American Football Betting
Betting on American Football has become increasingly popular in recent years, growing quickly from a fringe sport, to a product taken very seriously by all bookmakers. Long gone are the days where you’d be lucky to get any wider choice of markets than simply outright Super Bowl odds, and the weekly Match Result, Handicap Lines and Total Points.
The growth of internet and mobile betting has been the main facilitator of this growth, with previous high-street bookmakers seeing next to no interest in former years given the late start times of the events. You can now bet on pretty much anything you want on American Football, from whether the first play of the game will be a Pass or a Run, to how many passing yards Peyton Manning completes over the duration of the Super Bowl.
One of the real beauties of betting on American Football, is the way that American sports are presented to the fans. On the other side of the pond, stats are king. Switch on any American Football match, and the commentators will be talking about how many passes a team has completed, what percentage of plays result in a score, and how has the most running yardage in the league. All these stats are available to the fans on the official websites, and you can use this to try to gain an edge.
The key when analysing these stats is to always try to understand what they mean, and never simply follow them blindly. If a team score three or more touchdowns in 80% of their matches, you need to look to apply this to the match in question. Who are the opponents and how strong is their defence? Do the team in question need to win the match or may they be taking it easy? What is the recent form like? All questions you should be looking to apply to the vast array of statistics in the market place.
An important element of betting on American Football is the notion of a “push” for betting purposes, and knowing about this before placing your bets will prevent any confusion occurring when looking at your settled bets. Most sports offer what we can “half ball” betting markets, which will always deliver a win or lose situation for all bets. An example of this would be Under 44.5 points and Over 44.5 points. Since points are always scored in multiples of one, there will never be a result which cannot be settled as a winner or loser. American Football differs in this respect, with handicap and total points lines often offered as full numbers. For instance “Indianapolis -7 points” or “Under 41 points” and “Over 41 points”. In these examples, the result is capable of falling on the exact number. In these examples, were Indianapolis to win their match 24-17, then both bets would fall on the exact line, and your stake would be returned. This is known as a “push”.
The most popular bet on NFL is the Handicap Line. The bookmaker assesses each team’s chances and offers a handicap – effectively giving the underdog a certain head start. Betting will usually be offered at 10/11, with the handicap moving up and down as the bookmaker takes bets, rather than the prices changing. Remember, in NFL, scores are nearly always scored in 7’s and 3’s, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when deciding whether to bet – particularly in tight games. The difference between backing a team at -3.5 and -3 can be highly significant.
The Match Result and Total Points complete the corner stone of a bookmakers offering, and will be available early in the week, while many other markets are offered closer to the start times – with NFL games mostly taking place on a Sunday evening, at 6pm and 9pm GMT.
Stats based markets will often be referred to as “prop lines” or “propositions”. Here you can speculate on the length of the longest field goal, the time of the first touchdown, which team will score first and last or which team will score the longest touchdown. The options are pretty much endless, but the same rule always applies. Do your homework, and if you want to amass any profits, don’t ever bet just for the sake of having a bet. There are reams of data available to you when betting on American Football, and the bookmaker cannot possibly specialise in every single area, so target your research, look for an edge, and only strike when you find something significant.
Finally, avid fans and punters need not limit themselves to the NFL matches on Sundays. Betting on American College Football has been growing quickly in the last few years, and most bookmakers will now offer a wide range of matches, which generally take place on Saturday’s. A nice warm-up to the Sunday action, with kick-off times staggered through the afternoon and evening.