American football has become increasingly well-known in the former Soviet Union over the past decade — every year the percentage of people who confuse it with rugby is decreasing, and European football fans are less offended by Americans for the word “soccer”.
It is not surprising, because in the era of the Internet, borders are collapsing, and people can join this contact and incredibly tactical sport if they want,including by betting in online bookmakers. How to bet on this sport correctly, how to predict the results of competitions, and which Russian bookmakers accept bets on American football? We talk about the basics.
Bloody past and successful present
The official date of birth of American football is considered to be November 6, 1869. On that day, the teams of two universities (Rutgers and Princeton), without agreeing on what exactly they were going to play, held a significant match according to strange rules, reminiscent of both European soccer and rugby.
In its early stages, American football was so violent that the newspaper headline “18 players killed and 159 seriously injured” was not considered out of the ordinary. However, the public was dissatisfied with the senseless bloodshed in stadiums, and over time the rules became more complicated in the direction of safety, the body protection of football players increased, in addition, the dynamics of the game became less forceful, with a greater emphasis on speed and skill of players.
The National Football League (NFL), the most influential organization in the world of American football, was formed in the 1920s, but began to develop rapidly only in the second half of the twentieth century. Now its members are 32 teams, playing 16 regular-season games from September to January, and the central sporting event in America is the February “Super Bowl” – the NFL finals.
Despite the fact that American football passed its peak of popularity in the 2000s, it is still a favorite sport of US residents. More than 30 percent of American citizens call the NFL their major league, while the basketball NBA, for example, is almost three times less popular.
The NFL’s annual revenue exceeds $ 10 billion from season to season, while league clubs regularly rank among the top 10 most famous and expensive sports brands in the world, competing with the giants of European football.
The largest competitions in the world of American football are the NCAA collegiate tournament, which surpassed the professionals in popularity until the 60s, as well as the Canadian Football League (CFL).
However, the vast majority of bets are placed on NFL games, so we will focus in more detail on this particular league.
Types of bets on American football
On the outcome. The most obvious and one of the two most popular betting markets for American football. Quotes are offered with two options: for the victory of the first or second team. The NFL remains the only American league where a draw is hypothetically possible, but the probability of it is extremely low due to the peculiarities of the rules. From 1974 to 2017, only 22 tied matches were played.
For a head start. Together with bets on the outcome, the handicap is most popular among players. Especially at the end of the season, when big clubs are fighting for the playoffs, their matches with outsiders are not interesting to analyze in terms of wins/losses, but the handicap gives food for thought.
You also need to understand that due to the specifics of the game, the value of handicaps changes non-linearly, not in the same way as in most game sports. In the NFL, the outcome of most matches is decided by a late three-point field goal, in second place with a huge margin from other options — a touchdown with an extra point, leading to a handicap of 7 points.
According to statistics, 30 percent of NFL matches end with a difference of 3 and 7 points, so the most popular odds for bookmakers are -2.5 and +3.5, -6.5 and +7.5. If in the same basketball, the probabilities of entering handicaps +7.5 and +6.5 are quite close, then in American football there is a gap between these two events.
On the total. Here you can make a forecast for how many points teams will score in total during the match, taking into account overtime. In average numbers, NFL teams score 43 points per game between them, but due to the rules, 43 points per game is a rare option. The most popular totals in the NFL are 41 and 44 points, each of which occurs in about 4 percent of games.
You can also bet “more/less” on individual teams — a good option if, for example, you have studied the attack of one team and the opponent’s defense well, but are not sure about the other paylines.
Adjacent and interdependent markets in relation to totals are quotes for the team that wrote the most productive quarter, as well as bets on who will be the first to reach a certain number of points.
Into separate quarters and halves. All these types of bets can be found not only for the match with overtime, but also for its individual segments. The result is calculated exclusively within the specified interval, the element of randomness increases — it is much easier for a bad team to take a quarter from the favorite than to confidently spend the entire game without failures.
On statistics. Offers vary depending on the company — both for player statistics and team statistics. For example, whether the quarterback will gain a certain number of yards per game, whether he will be a victim of interceptions, and so on.
You can guess the number of touchdowns and field goals in a match, and whether there will be at least one safety — a situation where the defense brings two points to its team by stopping the opponent in its scoring zone. There are many options, but the limits of bets on murals are usually not so high.
Long-term rates. During the entire NFL regular season, which lasts from September to January, you can bet on the season’s winner based on the results of the playoffs (the winner of the Super Bowl), the winners of individual conferences based on the results of the playoffs, as well as on the winners of their divisions (there are only 8 of them, 4 in each conference) based on the results of the regular season.
The NFL can be described as a relatively competitive league, and even in the case of a clear outsider last season, the odds of winning a division in the new year rarely exceed 10. The league tries to keep the balance of power through financial tools and the draft system, so unexpected breakthroughs happen from time to time.
Special bids. American football is one of the most popular sports in the world in terms of money spent on betting, so you couldn’t do without exotic and strange offers here. Before the start of the season, many offices offer odds on, for example, which coach will be fired first, whether at least one field goal will be scored all season from as far as 60 yards, and others.
Odds for a perfect season are in high demand — in the entire history of the league, only four teams have held at least one regular season with a continuous winning streak. The event is already unlikely, and in special bets it can also be seen on average teams for a coefficient of more than 500.
Live. Making real-time forecasts for the NFL is mostly unprofitable due to the increased bookmaker margin, but at the same time, with proper skill and careful viewing of the game, there are chances to catch favorable odds.
Immediately after a game situation changes, for example, immediately after a touchdown, there is an inertia of the line and some instability of it: experienced players sometimes take advantage of this, quickly assessing the situation and betting on American football in live.
The live betting market can also be oversupplied, even if the favorite loses after the first half. Then the forecast for an underdog may be favorable.
How to bet on American football: the basics of forecasting
Before betting on American football, you need to follow some precautions and take into account certain factors. Below are some tips that will help you make more successful bets. This is not to say that these tips are a universal strategy for betting on American football, but you need to know all these things in order to at least avoid stupid losses.
Think with your own head. Do not start from the line in your analysis first of all, but before viewing the coefficients, evaluate for yourself what chances each team has to score a certain number of points in a match or play a handicap.
You need to take into account all the factors together-weather, injuries, home court advantage, team form, and so on. Having formed your opinion, you can already draw parallels with the quotes offered by the bookmaker.
No need to bet on every match. Yes, unlike other American leagues in the NFL, this is at least physically possible due to a less busy calendar, but you are unlikely to break the bank with the volume of bets.
It is much more efficient to select a few teams that you think are the most profitable during the week for analysis each week, and focus on their matches. This will make it easier to track the dynamics of your game, spot mistakes, and develop your betting strategy.
Catch the line as early as possible. At the very start of the market, you can sometimes find more favorable odds for the bet you need, especially if the analysis led you to a forecast for the favorite.
Often during the week, fans of big teams load the line with bets on “Dallas”, “New England” or “Green Bay”, and the handicap of -4 at the start of the market turns into -7 a few hours before the match. Don’t be fooled by the hype and be on your guard — make smart predictions and look for the best moment to bet, while keeping an eye on the earliest stages of the market.
The home court factor always deserves attention. The teams play their matches in different stadiums, and each city has its own characteristics — some have natural turf, and some have artificial turf, some are driven forward by fans, while others play in chamber silence due to numerous failed seasons.
On foreign-themed NFL sites, you can see the home factor for each team, but on average in the league, bookmakers give the home team an advantage of 3 points per line in relation to its own quotes on the road.
Looking at yardage statistics and quarterback uniforms can help simplify your analysis. American football is a confrontation between attacking and defensive lines of teams. Therefore, the simplest way to understand a team’s strength is to track how many yards a team’s offense gains and how many yards its defense allows per game episode. Naturally, teams that average more territory than their opponents win more often.
The quarterback is the main creator on the field, and a huge percentage of success depends on his form and skill. If a team has one of the top five quarterbacks in the league, and there are no injuries in the offensive line, then betting on the favorite can be a good option.
The best quarterbacks play smart, throw hard and accurately, and make near-perfect decisions under pressure. Even a good defense is not easy to deal with in this case — a capable quarterback will still find holes in it. For example, New England, led by Tom Brady, won 13 of 16 games in 2017, and even with an average coefficient of 1.30, the Patriots ‘ victories were quite profitable.
Also worthy of attention for the forecast are not stellar, but physically strong, agile, with a quick release of the throw and making few mistakes quarterbacks. Their results can creep up if the club surrounds such a quarterback with top receiving players. Their maneuverability and ability to take complex balls make up for the playmaker’s shortcomings.
On the other hand, beware of betting even on big teams whose quarterbacks have trouble making decisions and interceptions. The pressure in the NFL, the most popular league in the United States, is enormous, and mistakes under pressure can unsettle a once-capable quarterback. It’s better to wait out the bad streak and return to the team when the quarterback feels confident again.
Where can I bet on American football?
Events of the National Football League are in high demand, including among Russian players, so you can place bets on American football on the websites of many legal offices. The following Russian online bookmakers regularly offer odds both for regular matches of game weeks and for the results of the season as a whole (links in the titles lead to the review page of a particular bookmaker, where basic information about it is presented)
Especially noteworthy is the bookmaker “1xStavka”, where you can find interesting murals for each match, including statistics, as well as unusual offers in the special bets section. The depth of the line in the NFL is still different “Marathon” and BETCITY.
As for the margin, the most delicious odds on outcomes in the NFL offers “Marathon” with a commission of only 2 percent. It is also profitable to bet on American football in BC Leon (3% margin), BetCity, Olymp and Pari-Match are slightly behind (5%), the situation is worse in the Bet League and Winline lines (8%). You will get a general idea of the commissions of different bookmakers by looking at the rating of bookmakers Legalbet.ru by odds (for the most popular sports).
American football is an exciting and stylish sport. Get into its spirit and uncompromising nature by betting on the most popular tournament in the United States — the National Football League. The NFL season doesn’t last very long, so usually serious betting players understand several tournaments at once and don’t suffer much after the February Super Bowl.
In conclusion, let’s remind you that the win-win strategy of betting on American football (as well as on any other sport) is rather a myth. You can lose time and money searching for it, so it’s better to develop your game skill gradually, step by step, and treat betting as entertainment, sometimes bringing pleasant bonuses in the form of winnings.