The two teams that will contest this season’s NFL championship game on Feb. 3 will be decided this weekend when the AFC and NFC Championship games play out.
With legal sportsbooks suddenly opening up all around the country, there’s no better time to learn the basics of NFL sports betting and get in on the action.
You can now bet on NFL games and most other major sports in:
In Nevada and New Jersey, you can even bet on the games online using a computer or mobile device to access any one of the online and mobile sports betting apps.
The AFC and NFC Championship games
The Kansas City Chiefs trounced the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 at home this past Saturday to win a berth in the AFC title game. This past Sunday, the New England Patriots did the same thing to the Los Angeles Chargers, winning 41-28 to book its spot in the AFC Championship game.
Kansas City will host the game on Sunday, Jan. 20, with kickoff at approximately 6:40 p.m. EST.
Over in the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 last Saturday to earn a spot in the NFC title game. Plus, last Sunday the New Orleans Saints ended the defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles hopes for back-to-back titles, beating them 20-14.
The Saints will now host the Rams in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Jan. 20, beginning at around 3:05 p.m. EST.
All legal sportsbooks across the US will offer a variety of simple and easy ways to bet on the games.
In fact, the days of dark and dreary sportsbooks with odds boards only a seasoned handicapper can read are long gone. Sports betting’s reach is increasing and operators are embracing a new customer-friendly era in the history of sports and gambling.
Traditional sportsbooks have been replaced by new lounges that are fun places to watch games and get in on the action.
Certainly, all the intimidation has been removed from the process with user-friendly online and mobile sports betting apps that make betting on the games just a few clicks away.
NFL sports betting basics
If you’re new to the world of sports betting you’re going to want to start with the basics and it really doesn’t get any more basic than the moneyline.
In fact, making a moneyline bet is as simple as picking the team you think will win the game.
You’ll see either a positive (+) or negative (-) number associated with the teams. Do not be confused by this.
A positive number simply means that team is an underdog and a $100 bet on that team will earn you that amount plus your $100 bet back if they win. Negative numbers are reserved for the favorite and represent the amount you’ll have to bet to win $100 plus your bet back if they win.
The Chiefs are at home against the Patriots and they put together the better regular season record. However, New England actually won a Week 6 shootout with the Chiefs 43-40 at home back in Week 6. Regardless, The Chiefs opened up at -159 on DraftKings Sportsbook in NJ.
That negative number means the Chiefs are the favorite and you’ll have to bet $159 to win $100 plus your bet back if they win. The Patriots opened up at +130 on DraftKings Sportsbook. That positive number means that Patriots are the underdog and a $100 bet on New England will earn you $130 plus your $100 bet back if they win.
Again, with moneyline bets, all you really have to do is pick the winner.
Point spreads and the over/under
Making NFL point spread bets is almost as easy. Just pick the winner with a line set by oddsmakers factored in.
FanDuel Sportsbook in NJ has the line on the NFC Championship game at New Orleans -3.5. That simply means the Saints will have to beat the Rams by 4 points or more for bets on the Saints at -3.5 to pay.
It also means you can take Los Angeles at +3.5 and if the Rams win outright or lose by three points or less, bets on the Rams at +3.5 will pay.
Basic NFL bets also include the over/under. Here, sportsbooks set a line on the total amount of points both teams will score. All you have to do is pick whether the actual score will be over or under that number.
For example, SugarHouse Sportsbook in NJ has the over/under on the AFC Championship game set at 56. Knowing that the Chiefs and Patriots combined to score a whopping 83 points in Week 6 might make you want to take the over. However, things often tighten up in the playoffs, so the under might be the better bet.
Beyond the NFL betting basics
Parlays simply involve combining two or more basic bets into a single wager. That means all the bets that are part of the parlay must win. However, the payoff is much greater than betting on the games individually.
For example, you can combine the Saints moneyline and the over (57.5) into a parlay on 888 Sport in NJ and it will pay +200. However, the Saints moneyline is -195 and the price on either side of the over/under on 888 Sport is always -110.
Finally, you can still go one step beyond the NFL betting basics by wagering on NFL futures.
Futures are bets where the outcome is not determined until sometime in the future. Traditionally, this means betting on who will win the Super Bowl before the NFL season even starts. However, most legal sportsbooks will still book NFL futures heading into the AFC and NFC Championship games this weekend.
Here are the NFL futures lines on who will win the Super Bowl at Caesars Casino & Sports in NJ:
- Kansas City Chiefs: +250
- New England Patriots: +350
- Los Angeles Rams: +375
- New Orleans Saints: +160