Old timers hate to hear it, but our national pastime is football, not baseball. Yet many gridiron fans have no idea how to bet on football. Professional and collegiate football is at the forefront of the American betting universe and has been for the last few decades. It leads all other sports in money wagered in the United States by a large margin.
Football betting is popular for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy the thrill, some want extra action to enjoy the game, and others believe they have an edge over the books in determining who will win or cover a given game. There are a few forms of football betting which we will discuss. ATS (Against the Spread) betting, Over/Under betting, and money line wagering.
How to Bet On Football – Betting Against the Spread:
ATS or Against-the-Spread wagering is by far the most popular bet on professional or collegiate football games. The odds makers will put up a number which a team must win by or “cover” for each game. Let’s take an example of the 2014 Superbowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. The betting line looked like this in most places:
Seattle + 3 -110 M.L. +140 48 Over-110
Denver -3 -110 M.L. -150 48 Under-110
Experienced betters can read that line in seconds but to some bettors it might look a little like rocket science. Believe me, once you get the hang of it, it’s really simple. The first number is the number for ATS betting. That number is the “line” or “number” or “spread” that the odds maker has given for the event. You can wager that Denver will win the game by 4 points or more or that Seattle will either win or lose by less than 3 points. If Denver won by 3 the game would have been a push and all bets returned. Another way to look at it is that the game starts out 3-0 in favor of Seattle. And perhaps the easiest way to figure it out is to simply add 3 points to the score of Seattle at the end of the game or subtract 3 from Denver.
How to Bet On Football – Betting on the MoneyLine:
The second number is the money line number. There is no spread in these bets, you are solely betting on which particular team will win. For purpose of this example think of it as a bet being $100 as a unit size. If you liked Denver to win you would have to wager $150 to win you $100. That is why there is a negative in front of their number or any favorites number when you look at the line. If you liked Seattle to win you would wager $100 and get back $140 plus your original $100 wager.
How to Bet On Football – Betting on the Over/Under:
The final number is 48 (the Over/Under) which represents the total number of points for the contest (including overtime). Here you can wager whether or not you think the game will go over 48 points or under. If the game total lands on exactly 48 the wager is a push and all bets refunded.
All football lines for any collegiate or professional games will look like this. The more you gamble or read about it the easier they will become to decipher and in no time you will feel like a wise guy.
Click any of these links for a more in depth look at the different betting concepts – Betting Against the Spread, Money Lines and Over/Under Betting.
Like the article, but it’s pretty silly to post that 3 point line — Seattle vs Denver. Maybe you can find a line that is a bit closer to the actual result. This line was off by historic proportions. Go Hawks!
This is a great article on football betting. Simple, informative and well written!