How to Bet on Football

When it comes to football, betting the point spread is the king of all bets. It’s not the only game in town though, as bettors also can bet the moneyline, totals and futures. If you’re not taking advantage of all the football bets being offered you’re missing out. If you’re unfamiliar with the other bet types don’t worry we’ll help you out with a breakdown of all of them.

Point Spread

Since point spread betting is by far the most popular form of football betting we have to start with it. When betting the point spread the sportsbook chooses their favorite and assigns them a certain number of points the must win by to “cover the spread.” Essentially the favorite is starting the game down a certain number of points and must win by that much to cover and for winner to win a spread bet on them. Here’s how a point spread bet would look at an online sportsbook.

Washington Redskins +7.5
New York Giants -7.5

In the example the Giants are favored by 7.5 points. Whenever you see a team with minus odds they are the favorite while a team with plus odds are the underdog. To cover the spread the Giants must win the game by at least 8-points, since they are essentially beginning the game down by 7.5 points. So, if the final score was Giants 28, Redskins 17 New York anyone betting on the Giants would win their bet because they won by 11 points and covered the 7.5-point spread.

If the Giants were to win the game 28-21, anyone who bet on New York would lose their wager. New York may have won the game, but they only won by 7 points, failing to cover the 7.5-point spread. Under this same score, 28-21, anyone betting on the Redskins would win their wager. For a bet on Washington to win the Redskins do not have to win the game. They just have to lose by less 8 points because they are a 7.5-point underdog.


Betting the moneyline is really easy because there are no spreads to deal with. When you’re betting the moneyline all you have to do is pick the winner of the game straight-up. However, the lack of a spread also means the odds and payouts are much different to account for the change in risk. Moneyline odds at an online sportsbooks would look like this.

Washington Redskins +245
New York Giants -290

Here the Giants are still favorite, but with no spread to cover they are a -290 moneyline favorite. The Redskins are a +245 moneyline underdog. What do these numbers mean? For the Giants it means you must bet $290 to win a profit of $100. Remember, when there was a spread New York was favored by 7.5 points so they are expected to win the game. Since you’re betting on the team that is expected to win and taking less of a risk the book balances this out by decreasing the amount of potential reward.

On the other hand, if you were to bet on Washington on the moneyline you are taking a bigger risk by betting on the expected loser to win the game straight-up. Since you’re taking a bigger risk you can win $245 profit on a $100 bet. This is what +245 means. Since there is considered to be a smaller chance of your bet winning you are rewarded with a greater potential profit for your increased risk.


Betting the totals is easy to figure out. Unlike point spread and moneyline betting the winner of the game is meaningless when betting the totals. All that matter when betting the totals is the total number of points scored n the game.

For each football game the oddsmakers set a specific number called the total. It is up to the bettor to decided whether the total number of points scored in the game will go Over or Under this set total.

For example, in our Redskins vs. Giants matchup the posted total was set at 46.5. So, if the final score was 28-21 anyone who bet the Over would win their bet because 28+21=49 which is Over 46.5. If the final score was 28-17 any one who bet the Under would win their bet because 28+17=45 which is Under 46.5.


When you’re betting on football future you’re betting on the outcome of a future event. This could be the winner of the Super Bowl, the winner of the BCS Championship, the winner of the Heisman Trophy or even the winner of NFL MVP.

Betting football futures can often be quite lucrative because the preseason favorite for the Super Bowl and BCS Championship seldom actually lives up to expectations. For example last season the Saints were the preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl, while the eventual champs, the Packers began the season as 10/1 underdogs. Last season BCS favorites also failed to live up to the hype, as Oregon and Alabama both received better odds than eventual champion, Auburn. If you still don’t believe that underdogs can sometimes payout on football futures where do you think Heisman winner Robert Griffin III ranked on the odds when compared to Andrew Luck just a few months ago?