How to Bet – Football Betting Explained

This article is meant to familiarize yourself with the basics of football betting.  We are going to explain all of the common wager types so you can lay your hard earned money on a few games.

Football is by far the most popular sport to gamble on.  The action typically starts on Thursday and runs through Monday night.  The seasons are more than four months long, so you get plenty of opportunities to cash in.

Learning how to bet can be a little intimidating, but this guide should help you be ready to dive right in.

Point Spreads

The most popular bet type is the point spread.  This is a bet on the side of the game that tries to equalize both teams chances of covering.  The line offered for each team will have either a plus (+) sign or a minus (-) sign by it.  The minus sign indicates the favorite, while the plus sign signals the underdog.

Let’s take a look at a quick example:

Minnesota +9
Iowa -9

In this example if you bet on Iowa you need them to win by 10 or more points in order to win your bet.  If Iowa wins by less than 9, or loses outright then Minnesota backers cash their tickets.

Most spread bets will be bet with -110 juice.  This is also called the vig and is the “tax” the book takes for taking the action.  So you have to bet $11 to win $10 on either team above.  The book hopes that there will be equal action on both sides, so if both sides get $11 to win $10 bets, the book will make $1 regardless of who covers.


Money lines aren’t as common in football as they are in baseball and hockey.  But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be profitable if you know what you are doing.  This is a straight up bet on who is going to win the game.  You can ignore the point spread here.

In this case you have to risk more money if you bet the favorite, but your return is larger if you take the underdog.

Here’s the example

Minnesota +250
Iowa -300

The favorite is once again indicated by the minus sign, while the dog is listed with a plus.  In this situation you have to wager $300 to win $100 on Iowa.  A $100 bet on Minnesota would win you $250 if they win outright.

Totals or Over/Unders

1st Half Lines

Halftime Bets





Where to Bet