NFL Betting Sites 2021

How to Bet on NFL Games Legally Online
NFL Betting Tips

When it comes to sports betting in the USA, the NFL is king. NFL season is the busiest time of year for any sportsbook—especially the growing number of legal online sportsbooks and apps where you can legally bet on the NFL online.

Here’s a complete look at how to bet on the NFL at legal online sportsbooks in the US with direct links to register for and get free bets or bonuses at the top legal sportsbooks in every state. To compare spreads, moneylines and totals for every NFL game every week across top US online sportsbooks, head to our NFL odds & betting lines page.

Compare the best NFL betting sites

The majority of online sportsbooks have both and online sportsbook and an app you can download for both iPhone and Android. A sportsbook betting app is your best tool for betting on the NFL as you can access and make live bets virtually instantaneously as the game progresses. You can also shop for the best NFL lines quickly and easily before the game. Use the links below to access and download any sportsbook app in your preferred state.

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Use a Legal Betting App To Bet NFL Live

The convenience of having a real live and legal sportsbook at your fingertips for NFL betting can’t be overstated. You can bet wherever you are within the borders of the legal states and shop around for the best NFL game lines at every sportsbook. While there are a number of good NFL betting apps to consider, some books have certain strengths.

draftkings live betting appUsing that as benchmark, here are the apps and features that you’ll really want to check out this NFL season.

Best NFL App for Live Betting

To take advantage of the fast-moving live betting markets, you need an app that’s built for the task. DraftKings edges out its closest competitors with a super slick platform and extra attention paid to its live betting feature.

Best NFL App for Player Props

In advance of game time, you want to be able to find the props you want quickly and easily. You can do so at BetMGM, an app that does a fantastic job of listing out the player props for each individual game.

Best NFL App for Odds Boosts

There’s always a good assortment of promos to be found during NFL season. Caesars Sportsbook has plenty of opportunities to get some extra bang for the buck.

Best NFL App for Parlays

Parlays can be lots of fun during NFL season, and FanDuel Sportsbook is doing its part to make them even better. The company has been at the forefront of the same-game parlay craze and makes it easy to build them out.

Best NFL App for Super Bowl Contests

We have a tie on the medal stand as both DraftKings and FanDuel have been going all out with offerings for the Big Game. If you’re looking to make Super Bowl Sunday even that more special, be sure to check out what they have to offer.

How to read NFL betting lines & odds

NFL betting can seem intimidating at first, but it suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting once you get a handle on the basics.  As far as various kinds of bets, let’s walk through it all in full detail, starting with where to place a bet.

For NFL games, three types of bets are the most common: point spread, moneyline and totals (over/under). Here’s what you need to know about each of them.

  • Moneyline: This is a straight bet in which all you do is pick the winner. The overwhelming majority of the time, there will be a clear favorite and underdog. This will be represented by the odds, which will appear as a negative value for the team expected to win, and as a positive value for the underdog. For example, the favorite may have odds of -120, while the underdog may read as +100.
  • Spread: To even the playing field, oddsmakers attach a point spread to each NFL game. In a nutshell, the spread is a projected margin of victory for the favored side. As handicappers, our job is to decide whether or not it’s a good number. For example, Team A may be favored by three points over Team B. If you think the former will win by three points or more, then you would bet the favored side. If you believe the margin will be less than that — or like the underdog to win outright — then you would take the other side. Typically, spread bets are in line for both sides with odds of -110.
  • Totals: Oddsmakers will also attach a projected point total to each NFL contest. Sports bettors can then decide if they expect the total points scored to be over or under that number. For example, consider a contest with a projected total of 49.5 points. If the final score was 30-24, then the over would have been the correct call. If the score came in at 27-21, then under bettors would have winning tickets. Total bets will also typically have odds in the same range, and odds of -110 on both sides are not uncommon.

There’s also live NFL betting, which means you will be placing wagers on specific events or outcomes as the game moves along including specific team and play prop bets. In addition, there is an active futures market for the NFL. You can place bets on an event which has yet to happen, such as the winner of the Super Bowl or the number of regular-season wins a specific team will have.

  • Prop Bets: Each game will have an additional prop or “side” bets for handicappers to consider. These bets can cover things such as the result of a specific quarter, yardage totals for a player, or which side will score first in the game.
  • Live Betting: As the game unfolds, numerous operators will offer live betting opportunities. These can be similar to prop bets, just on a smaller time frame as opposed to covering the full game.
  • Futures: Before the NFL season kicks off, and as it unfolds, there is an active market for betting known as futures. These are bets on events that have yet to take place. For example, the winner of a division, or the player you think will win the MVP award.

Bet on Super Bowl 56

The Super Bowl is the biggest betting event of the year, and you’ll have plenty of different ways to get in the game. Sportsbooks go all out for the Big Game, so you can expect to see hundreds of different prop betting opportunities to choose from.

Check in with our live NFL odds feed often for the latest odds on which club will take down Super Bowl 56. Check our complete guides to NFL Playoff and Super Bowl betting here:

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When to watch NFL games every week

Once the regular season kicks off, fans can look forward to 18 weeks of regular-season action. Here’s how the games are scheduled and spread out:

  • Thursday Night Football: There is one Thursday night game for each of the first 16 weeks of the season. The lone exception is Thanksgiving Day when there are three contests spread out over the day.
  • Sunday afternoon: This is when the majority of the action takes place. There are two windows of games, one for the early part of the afternoon and one for the latter portion. Keep in mind that some of the international games can have a kickoff as early as 9:30 a.m. EST.
  • Sunday Night Football: This is the marquee game of the weekend. Many of the matchups project out as the best of the week, at least on paper. This is a standalone game in which the eyes of the NFL world are watching.
  • Monday Night Football: The action doesn’t wrap up on Sunday night. There is one Monday night game per week, except for the final week of the season. From week 1-17, the NFL weekly slate wraps with a bang on Monday night.

Once the playoffs get underway, there are four games spread over Saturday and Sunday for both the wild card and divisional rounds. Conference championship games take place on Sunday, as does the biggest sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl.

NFL betting tips

One of the great things about sports betting is that your involvement level can vary as you see fit. Some casual bettors prefer to focus on a game or two per week, and there’s the other end of the spectrum for handicappers who like to tackle the whole slate.

In between those two extremes are various other approaches. Naturally, it’s entirely up to you. The same applies to how you approach the actual handicapping of games. You could take a hands-off approach, rely on specific sources to make decisions or even pay for NFL picks.

nfl public bettingThere are plenty of bettors who also take the time to develop their detailed routine. It’s entirely up to you, and it also depends on the amount of time you have at your disposal.

If you’re looking to develop your own NFL betting system, it can help to start small and expand from there. A great starting point is to use football power rankings, which attempt to assign a reliable numeric value to each team.

Many power rankings are free to use on the internet, while there are also plenty of subscription services which provide metrics. It’s important to remember that power ranking numbers are not the only piece of the puzzle, but they can be a great tool to have in the belt.

When devising your system, focus on the most important statistics, e.g., average points scored and allowed for each team, as well as for and against yardage.

Turnovers and sacks are also helpful metrics to consider. You can even get as advanced as spotting the differences between disciplined and undisciplined squads by looking at things such as penalty yardage.

There are plenty of ways to develop a system, but it’s often helpful to start with the basics and work your way out. You can become as advanced as you like in your research. However, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple and focusing on the areas you deem to be most important. And remember, even with extensive preparation, there could be arising factors that are out of your control such as bad weather during NFL games.

It’s great to have a betting system, but it’s also beneficial to know the red flags to avoid when it comes to NFL betting.

Here are some of the common mistakes that inexperienced bettors can make:

  • Chasing your bets.
  • Betting way too much.
  • Betting with your heart as opposed to your head.
  • Always betting on the favorite or the underdog.
  • Wagering while impaired.

The list is far from all-encompassing, but those are some of the most significant potential NFL betting mistakes.

NFL preseason, regular season and playoffs

The NFL preseason gets underway in the first week of August with the annual NFL Hall of Fame game. In prior seasons, there were four weeks of preseason action following that, but the number has been reduced to three for the 2021 campaign and moving forward.

Due to the shift, the second week of the preseason should be the one to pay the most attention to. This should be when teams take an extended look at starting units, but starters may also see limited action in the first and final preseason games.

There are some handicappers who view the preseason as a great time to bet, but others prefer to sit on the sideline and observe as they wait for the games that matter. Generally speaking, preseason games can be tough to project due to the uncertainty over playing time, but following the approach of head coaches in previous seasons can provide some clues.

After Labor Day, the NFL regular season begins with the opening game held on a Thursday night. The season lasts for 18 weeks with each team playing 17 games. Each squad will have eight home games and eight on the road, plus a rotating home or away inter-conference matchup between teams that finished in a similar position during the previous season. Select teams will have international games, which can reduce the equation one way of the other.

nfl playoff betting Chicago BearsDuring the season, each team will get a week off, which is known as a bye week. (Side note: You might be surprised to see just how much bye weeks can affect NFL betting lines.) The season closes out in Week 18, which extends the regular season into the first weekend in January.

After the regular season closes, 14 teams will have qualified for the expanded NFL Playoffs.

Seven teams from each conference qualify: four division winners and three wild card teams from each. The seed on each side will have the first week of the playoffs off. The first round of the postseason is the wild card, which involves three games from both conferences.

Winners advance, and it’s then on to the divisional round. Four teams are left in both conferences at this point, resulting in four games for one of the most exciting football weekends of the calendar year. The winners move on to the NFC and AFC conference championships with the victors in those contests advancing to the Super Bowl, the biggest betting event of the year.

While the same principles apply to handicapping games throughout the year, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind. At the beginning of the season, it’s not uncommon to see higher-scoring games. There are several reasons for this, ranging from personnel turnover to rule changes which the league’s teams are forced to adapt to.

As the season moves along, defenses tend to catch up. Overall scoring may drop from this point, but that doesn’t mean every game will be low scoring. Once the playoffs roll around, the 14 best teams in the NFL are involved.

Naturally, the playing field is pretty level at this point. However, there are situations in which there are powerhouse teams and weaker members of the field. Lines will generally be tighter as defenses improve and the playoffs get underway, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Each NFL season is a unique event and should be treated as such, and the same applies for the individual games on the weekly slates. That said, there are league-wide trends that may develop over the year. These situations are certainly worth factoring into your handicapping process.

Online betting vs. retail sportsbook

In fully legalized US states, consumers will have the option of placing their best NFL bets online or at a retail sportsbook. For online purposes, the major operators will generally have a web-based and a mobile sportsbook for consumers to use.

Experiences can vary. Some operators spend a lot of money on the technical side, and the result is a smooth product devoid of glitches. Other web and mobile-based options may not necessarily be as user-friendly. In the end, the product to use is entirely up to you.

The same rules apply for betting online versus at a retail sportsbook. Often, the sportsbook will be located in a casino. Typically, there will be betting windows that are operated by employees, as well as some self-serve kiosks.

On the retail side, it’s not uncommon to find that the sportsbook has numerous amenities, such as a bar, food menu and multiple television screens to watch the action.

Once again, placing bets online or in-person comes down to user preference, as well as the convenience factor. Placing bets online can be a snap, but visiting a retail sportsbook can certainly be worth the trip.

On May 14, 2018, the US sports betting landscape changed forever. The Supreme Court of the United States gave its nod of approval, and the floodgates opened up soon thereafter. NFL betting is now completely legal in a growing number of states in at least some form – retail, online, or both.

New Jersey was one of the first states out of the gate, and the Garden State has emerged as a premiere location for legal sports betting. Other major markets that have opened up since that point include:

Looking ahead, Arizona online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are soon to come as is New York online sports betting.

For the legal sportsbooks, NFL betting is the biggest game in town. From the opening kickoff of the regular season straight through to the Super Bowl, each and every game on the docket will bring in tons of betting volume. To see where things stand on a state-by-state basis, you can check out our US legal gambling guide.

Legal NFL betting sites vs. offshore betting

While sports betting is legal in several US states, there are plenty of operators out there that have serviced US consumers for many years. These operators are also known as offshore betting sites.

These sites have accepted US consumers while pointing to the unclear legal situation as the reason for doing so. Just because many remain open for business isn’t a reason for bettors to take their business there.

Here are some reasons why users should only use legal, regulated sites:

  • Safety: For US-regulated sites, they must adhere to the precise laws on the books. We can’t say the same about offshore operators. If problems arise, there are avenues to follow when it comes to a legal site. If the same thing happens with an offshore site, there aren’t many places to turn.
  • Funding: Legal, regulated sites will offer crystal-clear deposit and withdrawal options. It’s not uncommon to see unusual payment processors or unregulated cryptocurrencies as a payment option for offshore operators. Also, numerous payment processors will automatically block and flag transactions that seem suspicious. Dealing with an offshore gambling site falls into that category.
  • Legality: In the regulated US states, the laws are now on the books and in effect. There are no questions as to whether or not sports betting is a legal activity in these locales. Offshore sites are not legal.
  • Reliability: To get up and running in a legal US state, sportsbook operators have to make a substantial investment. Also, they have to follow specific rules and regulations. Offshore operators pop up regularly. Some will stick around for a while, but it’s also not uncommon to see entities that virtually vanish. When this happens, consumers who have balances left on these sites are left with nowhere to turn. In the unlikely event that this happened with a regulated operator, users will have a road map to follow for resolution.

At PlayUSA, we only review and recommend legal, regulated operators. Our advice is to always stick with these sportsbooks as opposed to taking chances with an illegal entity elsewhere.

NFL FAQ

How does a parlay bet work?

parlay bet is when two or more games or outcomes are linked together on a single betting ticket. To win the wager, you must be correct on all selections.

What is the home-field advantage?

Home field advantage is when the home team, or team that is playing in its stadium, is generally viewed as having the edge over the visitor, or away team.

What is NFL futures betting?

These are bets on an outcome that has yet to be determined, such as the winner of the Super Bowl or league MVP. Futures bets are quite popular in the offseason and throughout the regular season.

When is the NFL draft?

The NFL draft takes place a few months after the Super Bowl. For 2021, the draft took place in Cleveland, Ohio from April 29-May 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars picked QB Trevor Lawrence from Clemson with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

When does the NFL season start?

The 2021-22 NFL Season is scheduled to begin on September 9, 2021.

How many teams are in the NFL?

There are 32 teams in the NFL.

How many players are in the NFL?

Each team has 53 roster spots. For 32 teams, that means 1,696 players. In addition, each team is allowed to designate up to 10 players for the practice squad.

How much revenue does the NFL make?

For the 2018 season, the league generated nearly $15 billion in revenue. Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly has aspirations of reaching $25 billion in revenue annually.

When do the playoffs start in 2021?

Week 18 is the final week of the regular season, and the playoffs begin the week after. This year, wild card weekend gets underway on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.

Which NFL team has the biggest fan base?

The Dallas Cowboys have the moniker of “America’s Team” and are generally considered to be the most popular in the NFL.

What is the lowest-scoring game in NFL history?

On Nov. 7, 1943, the Detroit Lions and New York Giants played to a 0-0 tie.

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Written by
Chris Feery

Christopher is a full-time evergreen writer located in New Jersey. His work has appeared all over the web and has covered numerous industries. In recent years, he has dedicated his focus to sports from an analysis, betting, fantasy, and general news perspective. Chris covers sports betting content and app reviews for PlayUSA and the Play site network. You can follow and reach him on Twitter @cmfeery

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