At long last, sports betting is coming out from under the shadows in the United States. The industry has been operating in the dark for years, but the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May of 2018 has cleared the path for sports to bet to enter the American mainstream.
Sports betting has been a massive industry in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, for years. Outside of Nevada, though, sports bet has been illegal in the United States for quite some time. The times are changing quickly, though, and a number of states have voted to legalize sports bet since the Supreme Court’s aforementioned decision.
Billions of dollars are bet every year on football in the U.S. Unfortunately, most of the money before now was bet illegally. With the proliferation of legal sports betting, though, more and more money will be wagered within the parameters of the law.
There is plenty of money to be made betting on football. Just how much can you make wagering on the most popular sport in the United States?
In 2017, more money was bet (and lost) at Nevada sportsbooks than in any other year. Sportsbooks in the state won a record $249 million of the $4.8 billion wagered that year, per numbers released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Nearly $2 billion of that amount wagered was bet on professional and college football. While television ratings for the NFL may have dipped a bit in recent years, the league is still king in the U.S. when it comes to sports betting.
There are a number of different ways to attack football games when it comes to betting.
Point spreads are the most common types of football bets. You’re probably familiar with how spreads work, but if you’re not, the spread is essentially a way for sportsbooks to even the scales for a given game. Team A will be favored by a certain number of points to beat Team B. If Team A wins by at least the point spread, bets on Team A will cash. However, if Team B wins the game outright or loses by fewer points than the spread, Team B wins the bet.
Not all betting lines are created equal, so bettors will typically shop around to various different bet sites in an attempt to find the spread that they deem to be the most advantageous. Spread betting for the NFL can be tricky considering the league is known for parity. In 2018, the Chicago Bears were the most profitable “against the spread” team, as they went 12-5 against the point spread. The San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons each went 5-11 against the spread, which was tied for the worst mark in the NFL.
Targeting underdogs is typically a decent strategy considering there is more margin for error. Betting on a favorite may seem like a more alluring method, but upsets do happen quite often in the NFL. You don’t need an underdog to win the game in order to cash a bet on the point spread.
While the point spread is used to try and make both teams appealing from a bet perspective, the Moneyline exists as a means of picking an outright winner or loser. Teams listed as Moneyline favorites often have pretty unappealing odds from a profit perspective, while underdogs can often be very attractive.
For example, let’s say the Patriots are heavily favored against the Dolphins. There isn’t much merit in betting on the Patriots to win the game outright at -1000 on the Moneyline, but the Dolphins look somewhat alluring as +600 underdogs. That said, the likelihood of the outcome is baked into the odds. Betting on the Dolphins to cover the spread won’t offer the same profit potential that wager on Miami on the Moneyline might, but Miami is also more likely to cover the spread than they are to win the game.
Betting on the Moneyline may be tempting, but the point spread is the safest way to target underdogs. The odds won’t be quite as juicy, but the better long-term strategy is to hunt for favorable point spreads.
If you are not sold on the idea of trying to peg a winner via the point spread or Moneyline, perhaps an over/under bet suits your tastes. With over/under (AKA “totals”), you are simply wagering on the total number of points to be scored in a given game. A game featuring a couple of good defensive teams will likely have a pretty low implied total, while a game between high-octane offenses will have a lofty total. As a bettor, your job is to peg whether the teams will combine to go over and under the set number.
People tend to like betting overs more than unders, which can lead to some advantageous odds. If most of the public money is coming in on the over, the odds will be adjusted in a way that makes betting the under more profitable. People like high-scoring games, which leads toward the over often seeing deflated odds.
Doing your research is obviously important. You shouldn’t just blindly bet the under because others want to bet the over. Studying the numbers for each team and making an educated wager is key when it comes to actually make money betting on football. There is a lot of money to be made in a bet on implied totals. The best bettors rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars betting on football every year.
There are a number of different ways to bet on football. Different betting sites have different bet options, and you can check out TheSportsGeek.com if you want to find football sites for a fun and comprehensive wagering experience. Bet now, MyBookie and SportsBetting.ag are just a few of the top names in the industry when it comes to betting on college football or the NFL.
Americans will wager nearly $100 billion on football just this year, so what are you waiting for? There are all sorts of money to be made betting on America’s favorite sport.