How to Bet on the NFL

Online sports betting is coming to Maryland. This page will be updated with the latest promos and sportsbooks as soon as MD sports betting is live. 

NFL betting is the undisputed king of all sports betting in the US. Game after game, people bet millions of dollars on the action on the gridiron. With just 17 regular-season games per team each year, each game also gets an immense amount of scrutiny from both pro handicappers and amateur bettors.

The pinnacle of the NFL betting season is, of course, the Super Bowl, with the best team from each conference (NFC and AFC) battling for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl prop bets, in particular, will be on a whole new level.

If you are a newcomer to NFL betting or a diehard fan of the Baltimore Ravens, we’ve got the basic X’s and O’s of NFL betting, plus how to bet at online sportsbooks in Maryland. If you’re looking for today’s NFL point spreads, moneylines, and totals odds, check our live NFL odds page.

How NFL betting works

With just 272 games in total (not including the playoffs), the NFL season is a short but jam-packed slate of weekly odds and lines to consider. NFL betting action also starts long before the actual season kicks off.

You can bet on NFL futures at virtually any point in the calendar year. Futures bets are wagers that you place on results that won’t play out until a “future” date, usually well beyond the day you place it. Here are some of the most popular NFL futures:

If you think Aaron Rodgers, the 2020 AP NFL Most Valuable Player, will have an MVP season again, you can back him up with a futures bet well in advance of the season. You can’t predict the twists and turns of the season, or whether Rodgers will get injured at any point, but your odds will likely never be higher (and your potential payout larger) than before the season begins.

The regular season usually kicks off in the week after Labor Day, and the majority of games take place on Sundays. Although Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football are now schedule staples, too.

A full menu of pregame bets is available in the week before the games start, chief among them:

  • Moneyline
  • Point spread
  • Total (over/under)

These bets are wagers on the following things:

  • The game winner
  • How the teams will do when factoring in a predetermined margin of victory
  • The total number of points, combined, by both teams in the game

To spice things up, online sportsbooks also offer a menu of prop bets on every game. Finally, you can also place live bets while the action unfolds. Sportsbooks will update NFL betting odds on all the main bets in real time in response to the action on the field.

Popular types of NFL wagers

Point spreads

Since virtually every NFL game has a favorite to win, with these bets the oddsmakers set a point spread to even the betting field a bit. For example, in a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Football Team, the spread may look like this:

  • Baltimore Ravens -4.5
  • Washington Football Team +4.5

In this example, the Ravens are the favorite, as indicated by the “-” sign. If you make an NFL spread bet on the Ravens, they need to win by a margin of five points or more for your bet to win. If you back the underdog, in this case the Washington Football Team, your bet will win if Washington doesn’t lose by more than four points or if it wins outright.

Moneylines

Moneyline bets are the simplest bets you can place on an NFL game. You are wagering on the side you think will be the outright winner.

For example, in a game between the Ravens and New York Giants, the Ravens stand as favorites at -260, while the Giants, as the underdogs, are at +230.

This means that a bet of $260 on the Ravens will provide a profit of $100 if it is correct, while a $100 bet on the Giants would pay $230 in profit should New York win. You’re not obligated to bet $100; that’s just the framework for how bets comparably pay out.

Over/unders

Over/under bets are wagers on the total points in a game. This includes points from both teams. The sportsbook will give a specific margin, for example, 40.5 points, and, if you choose to bet on the over, your bet will be successful if the teams combine to score 41 or more points.

On the other hand, if you opt for the under bet, you need to hope for fewer than 40 points in the game.

Prop bets

The NFL is a proposition bet breeding ground, with all kinds of stats and milestones you can bet on over the course of the game. Here are some prop bet favorites for every NFL game:

  • Betting on a running back to rush for over 100 yards.
  • Betting on the quarterback to throw for over 300 yards.
  • Total TDs thrown, over/under three.

Defensive milestones (sacks, tackles, interceptions, etc.) are also prop fodder for both individual player and team totals.

NFL prop bets can be a nice entry point for a new bettor coming over from fantasy football, as the necessary research before the game is similar. If you’ve ever played fantasy football or daily fantasy sports, you’ll also likely be comfortable picking specific players to hit certain milestones in a game.

In-game NFL betting

After the games get underway, the betting action continues thanks to the live betting options. Live or “in game” betting possibilities are enticing because the odds change by the minute to reflect the action on the field.

Apart from the standard point spreads, over/unders and moneyline odds, you’ll also find numerous prop bets you can place, including the following examples:

  • What will be the result of the next drive?
  • Will the next play result in a touchdown?

The key with live betting is to react quickly when you recognize the window of opportunity. For example, if you sense that the losing team is about to gain momentum and turn things around, you can take a flier bet on them at great odds and reap the rewards if it happens.

In-game betting has reached a new level with the proliferation of sportsbook apps, such as the FanDuel betting app and DraftKings betting app, which are popular for NFL betting. These apps allow you to follow the action on your phone and make snap bets at just the right moment while watching the action on the big screen.

Key NFL betting tips for beginners

Gather the information and analyze

Getting the tale of the tape for every NFL game is a big deal. You should learn as much as possible about the matchup you want to bet on. As luck would have it, there’s no shortage of NFL pundits and media sites that will provide it for you.

Looking at key stats is the best way to do it. The stats tell you how the teams fare against each other, the track record of certain players against specific teams, and more.

Shop around for the best odds

Not all sportsbooks offer the exact same odds. Shopping around for the small differences is worth it. If you can find the team you want to bet on at -3 instead of -3.5, you should jump on it.

Once you’ve made a decision on the games you want to bet on and the types of bets, you can browse various online sportsbooks and see which offer the best odds for those particular bets.

Also, pay attention to the key numbers when placing point spread bets. The key numbers for any NFL game are 3 and 7, as these numbers represent the most common victory margin in any game. Almost a quarter of all games end with these margins. So, when you’re looking for the right odds to lock in, make sure to pay attention to the “hook,” aka the half-point margin, and choose accordingly.

3 common NFL betting mistakes

There are some mistakes first-time NFL bettors are prone to.

1. Poor bankroll management

Beginning bettors are often in danger of overspending as they want to get that valuable experience. However, that strategy can be a double-edged sword. You should always set a budget for a particular day or a game and stick to it. Also, never chase losses.

New players often get carried away and chase the games. This means they might force a bet only because it is Sunday Night Football and the last game of the night. If the lines aren’t good, don’t bet. Wait for your opportunity and seize it when it appears, but don’t chase it.

2. Don’t let last week’s results influence you

Newcomers to NFL betting often let the team’s performance from the previous week affect their judgment for the present week. The books know this and might use it to their advantage by tweaking their lines to entice more action on a “hot” team.

Hot streaks can happen, but you should bear in mind that every game is an entity in and of itself and treat it as such. Get back to the drawing board each time you want to bet on a game, check the stats, devise a strategy and don’t be biased based (entirely) on last week’s performance.

3. Keep your fandom in check

People just starting with NFL betting often assume a position of a fan instead of a bettor, and that can be a problem. It’s crucial to remain as objective as possible, even if you’ve had a Dallas Cowboys jersey on your wall for years or decades.

How to bet on the NFL online in Maryland

Betting on the NFL in Maryland starts with completing a few simple steps:

  • First, visit the sportsbook’s site from your computer to create your account or download the dedicated sportsbook app to your phone
  • Register an account by inputting personal details, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number, name, address, email, etc.
  • Enter any codes or make any deposits necessary to claim any sportsbook welcome bonuses
  • Use the bonus funds to get a feel for NFL betting
  • Continue to deposit and play on

NFL betting partnerships

The NFL has come a long way from an organization that sued the state of New Jersey for wanting to legalize sports betting to an organization that signed sponsorship deals with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Entertainment, some of the biggest gambling companies in the country.

The deal is for a five-year term and is reportedly worth approximately $1 billion.

BetMGM has NFL ties in Maryland as well. The Baltimore Ravens are one of the groups afforded a license under Maryland law. In May 2021, the team announced it would work with BetMGM to offer an online sportsbook in the state.

Under the agreement, all content related to betting will be available directly on the NFL app and NFL.com site. Also, sportsbooks will be able to use the NFL’s intellectual property, data, and other resources to appeal to players and their betting needs.

The gambling industry is rapidly changing, and with this deal, the NFL is looking to capitalize on the ever-changing sports betting landscape in the US.