Background, leagues and rules of American football
Online American football betting can be an exciting experience for both fans of the sport and newcomers, or even people with little interest in it. You can place an American football bet on just about anything in the game, which makes it one of the most exciting sports to bet on with so many options.
To bet on American football it helps to have an understanding of the game, so here is a brief introduction to the history and rules of the sport.
American football (also called gridiron football), simply known as football in North America, is a contact sport played mainly in the United States of America and Canada. With origins in both association football (soccer) and rugby football, American football is most similar to rugby, in that an oval ball is used and the aim of the game is to move up the field and score.
Unlike rugby football, American football match day squads have three types of teams, an ‘offence’ and a ‘defence’, which consist of 11 players each, and special teams that have specialist players, such as kickers.
The game is split into four quarters and two halves; two quarters of 15 minutes make a half. Although the total running time of the game is 60 minutes, it can take longer in real time due to stoppages, such as time outs or natural breaks in the play.
Offensive units are the teams in possession of the ball and it’s their job to score, which makes them the attacking team. There are two ways for the offence to score, either a touchdown (similar to a try) or a field goal, which is when the ball is dropkicked or placekicked through the defence’s goalposts.
A touchdown earns the offence team six points. The attacking team then has two options to earn conversion points (points-after-touchdown). They can keep the offensive unit on the field and try to play the ball into the end zone for two points. The more common method of scoring the PAT is to bring on the kicker to attempt a field goal, which earns them only one point.
The attacking team has four attempts to score; these are called downs. If, at the end of the fourth down, the attacking team has failed to score, the opposition takes possession and then the offence and defence teams are swapped around.
When a team is in possession, there are two methods of getting up the field and getting into the end zone orchestrated by the quarterback. The quarterback’s job is to pass to their teammates, who will then run with the ball until they are tackled or reach the end zone and score a touchdown. There are two ways of passing, the quarterback can hand it off to a halfback who will attempt to run through the defence, or the quarterback can attempt to throw it over the defence to a wide receiver. Alternatively, but less common, the quarterback can keep hold of the ball and attempt to run through the defence.
The defence’s main objective is to stop the offensive unit from scoring, defensive players can attempt to tackle the quarterback which is called a sacking. If this is done in the offence’s endzone, it’s called a safety and the defence is awarded two points.
You don’t need to be an expert to bet on American football
American football betting sites aren’t just for the hardcore fans, the nature of the game and the scoring system means that most teams are never a sure bet, just like lower league association football games in England. This means American football betting can be done by anyone, just pick a team to win, it’s as easy as that. Click the links at the top of the page to get started.
Like most other sports you can pick who is leading at half time, but with American football betting you can get more specific, such as how many points a team wins by, or even the correct score and with a sport where points are accumulated in a variety of ways, the possibilities are endless, which means the payouts can be large if the score is guessed correctly.
Bet on leagues, players and teams
American football’s most popular league is the National Football League (NFL), which has now reached worldwide fame with matches being played outside of the USA. The NFL isn’t the only way to bet on American football, college football is quite popular in North America and many American football betting sites allow you to bet on college football too, giving you a lot more choices for your American football bet.
The NFL is split into two conferences, which contains four divisions of four teams. It was formed in 1970 when the American Football League and the National Football League merged. Both the leagues were renamed and changed to conferences now known as the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. 32 teams from all over the United States battle it out over 16 games to reach the play-offs, this is known as the regular season. Only 12 teams progress to the postseason and the eventual winners of the AFC play-offs and the NFC play-offs play in the Super Bowl to determine the winner of that season.
College sports are extremely popular in the United States, and if you’re thinking about betting on American Football it provides another option. The National Collegiate Athletic Association works differently to the NFL and similar to the Football League in England, with different levels containing conferences. The main division NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision would be the most popular, and easiest to bet on. This division also has its own play-off championship after the regular season called the College Football Playoff, which then ends in the College Football Play National Championship match, similar to the Super Bowl.
Betting on American football isn’t just about who wins what competition, just like in many other sports you can bet on things such as the first touchdown scorer, a selection of players to score touchdowns and of course a certain player to score a touchdown. Many combinations exist such as betting on players to score and their teams to win, and betting on players to score a touchdown and to cover a certain number of rush or reception yards. For example, if you bet on a touchdown and cover 40 rush yards the player would be a running back or tight end, and for a touchdown and over 60.5 reception yards, the player would be a wide receiver.
However you don’t have to pick on specific players, you can bet on which position the player is for the scorer of the touchdown, for example it could be a wide receiver, tight end, running back, or even a quarterback to score a touchdown.
The best types of players to bet on to score a touchdown would be wide receivers, then running backs, and then tight ends. It all depends on what type of game the team you’re betting on plays. If it’s the team tries to run the ball into the endzone, then touchdown scorers are more likely to be running backs. But if the team tends to try and pass it, wide receivers are more likely to score touchdowns. Tight ends, being a hybrid of offensive linesman and wide receivers, are less likely to be in a position to score and therefore may offer a bigger return when betting on American football.
There are many other options for betting on players when placing your American football bets. These include betting on how many yards a quarterback passes in a match, how many yards a wide receiver covers in a match, how many yards a tight end or half back covers in a yards, and even how many sacks a defensive players gets. These types of bets usually start at 0.5 yards.
Of course, like many other sports including association football, you can bet on the best player in the match. In American football the man of the match is known as the most valuable player, or MVP for short. Online American football betting sites will most likely use that abbreviation. If your knowledge of players isn’t strong, some American football betting sites allow you to pick a position to place your MVP bet on; for example, you could place a bet that a quarterback would be named the MVP, although the returns for these types of bets wouldn’t give you as good a return as naming a player would.
In addition to betting on who scores the first points of the game, you can bet on how those points are scored; from passing touchdowns to rushing touchdowns or even a safety, there are many possibilities for this type of American football bet.
Special events to bet on
The biggest event in American football is of course the NFL Super Bowl, an annual event in February. The Super Bowl consists of the AFC and the NFC champions who battle it out in a spectacular show.
As well as all the usual match betting opportunities to, the Super Bowl has more aspects you can bet on that you wouldn’t normally be able.
Traditionally in North American sports the head coach has a bucket of Gatorade or water poured over him by the players – so the colour of the liquid can be bet on!
During the half-time of a Super Bowl there is usually a show, which can be bet on. Like in many forms of entertainment, such as award shows the artist that will be playing the half-time show can be bet on, even which song they will perform first.
Even the winner of the coin toss at the start of the game can be bet on, from what side the coin will land on, or which team wins the coin toss, you could even place a bet on the outcome of the match from the coin toss, for example the winner of the coin toss will go on to win the match.
Over the course of the NFL season there are some significant games someone interested in online American Football betting could take an interest in. These include the International Series, the Pro Bowl, and the Play-Off finals.
The International Series are a set of games played away from the United States, since 2007 two teams have played a regular season game in London’s Wembley Stadium. From 2014 onwards there have been three NFL games played in Wembley Stadium, in the 2016 two games will be played in Wembley Stadium and one will be played in Twickenham Stadium.
The Pro Bowl is the annual all-star game of the NFL, it consists of two teams made up of a mixture of players from the AFC and the NFC and since 2010 has been played a week before the Super Bowl. The teams do no contain any players due to play in the Super Bowl.
Online American football betting also includes handicap betting. Although the nature of American football can mean games can be decided in seconds, when there are clear favourites handicap betting evens out the odds, by giving a team a virtual advantage. With most types of bets that involve specific numbers, the higher the advantage given when betting the lower the odds are. It’s a great way to make your American football bet more interesting.
If there aren’t any matches or competitions on you can still bet on who the winner will be for future events. Click on one of the links at the top of the page and choose your next Super Bowl winner!