The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Types of Wagers for Betting on NFL


With the NFL season already underway, many fans across the country are not only excited by their favorite team’s prospects but also the return of football betting. Whether wagering serious money or betting a little money to add to the fun of the game while potentially earning some extra cash, wagering on the NFL is increasingly becoming as popular as watching the sport itself.

You can bet on virtually any event occurring in a game, making it easier to find a bet type that suits your risk tolerance. If you’re to have any notable success, you need to understand the different NFL bet types, from point spread to propositions and moneyline bets.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at these and other common types of football bets.

Point Spread Betting

The most common type of NFL bet, the point spread, involves predicting the minimal number of points by which one team will beat another. If you bet on a favorite, they must win by a wider margin than the assigned spread. For instance, if you take the Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) to beat the Detroit Lions (+4.5) on the point spread, they must win by at least six points for you to win your bet.

On the other hand, if you opt for the underdog, they must win outright or lose by less than six points for your bet to pay off. If the Chiefs were -5 point favorites, they would still need to win by six points for you to cash your bet. But if they win by exactly five points, that’s a push, and you’ll get your money back. On the flip side, you’ll also get your initial wager amount back if the Lions lose by exactly five points.

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting is simply predicting the team that will win the game outright. The moneyline odds for each team are presented as positive or negative numbers, with favorites indicated by negative odds and the underdog by positive odds. Going back to our Kansas City vs. Detroit Lions example, the Chiefs (-250) would have negative money line odds since they are the team favored to win. This means your bet on them would win less than your initial wager. A $100 bet would earn a profit of $40 for a total payout of $100 if they win.

If you bet on the Lions (+200) and they defeat the Chiefs, your wager will earn more than your initial amount. For example, a moneyline bet of $100 on the Lions will rake a $200 profit for a total payout of $300. Compared to point spread bets, moneyline bets are more straightforward, less time-consuming to research compared to point spreads, and a good option if you’re just learning the basics of sports betting.

Over/Under Betting

Also referred to as totals betting, over/under allows you to predict the combined amount of points that the two teams will score in a game.

Oddsmakers set a line, and you can bet whether the totals will be over or under that line. For example, if the over/under line for the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions is set at 53.5, and wager on the “Over,” both teams must score at least 54 points for you to win.

Prop Bets

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are wagers on specific events or outcomes within a game that may not be tied to the final score. These can include bets on player performance like total passing yards or the first player to score a touchdown.

You can also bet on game props, like the first team to 15 points or the total number of rushing yards. Besides on-field occurrences, you can also bet on exotic props like the length of the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Prop bets often feature numerous fun options and are a fun way to add excitement to the game.

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