While Canada has its own football league in the CFL, it’s fair to say that this division doesn’t enjoy a big following outside of its own country. In comparison, if we cross the border into the United States, the NFL is a global phenomenon which reaches into the far depths of the planet.
That popularity is reflected in the betting markets: Betting lines for CFL are only offered by a few operators while all sportsbooks like to get involved in NFL. So let’s move on and see what betting options we have here while considering some tips and tricks that might help us land a profit.
NFL Betting Tips
Nobody should start betting on any sport without doing some elementary research: The basics involve studying form and any head to head stats that are available between the two teams in question. Form guides are widely available all over the internet, as are the head to head results from recent years so there is no excuse for not taking these on board when making a bet.
Beyond that basic approach, there are some advanced tips relating to NFL. Like most North American sports, NFL involves a lot of travelling. The schedule isn’t as packed as the NBA or the NHL but teams can find that they are flying long distances and over the course of a month, this can lead to something known as the Fatigue Factor.
Once again, this is an area that can be researched through stats across the internet. Look at results and see how teams perform on the back of a long journey over the country. Some will respond well but a lack of depth on the roster can contribute to regular defeats and it’s your job as the bettor to spot those patterns.
Home advantage can also play a part and some teams will claim better results in their own stadiums than they will on the road. Once again, this is a factor that can easily be researched.
Those are some basic NFL betting tips to start things off and the key message is always research. You are free to follow the cappers and tipsters but their records aren’t always impressive and a winning bet is always much sweeter when you’ve done all the work yourself.
NFL Betting Odds
Why are odds important? Surely they are just there so is there any reason to speak about them in great depth? Odds give us the price that a sportsbook is prepared to quote on a specific outcome on a football match and it’s up to the punter to decide whether to take it on. It goes further than that however as not all odds are equal.
If you are going to bet on the NFL with any regularity then you need to make sure you are getting value for money. It’s wasteful to bet on the Patriots to beat the Cowboys at +150 if you can get +250 elsewhere so look for a sportsbook that offers competitive prices every time.
This point can be checked fairly easily by looking at the main odds comparison sites and putting them up against your own sportsbook. Three to four match results should be enough to assess whether that bookmaker is going to be any good for you moving forward.
It’s also worth understanding that odds can be shown in three different ways: American, Decimal and Fractional. In the UK and Europe, Decimal and Fractional are more commonly used but in Canada, most bettors like to play with American odds.
The point is that your sportsbook should be flexible enough to let you set your own preference. Whether you are more comfortable with American, Decimal or Fractional, switching should be easy and customers should be able to move on without having to reset their options.
NFL Betting Lines
Sportsbooks and tipsters alike will often refer to a betting line. This is merely industry speak for an outcome in a match that you can bet on. Usually it refers to the straight match result but as we’ll see when we work through this preview, there are a number of additional options.
Known as a market in some parts of the world, most NFL punters like to stay with the more obvious of these which is the match result. With some sportsbooks, you may see this referred to as the moneyline bet but it’s simply a case of deciding which team is going to win.
There is no draw or tie as far as the bookmakers are concerned so it’s simply a case of picking between those two teams. If the scores are level at the end of the regular period then the bet is simply carried into overtime until we get a winner of the match.
Winner betting lines can also be split into the four quarters of the game. This means that you can bet on the side who you think will be ahead at the end of the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and so on.
Away from those result-based options, point scoring is at the core of any NFL game and many sportsbooks tie in related betting lines. The most popular of these is the total points scored by the two teams combined over the course of a game.
Bookmakers will set a number of betting lines here and we’ll take 30.5 points as an example. If you think that the teams will combine to score 31 or more points in the game, then you bet over the line but if you think it will finish with 30 points or less, then you simply stake on the Under option.
Along with the combined points betting lines, it’s also possible to bet on total points recorded by each individual team. So, if the Raiders are playing the Dolphins, markets on total points for each side will be quoted by most sportsbooks.
Away from those team bets we now move on to betting lines that refer to individuals. The most telling contribution that a player can make to an NFL game is through a touchdown and the sportsbooks are well aware of how important they are.
Therefore, it is possible to find lines open for first touchdown scorer where you nominate the player who you think will cross the line first. Additionally, anytime touchdown markets can be quoted and these are for a player to score at any stage during the game. These are popular options but they can often only appear during the biggest matches such as playoffs or the Super Bowl itself.
As a final word on betting lines, look out for long term bets such as the winners of the Super Bowl and the winners of each conference. These will usually be up and available as soon as the previous campaign comes to an end.
NFL Betting Sites
We now know about the main NFL betting lines and we have some tips that aim to help with those winning bets but now we need to find the right sportsbook. While we haven’t checked all of the hundreds that are out there, we are fairly sure that all bookmakers carry NFL odds but that doesn’t mean that you should use them.
We’re looking for a combination of trust, competitive odds, a good choice of markets and prop bets plus flexibility for Canadian customers. Here, then, are our best recommendations.
Any Canadian bettor, irrespective of what sport they are looking to bet on, should be looking at Sports Interaction as a first sign up. We know that regulations make it harder for operators to set up business here but this is a proud Canadian firm who are dedicated to offering the best service in the country.
Accessibility is important but Sports Interaction go beyond that point to provide a great all-round package for the Canadian betting community. The odds here are competitive and a match for all of the established brands and there is an extensive range of NFL betting lines to suit all players. It deserves to be Canada’s first choice but there are plenty of others to consider too.
Those who like to bet in-play on any sport will tend to look for bet365 first. They are the pioneers of this style of betting and those that can access live markets should certainly look here before anyone else.
That reputation can sometimes mask the fact that bet365 are also a perfect partner for ante post parlay bets. Their odds are frequently ahead of most sportsbooks for NFL games and there is a big choice of lines and prop bets that are declared quickly, ahead of most of the industry.
Bodog are another North American company and one that appears to put their closest customers’ needs ahead of most. They are also long-established and having first started trading in the mid-1990s, there is longevity which in turn leads to a strong element of trust.
American odds and the ability to play in $CAD add to the attractions of a bookmaker that starts things off with a big welcome bonus and backs it all up with generous odds in a wide list of NFL markets.
One of the reasons punters love 888Sport is the fact that they publish more offers than most sportsbooks. After a quick and easy welcome bonus, regular customers can usually find more deals waiting and these can often be tied to NFL – particularly when the Super Bowl comes along.
888 back up those deals with great everyday prices and the choice of lines is wider than most so once again, there is a great all round package here.