FOOTBALL BETTING SITES
List of the Best Football Sportsbooks Online in May 2023
Football is the most popular sport in the United States and the most popular betting sport. Significant money is wagered on the NFL and NCAA football, and there are also tons of bets to be made. Every licensed and reputable online sportsbook that we review will offer football betting lines, and not only that, but football bonuses and promotions are there for the taking as well.
If you want an extensive guide to all that football betting has to offer, then keep on reading.
HOW WE PICK THE BEST APPS
We aren’t random when we do our research and recommend the best sportsbooks where you can wager on football. We pick them and use various criteria to offer our advice. You can bank on the fact that all of the sportsbooks we review are 100% safe and legal to play at. We aim to offer you the best experience when you bet on football, period.
GET STARTED BETTING ON FOOTBALL ONLINE
You should take advantage of all of our hard work to find the best football betting site for you. Once you find a solid site, you have football betting options aplenty, and the action is there for the taking. You will see all the games to bet on and the betting markets available, and there are many of them.
You can check out the sportsbooks we review and then pick one and register for an account. Then after making a real money deposit, you can pad your bankroll with a solid bonus and get to betting! By playing at our recommended sites, you are sure to have a fantastic football betting experience.
Read our comprehensive guide and see the many wagering options you can take advantage of. Not only that, but you will see the rules and history of the game and more!
SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST FOOTBALL BETTING LINES
It is always good to shop around to find the best NFL and NCAA lines for football. You can check out a few sportsbooks to find the best lines to get the best possible payout. There is nothing that says you have to play at one online bookie, so get the best lines to max your potential, and this is especially the case the more money you wager.
TONS OF BETTING OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM
When it comes to football betting options, you have a lot of them, to say the least. Not only are there many football games during the season, especially in college, but so many betting markets for games.
For example, for a typical NFL game, you will find hundreds, yes hundreds, of bet types available. The betting opportunities are significant from spreads and totals to prop bets and futures and more.
THE BIG GAME
The big game is what the Super Bowl is called, and it is one of the biggest betting events in the world. In the 2021-2022 season, over seven and a half billion dollars were wagered on the big game. While there are hundreds of bets available for typical NFL games, when the Super Bowl comes around, that number jumps to thousands will all the prop bets available.
PIGSKIN BONUSES AND PROMOTIONS
With football, the most popular sport in the US, the sportsbooks that cater to those players offer many bonuses and promotions centered around football. You should look into it for any bonus available, as bonus money is a great way to pad your gaming bankroll. There will be many bonuses for the NFL and NCAAF playoffs and more for the NCAA title game and Super Bowl. There are also team-specific bonuses at some of the state-regulated sportsbooks and other ongoing promos such as parlay insurance and profit boosts.
FOOTBALL BETTING TRENDS
Anytime you want to wager on football, you should check out betting trends. You can check out ATS (against the spread) and Over/Under trends for teams, and you may get a good read if a team is a solid bet or not. You can check out many different trends, such as how a team has fared on the road, at home, or against a specific opponent. You can find many betting trends sites online and, sometimes, at some of the sportsbooks that we review.
BET ON FOOTBALL LIVE!
Live betting is very popular these days, and the lion’s share of the sportsbooks that we review offer it. Live betting is betting on a game while it is happening in real-time. The odds change depending on what is happening in the game. Usually, in terms of wagering on football, there are spread, moneyline, and totals live betting, with some books offering live prop bets.
Basic Intro to Football
In football, the main object of each team is to score more points than the other team. Two teams face off with 11 players on offense and 11 on defense. The offense tries to score points while the defense tries to keep that from happening. The defense can do this by tackling the offensive player with the ball taking him to the ground.
The football field is 100 yards long, and 53 1/3 yards wide and at each end of the field is the end zone, which extends the playing field another 10 yards on each side. At the end of each of the end zones, there is a field goal: a crossbar 10 feet high and a width of 18.5 feet.
The team that is on offense must advance the ball with 10 yards in four downs, and if they do that, they get a new set of four downs. If a team does not advance the ball 10 yards, the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the offensive team has a fourth down, they can either punt the ball to the opposing team or kick a field goal, usually attempted within 40 yards of the end zone. The offensive team can move the ball forward by running it on the ground or passing it in the air to a player on their team.
An NCAA and NFL game lasts 60 minutes with four quarters of 15 minutes each, and at halftime the teams take a break.
The scoring in football is:
- 6 points – Getting the ball into the end zone called a touchdown (TD)
- 1 point – kicking the ball through the goalposts and above the crossbar after a TD
- 2 points – going for a 2-point conversion after a TD where the ball is placed at the 2-yard line and the team tried to get in the end zone
- 3 -points – Kicking the ball through the goalposts and above the crossbar from anywhere on the field
- 2 points – Safety. When a QB is tackled in their end zone.
There are different positions in football, with the quarterback (QB) being the most important as he touches the ball after every snap of the football. The players protecting the QB are the offensive line, and they line up before the play opposing the defensive line in front of them, who are trying to get to the QB to disrupt his pass or stop the run game. Behind the defensive line are the linebackers, and then behind them is the secondary, which is tasked with stopping the QB from connecting with passes. There are the running backs on offence, which can run the ball on the ground and catch the ball as well as the wide receivers and tight ends, who catch balls thrown from the QB to attempt to gain yards.
At the beginning of each play, the two lines match up facing each other and the QB calls for the hike, which starts the play. When there is play the clock starts and if the team with the ball stays in bounds with the ball the clock continues to run until the next play. The clock stops when a player with the ball runs out of bounds, the QB does not complete a pass, there is a penalty, or if the team calls a time out.
There are many penalties in the game, with most of them committed by the defensive team. Penalties can be 5, 10, or 15 yards, depending on the type of penalty and longer. An example of the latter would be if a receiver’s catch was interfered with, then the ball would be placed at the spot where the penalty occurred. If there is a defensive penalty, the team with the ball moves back from the line of scrimmage, starting point, and the down is replayed no matter what happened on the play. The defense has the option to decline the penalty.
The offensive team scores most of the touchdowns. However, the defense can score if there is a fumble, an offensive player loses the ball, or an interception, which means the QB passes the ball and a defensive player catches the ball rather than an offensive one.
NFL and NCAA Football Layout
While there are some smaller leagues for football, the two main ones are the NFL (National Football League) and NCAA football (college). In those leagues, teams play the season to win the Super Bowl in the NFL and the National Championship in the NCAA game.
In the NFL, there are 32 teams with 16 in the NFC (National Football Conference) and 16 in the AFC (American Football Conference), and they play in eight divisions, which for NFC are:
|NFC East||NFC South||NFC North||NFC West|
|Dallas Cowboys||New Orleans Saints||Green Bay Packers||San Francisco 49ers|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Carolina Panthers||Detroit Lions||L.A. Rams|
|New York Giants||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks|
|Washington Commanders||Atlanta Falcons||Chicago Bears||Arizona Cardinals|
and for the American Football Conference they are:
|AFC East||AFC South||AFC North||AFC West|
|New England Patriots||Jacksonville Jaguars||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Buffalo Bills||Houston Texans||Cincinnati Bengals||Las Vegas Riders|
|New York Jets||Indianapolis Colts||Cleveland Browns||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Miami Dolphins||Tennessee Titans||Baltimore Ravens||Denver Broncos|
The layout changed some in terms of the NFL in 2021 with 17 games on the schedule, up one from 16, and adding one more wild card team. The winner of each of the eight divisions makes the playoffs, and then the three other teams from each conference with the best records also make it. The teams are seeded in each conference and the top seed from each one gets a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The higher seed in the playoffs hosts each matchup, and the system is a single-elimination format. The semifinals are the AFC and NFC title games, and then the Super Bowl is played at a neutral location.
In Division 1 NCAA football, there are 125 teams in FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), which is the top league. There are 11 conferences in the college game, and they are:
- ACC (Atlantic Coastal Conference)
- Big 10
- Big 12
- AAC (American Athletic Conference)
- Pac 12 (Pacific 12)
- SEC (Southeastern Conference)
- Conference USA
- Sun Belt
- Mountain West Conference
- MAC (Mid-American Conference)
There are 12 games in the regular season in NCAA football, and at the beginning of the season, teams usually play out of conference for a few games but then mostly within their conference. The teams have a conference record, and some conferences have divisions while others do not. At the end of the season, the top teams from each division in the conference, if they have them, face off in the conference title game while the top two teams face off if there are no divisions. The winner of the title game is the winner of the conference for the season.
There are two polls in the coaches’ poll and the AP poll all season long. However, the one that matters is the BCS rankings. Those rankings come out later in the season. At the season’s conclusion, the top four teams in the BCS rankings will be in the semifinals, with the fourth-ranked team facing the top-ranked team and the second-ranked team facing the third-ranked team. The winners of those games will play each other, and the winner is named the National Champion for the season. There have been recent discussions about expanding the playoff format.
The teams not in the top 4 of the BCS rankings can still play a bowl game. To be eligible, a team must win at least six games. There are 44 bowl games played across the United States and the better teams, higher in the rankings, play in the better bowl games, which have more exposure, and the teams get more money. The top bowl games are the New Year’s Six games, where two of them rotate every year, with two of them the semifinals games. The New Year’s Six bowl games and their locations are:
- Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California
- Peach Bowl – Atlanta, Georgia
- Cotton Bowl – Arlington, Texas
- Orange Bowl – Miami Gardens, Florida
- Fiesta Bowl – Glendale, Arizona
- Sugar Bowl – New Orleans, Louisiana
Brief History of Football
The origins of football come from England in the latter part of the 19th century with a mix of soccer and rugby. Walter Camp was an important person in the game’s development and brought more rugby style rules and implemented the rules of the line of scrimmage and 11 players on a side rather than 15.
The game of football rose in popularity in America, and at the turn of the 20th-century professional teams started to spring up. The first league in the American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920 with ten teams from four states, and then the league changed its name to the NFL in 1922. More and more teams were added in the next few decades, and the style of play changed. In the beginning, it was mostly a running game, and in the 1960s and 1970s, there was more ball passing, and rule changes came with it in order to make the game more exciting.
Until 1967 the winner of the season was decided by the NFL championship, but that changed in 1967. At that time, the AFL was a newer league, and the champion of that league would face the champion of the NFL in the Super Bowl. In 1970 the two leagues merged, still called the NFL, with many AFL teams being absorbed. Today, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the US and the biggest betting event.
There is the NFL draft every season where teams draft players from the college game.
How Does Football Betting Work?
In terms of football betting, you are making a wager on an NCAA or NFL game that the oddsmakers post. Then you can make a bet at an online sportsbook, and it is advantageous to wager at a site that we review, as they are all 100% safe and legal to play at and offer a ton of pigskin betting options. At the sportsbook, there will be a football section to click on, often NCAA and NFL links, where you can check all the games on the colander and all the current bets that are available. You then can click on the specific bet you want to make, pick how much you want to wager, and then wait for the game’s result to see if your bet/bets are winners or losers.
The bigger the game, the more betting markets will be available. For example, there will be many more bets available for an NFL game than for the Sun Belt Conference in college football, as that is not a major conference. Typically, there will be hundreds of different bets to make for an NFL game.
Football Bets Available
Here are the betting markets for football betting:
The spread is the most popular wager for football betting. It is a handicap bet where you are wagering on the winner of a football game, but the favorite in the game will be giving points while the underdog will be getting them. With the spread, you are not simply betting on one team to win but for them to cover the spread. A team can win a game but not cover, and if you wager on them, you lose the bet.
Here is an example of an NFL spread bet:
Dallas Cowboys +6
Philadelphia Eagles -6
In this example, the Eagles are 6-point favorites and give 6 points to the Cowboys. If you bet on the Eagles, taking the spread, they have to win by more than six points for you to win the bet. Conversely, if you bet on the Eagles, they will have to win or lose by fewer than 6 points to win the bet. If the game’s outcome is Eagles 27 Cowboys 20, the Eagles would be the winning bet, as they covered the 6-point spread, while the Cowboys would be the losing bet, as they did not cover the spread.
(NOTE) You may see a .5 at the end of the number for spreads and totals and sometimes proposition bets. Adding that to the example above, the spread would be Cowboys +6.5 and Eagles -6.5. The .5 at the end of the number means that there can’t be any push in the game, as half a point cannot be scored. Again, using the example above, if 6 points favor the Eagles and they win by 6 points, the game is referred to as a pick, which is a tie since the spread was 6 points, and if this is the case, it is a push, and you will receive your original stake back.
A moneyline bet is also a popular bet on football games, where it is a straight bet where you are simply picking a team to win. However, it is not a handicap bet, and because of this, there are inflated odds where you are betting more to win less on the favorite in the game and betting less to win more on the underdog. Here is an example of a moneyline NFL bet using $100 as the base wager, but you can bet how much you want.
Buffalo Bills +140
New England Patriots -160
Tie (X) – +1200
In the football betting example above, and just like the spread, the + in front of the numbers shows the underdog and the – shows the favorite. If you want to bet on the Bills to win, you are wagering $100 to win $140 and if you bet on the Patriots to win, you are betting $160 to win $100. You can see the payout is better for the underdog, but it evens the playing field, no pun intended, since you are just picking a winner, not getting a handicap like the spread. If you bet on the tie in the game, you are wagering $100 to win $1200, which is a sweet payout, but the game has to go into overtime.
The totals bet, also called the over/under bet, is one of the more straightforward bets to understand. The sportsbook sets a total for the game, the total number of points scored in the game by both teams. In a totals bet, you are simply betting if you think the total number of points scored in a game will be over or under the posted total. Here is an example of an NFL totals bet:
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons – 53
The Saints beat the Falcons 34-21. The total number of points scored is 55. The posted total for the game is 53, so the over would be the winning bet, and the under would be the losing bet.
A parlay is a bet where several games are bet in one wager, and the games are referred to as legs. Typically, you can make a parlay with between 2-15 legs and football betting sportsbooks. The more legs in a bet, the higher the payout will be, but the more difficult it will be to win. Every leg has to be a winner in a parlay to win the bet. For example, if you have 4 NFL games in one parlay, you have to pick the winner of each one for the bet to payout. You can make parlay bets with spreads, totals, moneylines, and you can mix and match them as well, so in a 6-leg parlay, you could have three spreads and three totals. Sometimes, a sportsbook will allow for proposition bets for parlays, and the next section will explain that type of wager.
We mentioned the push, or tie, above where the total or spread can land on the posted total, and you get your original stake back. If there is a push in a parlay bet, it is taken out of the wager. For example, if you have a 6-leg parlay and one NCAA game using the spread is a push that is taken out, and you now have a 5-leg parlay.
One of the most common promotions that football betting sites offer is parlay insurance. In this type of promo, if you have a certain number of legs in the bet and one is a loser, but the rest are winners, you will still win. Usually, you will have to have four or more legs in the wager for parlay insurance.
Often sportsbooks will also offer cross-sport parlays. This means that you can put other sports in the parlay, not just football. So, if a bookie offers this, you can make a 4-leg parlay with two NFL spreads, and two with NBA spreads.
A proposition bet is commonly referred to as a prop bet, and it has nothing to do with the game’s outcome. There are team and player prop bets available, and some will have even odds while others will have inflated odds. Just a few examples of a football prop bet would be – whether the first score in the game is a safety, which QB will have more passing yards in a game, which WR will have more receptions in a game, which team will have the lead at the half, and whether a team will have over or under 3 sacks in the game.
The bigger the game, the more prop bets will be available. Many of them are available for every game, especially in the NFL. The Super Bowl is well known to have a ton of prop bets available, and some are pretty crazy such as what team will win the coin flip, will the National Anthem be over or under a specific time, and what color will the Gatorade be that is poured on the winning head coach.
Teasers and Pleasers
Teasers and Pleasers for football betting are parlay bets, but the odds are manipulated. In a teaser bet, you can manipulate the odds in your favor by moving the spread or total by a certain number. Getting better odds means that the bet’s payout will not be as good if you win every leg. A pleaser is just the opposite of a teaser, as the odds are manipulated for the legs but the sportsbook. The more significant the payout will be with better odds for the sportsbook if you win the bet.
Futures means making a bet on the future outcome of something. Futures are betting on such things as the team to win the Super Bowl, the NCAA title, an NCAA conference, a division or conference in the NFL, or betting on a player to win NFL MVP or NFL Rookie of the Year. You can make futures bets early and often do so before the football season begins. The bet is a long one, though, as you have to wait until the end of the regular season or season entirely to see the outcome of the bet.
You can get good odds on a futures bet before the season, as no games have been played. However, you can also make this type of bet during the season, but the odds will change depending on the team or player. For example, let’s say you have a hunch the Dallas Cowboys are due, and they will win the next Super Bowl. Before the season begins, they are at +1300, and you make that bet. The team starts well and wins their first six games, and the odds will reflect that and may go down to +500 for them to win the big game. However, the odds you get when you make the futures bet are the odds you are locked in on no matter how much they change during the season.
Live football betting has increased in popularity greatly over the last few years and with good reason. It’s a very exciting way to bet, as you are wagering on the game as it is happening in real-time. Pretty much every sportsbook that we review will offer live pigskin betting. The odds will change during the game depending on what is happening. You will usually find only spreads, moneylines, and totals for live betting, but some sportsbooks will offer prop bets as well.
If you see a spread for an NFL game where 6 points favor the LA Rams over the Seattle Seahawks. You want to bet live on the game and start watching the Rams blow out of the games and take a commanding 14-0 lead after the first quarter. The odds for live betting will reflect this and change accordingly, so they may now be a 9-point favorite after the first quarter. For live betting, the odds change quickly, and you do not have much time to make a bet. One of the nice things that some sportsbooks offer is live streaming, so you can watch the game and wager on it simultaneously.
Football Bonuses and Promotions
While nearly all sportsbooks will offer bonuses and promotions to their players, they also offer football-specific ones. Sure, it is not hard to find a welcome bonus or reload bonus, but you will have no issue finding football bonus offers as well. For any type of bonus, you need to make sure you know the terms and conditions for them as nearly all of them will have wagering requirements that you will have to meet in order to keep the bonus money. However, a bonus is a great way to pad your football betting bankroll.
Two of the more common football bonuses are parlay insurance and profit boosts. We touched on the parlay insurance earlier, but it is a promo where you make a parlay with a certain number of legs, and one can be a losing one, and you can still win your bet. A profit boost will be a promo where the sportsbook will pick a game and boost its profit by getting better odds than the main one offered. Using a profit boost promo can give you a better payout for a specific game.
There are football bonuses offered throughout the season, but the majority of them will be seen for the NFL playoffs, NFL Super Bowl, and NCAA bowl games and the National Championship.
FOOTBALL BETTING ONLINE
What is the most popular football bet?
The spread is the most popular football bet.
Are there other professional football leagues to bet on?
Yes. First off there is the Canadian Football League (CFL) and for that league most sportsbooks offer odds. There are also other leagues such as the XFL and AFL (Arenal Football Leagues) where football betting odds may be available.
Some sportsbooks offer football betting lines for non-FBS games, but they are usually for the playoffs.
What is the biggest football betting win of all time?
Interestingly, the two biggest football betting wins of all time came from legendary athletes. NFL Hall of Famer Charles Barkley won $800,000 betting on the underdog New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl in 2002. Golfer Phil Mickelson made a futures bet of $20,000 for the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl in the 2001-2002 season, and when they won the game at 22-1 odds, he won a cool $560,000.
Are there any restrictions on NCAA football betting?
It depends. Some states in the US allow for legal sports wagering, but you cannot bet on college teams from the state or any NCAA games that are held there.
Are there sportsbooks partnered with NFL teams?
Yes. Since sports betting was legalized on a state-by-state basis in 2018, several NFL teams have partnered up with state-regulated online sportsbooks in states where sports betting is legal. For example, sports betting giant BetMGM has deals with the NFL teams of the New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What NFL team has won the most Super Bowls?
The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots have each won six Super Bowls.
Can I make money betting on football?
Yes, but you have to win bets to make money, and if you are serious about it, you need to handicap games.
Do all sportsbooks offer football lines?
All state-regulated sportsbooks, which we review, offer lines for NFL and NCAA games.
What is the biggest NFL betting scandal?
There haven’t been that many of them. However, Heisman Trophy winner and 1961 NFL MVP Paul Hornung and star defensive lineman Alex Karras were suspended for the 1963 NFL season for betting on games. Neither had bet more than hundreds of dollars, and neither bet for or against teams they played for. However, league commissioner Pete Rozelle banned them for an entire season to make an example of them.
What is the most popular football betting event?
By far, it’s the Super Bowl, and in 2022 over $7.5 billion was wagered on it.