How To Bet On The NFL In New Jersey – 2020 Guide

The National Football League is the top professional American football organization in the world, featuring 32 teams grouped into two conferences and eight divisions.

The league plays a 16-game season running from September through December, followed by a 14-team single-elimination postseason (expanded from 12 teams beginning in 2020) culminating in a championship game known already known to most sentient humans as the Super Bowl. The 2020-21 season will conclude with Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, the 55th in league history.

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NFL is the the king of U.S. sports betting

The NFL is the most popular sports league in the U.S., leading MLB and the NBA in viewership and annual revenue. The weekly format helps build hype for each of the 256 games plus 11 playoffs contests. And the relatively short schedule — at least in terms of calendar coverage — keeps fans interested for the whole season.

Betting on the NFL mirrors interest in the sport and actually drove the rising tide of NFL engagement that exists today. Sportsbooks are plenty busy from the date of schedule release up through live betting on the Super Bowl, which is the heaviest single day of betting traffic all year. NCAA men’s basketball tournament betting rivals Super Bowl wagering for betting handle overall, but nothing gets hammered on a single day like the Super Bowl.

NFL betting types includes moneylines, point spreads, player props, team futures and much more. Bettors can wager on everything from where a player will go in the draft to who will win the league MVP.

This page should be used as an NFL betting guide for New Jersey and New York-based fans. It will outline the ins and outs of sport betting in the state, with a breakdown of markets, formats and best practices. The page will also include specific insight into the New York Giants and New York Jets, along with league-wide information and analysis.

The “vig” in NFL Betting

The “vig” or vigorish is the amount paid to the bookmaker as the cost for accepting a wager. The typical pricing of -110 comes out to $110 being bet to win $100, with the extra $10 going to the bookmaker as payment, or vig.

Popular NFL Betting Markets/Formats

The NFL schedule and game specifics allow for a wide variety of wagering opportunities, from betting on a team to win the Super Bowl before the season starts to putting money on points spreads from one quarter of one game. Here’s a quick rundown of bets available at most sportsbooks.

Futures

Just as the name implies, futures bets are made on the result of future events that won’t be determined until later. Betting on who will win the World Series in Spring Training or which school will win March Madness in November each fit the bill.

These bets require patience and foresight, as plenty of factors have to go right for the bet to come through. For this reason, the bets typically reward a healthy payout, and one that declines as the outcome draws nearer. For example, betting on the New York Yankees to win the World Series before the season begins pays much more than betting on them in September after they’ve clinched a postseason berth. The risk has been drastically mitigated at that point, so the payout is diminished.

Point spread

One of the most common betting types is the point spread wager. Nearly every game is available to bet using a point spread, because the circumstances of the wager level the playing field for the teams involved.

A bet with the point spread goes one step beyond choosing the winner or loser of a game, and instead adds a number that the favorite has to win by or underdog has to lose within. For example, if the New York Giants are playing the Philadelphia Eagles and the Giants are favored by 3 points, they would need to win by 4 for the bet to pay out. Conversely, a bet on the Eagles would be winner if they lost by 2 points or fewer. A Giants win by exactly 3 would be a push, or a voided bet, and the bettor would get the wager back (this is why point spreads often include “.5” instead of whole numbers, known as the “hook”).

Moneyline

A moneyline bet is the most straightforward and simply involves choosing the outright winner. Moneyline payouts are dictated by the matchup, so a bet on a heavy favorite that wins will not net much profit. Wagering on an underdog that pulls an upset can net a pretty penny. In a game with a point spread of 3, the favorite would be around -160 ($160 to win $100) and the underdog +135 or +140 ($100 to win $135).

Player props

For those looking to bet on individual performance instead of team outcomes, there are player props. These can be season-long wagers or single-game bets. Many sportsbooks have player props available for major awards and statistical leaders, such as NFL MVP or MLB home run champ. Relevant players are given odds to achieve these feats, which vary based on likelihood and shift as the season goes on, similar to team futures bets.

Single-game player props revolve around major statistics and also vary by player skill level. A set of player props involving Saquon Barkley for example would be over/under 100 rushing yards, over/under 50 receiving yards and over/under 1.5 touchdowns. They are also options for the player to achieve something first in the game, such as first to score a touchdown.

The single-game player props are somewhat similar to Daily Fantasy Sports, where players attempt to build the best possible lineup while staying under a defined salary cap. Game play is focused on the performance of individuals instead of the outcome of the team, and opponent metrics are more meaningful.

Barkley facing Carolina, a defense that was dead last in yards per carry allowed and gave up the most rushing touchdowns, would make him a solid DFS play and a worthwhile prop bet. But, DFS sites and oddsmakers are also aware of the matchup, so Barkley will likely cost a big chunk of salary in DFS and have higher thresholds to meet for his player props.

Totals

Along with point spread and moneylines, totals are among the most common bets to make. Sportsbooks will offer over/under totals for most games, the number being the combined scoring output from both teams. Results don’t matter, only points. Bettors wager on whether the total will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the number set by the sportsbook.

Totals are largely dictated by factors such as offensive and defensive proficiency, pace of play, and game environment. The Giants or Jets playing at MetLife Stadium in November with 30-mile-per hour winds would stunt passing games, and the total would come down, probably into the high 30’s or low 40’s range. On the diamond, Colorado playing in the thin air of Coors Field against a subpar pitcher will generate a healthy run total from sportsbooks, while Miami facing Jacob deGrom at spacious Marlins Park will have a relatively low total. Similar to point spreads, totals often include the .5 hook to avoid a push.

Parlays

A parlay is a combination of the aforementioned bets into a single wager that only wins if every outcome wins. Bettors put two or more bets on one ticket, with elevated payouts given the risky nature of needing multiple individual occurrences for the overall win. One loss will defeat the parlay ticket.  An example of a parlay would be betting on a team to cover the spread and for the game to go over the total. Both would need to happen for the ticket to win. As more games or events (known as “legs” get added to the parlay, the potential payout increases, but correspondingly the likelihood the parlay is a winner decreases.

Teasers

A close cousin to the parlay, a teaser bet is also made by choosing multiple outcomes to occur. The main difference is the betting lines are “teased” or adjusted by a certain number making them more favorable for the bettor. For example, a six-point teaser would elevate a one-point and a four-point favorite to seven-point and 10-point favorites, creating much better odds for both outcomes to come through. The catch is that the payouts are reduced for teaser bets compared to parlays. A two-game teaser in football might be priced at about -120, similar to a small moneyline favorite for a single game.

Live betting

Live betting is exactly what it sounds like, wagers made on a game during play. NFL live bets can be made on a variety of outcomes, from the over/under for the quarter to whether the current drive will end in a touchdown or punt. The odds for live bets are constantly shifting as the game situation changes. For example, the odds that the current drive will end in a scoring play are much better when the drive starts than once the team crosses midfield, as the likelihood of scoring has now improved.

NFL betting — more of what to watch

  • Opening lines – These are the first published set of odds for a particular schedule of games. They give the betting public an initial glance at how oddsmakers view each matchup.
  • Closing lines – These are the opposite of opening lines and are dictated by the betting action. Oddsmakers shift the lines as bets are placed in an effort to draw equal action on both sides of the wager.
  • Steam – This is line movement that occurs rapidly across all sportsbooks after a bettor (or bettors) with deep pockets wager heavily on one side. Savvy bettors will attempt to pick up on steam movement by finding a sportsbook that was slow to react to the influx of action and still has a more favorable line posted, but “chasing” steam, or following the action is dangerous, as by the time you catch up, the value or “edge” is gone.

The 2020 NFL season

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threatens to delay the upcoming NFL season, though multiple individuals around the league anticipate it will start on time, or at least in the fall. Guidelines and precautions regarding the outbreak are constantly changing so it’s hard to predict where the country will be in September. The NFL could potentially shorten the season or play games without fans in attendance, among other possibilities.

This threat to the season comes at an awkward time for the league in terms of scheduling specifics, as players recently voted to approve a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will extend the regular season to 17 games (beginning in 2021) and add a pair of playoff teams. The new 14-team playoff format is expected to be implemented in 2020.

With many sports leagues suspending play due to the pandemic, NFL free agency filled the void for fans in a wild month of March. The most notable move was Tom Brady leaving New England after two decades, signing with Tampa Bay for a hefty two-year, $50 million deal. The 42-year-old legend instantly vaulted the Buccaneers into the Super Bowl conversation, with various sportsbooks listing them among the top five or six favorites.

Brady wasn’t the only significant quarterback to change teams, as Philip Rivers got $25 million to join Indianapolis and Teddy Bridgewater inked a three-year pact with Carolina, replacing three-time Pro Bowl QB Cam Newton after nearly a decade at the helm. Todd Gurley’s release by the Rams and subsequent signing with Atlanta constituted the biggest non-QB move. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2017 Offensive Player of the Year battled knee injuries the past couple seasons and was let go before his $10.5 million contract became guaranteed.

Trades and the draft

This offseason has featured the most surprising and active trading market in recent memory, with several stars changing squads. Houston shipped DeAndre Hopkins, on the short list for top receiver in the league, to Arizona for David Johnson. Later that same day, Buffalo sent four draft picks to Minnesota for Stefon Diggs.

Philadelphia acquired disgruntled cornerback Darius Slay from Detroit, Baltimore added to its impressive defense by nabbing Calais Campbell from Jacksonville, and Indianapolis gave up a first-round pick to get defensive lineman DeForest Buckner from San Francisco.

Speaking of draft picks, the 2020 NFL Draft went on despite the coronavirus pandemic. Cincinnati earned the No. 1 overall pick after a dreadful season in 2019 and spent it on reigning Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow of LSU.  The quarterback-starved Dolphins landed former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall.

Coaching and personnel shakeups

The Freddie Kitchens Experience lasted just a year in Cleveland, and the Browns cleaned house this offseason. After 14 seasons in Minnesota, most recently as offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski will take over a team that finished 6-10 in a weak AFC North.  Alex Van Pelt will take over as offensive coordinator and Joe Woods will helm the defense. With a healthy Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, a Cincinnati team that will be led by Burrow and Baltimore a title contender, Stefanski and company have their work cut out for them.

After a decade in Dallas defined by underperformance and constant whispers about his termination, Jason Garrett was finally axed by owner and general manager Jerry Jones. Former Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy will try his hand at dealing with the overbearing Jones, taking over after a season away from the sport. McCarthy had plenty of success in Green Bay (it helped to have a future Hall of Famer under center), including a Super Bowl win in 2010. Led by the standout trio of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, Dallas should challenge for a division title with only Philadelphia standing in its way.

Garrett didn’t go to far, staying in the NFC East as offensive coordinator for the Giants. He’ll join new head coach Joe Judge after New York moved on from Pat Shurmur following two lackluster seasons. Judge has spent his entire NFL coaching career in New England, most recently as special teams coordinator. The Giants will need second-year quarterback Daniel Jones to take a leap forward in order to be competitive, even in a weak division.

Elsewhere on the carousel

Not to be left out of the NFC East coaching shuffle, Washington brought in Ron Rivera to take over for interim coach Bill Callahan, who ascended to the role in Week 6 after Jay Gruden was fired. Rivera himself was let go midseason, as Carolina cut ties after Week 13. Washington also added Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator. The Redskins are a perennial train wreck, though maybe the experienced Rivera and Del Rio can restore some discipline to the franchise.

Carolina looked to the college ranks to fill their coaching void, luring Matt Rhule from Baylor. Rhule was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2019, leading the Bears to a Sugar Bowl berth. Carolina’s outlook for 2020 has more questions than answers, as the team will look much different on both sides of the ball. Bridgewater won five games in relief of Drew Brees last season, but hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2015. The offense lost long-time fixture Greg Olsen but added vertical threat Robby Anderson from the Jets and still has First-Team All-Pro Christian McCaffrey. The defense will be without seven-time Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly, who retired in January after a career marred by numerous concussions.

New England still has Bill Belichick, but will be without Brady for the first full season since 2002. Brady missed most of the 2008 season after shredding his knee in Week 1, but the Patriots still went on to win 11 games (narrowly missing the playoffs). He was suspended for the first four games of 2016 following Deflategate, but the team went 3-1 without him and eventually won the Super Bowl. New England will currently roll with second-year player Jarrett Stidham or journeyman Brian Hoyer under center, though the team could certainly address the position via trade or free agency.

2020 NFL Schedule: Key Dates

  • Black Monday: Typically follows the final day of the regular season, with teams firing their head coaches due to poor performance. Freddie Kitchens (Cleveland) and Pat Shurmur (New York) were both Black Monday casualties in 2019-2020
  • Free Agency: Technically began on Mar. 18, though there is a two-day “legal tampering” window where teams begin negotiations prior to the official opening of free agency. 
  • NFL Draft: This year’s draft will be unique due to the COVID-19 crisis, taking place entirely virtually from Apr. 23-25. The first night will consist solely of the first round, with rounds 2-3 and then 4-7 occurring on the following two nights.
  • Training camps open: Rookies typically report in mid-July, but the COVID-19 crisis could push this date deeper into the offseason. 
  • Preseason: Preseason action is slated to open up on Aug. 6.
  • NFL Week 1: The regular season kicks off on Sept. 10 in a Thursday Night Football matchup involving the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
  • NFL Thanksgiving Games: As has been recent tradition, there will be three games on Thanksgiving. Detroit and Dallas will both have home games, with the opponents yet to be determined.
  • NFL Week 17: The regular season will conclude on Jan. 3.  The 2020 season will feature a new playoff format admitting seven teams from each conference, with only the two top seeds earning byes.
  • Wild Card Weekend: The Wild Card games will be on Jan. 9-10, with three games each day. The three division winners from each conference will host the respective trio of Wild Card winners.
  • Divisional Round: The three winners from Wild Card Weekend and the top seeds in each conference will play on Jan. 16-17, with two games each day. The lowest seed remaining taking on the top seed and the middle seeds will face off. The top seed will have home-field advantage along with the highest seed in the other matchup.
  • Conference Championships: The two Divisional Round winners from each conference will battle for a trip to the Super Bowl on Jan. 24.
  • Super Bowl LV: The championship will be on Feb. 3 in Tampa Bay. Raymond James Stadium will play host for the third time, and first since 2009.

New York/New Jersey NFL teams

While the New York Giants and New York Jets both have the Empire State in their names, they play at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Here’s a rundown for both teams.

New York Giants

The Giants scuffled to a 4-12 record in 2019, despite getting off to a 2-2 start. Going winless from October through November tends to derail a season. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones took over for longtime signal-caller Eli Manning in Week 2 and showed flashes throughout the season, though his development is far from complete. Star running back Saquon Barkley missed Weeks 4-6 with an ankle sprain and wasn’t his explosive self upon return. The defense was largely a disaster, giving up the third-most points in the league. Head coach Pat Shurmur was fired in December after two subpar seasons, giving way to former New England special teams coordinator Joe Judge.

New York entered the 2020 offseason with the fifth-most cap space in the league, quite the heel-turn for a franchise that has historically plunked down large sums on big-name free agents, seemingly ignoring the financial ramifications. It made sense to spend on the defensive side of the ball, and that’s exactly what they did.

The Giants gave cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez three-year deals for $45 million and $30 million, respectively. Bradberry will anchor the secondary while Martinez fortifies the linebacking corps. New York also added linebacker Kyler Fackrell, reuniting him with fellow former Packer Martinez. The most significant move came in-house, with the Giants placing the franchise tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams, eating $16.1 million of the cap. Williams was surprisingly acquired by New York at the 2019 trade deadline, and the pending free agent wasn’t expected to garner that type of money this offseason.

Giants’ offensive adjustments

The team made minor additions to the offense, grabbing blocking tight end Levine Toilolo and quarterback Colt McCoy to back up Jones. Tackle Cameron Fleming provides some offensive line depth. Running back Dion Lewis will occasionally spell Barkley on third downs. The Giants also spent three draft picks on the offnesive line, highlighted by former Georgia left tackle AndrewThomas at No. 4 overall and talented but raw tackle Matt Peart from UConn in the third round.

The offseason is far from over, but the current outlook is somewhat promising. The offense has plenty of weapons surrounding Jones, with the versatile receiving trio of Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton joined by athletic tight end Evan Engram. Barkley’s talents are immense, and health permitting, he should remain a top five running back.

The defense still has some holes, but it can’t be much worse, right? The defensive line is still stout and the Green Bay infusion should drastically improve the linebacking group.

Giants coaching staff

The coaching staff is the biggest question mark. In the four seasons since Tom Coughlin’s “resignation,” the team has cycled through three head coaches. Judge is coming from the most respected organization in the league, though special teams coordinator to head coach is a significant jump. The staff also features recently-fired head coaches Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator and Freddie Kitchens as tight ends coach, both needing a fresh start after uneven tenures elsewhere.

The 2020 season will the first in 16 years without Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion whose No. 10 jersey was retired by the team. He played in a team-record 236 games and holds virtually every franchise passing mark. Along with a pair of Super Bowl MVPs, Manning will likely be most remembered for his durability and steady presence. His 210 consecutive starts are good for third all-time among quarterbacks.

The NFC East was an absolute disaster in 2019, with Philadelphia stumbling to the division title with just nine wins. Only one other division winner had fewer than 12 wins (Houston with 10). The Giants’ 4-12 record wasn’t even good enough for a last-place finish, as Washington took the crown at 3-13. A healthy Carson Wentz should boost the Eagles, and Dallas returns a talented team that often underperformed under Garrett. Various sportsbooks have Dallas and Philadelphia neck-and-neck as favorites to win the division, with New York a distant third and Washington a longshot to take the title.

Giants record against the spread

YEARSU RECORDATS RECORDATS HOMEATS AWAYOFF PPGDEF PPG
20194-12-07-9-02-6-05-3-021.328.2
20185-11-08-7-11-6-17-1-023.125.8
20173-13-07-9-03-5-04-4-015.424.2
201611-5-08-7-15-3-03-4-119.018.9
20156-10-08-7-14-4-04-3-126.227.6

Giants fans are located throughout New York, Connecticut and Long Island. The fanbase largely outnumbers the New York Jets’ faithful in these areas.

New York fans are among the most loyal in the league, as the team ranked top 5 in average attendance every season the past decade. The franchise carries the weight of the media attention thrusted onto all New York sports teams, though the fans have largely hung with the team during the Manning tenure, which featured lofty highs and significant lows. MetLife Stadium is not considered among the toughest places to play across the league.

They key games for the Giants are the pair of annual matchups with divisions rivals Dallas and Philadelphia, which go a long way toward deciding the winner of the NFC East. New York will open the season with an extremely difficult test against Baltimore and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. The team also faces Super Bowl 54 loser San Francisco and playoff participant Seattle.

New York Jets

It was a tale of two seasons for the Jets, making their 7-9 record a bit deceiving. The first eight games were brutal, with New York losing 7-of-8, capping the stretch with consecutive losses to the lowly Jaguars and Dolphins (their first of the year). A Week 10 win against the in-state rival Giants started a turnaround, and the Jets closed the season winning 6-of-8. A light schedule in the second half certainly helped, but the team showed glimmers of hope.

New York entered the 2020 offseason with a clear goal, protect quarterback Sam Darnold. The third-year pro was famously “seeing ghosts” in 33-0 drubbing against New England on Monday Night Football, with heavy defensive pressure forcing four interceptions. The New York offensive line tied for the fourth-most sacks allowed last season. The group will look quite different in 2020, with the Jets handing out three-year contracts to center Conner McGovern, guard Greg Van Roten, and tackle George Fant. The team also re-signed guard Alex Lewis.

Darnold should be better-protected in 2020, but he’ll be without primary deep threat Robby Anderson, who signed a two-year deal with Carolina. The Jets added Ravens’ bust Breshad Perriman on a one-year pact, and while he showed flashes with Tampa Bay last season, his track record of success is brief. The receiving corps is quite thin behind Jamison Crowder.

Jets cap space

New York entered the offseason 15th in cap space, with a hefty $12.5 million hit from Le’Veon Bell limited the team somewhat. One week into free agency, the Jets had vaulted up to second in cap space available, with the retooling of the offensive line coming pretty cheap. The team has been connected to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, but it remains to be seen whether general manager Joe Douglas will make a significant addition on defense.

The AFC East is pretty wide open after years of oppression by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. With the legendary quarterback now in Tampa Bay, various sportsbooks have Buffalo at similar odds to win the division as the Patriots. The Bills added Stefon Diggs to an intriguing offense and boast a defense that finished second in points allowed last season. New England’s unit led the way, and the Patriots remain dangerous with Bill Belichick at the helm. New York has plenty of competition, but a run at the division title isn’t out of the question given the changing tides. Scooping up Clowney to chase Josh Allen around would be a big help.

YEARSU RECORDATS RECORDATS HOMEATS AWAYOFF PPGDEF PPG
20197-9-07-9-04-4-03-5-017.222.4
20184-12-05-10-12-5-13-5-020.827.6
20175-11-09-6-17-1-02-5-118.623.9
20165-11-06-10-03-5-03-5-017.225.6
201510-6-08-6-25-3-02-3-224.219.6

Led by superfan Fireman Ed, the Jets fill MetLife Stadium just as well as the Giants, and recently even better. The team has been top three in NFL attendance the past three seasons, slightly edging the Giants each year. Jets fans are considered the more downtrodden group in the state, having been without a Super Bowl appearance in over 50 years and nary a postseason berth since 2010.Similar to the Giants, the Jets have fans throughout New York, New Jersey and Long Island. Just not as many.

The key games for New York start with two against New England, a team they haven’t beaten since 2015. The Jets haven’t won in Gillette Stadium since 2011. New York has had much more success against Buffalo recently, but this should be the best Bills team in quite some time and those will also be two huge games.

The Jets face both Super Bowl 54 winner Kansas City and runner-up San Francisco, two tough tasks. Seattle also poses a difficult challenge, especially at noisy CenturyLink Field.

Watching NFL games on TV and online

No other sport draws television viewers like the NFL, making contracts with networks quite lucrative. The league currently makes more than $5 billion annually from selling its television rights, including massive deals with CBS, Fox and NBC. These networks dominate Sunday NFL coverage, with CBS and Fox tag-teaming the slate of afternoon games and NBC broadcasting Sunday Night Football. The island games on Thursday and Monday are on the NFL Network and ESPN, respectively.

The NFL Network also serves as a hub for news coverage around the league, along with coverage of offseason events such as the NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL Draft. The network also operates NFL Red Zone, a commercial-free program that bounces around from game to game when a team is within scoring position (hence the title). The product is especially attractive to bettors and fantasy football players who are focused on individuals and certain outcomes instead of rooting on their hometown team.

For the transplant fans, there’s DirecTV Sunday Ticket, which gives viewers access to every out-of-market game on Sundays. While the original intention was to serve fans who no longer live where their team resides, the package has plenty of appeal to bettors and fantasy players, just like Red Zone.

Announcing teams

The NFL’s rise in popularity has also thrust its announcers into the spotlight, with each network boasting household names. NBC features the duo of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling Sunday Night Football, a team that has garnered plenty of social media attention due to the latter’s patented slide-in entrance.

Fox and CBS assign their announcers depending which games they have that week, though the two top pairs are well-known. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman typically handle the top game for Fox each week while Jim Nantz and Tony Romo do the same for CBS.

Romo has been a rising star in the industry the past couple seasons, seamlessly transitioning from Dallas quarterback to play-by-play wizard. His deep knowledge of formations and play design coupled with his childlike enthusiasm has enthralled viewers, and CBS wasn’t going to let him get away. Romo became the highest-paid sports analyst of all-time in late February, agreeing to a deal that will pay him $17 million a year.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew is in limbo, having been denied by Peyton Manning and unable to acquire Michaels from NBC. Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland handled duties last season, with results widely viewed as less-than-stellar, though the booth improved by the subtraction of Jason Witten from the 2018 team.

Key Numbers in NFL Betting

Spreads

The two numbers to keep in mind regarding NFL spreads are “3” and “7” as those are the primary scoring outputs. A -3.5 spread versus a -2.5 spread is a bit wider than just that one point, as it would take more than a field goal to cover it. The same goes for a -7.5 spread against -6.5, with more than a touchdown needed. Considering scoring methods can help dictate whether a spread is worth wagering on.

Totals

Just like spreads, “3” and “7” along with their multiples are important for totals. A total of 45 would need more than six touchdowns and a field goal, for example. The hook also comes into play, as a total of 49.5 would need seven touchdowns plus an additional score or conversion.

Importance of ‘getting the best’ number

As lines fluctuate with action coming in, news breaking and lineups being released, it’s crucial to time your bet considering these factors. Quickly betting on a line when a key player is ruled out, or getting ahead of steam on one side can be the difference in a winning bet. The betting landscape changes quickly, make sure to strike when the time is right.

The 33-yard extra point

The NFL moved the extra point back from 20 yards to 33 yards in 2015, adding some degree of difficulty to a kick that was virtually never missed prior to the rule change. Missed PATs shift the scoring dynamic in a game, with a team forced to try a two-point conversion or score a touchdown instead of a game-tying field goal as the six points throws off the normal scoring progression. Extra points are still successful at a high rate, but the further distance has added a scoring wrinkle.

Betting highlights of NFL season

  • Start of Free Agency: March brings plenty of player movement, shifting lines and team futures based on who goes where. Player props focused on landing spots are also popular.
  • Hall of Fame Game: The first game of the preseason presents the first opportunity to wager on actual football.
  • Week 1: The first game of the regular season is the first chance to wager on actual football that counts.
  • Thanksgiving Day: This holiday includes watching football as part of the tradition, so of course some bets will be thrown around.
  • Weeks 15 and 16: These are typically the last two weeks of fantasy football playoffs, with leagues avoiding a Week 17 full of resting players. The same goes for DFS, with Week 17 being a crapshoot for the same reason.
  • Playoffs: Postseason play brings plenty of action, and more this year with the additional playoff teams.
  • Super Bowl: The biggest betting day of the entire year offers limitless possibilities, from the coin toss to the game’s MVP.

Advantages of legal sportsbooks

  • Sportsbook bonus offers: Competition between litany of sportsbooks not only provides additional betting options, but also a healthy competitive environment that encourages operators to run promotions to attract customers. BetMGM offered new users a $1 bet to win $200 if either team scored a touchdown in Super Bowl 54 (Patrick Mahomes took care of it with a rushing score late in the first quarter). Six weeks after online sportsbooks debuted in New Jersey, bettors could rack up over $1,500 in bonuses from the eight active operators through a variety of promotions. Solo bookies and offshore entities don’t have these types of opportunities, as the lack of competition doesn’t provide any incentive to do so.
  • Options and shopping: Betting through legal sportsbooks instead of a single bookie presents a variety of advantages, most notably the ability to price shop. Instead of being limited to the lines given by one entity, most bettors now have access to a slew of outlets and therefore the opportunity to choose the most favorable odds available. Wagering options are likely more diverse as well, provided a more favorable experience overall.
  • Safety and security: Legal sportsbooks also add an extra layer of safety and security to the betting process. Funds are handled by reputable brands regulated by each state, instead of unreliable offshore sites. Bettors are assured that legal recourse is available if any issues with withdrawing funds or accessing accounts through a legal sportsbook arise, while the same guarantee isn’t possible with an offshore outlet. That’s not to say any issues with depositing or withdrawing should be expected at legal sportsbooks, as both processes are quite easy. Most operators accept deposits from all major credit and debit cards, along with third-party money transfer platforms like PayPal. Withdrawals are credited back to those payment methods.