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Long been considered the most viewed professional sports league in the U.S., the NFL, and its popularity has skyrocketed around the globe in recent years. This international impact is perhaps greatest felt in the U.K. where the NFL is holding four regular-season games in London over the course of the 2017 season.   

In fact, fans in the U.K. will have the rare chance to try out NFL betting on a “local” game by following the odds on BetStars for the October 29 showdown between the Vikings and Browns at Twickenham Stadium in London.

While there are a variety of bet types that can be wagered on NFL games, three of the best known are point spreads, money lines and Totals.

The most common type of bet available for NFL games is point spreads. In this type of wager, oddsmakers pick a favorite to win and an underdog. When reading point spreads odds, the home team is on the bottom and the visiting team is on the top of the listing. The favorite team is represented by a negative sign ( - ) and a points value while the underdog has a positive sign ( + ) and a points value. The number represents the margin of victory predicted for the favorite team.  

For example, you might see odds that look like this:

Seattle Seahawks -6.5

Philadelphia Eagles -6.5

We can see that the Philadelphia Eagles are the home team hosting the Seattle Seahawks, but the Seahawks are the favorites to win the game by 6.5 points. If you bet on the Seahawks to win the game, they would need to win by seven or more points. If you bet the spread on the underdog Eagles to win, they would need to upset the Seahawks and win the game or lose by more than seven points.  

Typically, point spreads bets feature what’s called a “vig” or percentage paid on top of the wager for the amount you wish to win. The vig is often 10%. So, if you wanted to win a $100 on your bet, you would wager $110 total. This amount contains your $100 bet plus the $10 vig.

The most basic bet you can place on an NFL face-off is a money-line bet. This type of wager requires you to simply bet on the team you think will win a particular game. The wrinkle, however, is that you must risk more in your bet if you pick the favorite team to come away victorious. For example, a money line may read:

Baltimore Ravens +210

Pittsburgh Steelers -250

If you picked the favorite Pittsburgh Steelers to win in this scenario, you would bet $250 for each $100 you wanted to win. But if you take the underdog Baltimore Ravens and they win, your payout will be $210 for every $100 you wager. Obviously, there’s big money to win if you nail the bet with the underdog!

If you like to make over/under bets, you can find a great opportunity with football betting. Many outlets offer this style of wagering, which is appropriately called Totals, by taking wagers on the total amount of points to be scored by the two teams. You can place bets either on the combined score exceeding the Totals line or by staying under. Your bet pays out if you picked the correct over/underside on the game.

A Totals betting opportunity might look like this:

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

Over 38

Under 38

All you have to do is size up the over/under and decide if you think the teams will combine for more or fewer than 38 points.

Spending time learning the different bet types and how to read the corresponding odds will make your NFL betting experience more fulfilling. And your probability of success will be much greater when you know exactly what you’re putting your money on and why. Play around with point spreads, money lines and Totals and see which bet type is the best fit for you. 

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