"It's good to be the king." — Football No other sport in America comes close to the popularity of football. From August until February, football dominates the calendar. With such wide-spread attention, football is a sports betting haven. No league draws more betting money than the NFL, easily surpassing the amount spent on the NBA, MLB, and NHL. And despite its "amateur" status, NCAA football almost rivals the NFL in wagers placed.
Since you're reading this guide, we're going to guess you too want to start betting on football. Heck, you might even be a long-time gambler that just needs an extra hand. If you fall into either of those categories, we're here to assist.
After all, football might be the most difficult sport to wager on. Take the NFL for example, it has more parity than any other pro league. This sometimes manifests itself in unthinkable upsets. However, the opposite applies to college football where the talent gap between a top-tier program and a mid-major is the size of the Grand Canyon. Suddenly, the problem becomes if Alabama can really cover this eye-popping 40-point spread.
And don't even get us started on those tricky 3.5- and 4.5-point spreads. Being on the wrong side of those by a half-point is maddening. However, before you even start thinking about all that, you need to select a sportsbook to fill your football betting needs.
Super Bowl Bonus and other Football Betting Promotions
Best is a subjective word, especially among bettors that have different needs and goals. So really, you have to ask yourself, what do you want out of an NFL promotion or a Super Bowl bonus?
If the answer is the most amount of free money possible, then you should look into BetOnline. At the moment, they're offering a 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $2,500!
Therefore, if you deposit the full $2,500, you'll earn $1,250 in "free" cold-hard cash! We use the word free loosely because with a rollover requirement at 10X, you'll need to bet $12,500 before its withdrawable. BetOnline is very much for people who roll with Big Baller Brand.
For the more modest gambler, Bovada's 50-percent deposit bonus up to $250 will do. Its rollover rate of 5X means you won't have to wager your life savings before unlocking the free money. This Bovada football bonus follows the classic philosophy: Less is more! Isn't that right?
If want to test football betting without taking a risk, you should try to find a free bet sign up no deposit football bonus. These football betting no deposit bonuses are most common at the start of the NFL and NCAA seasons.
Most big American sportsbooks will have their own NFL betting promotions at the start of the season and for the Super Bowl. No deposit football bets are sometimes restricted for new players, but some sportsbooks may reward their most loayal customers with free bets which require no deposit.
Remember that a bonus labelled football betting sign up bonus can be often used to bet on other sports too.
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We know what you're thinking, "how did these rankings come about?" For starters, we looked at the best sportsbook bonuses.
Every online betting site offers one, if not multiple, bonus offers to entice new bettors. However, with a seemingly endless amount of sportsbooks available — each with their own litany of promotions — this can be overwhelming for newbies. That dilemma is what drives our mission: finding the best bonuses and promotions for bettors.
Once football season rolls around, sportsbooks will attempt to capitalize off the interest in the sport and offer unbeatable promotions. This is a bettor's golden opportunity to rack up extra betting money!
It's important to note, spreading your money out on a few sportsbooks might be worthwhile. Obviously, no two online betting sites are alike. Aside from promotional offers, betting lines and options differ by sportsbook. You'd be smart to compare odds before plopping down money on a game to ensure you're getting max value.
Top-Rated Football Betting Sites
Up-to-date offers from some of the United States' most-trusted online sportsbooks:
- Bovada — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $250
- BetOnline — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $2,500 (no, that's not a typo!)
- TopBet — 100-percent sign-up bonus up to $1,000
- SportsBetting — 75-percent sign-up bonus up to $1,000
- 5Dimes — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $520
Before you go ahead and jump on every offer, these bonuses come with an important caveat: rollover rates. The aforementioned bonuses can't be withdrawn until a bettor wagers the rollover amount. For example, Bovada's rollover is set at 5X. Therefore, you must bet five times the amount of your sign-up bonus before it's withdrawable.
Of course, promotions and bonuses aren't the end-all, be-all feature of a sportsbook — though, they're certainly atop the list. Other crucial factors include odds, overall betting selection, and options for live wagering and cashing out. We'll touch on these more later in the guide.
Online Football Betting Options
Kiss your weekends goodbye. With football games on all-day Saturday (college) and Sunday (NFL), there are endless opportunities for wagering. These are the five most-common type of bets:
- Point Spread
Perhaps the most-popular wager type, bookies set a perceived point-differential between opposing teams. The favorite is denoted with a minus (-), whereas the underdog is marked with a plus (+). The actual point-spread will be the same on both sides.
The easiest way to unpack this is with an example. Say the Miami Dolphins are squaring off with the New England Patriots. A sportsbook might set the Dolphins as +4.5 underdogs, essentially giving them a "headstart." While the Patriots have a "handicap" as -4.5 favorites.
In this scenario, New England has to win by five or more points to cover their spread. The Dolphins have more wiggle room for covering, doing so by winning the matchup straight up or losing by four points or less. Simple enough, right?
A point-spread is influenced by a team's talent level, whose playing at home, weather, and injuries, among other things. Just like bookies, bettors need to keep those factors top of mind before wagering.
This one's easy, just pick which team will win — without the baggage of by how many points. Both teams are given odds to pull out the victory, and not unlike point-spread, minus and plus values will denote the favorite and underdog.
Using that same Patriots-Dolphins example, New England could be -275 to win, whereas the Dolphins are +350 to triumph. In this case, you'll need to wager $275 on the Patriots to win $100, while a $100 bet on the Dolphins would earn you $350 in the event they win.
Just don't go falling in love with underdogs. The higher payouts are certainly tempting and everyone likes a good underdog story, but the fact is, the favored team will win more often than not. Though, if you're able to find those anomalies, you'll be a very rich bettor.
In the same token, avoid those super-high moneyline favorites. Those are high-risk, low reward bets. Sure, you'll win more times than not, but that once-in-a-while loss will eat up everything you won in one fell swoop!
- Point Totals — Over/Under
Somehow even more simple than a moneyline bet is point totals. In this wager, a bookie will set a combined point total for the game. You either bet the two teams together will score "over" that total or "under." Simple as that!
Sometimes the over/under will be set at a number without a half-point. If the teams score that exact total, you'll "push" and get all your money back, essentially earning a tie.
Moreover, these point totals aren't confined to a regular 60-minute game. If the game goes into overtime, your over/under is still affected. As you can imagine, extra time favors over bettors.
If you want to play the long game and you have patience, future bets are for you! These wagers depend on not-too-distant-future outcomes such as who will win the College Football Playoff or who will win the NFC East. There's a futures bet for just about every division, conference, or championship winner.
Obviously, predicting who will win the Super Bowl before the season even starts is a lot more difficult than picking your regular Sunday game. Due to that, you'll almost always get plus-money odds with futures, so the potential for a high return very much exists.
But again, future wagers requires patience, months of it actually. That Super Bowl winner futures bet you made in October can't be cashed out until February (if your selected team even wins). Therefore, don't go putting your entire bankroll into futures because you can't cash these bets out early.
This is where things get fun! Sportsbooks will set unique prop bets for a given game. These props vary greatly but can include the coin flip result, how much yards a quarterback will rack up, which wide receiver will catch a touchdown first, etc.
Like we said, props can really make things interesting. Some sportsbooks value them more than others and will offer a bevvy of props to place bets on. Keep this in mind when choosing your go-to sportsbook.
So there you have it, the five most-popular football bets. Before we move on, we'll give you one last betting tip: analyze the matchups
It's easy to think if "X team beat Y team" and "Y team beat Z" team, then "X team should beat Z team." Avoid this mentality at all costs. Instead, study the strengths and weaknesses of opposing teams. Can X team exploit Z's shortcomings or vice-versa? This is a more logical way to make betting decisions, trust us.
- Super Bowl Betting offers
Like we mentioned before, most sportsbooks set up specific Super Bowl Betting promotions. These will include enhanced odds promotions, acca insurances, free bets and huge football betting sign up bonuses. It's relatively rare to find the most popular football betting bonus, no deposit football bet, for existing players for Super Bowl, but new players can get lucky before the biggest sporting event of the year.
Football Betting Sites With Cash Out
Thanks to the advent of high-speed internet and mobile devices, a relatively-new feature sweeping across online betting sites is cash out. With this option, gamblers can cash out their bet before the game ends, which was previously unthinkable. Cash outs usually fall under two parameters — partial and automatic.
Partial is the far more common method and allows bettors to earn an adjusted price on their ticket. This price is in flux depending on the score of a game and how much time is remaining. Therefore, a gambler must be present to cash out at the optimal time.
Automatic has an entirely different spin. With this method, a bettor sets limits well in advance for cashing out — say once the point-difference is 14 points. From there, the ticket will automatically cash itself out when that limit is reached, whether the bettor is present or not.
The cash-out feature isn't quite a staple of all sportsbooks yet. Some don't offer it at all, while others that do vary widely in how many games/leagues they enact it in. How invested a sportsbook is with cash-out could be a difference-maker when choosing the right sportsbook.
If this option is an absolute must for you, we recommend Bet365. Not only do they offer both partial and automatic cash-out, but also a large range of sports to use the feature on. Bet365 really is second-to-none with cash out.
When Should You Use Cash Out
Second, if you're one win away from hitting a big-money parlay, you might want to at least weigh the option to cash-in. This really all depends how confident you are in your last wager. However, if there's any sense of doubt, you can guarantee some winnings by cashing out. Again, something is better than nothing (if you lose the final leg).
Here's when not to use cash-out: when you're ticket is almost a guaranteed win, but you want the earnings early to fund a different bet. Like the old saying goes, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Wins are never easy in betting, so enjoy the full extent of them when they do happen instead of plotting a follow-up wager.
The Best Odds For Football
Now let's help you pick the right sportsbook to fill your football fix. Below you'll find online betting site listings based off of important criteria — best odds, wagering selection, in-play betting, promotions, and more.
- 1. Pinnacle
Offering best-value odds is at the core of Pinnacle's business model. Whereas every other sportsbook markets themselves with big-saving promotions and paid advertisements, the no-frills Pinaccle relies on unbeatable odds to keep gamblers coming back for more — and trust us, it works.
Pinnacle is consistently rated number-one for payouts. This success comes from offering low "margins" — the hidden costs when placing bets — on their odds. Bettors reap these benefits with the best lines in the online market.
On the surface, a slightly lower margin (around five percent less than industry average) doesn't seem like much. However, this quickly adds up during a six-month football season.
- 2. Betfair
The closest any sportsbook comes to rivaling Pinnacle's bettor-friendly lines is Betfair. Its low margins are accomplished by the site's own unique feature — betting exchange.
This feature allows users to bet against each other, instead of the house. This user-to-user concept is almost unheard of in betting circles. That means Betfair earns their profit not from rigging the odds, but from a small fee taken out of bettor earnings.
Not only does this setup result in best-value odds, it also means Betfair doesn't limit how much you can wager on a game (sort of). If you can find another user that wants to throw down a five-digit bet on the opposing team, Betfair won't stop you.
That heavy reliance on other players helps and hurts Betfair's cause. For high-profile leagues like the NFL, it's not hard to find opposing bettors. However, the same can't be said about that random MACtion game on a Wednesday night.
Largest Selection For Football Betting
- 1. Bovada
There's a multitude of reasons why Bovada is the most-popular US sportsbook. Chief among them is offering an endless buffet of betting options. For football fanatics, you'll find odds for upcoming games, futures, props, and everything in-between. Seriously, you'll be hard-pressed to NOT find a football game available for wagering on Bovada.
Despite all the sportsbook's popularity, Bovada handles all the betting action without a hitch. Lines appear on the site in light speed and money is exchanged in and out of the sportsbook almost as quickly. There's no better option than Bovada for finding a line to fall in love with.
- 2. BetOnline
BetOnline's big advantage over Bovada is in the speed of getting lines up. Bovada certainly is no slouch, but no one beats BetOnline in quickness. Consequently, BetOnline sometimes dictates other sportsbooks odds, at first at least. Eager bettors ready to get ahead of "smart money" or the injury report will find BetOnline's speed refreshing.
Aside from that, BetOnline has a full range of bets available for almost every college football or NFL matchup. This flexibility makes it a potential "one-stop shop" for bettors. Though, we recommend keeping another sportsbook in your back pocket just to cross-reference odds and getting the most bang for your buck. Nonetheless, BetOnline is a perfect place to start.
Live Betting On Football
Live betting remains a relatively new phenomenon, and right now, most are playing catch-up with Betsson. The platform has in-play wagering optimized for desktop and mobile users, for those bettors on the go. The latter option remains a rarity among most online sportsbooks.
Another difference-maker for Bettson is its selection of games available for live betting. No, you won't find every single NFL matchup, but it's pretty close. Moreover, Bettson doesn't gouge your eyes on the prices of live games. It's incredibly hard to find any fault in Bettson's live betting feature, especially when you compare it to many other sportsbooks which leave much to be desired.
We've already touched on bet365's cash-out feature, but it's worth repeating because the option really takes live wagering to another level. Not only can you lay down a bet mid-game on bet365, but you can cash out your ticket (for an adjusted price) before it even ends — guaranteeing some money back!
Admittedly, the nifty feature is limited to popular sports and matchups. However, with all the attention football generates in the US, chances are cash-out will be supported in multiple games. Moreover, the feature isn't just restricted to single matchups, but sometimes even parlays.
For on-the-go bettors, bet365 supports cash out on mobile devices, too. The importance of this can't be overstated since cash-out prices vary greatly depending on the score and time left in the game. All things considered, bet365 puts bettors in the driver's seat!
Live Streaming American Football
Our praise for bet365 doesn't stop with in-play and cash-out, they're also leaders in live streaming. If you haven't realized by now, bet365 is the go-to platform for internet-savvy bettors. If you fall under that umbrella, bet365's technology and features are made with you in mind.
NFL Sunday Ticket package certainly isn't cheap, and bet365 is a perfect alternative. The stream quality doesn't lag far behind Sunday Ticket — as long as your internet connection isn't bad. With a wide selection of games available to stream, you'll always be on the pulse of all the action.
A small deposit will unlock live streams, which is a small price to pay when you consider the cost of cable and NFL Sunday Ticket package. In more ways than one, you can't really go wrong with bet365.
Latest Betting Sites For Football
- Leo Vegas
- Royal Panda
- Mr Green
The sportsbook market is very oversaturated and that's not going away anytime soon. The above betting sites are just some of the new entrants in the industry, and plenty more will follow.
Here at SportsBookBonus, we want to simplify online betting as much as possible. That's why we only review and promote the betting sites we truly believe add value for bettors. A good rule of thumb to follow: if we haven't mentioned the sportsbook, maybe avoid it.