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Alan Alger: A punter’s guide to the NFL

09 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Alan Alger: A punter’s guide to the NFL

Eager to bet on the new American football season but don't know how? Our expert explains all you need to know...

Point Spread

The most popular bet for NFL punters as the bookmaker tries to even up every contest by offering the underdog a number of points ‘start’.

An example of the display on our site could be: Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) @ New England Patriots (-7) – here the underdogs are the ‘away’ team Pittsburgh and we’ve given them a 7-point start at the beginning of the game to even things up.

Any ties on this market (when the handicap has been taken into account) are settled as a ‘push’ – meaning stakes are refunded.

Trader tip:

The most popular pattern of scoring in NFL is multiples of 7 – that’s because a touchdown is worth 6 and a conversion (usually attempted after a successful touchdown) is worth 1.

If you think two teams are closely matched but can find handicap lines around +8, then your selection can still win the bet even if they are beaten by the margin of one touchdown and conversion.

History tells us that most games will be won by 3 or 7 points, so factor that in when deciding your bet.

Total Points

The second most popular market and it has the advantage that you don’t need to predict which team will win.

The bet is settled on exactly how many points are scored in the game – it really is that simple.

You just bet ‘under’ or ‘over’. Half points are added to the market to ensure a definite result. For example: backing over 51.5… if it’s 52, you’ve won and if it’s 51, you’ve lost.

Trader tip:

Much like rugby, scoring in NFL matches can be severely impacted by the weather conditions.

Find out everything you can about the weather forecast around the stadium before placing your bet and also keep in mind that some matches take place indoors.

If blizzards are forecast and it’s going to be hard to see the ball, let alone catch it, then points will be at a premium.

If you can act on this information quicker than the market, then you can make a nice profit.

Money Line

Simply backing a team to win the game – that’s it.

But wait a minute… what, no draw? That’s right. Just two selections, which if tied at the end of the fourth quarter, will be settled by periods of ‘overtime’ until there is a winner.

A tie after ‘overtime’ and ‘sudden-death’ is extremely rare and results in all bets being refunded (a ‘push’).

Remember that the ‘away’ team is listed first in North American sports.

Trader tip:

In tight matches the ‘Money Line’ isn’t far off the handicap, but if you really fancy a big outsider to win a game then this can be the best way to secure a large profit.

The above markets are all broken down into variations of the above and offered in First Quarter, or Total Points just relating to the ‘home’ team.

These are special bets and are all based on the explanations above. For example, Fourth Quarter Money Line is simply ‘which team will score the most points in the fourth quarter’.

Other markets

Hundreds of special bets are available on NFL games – from a basic ‘Who will win the toss?’ offered for the Super Bowl, right down to markets much the same as those offered on any Premier League football match.

For First Goalscorer, just read First Touchdown Scorer – it’s the same principle.

First Scoring Play asks the punter to predict the method of how the deadlock will be broken at the start of the game.

With three ways to score: Touchdown, Field Goal and Safety – it presents options for each team.

Trader tip:

These type of bets are usually focusing on specific aspects of the game and can be real fun.

First Touchdown Scorer prices are offered across the squads of both teams and because those squads have specialists you can find value at big prices.

The average price for a first goalscorer in a Premier League game is about 8/1, whereas in the NFL the first touchdown scorer market regularly throws up double-figure winners.

NFL betting