The National Football League is the most popular sports entity in the United States and when it comes to betting, the NFL is king. In a growing number of states, online sportsbooks are offering a huge number of markets for every game throughout the entire season, and that includes the playoffs!
It takes energy and extensive research to have success over the course of a season, and PlayPicks is committed to contributing to a positive betting experience by cutting out some of the time-consuming aspects of the process. Here, we provide odds and a variety of weekly NFL picks. That includes moneylines, spreads, totals, and props, so you can trust we will highlight the range of options that are available.
NFL Locks Of The Week
Let’s start out by saying that when it comes to sports betting and more specifically the NFL, ‘locks’ don’t actually exist. If they did, every square bettor would be a sharp, and every sharp would hit at a much higher clip than they do.
That said, we’ve all looked at the board and found a bet that we like so much that we can’t help but tell ourselves it was a ‘lock’ due to our confidence level. So accept this section for what it is, a playful way to express our favorite bet of the week.
Super Bowl LVII Betting Odds
HOW TO BET ON FOOTBALL
Betting the moneyline is as simple as picking the winner of a game. The margin of victory doesn’t matter, all that needs to happen is your selection wins the game. Moneyline wagers are straightforward, so they’re common among novice bettors.
Favorites can be identified by the negative line, while underdogs have a positive moneyline. Because favorites are the team labeled by oddsmakers as more likely to win, bettors must risk more if selecting them. An example of an NFL moneyline would look like the following:
- Chicago Bears +175
- Green Bay Packers -210
For favorites, the moneyline is the amount you must risk for every $100 in profit. With underdogs, the moneyline represents what you can win with a $100 bet. Doing the math based on the number 100 and adjusting for your exact wager amount is the easiest way to calculate potential wins and losses.
The Packers are the favorite at -210, so the bettor would have to lay out $210 to win $100. If you’re betting a smaller amount, that’s a $21 risk to win $10. At +175, a $100 wager on the Bears could win $175 in profit. For a $20 bet, you can win $35 in profit.
If betting favorites, it’s best to focus on moneylines in games where there is a close spread. This way, you aren’t laying the massive amount of juice that will come with a huge favorite, and you can avoid the “bad beat” if that team wins but doesn’t cover the spread.
Underdog bettors can eliminate some of the risk by betting against the spread and sprinkling a smaller amount on the moneyline. If the team covers but doesn’t win, there’s still a profit to be made.
Every NFL game on the schedule has a point spread, which is essentially a figure set by oddsmakers as a potential winning margin for the favorite, and losing margin for the underdog. Most football teams aren’t created equal (as evidenced by the moneyline), so attaching a point spread is how oddsmakers even out the game from a betting perspective.
A matchup will occasionally have a “Pick ‘Em” line (listed as PK) with no spread, which indicates it’s an even game, but this is the exception and not the rule. An example of an NFL spread would be:
- Los Angeles Rams -3.5 (-115)
- Seattle Seahawks +3.5 (-105)
The favorite must win by more than the point spread indicates to cash your ticket. So a wager on the Rams at -3.5 (-115) requires a victory of at least four points and a risk for $115 for every $100 in profit.
Underdogs are offered some margin for error and can lose by fewer points than the spread and still ‘cover’ the number and win your wager. Betting on Seattle +3.5 (-105) means risking $105 to win $100 and winning the bet even if the Seahawks lose by three or less. If the spread is a whole number and the favorite wins by that exact number of points, the wager is graded a push and it will be void.
For the most part, oddsmakers set NFL spreads at or around key numbers such as 3, 6, and 7 points. Homefield advantage is expected to be worth about three points, and consensus favorites are usually between -6 and -7.5.
The juice on spread bets generally starts around -110 but will range from -125 to +100, depending on the odds and the sportsbook. A matchup will occasionally have a “Pick ‘Em” line (listed as PK) with no spread, which indicates it’s an even game, but this is the exception and not the rule.
Betting on totals, widely known as over-unders, is self-explanatory. These are bets on whether the combined score of the game will go over or under an amount of points set by oddsmakers. Nearly all NFL totals will be in the 40s or 50s for a regular-season game, with the exact number depending on a range of factors including the two teams. An example would look like this:
- Bills-Titans Over 54.5 (-110)
- Bills-Titans Under 54.5 (-110)
A bet on the over would require 55 combined points or more, while the under hits if there are 54 combined points or fewer. At -110, both sides would be risking $110 to win $100 in profit.
Similar to spreads, totals are the same for both teams. The juice is usually set around -110 but it’s not common for the over and the under to have two different lines attached based on the bets being taken by the sportsbook. Most totals are in the -125 to +100 range.
There are tons of factors to consider when betting the total, including weather and other conditions heading into the game. The pace of play is also a huge factor in determining how many possessions each team squeezes into 60 minutes and how many scoring opportunities can be generated.
Outside of the traditional moneyline, spread, and total, sportsbooks offer a wide range of proposition markets, almost exclusively referred to as props. These bets are wagers on in-game events and mostly operate independently from the ultimate result of the contest. DraftKings is one of the sportsbooks known for having one of the broadest menus of props available.
For every single NFL game on the schedule, online sportsbooks offer a wide range of player, team, and game props. There are dozens of markets and quite literally hundreds of betting options to choose from for each matchup on the slate, and the number of choices only grows when the postseason and Super Bowl arrive.
Some of the NFL prop bets you may come across include but are not limited to:
- Touchdown Scorer (First/Last Of Game, Anytime, 1st Half, 2nd Half)
- Over-Under Passing/Rushing/Receiving Yards
- Over-Under Pass Attempts, Completions, & Receptions
- Quarters/Halves Moneyline, Spread, & Total
- Team Totals (Quarters, Halves, Full Game)
- Winning Margin
- Team Totals (Quarters, Halves, Full Game)
- O/U Total Field Goals/Touchdowns (Halves, Full Game, By Team)
- First Team To X Points (10, 15, 20, 25, etc.)
- Halftime/Full-Time Result
The most popular options are player props centered around individual players, many of which are over-under bets. For the longest odds and biggest payday, look toward the touchdown scorer markets or try predicting the correct winning margin.
While player props are perfect for those interested in fantasy football, many of the game and team props provide a unique game-viewing experience.
Some options can combine player stats and a game result, and these are known as player prop parlays.
Futures are exactly what they sound like: bets based on a future event as opposed to an individual game. When betting on the NFL, there are many different options available. As is the case with props, these bets are broken up into team futures and player futures. Some of the markets to expect for season-long team futures are:
- Super Bowl Winner
- Conference Winner
- Division Winner
- Regular Season Win Totals
- To Make The Playoffs
- Stage Of Elimination
Season-long team futures tend to offer long odds and large payouts, which is one of the reasons why so many people wager on things like the Super Bowl before the season. Even the favorites near the top of the board can earn larger payouts than betting on an individual game.
For example, the Los Angeles Rams had the fourth-lowest odds going into the 2021 season at +1400. Teams in the middle of the pack can be between +3500 and +5000, which amounts to a huge payday.
Conference and division winners also have attractive odds and like the Super Bowl, the lines will remain available throughout the season as live bets adjust to what happens over the course of the season.
But picking over or under a win total, for example, has a more modest line consistent with a typical point spread and it also disappears from the sportsbook once the season begins.
There are also many different futures options for individual players, many of which are season-long awards and statistical milestones. This includes:
- Most Valuable Player (MVP)
- Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Offensive/Defensive Player of the Year
- Comeback Player of the Year
- Passing/Throwing/Receiving/Sacks/Tackles Leaders For Season
Picking among a huge pool of players means that all of the above options will provide long odds and the chances for a huge payday. But the picks must be made before the year kicks off, as Most Valuable Player is the only market that remains open throughout the season at most sportsbooks.
Futures can provide a rooting interest for a longer period, but they can also tie up funds for an extended amount of time as well.
Parlays are wagers that combine multiple sides into the same bet in exchange for longer odds and a larger potential payout. Bettors enjoy parlays because they offer the potential to cash in on huge odds and earn large profits for a minimal investment.
Parlay odds multiply with each added side to the wager, although the exact amount the line changes will vary depending on the number of teams and the odds for each selection.
Parlays are exciting wagers and winning one is an amazing feeling, but these bets are also difficult to win and come with some risk even if they don’t cost you the same amount monetarily. Every side of a parlay has to win for you to receive a full payout. You can’t go 2-for-3, 5-for-6, or even 11-for-12. One loss spoils the entire parlay.
Bettors can use moneylines, spreads, and totals to bet NFL parlays and have the choice of using multiple games or combining a side with the total in the same game. When betting more than one game, parlays can be up to 15 selections at some sportsbooks including BetMGM.
While including more sides and longer odds will present the largest payout, some NFL bettors also use parlays to combine multiple favorites together for a more palatable price. For example, two favorites at -225 combine for +108 odds in a two-leg parlay.
A teaser is a way to tilt the field in your favor so that your parlay is more likely to cash. These wagers also link multiple games or results together, but the bettor gets to adjust the spread or point total in a more favorable direction, at the cost of lower odds.
For example, if the Steelers, Saints, Patriots, and Chiefs were all favored by 7.5 points at home in a given week, a 4-team teaser could allow you to bet on all 4 teams covering a 1.5-point spread instead. The return on investment would likely be closer to 2x or 3x the initial stake, rather than the lofty returns of a parlay.
With so many excellent online sportsbooks now available, live betting is becoming increasingly popular. Oddsmakers will constantly adjust the spread, moneyline, and total throughout a game based on results. This can provide a huge advantage for savvy fans who are watching the game and can sense that one team will come back to win or cover.
If the Cowboys are 9.5-point favorites against the Giants but go down 10-0 in the first quarter due to a blocked punt for a TD, it would be wise to jump on a live line of Dallas (-1.5) using the logic that the early TD was a fluke and the better team will eventually pull out a close win.
NFL Betting Strategies
Monitor Line Movement & Bet Percentages
There are only a select number of people who have access to special algorithms and data that will spit out NFL odds for them. Recreational bettors need to do much of the research themselves, and it goes far beyond just team and player stats.
Whether you place bets early in the week or right before kickoff on Sunday, tracking line movement and bet percentages can be a major advantage. One specific thing to look for is called reverse line movement.
This takes place when the masses are on one specific side of a game, but the odds move in the opposite direction. This can be a sign that sharp bettors, the most respected of all, are on the side opposite of the public.
The goal is to use this public information as a resource to determine how much impact the betting action has had on the line, if any. Monitoring line movement will also help you fade the public when necessary. This is a phrase that anyone who’s ever bet on an NFL game has probably heard.
The point isn’t to go against the public with every single bet but to try and spot situations where public action has made a particular side or team overvalued, and thus worth fading.
Shop Around For NFL Lines
Line shopping is a strategy that all bettors should be employing, regardless of the sport, but this is especially true with the NFL. From site to site, there can be differences between moneylines, spreads, and totals, in addition to the juice that comes with the latter two. This is one way to make sure you’re getting the best available odds for a given wager.
If DraftKings lists Chiefs -6 (-120) and FanDuel has it at Chiefs -6 (-110), there’s a clear advantage to going with FanDuel and saving 10 cents on the dollar. The total for a game could be 51.5 (-110) at DraftKings and Over 51 (-120) at BetMGM. Now, bettors get to decide what they want based on the figure and the juice.
Create Multiple Sportsbook Accounts
There are several benefits for bettors to sign up for more than one betting site. Each account means more bonuses and promotions to take advantage of, which can lead directly to profits. This will inevitably lead to more free bets and site credit to use on NFL wagers. Having multiple accounts is also what allows bettors to shop for lines and get the most advantageous odds possible.
The Schedule Matters
An underrated aspect to gambling on the NFL is the schedule and the impact it can have. If a team is coming off a bye week or is playing on short rest, that information is important. The same can be said if a team is playing for a second straight week in a different time zone.
When a team has an early-season bye, it’s possible for the group to slow down a bit toward the end of the season without any rest. Be aware of what the schedule looks like for the teams you want to bet on or against.
Take It Week To Week
When betting on NFL games, remember that this is a week-to-week league. There’s a balance between using recent results as a guide and following them blindly. A team’s current form is hugely important, but keep in mind that last week’s result doesn’t dictate next week’s result from a gambling perspective.
The result of many NFL games is how one team matches up with its specific opponent, and previous results aren’t always reliable. Statistical trends can go both ways, so it’s important not to overreact to them. Analyze teams and odds on a week-to-week basis, taking previous results into account but not using those scores alone to make bets the following week.
Watch The Weather
Weather plays a huge impact in the NFL on a weekly basis and can be a critical factor to consider when placing any sort of bet. Teams that play and practice in fair weather or in domes can have completely different results in cold weather. Windy and wet conditions can disrupt passing games and favor teams with more of a run-heavy approach.
Inclement weather also plays a key role in the point total, usually leading to lower scoring affairs that end quicker due to more running plays.
Of course, public perception tends to shift based on the weather, and lines will adjust as well, creating another opportunity to fade the public and predict that some passing attacks will do just fine despite windy or wet conditions, and some fair-weather teams will snap their trend of struggling in colder climates.
Look At Injury Reports
Reading the injury reports with analysis as to the importance of each player that is in danger of missing an NFL contest can be a key way to gain information prior to placing bets.
For example, Chiefs DT Chris Jones missed significant time at one point with a toe injury, and KC was repeatedly gashed by opposing RBs when he was out. That helped opponents hang with the Chiefs’ high-scoring offense, leading to more of their games going over the total, and more underdogs covering.
There are similarly impactful injuries to offensive linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks, and even special teams players to consider each week. Know who is injured, at what positions, and how that can impact the team and its opponent this Sunday.
Limit Your Action & Avoid Chasing
This isn’t intended to be a lecture on bankroll management, but bettors do need to practice some discipline to have success. One surefire way to put yourself into a hole is to bet on too many Sunday NFL games. There is just too much going on to wager on every game, and it’s unlikely to result in profits.
If things go cold, bettors shouldn’t try to recoup all of their losses at one time. Remember, the season is a long one, and a consistent bettor will wind up wagering on dozens of games by the time Week 18 arrives. There’s always time for a hot streak.
Use Promotional Offers To Your Advantage
One benefit to online sportsbooks in many states is that sites are competing with one another for customers, which leads to great promotional offers. This could be a ‘Bet & Get’ which awards people with site credit if they wager on a specific game.
Another popular option is an odds boost, which enhances the potential payout of the bet from its original odds. These advantages may not seem like a huge deal, but there’s only upside to getting your odds boosted and accruing site credit that can be used on a range of NFL bets.
Basic statistics, such as scrimmage yards and touchdowns, will tell you only a portion of the story from an NFL game. These numbers don’t account for pass interference penalties or big plays that were called back due to holding. They don’t account for the strength of the opponent or show the overall efficacy of an offensive line.
There are plenty of advanced statistics that tell a more complete story when it comes to the performance of teams and specific skill groups. This is the kind of information that oddsmakers and sharp bettors are using, so getting a look at it for yourself would be wise.
Best NFL betting apps
DraftKings Sportsbook may have started out in Daily Fantasy, but it also has cemented itself as a sports betting industry leader. There are few, if any, sites more popular among NFL bettors than this one.
It all starts with one of the very best welcome offers in the industry. DraftKings offers a two-pronged bonus consisting of a $50 free bet on top of a 20 percent deposit up to $1,000. Bettors can start out with up to $1,050 in DK dollars before even placing a bet and even if they don’t deposit the maximum amount, new players are already ahead of the game.
DraftKings has a variety of betting options for every NFL game, including a huge catalog of player, team, and game props. There are also as many (if not more) team and player futures at DK than at nearly any competitor site.
From an NFL betting promotions point of view, DraftKings may take the cake. Just like most sportsbooks, DK has weekly odds boosts for a variety of NFL bets picked out specifically by the site. The enhanced odds could be for a parlay involving multiple teams to win on Sunday, or potentially for a player prop of some kind.
But DraftKings is also known to offer a 20 percent profit boost for every NFL game on the schedule, which is the kind of promotion that elevates it above the rest.
In many ways, FanDuel Sportsbook is just like DraftKings, its biggest competitor. FanDuel began as a DFS site but has morphed into a sports betting giant that is sweeping across the United States as legalized betting continues to expand.
The similarities can be seen all over, beginning with FanDuel’s huge range of betting markets for each and every NFL game. It offers tons of props, but it also has exclusive wagers that DraftKings doesn’t offer. This includes up to 12 versions of a ‘Line/Total Parlay’, which combines alternate spreads and totals in various ways with differing odds.
FanDuel also has a ‘Same Game Parlay’ feature, which allows bettors to combine multiple markets including moneylines, spreads, totals, and select props from the same matchup into one wager. Previously, only a side and a total could be paired together, and FanDuel’s success has led to other sites adopting the method (though the original version is best).
It makes perfect sense for anyone with a DraftKings account to also create a FanDuel account in order to shop for lines effectively and compare many similar markets, including props.
One difference at FanDuel is the welcome offer, which is a risk-free bet rather than a deposit bonus. This involves new players having the risk minimized on their very first sports bet. After signing up and making a deposit, bettors can place their first wager risk-free up to $1,000. This means that if the initial bet is a loss, bettors will be refunded in site credit the amount of their wager, up to $1,000.
This company made its name in the hospitality industry, but BetMGM Sportsbook is a huge part of today’s sports betting scene. Now available in double-digit states (plus Washington D.C.) BetMGM has quickly become one of the destination sites in the industry.
BetMGM keeps things fresh and tends to change up their welcome offers, but they currently roll with a risk-free bet up to $1,000. This is as high as some other sites, and most bettors won’t need more than $1,000 for their very first wager. Plus, there are many other reasons to sign up for this site in time for NFL season.
Similar to its competitors, BetMGM has a ton of betting options to offer for every NFL game in addition to futures before and throughout the season. But BetMGM is also notorious for adding some unique props that aren’t available at most of the other sites, so there’s definitely a wide variety here too.
BetMGM already gives bettors a $10 free bet each week if they place $50 or more in qualifying wagers, but the site has also held a ‘Bet $10, Get $10’ promotion on a weekly basis over the course of an entire NFL season. This site wants you to bet on football and wants to reward you for it. This is also a site that could occasionally have some more advantageous odds than some big-name competitors.