An In-Depth Guide to Finding the Best NFL Betting Sites
If you're reading this page, one of three things is probably true:
- 1You fancy yourself an NFL expert and are ready to make some money off the knowledge in that brain of yours.
- 2You're looking to spice up your Sundays...and Mondays...and Thursdays with some fun NFL betting action.
- 3You're lost.
For those of you that are just lost, we'll try and call your moms to come pick you up, but that's about all we can do. For numbers 1 and 2, we can help you today. We've put together a comprehensive guide to betting on the National Football League (NFL) and finding the right online betting home for you and your unique needs. With all of the different choices available, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right fit while still making sure the site offers the bets you want, has a user-friendly platform, offers the best lines and bonus programs, and has a trustworthy and secure platform.
What we've done is gone ahead and done the heavy lifting for you by vetting all of the major sites as well as some of the smaller niche sites that might be a great fit for you. We've compiled a list of our favorites here to get you started.
If you're not sure which of these to choose, we recommend two things. First, you could try a few of them out and see which you like best. Or second, you can keep reading, and we'll walk you through some things to look for and some of the pros and cons of different types of sports betting sites so you can find the best NFL sports betting home for you.
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Criteria to Look For When Selecting an NFL Betting Site
As we've previously mentioned, picking a site to meet and exceed your NFL betting needs can be overwhelming and a challenging process. This process gets even more challenging when you aren't completely positive about what it is that you should be looking for.
Maybe you've never bet online and don't know what features exist and don't exist. Maybe you haven't bet online in years and don't know what evolutions some sites have taken. Maybe this is a new sport for you, and you want to know what you can and can't take advantage of. Or maybe you just want to make sure that you're betting with a legitimate and secure site but aren't sure what to look for. We're going to answer all of those questions today by walking you through all the criteria you should be looking at when selecting a place to place your NFL bets.
The first thing that people are surprised by when they get into sports betting on the NFL is that there are more options to bet on than just who wins the game. For experienced sports bettors, this sounds silly, but you would be surprised how new this information is to a lot of people. Why is this important? It gives you flexibility and an added ability to leverage predictions that might not have a direct effect on the outcome of the game.
For example, let's say that the Atlanta Falcons are playing the New England Patriots and you think that Matt Ryan is going to have a terrible day, but you think the Falcons running attack will still get the job done and pull off the win. If you could only bet on who would win the game, you couldn't do anything with this prediction. But, with some of the new types of bets available, you can. For example, you might see a prop bet like this:
You can now bet the under on this saying that Matt Ryan will throw for less than 315.5 yards reflecting your prediction he will have a terrible day. Winning this bet or not is completely independent of the outcome of the game. Making sure that a site you bet on gives you these options is important if you frequently have game predictions about specific players or things that might not have a direct outcome on the final score of the game.
Who doesn't love free money? The thing to know is this. There are lots of different sportsbooks out there, and every single one of them wants your business. In order to entice you to bet with them, they will usually offer bonus promotions and VIP programs to reward you for your patronage. These are probably going to be the biggest difference between the different NFL betting sites that you look at.
The rewards will usually include cash deposit bonuses, reload deposit bonuses, reduced juice bets, and more. A lot of sites will use a lot of creativity when it comes to their bonus and reward programs, so it's tough to list all possibilities here. The things you need to pay attention to are which bonuses and promotions pertain to NFL specifically. A lot of times sites will have lucrative casino bonuses, but they won't carry over to NFL sports betting.
On the other side of the coin, a lot of times sites will have specific bonuses and rewards for NFL betting. The most common one that we see is reduced juice bets on popular NFL games. This means that the sportsbook will take less money for them and pay you out a higher profit on your bets. Sites that have these are definitely ones to keep an eye out for. Usually, this will mean an additional 5% in profits on every winning bet that has reduced juice.
When you go to a sports betting website, you will know right away what we mean by a good user interface, a great user interface, and a terrible user interface. You can usually tell right away by how you feel. A good interface will make you feel neutral, a great interface will relax and excite you at the same time, and a bad interface will make you want to claw your eyes out.
Unfortunately, a lot of sports betting websites were built well initially and easy to navigate. As their sports offerings grew and bet options increased, their designs couldn't withstand the growth and are now a mess to navigate and find what you are looking for. Since you'll be spending a lot of time on these sites and keeping a cool head and enjoying yourself is important, it is a must to find a site that is easy on the eyes and easy to navigate.
If it is a nightmare to get a bet placed or takes forever, you may end up making a mistake or costing yourself money by missing out on a bet. This is definitely one of the most important criteria especially for your "home base" NFL betting site which we will discuss shortly.
One of the newer trends in NFL betting is allowing you to make wagers during the course of the game. In the past, all bets had to be made before the game started and then it was time just to sit and sweat the game. Now, with the help of technology, you can place additional bets as the game goes on.
These options are not available at every site so if this interests you, make sure that you find a site that offers this. Also, each site that offers it will offer it a different level meaning that some sites will only have a few in-game betting options and some sites will have a ton. Find the site that has the options that fit your needs best. While the most options sounds like the best, it can be overwhelming for casual and recreational bettors especially if the site's interface for live betting isn't top notch.
"Home Base" NFL Betting Sites
When we talk about your home base NFL betting site, we're referring to the site where you will house most of your action. Even though you will be line shopping on all of your bets because you're a smart bettor (we will cover this in a minute), this will be the first place you start and where you place most of your bets if all the lines come out the same on a particular bet.
When looking for this site, there are a few things that are going to be the most important factors to keep in mind. First, you are going to want to find a site that offers a wide variety of NFL bets. You're not going to want just basic bets, but you're going to want some flexibility in what they offer in case you see new angles that you want to press. Some sites that you're going to use strictly for line shopping won't have all of these options.
If you're curious about the different types of bets offered on the NFL, this link we've put together has an extensive breakdown of each type of bet as well as associated strategies to go with each type.
Second, you are going to want this site to have an extremely user-friendly interface that you are fully comfortable with using. As you will be spending the most time on this site, you are going to want to make sure it doesn't drive you bonkers to use. It needs to be fast with a clean and easy to navigate interface.
Additionally, you may want to look into a site that has some research tools to help you make your picks. While this isn't necessary, it could be a bonus to help you out and would be great to have on your home platform.
Super Bowl Betting Sites
The biggest spectacle in the NFL or all of sports for that matter might be the Super Bowl. is the Championship game between the winners of each conference to determine that season's champion. It's also one of the largest betting events of the year. The total amount of bets for Super Bowl 51 was $4.7 Billion.
Betting on the Super Bowl brings out sports bettors that never bet on anything else all year. It brings out recreational and first-time bettors and is a great way to get people introduced to the hobby or money making opportunity. Betting on the Super Bowl is much like betting on a regular game except on a much bigger scale. The big effect on selecting a site to bet on during the Super Bowl is that sites that normally don't offer much NFL action will offer a lot of bets on the big game.
What does this mean for you? This means there are going to be more sportsbooks offering lines which mean a lot more opportunities to find a great line on the bet you are interested in. To help you out with selecting a site specifically for betting on the Super Bowl, we've put together a full guide on the event and how to bet on it. Not only do we recommend the best sites to place your wagers at, but we also give you some great background information and important betting strategies.
We also included on this page a chart that shows how much money was wagered each year in Las Vegas on the big game and how much the casino sportsbooks made or lost on each game.
Daily Fantasy Football (DFS) Betting Sites
One of the fastest growing sects of betting on the NFL is daily fantasy football betting. If you've ever played in a fantasy football league with your buddies, this is very similar except a few major differences. First, the prize pools are usually a lot bigger for smaller buy-ins because there are so many players competing (for tournament formats). Second, instead of being a season long, it is short term and can last a week, a couple days, or for a single part of a day.
You can enter a $20 tournament on Sunday morning and be a millionaire by Sunday night.
The third difference that greatly affects strategy is that any player can be owned by any contestant. Instead of going rounds of drafts where selected players are off limits, each player is given a salary cap, and all players are assigned dollar amounts based on perceived value. You can select any players you want to fill your slots as long as you stay under the salary cap.
If you're interested in finding out more about daily fantasy football (DFS), we've included a link to a page that will break everything down for you as well as give you some strategy and logistical suggestions to get you started.
The Importance of Line Shopping
If you're brand new to sports betting, line shopping may be a new concept but one of the most important that you will ever learn in your online betting journey. Line shopping could be the single determining factor in whether or not you are a profitable or losing sports bettor. It may sound like we're being drama queens here, but line shopping is, in fact, that important.
For those of you that have never heard the term before, line shopping is the act of checking multiple sportsbooks to see what odds they are offering on the same bet. It is extremely common for different sportsbooks to offer varying odds on the exact same bet. Let's take a look at an example to show you how important it is.
Example of Why Line Shopping is so Important
Let's say the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Philadelphia Eagles and you are 100% confident that the Cowboys are going to win. You pull up your sportsbook, and you see the following line:
Is this a good bet? The answer is yes. However, the better question would be, is there a better bet that you could make? The answer to that question is maybe. Let's say you check a different sportsbook and they have the following line:
This is CLEARLY a much better bet because the Cowboys now have to win by fewer points for you to win your bet. You may be saying to yourself that it's only one point and not really worth the trouble and effort to chase after, but you would be wrong. Imagine the game is in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys are up by three points. They drive down and kick a field goal with a minute left in the game to go up by six points. The Eagles get the ball and are stopped and time expires. The Cowboys win by six points.
If you placed your bet at the first sportsbook, you lost. If you took the time to find the better bet at the second sportsbook, you won your bet. One point or a slightly better payout in odds might not sound like that big of a deal, but in reality, it is the most important thing you can do. Shopping lines can sway a few losing bets into winning bets and also get you higher payouts on some winning bets.
Why Line Shopping Works
Line shopping can be confusing to new sports bettors because they usually don't understand how and why online sportsbooks would offer different betting odds on the same bet. Here's the reason why. Each sportsbook operates individually. They do not care what is going on at other sportsbooks and what kinds of bets are being placed elsewhere. They ONLY care about the bets being placed at their sportsbook.
Sportsbooks also do not like to gamble. They like US to gamble, but they don't like to gamble. Ideally, they want to make money on each bet without having any risk. The way they do this is by trying to get the same amount of money bet on each side of a bet and then take a small percentage for their profit.
For example, let's look at the bet we mentioned earlier:
If you bet on the Cowboys to win by more than 6.5 points, you will be paid out at a rate of -110.
If you bet on the Cowboys to lose or win by fewer than 6.5 points, you will be paid out at a rate of -110.
This means that a bet on either side of this wager will pay out exactly the same. A $100 wager will pay out a profit of $90.91. For simplicity purposes, let's say there are 10 people making $100 wagers on the game. If the sports book can convince five people to bet on the Cowboys and five people to bet on the Eagles, they are guaranteed to make money.
Here's the math:
If the Cowboys win, the sportsbook gives each winner their $100 bet back plus $90.91 in profit. That means each winning bettor receives $190.91. The total they pay out is $190.91 times five winners which equal $954.55. Subtract that from the $1000 they collected on all bets, and they have a profit of $45.45.
If the Cowboys lose, the sportsbook gives each winner their $100 bet back plus $90.91 in profit. That means each winning bettor receives $190.91. The total they pay out is $190.91 times five winners which equal $954.55. Subtract that from the $1000 they collected on all bets, and they have a profit of $45.45.
Basically, the sportsbook couldn't care less about who wins the game. Obviously, though, bets aren't going to come in evenly on both sides magically. What the sportsbook will do is alter the lines or odds to try and entice people to bet on the side with fewer bets and discourage bets on the side with two much betting.
Let's say in our example the first five people that bet picked the Cowboys to win at -6.5. If the sportsbook didn't do anything, most likely the next five bets would also come in on the Cowboys, and no one would bet on the Eagles at +6.5. This would not be good for the sportsbook and would leave them needing the Eagles to win or lose by less than 6.5 points or else they would lose a lot of money.
As you can imagine, sportsbooks don't like to lose money or to take risks. What they would do is change the odds to let's say, Cowboys -7.5 and Eagles +7.5 It is not much less enticing to bet on the Cowboys because instead of them needed to win by more than 6.5 points, they need to win by more than 7.5 points. This would hopefully deter people from placing that bet. If it didn't, the line would continue to rise until it did.
On the other side, the Eagles line would also shift from +6.5 to +7.5 meaning that they could lose by more points now and you would still win your bet. This would hopefully entice more people to bet on them, or the line would keep moving until it did.
The point here is that different sportsbooks are going to have different lines on the exact same NFL games. This isn't just for the point spreads but for any and every bet available.
So you understand now why line shopping exists and why it benefits you. Now you need to understand how to make it work for you. The secret is not that complex at all. All you need to do to line shop effectively is to check multiple sportsbooks before you place a bet. When you find the one that has the best odds for your particular bet, you place your bet there. This may mean having different bets at different sportsbooks for the same game. This is completely normal and what all the professional bettors do.
This never used to be possible before online sports betting. You would have to drive from casino to casino which is not cost effective or feasible for most people. With online betting, you can check lines in a heartbeat. What we recommend doing is picking out 2-4 sites that you will use to shop lines for going forward. We recommend creating accounts with each and if you can afford it, having some money on each preloaded so you never have any delays getting a bet in and miss a great line.
It doesn't cost you anything to create an additional account and only makes things easier going forward. Most professional sports bettors have much more than four accounts, but we think 2-4 is a good starting number for recreational or semi-serious bettors.