Betting Strategies
14.07.2023, 07:29
29.05.2024, 04:40

Comprehensive Guide to Betting on American Football

American football is the most popular sport in the US, surpassing basketball and hockey in prevalence.

Football games attract millions of viewers on television and tens of thousands of fans in stadiums across the US. The sport draws attention with its spectacle, dynamism, and intense passion.

The Super Bowl, the NFL's season finale, attracts around 100 million viewers in the US annually. Other famous tournaments include the NCAA, XFL, CIF, IFL, and NAL.

Bets on American football can be placed at many bookmakers. With a thorough sports analysis and betting strategies, wagers in this discipline can yield profits.

Features of Betting on American Football

American football is a contact sport. The game involves two teams, each consisting of 11 players.

Rules of American Football

Competitions occur on a football field that is 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide. Matches consist of four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes.

The goal of the participants is to score the most points.

Ways to score points:

  • Touchdown - 6 points for bringing the ball into the opponent's end zone.
  • Extra points after a touchdown - 1 point for a field goal or 2 points for a repeat touchdown.
  • Field goal - 3 points for getting the ball into the space above the crossbar between the posts of the opponent's goal.
  • Safety - 2 points for stopping an offensive player or a play ending in the offensive team's end zone.

For each play, the offensive team gets four attempts or downs to advance the ball 10 yards towards the opponent's end zone. If the attempt is successful, the team gets another four chances. If the team fails to advance after four attempts, the ball is turned over to the opponent.

In case of a tie after the completion of the last quarter, the referee will assign extra time or overtime, lasting 10 minutes in the regular season and 15 minutes in the playoffs.

Features of Betting on American Football

American football is a common discipline in many bookmakers. Features of betting on this sport include:

  • The importance of pre-match analysis - in American football, favourites usually win. Still, with comprehensive sports analytics considering all factors, it's possible to make winning bets in the long run.
  • For example, in the rain, football players show less effectiveness depending on weather conditions.
  • The opportunity to find value odds in the early lines of bookmakers due to the lack of heavy betting from players.
  • The influence of the home field factor and the type of coverage - natural grass or artificial turf.

The quarterback is the team's leader and key offensive player, whose task is to advance the ball forward.

The quarterback's form and skill level largely determines the club's results.

History of the Game

The history of the emergence and formation of the discipline is associated with the development of soccer and rugby. The first American football game was played in 1869 when two teams couldn't agree on whether to play soccer or rugby.

In soccer, the players took the standard round ball, and in rugby, the number of participants was 25 on each side.

American football was even more injury-prone in the early stages of its development. 1905 the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported, "18 football players killed and 159 seriously injured".

In 1912, the game's rules became very similar to the modern ones: 6 points were assigned for a touchdown, the field length was set at 100 yards, and the game time was reduced to 60 minutes.

In 1920, the first season of the National Football League took place, which became the most significant competition in American football.

Main types of bets on American Football

Betting on this sport is possible in most bookmaking companies. Bookmakers provide detailed listings for the NFL and average listings for other competitions.


Bookmakers offer players to guess the winner of the match. Theoretically, a draw is possible in American football, but due to the peculiarities of the rules, the probability of a draw is extremely low.

Since the introduction of the overtime rule in the NFL in 1974, the likelihood of a draw has been virtually reduced to zero. From 1974 to 2020, there have been only 26 draws in the National Football League, averaging 0 to 2 per season.


The player chooses with what advantage or lag in points the chosen team will finish the match.

Unlike most other sports, the likelihood of handicaps in American football changes nonlinearly.

A late 3-point field goal or a 6-point touchdown with an extra point often determines the outcome.

The most common handicap values in the discipline are -2.5 and +3.5, -6.5 and +7.5.


Considering possible overtime, fans bet on the total number of opponents' points or one side.

The average number of points in matches is 43; due to the peculiarities of scoring, teams rarely score precisely 43 points.

The most common totals in American football are 41 and 44 points.

Quarters and Halves

Bookmakers offer bets on outcomes, totals, and handicaps for quarters and halves. Bets on separate game segments could be more predictable in terms of results.

It's easier for an underdog to win 1 quarter than to finish the meeting with a positive result.

Additional Bets

The bookmakers' listings include offers for the first period/match, the first quarter/match, outcome and total, victory with an advantage, who will score points first, the first scoring action, and other additional markets.


For popular games in many bookmakers, you can find additional betting options - touchdowns, fouls, field goals, safeties, and other game indicators.

Bookmakers can give additional markets on individual players' statistics, for example, how many yards the quarterback will gain or whether the football player will be the victim of an interception.

Long-term Bets

Bookmakers offer long-term offers on the championship results - the Super Bowl winner, the club that will win in the conference or division.

Features of Predicting Bets on American Football

Intelligent betting on American football implies a detailed pre-match analysis taking into account a large number of factors:

  • Team and player form - results of recent matches, physical condition of athletes, relationships and moods within the team.
  • Statistics - the average number of points in recent meetings, home and away confrontations, indicators for touchdowns, field goals, and safeties.
  • Head-to-head results - almost every club has convenient and inconvenient opponents.
  • Lineups - possible injuries and disqualifications among opponents.
  • Motivation - the importance of the upcoming game for each participating side.
  • Home field factor - often in front of fans and on a familiar lawn, football players show better results.
  • Weather conditions - heat or heavy rain affect the effectiveness and style of play.

When analysing, it's essential to consider the level and form of the quarterbacks. According to statistics, in most cases, the favourites win, but betting on every solid team in the line will lead to losing the betting bankroll.

Betting Strategies for American Football

Betting enthusiasts for American football rarely use game models and prefer to place bets based on comprehensive statistics, results, and form analysis.

Using several popular strategies can increase the profitability of bets in bookmakers.

Mathematical Calculation of the Miller System

The Miller mathematical model suggests placing bets on outcomes, totals, or handicaps based on the statistics analysis in the last five matches.

When analysing, players consider two indicators - the offensive rating and the defensive rating. Calculating the offensive and defensive ratings separately for both teams is necessary.

Offensive Rating

Calculation of the offensive rating:

  1. Raise the individual totals of the club in the attack in the last five meetings in the available statistics.
  2. Remove the highest and lowest values of the indicator from the calculation.
  3. Calculate the arithmetic mean total based on the remaining 3 results.

For example, in the last five games, the team scored 25, 32, 40, 38, and 36 points - totals of 25 and 40 do not participate in the calculations, the average total in the attack: (32 + 38 + 36) / 3 = 35.33.

Defensive Rating

Calculation of the defensive rating:

  1. Select individual totals in defence in the last five matches.
  2. Cross out the highest and lowest total value.
  3. Calculate the arithmetic mean of the indicator based on the remaining 3 results.

For example, in 5 matches, the team's opponents scored 37, 44, 22, 34, and 32 points - totals of 22 and 44 do not participate in the calculation, the average total of the club in defence: (32 + 34 + 37) / 3 = 34.33.


To form a forecast, the fan adds the guests' defensive rating to the hosts' offensive rating and subtracts 20 from the result.

He adds the hosts' defensive rating to the guests' offensive rating and subtracts 20 from the obtained value. With the obtained result, he chooses handicaps, totals, or bets on the outcome in the betting line.


Sometimes the favourite loses with a difference of 7 or 14 points. Players bet on a clean win for the favourite or consider the plus handicap. For the strategy, they chose strong teams with high chances of winning before the start of the match.

It's essential to watch the video broadcast of the match to determine whether the favourite has a chance to make up for the lag.

Professionals recommend combining the strategy with the "Flat" system - fixed bets of 1-5% of the bankroll.

Doubling Up

According to the "Doubling Up" strategy, a sports fan sequentially places bets on 1 outcome with odds from 2.00. He increases the amount of each subsequent bet in a loss so much that the first win covers the losses and brings profit.

For the "Doubling Up" game, any identical markets with odds from 2.00 are suitable, for example, you can bet live on the outsider's victory in a quarter or pre-match on the total more or less.

Where to Place Bets on American Football

Here are some of our local Nigerian bookmakers that are known for good odds, especially for American football betting:

  • Bet9ja
  • 1xBet
  • Frapapa
  • BetKing
  • Parimatch
  • N1bet
  • Yangasport

The Conclusion from VP-Bet Team Experts

Profitable bets on American football matches are possible after a comprehensive pre-match analysis.

During the sports analysis, it is additionally essential to consider the form and level of the quarterbacks, weather conditions, and the factor of the home stadium.

Using the Miller model, strategies on the losing favourite and "Doubling Up" will help to make a profit.


What is the point spread in American football betting?

The point spread is a number set by oddsmakers to handicap the favourite team and give the underdog team a theoretical advantage. When betting on the point spread, you can either bet on the favourite to win by more than the spread or the underdog to lose by less than the spread.

What is the over/under (total) in American football betting?

The over/under, also known as the total, is the combined score of both teams in a game. Bookmakers set a number, and bettors can wager on whether the total score will be over or under that number.

What is a teaser bet in American football?

A teaser bet is a parlay bet where you can adjust the point spread or total in your favour. Teasers allow you to move the spread in your favour by specific points, but it also reduces the potential payout.

What is a prop bet in American football betting?

Prop bets, short for proposition bets, are wagers placed on specific outcomes or events within a game. These can include individual player performance, team statistics, or even unique occurrences during the game, such as the outcome of the coin toss.

What is live betting in American football?

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, allows you to place bets on a game while it is in progress. You can wager on various aspects of the game, such as the next team to score, the outcome of the next drive, or the player to score the next touchdown.

What is a futures bet in American football betting?

A futures bet is a long-term bet placed on an event that will happen in the future, such as the Super Bowl winner or the season's MVP. These bets are usually made before the season starts and offer the potential for high payouts.

What is a parlay bet in American football betting?

A parlay bet is a single bet that combines multiple selections into one wager. All selections must be correct for the parlay to win. Parlays offer the potential for higher payouts but come with higher risk since all selections must be correct.


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