFL remained the top league in American football until 1959, when the rival American Football League (AFL) came into existence. The AFL eventually matched the NFL in terms of illustriousness, thanks to the emergence of the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs (formerly the Houston Texans) in non-NFL markets. Top players and leading college players began to drift to the AFL, weakening the NFL's position. Eventually, in 1966, it was announced that the two leagues would merge. The new league would be called the NFL, with the existing NFL teams becoming the National Football Conference, and the AFL becoming the American Football Conference.
The 'Superbowl' game began in 1967, prior to the completion of the NFL-AFL merger which was finalised in 1970. This end-of-season game was organised to determine which team was the best American football team that season. A crowd of just under 62,000 saw the winners of the NFL - the Green Bay Packers - defeat the winners of the AFL - the Kansas City Chiefs -35-10. A TV audience of 51 million viewed watched the game.
The first merged NFL Superbowl was Superbowl V, which was won by the Baltimore Colts of the AFC defeating the Dallas Cowboys of the NFC 16-13. The Superbowl in 2018 at the end of the 2017 season will be the fifty-second to be played.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful Superbowl team in history, winning six titles. The New England Patriots have dominated the Superbowl in recent years, winning in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2015 and 2017, and appearing in the Superbowl in 2008 and 2012.