American Football/NFL Betting Sites
As American Football and particularly the NFL continues its rampant global expansion, sports fans in the UK are beginning to take more and more notice of it. It certainly helps that they’ve started hosting a selection of games at Wembley and if you’re willing to stay up late you can even catch the matches from the other side of the pond on TV.
Although it will probably never eclipse our domestic favourites of football (we mean real football!), rugby and cricket, the high intensity and levels of skill and athleticism in American Football make it a highly exciting game and more British sports fans than ever before are tuning in. As such the bookies are taking notice and there’s now a massive amount of money wagered and won on American Football in the UK.
Betting on American Football is not quite like betting on rugby or football and for those of us who didn’t even grow up with the game it can be overwhelming at first. In this guide we’ll run through some basics, reviewing three of the best bookmakers for betting on the sport as well as clarifying how some of the markets work and finally explaining some of the most common rules employed by bookies.
Best Bookmakers For Betting On American Football
Here are the three bookmakers we think are ahead of the game in their coverage, odds and promotions for American Football:
At Bet365 you can bet on both the NFC and the AFC, the two conferences of the NFL as well as the NCAAF college football matches. You can follow all the NFL news on their website, which is a real bonus for us Europeans who aren’t bombarded with it in our own media. On top of this they offer some great odds and promotions in a wide range of markets.
It’s really important to American Football fans that bookies get their odds up early, this is because of the popularity of futures markets. Before the season even kicks off punters will enjoy betting on a whole range of outcomes such as who will win the Superbowl, which QB will pass the most yards over the whole season and so on. This is where Bet365 really excels because they have a comprehensive range of markets up earlier than nearly every other bookie every season.
There are typically a lot of markets in American Football compared to other sports and a webpage can quickly start to look confusing just by displaying them. This is what’s great about the layout of Bet365’s betting console because games and markets are organised into drop down boxes and you can click each game for more options. It also works seamlessly on the mobile platform with the same login so you can bet in-play from the sofa, the pub or a friend’s house.
To try and tempt more of us from Europe into betting on US sports Bet365 offers regular promotions like the Parlay Bonus. A parlay is better known to us on this side of the pond as an accumulator or combination bet and the offer means that for every extra selection you add to your bet, an extra bonus will be added to your winnings: so for two bets this is 5%, going all the way up to 12 bets which offers a whopping 50% bonus.
An old-school high street bookmaker that’s really made the jump into the 21st century, Coral’s website is attractive and colourful and more importantly informative and easy to use, they also compete with Bet365 for both range of markets and odds.
The stats radar which pops out when you click statistics in the navigation bar is very useful, allowing you to see the form of every team as well as their head-to-head history with whoever they’re matched with that week. Definitely worth checking out before you put your bet on.
A graphical Betting Highlights panel is also a nice addition, giving you a brief preview and summary of the odds on a game. You can also see which markets are most popular in the “Where’s The Money Going?” side panel although it’s not always the most popular bets which are the best ones.
Coral offers regular promotions on American Football and like Bet365 they target the accumulator or parlay markets, probably because it’s such a popular way of betting on the NFL. The American Football Insurance offers money back in the form of a free bet up to £25 if your accumulator is four-fold or greater and is let down by just a single result. A small but significant compensation for this gut-wrenching outcome and a nice insurance that adds extra value to your NFL betting at Coral.
Betfred (well, owner Fred Done himself) is well known as the “Bonus King” and their American Football service lives up to this moniker. They offer competitive odds in a good range of markets and lead the field in promotions.
Although they don’t always offer quite the range of markets that our other two featured bookies do, Betfred are always offering great odds on the ones they’re in. Any quick odds comparison will show they are offering the best or close to the best odds in any given American Football market.
The website is very modern and stylish but a little annoying to navigate at times, especially on a smaller screen. This isn’t a problem for tablet or smartphone users though because the Mobile app fixes it and even on a smaller laptop it isn’t a major issue.
What makes Betfred really stand out is the promotions, often in the form of a good old fashioned bonus. The Double Delight is a great example of this where your price for betting on first touchdown scorer is doubled if your player goes on to score another during the game. While our other bookmakers are more likely to compensate your loss, Betfred want to reward your win, it’s just a matter of preference really but this permanent offer from Betfred is a great option for fans of betting on the first TD and NFL betting generally.
How To Bet On American Football
In this section we go over some markets and give some examples and explanations of how they work. We will also outline some of the rules which may affect your bets so it’s important to be aware of those.
American Football Bets
There are many markets and combinations possible in American Football and we couldn’t possibly hope to go over all of them. Here are a some of the simplest and most popular:
- Money Line – This is pretty much what we know as an outright. You bet on a team to win the game but note that sometimes the odds will be listed in a different format so if the New York Jets are 9/5 to beat the Buffalo Bills who are 5/11 it would be listed as NY Jets +180 Buf Bills-220 meaning you win 180 dollars by risking 100 on the Jets and have to risk 220 dollars to win 100 from the Bills. This American odds format can be changed to fractional or decimal on all our three top NFL betting sites and, in truth, on most online bookmakers.
- Point Spread – Another bet which should be familiar to us but under another name, this is a handicap bet. The function is essentially to make it possible to back a team even if they’re a massive underdog so if Oakland Raiders are 14/5 to beat Kansas City Chiefs outright it might not be worth the risk whereas with a point spread or handicap of +7.5 their final score gets 7.5 points added to it so if they lose by less than eight points it counts as a win. Naturally the odds for this would be lower, with point spreads usually – but not always – designed to offer odds of around 10/11 on both sides.
- Totals Betting – You bet on the total number of points scored by both teams in the entire game, usually in the form of betting over or under a number which is normally a .5 decimal to avoid it being dead on. For example Over 42.5 points might be 11/10 and Under 42.5 points might be 5/6 if bookmakers expect a lower scoring game. These totals are often also offered as team-specific points, as well as by half and even by quarter.
- First Touchdown Scorer – A self-explanatory market, just pick your favourite player and back them to score the first touchdown. Obviously you’ll get better odds on some positions and players than others. This is a hard one to call unless you really know the teams and are aware of their styles of play and form players.
- Futures – This term covers a whole category of bets which covers the entire season. For example who will win the Superbowl, who will dash the most yards, which quarterback will pass the most yards, who will get the offensive and defensive rookie of the year awards, to name just a few. These are normally available at the start of the season for best odds but remain available throughout as the result becomes nearer and more predictable for diminishing odds. In the UK these would generally be known as ante post bets or season-long bets.
As with all sports betting, the bookies aren’t trying to catch you out and the rules listed below will generally not come into play. That said, forewarned is forearmed and if you know about these rules now you can avoid unpleasant shocks later.
- Abandonment / postponement – If a game is abandoned or postponed all bets are normally void unless it is rearranged within the same NFL week, Thursday to Wednesday.
- Overtime – Unlike in most other sports, pre-game bets include overtime, this is because of no option to bet on a draw.
- Statistics – Usually bets which requires statistics like most yards thrown or dashed will be settled according to the game stats published on nfl.com on the day of the game. If these are later amended you cannot challenge the settlement on this basis.
- Parlay ties – If one of your Parlay selections can result in a tie and does it is counted as a push. It is excluded from the bet and you can still win although it will not count towards boosting the winnings, so a fivefold becomes a fourfold and so on.