American Football is the most popular sport in the United States, most known for NFL, but its reach is growing across the globe, offering ample betting opportunities. We’ll discuss in this article the NFL season, our NFL betting tips, the best betting sites on the market and much more.
Table of Contents
- Top 5 NFL Betting Sites We Recommend
- Best NFL Betting Sites
- NFL 2021 Betting Odds
- What Is American Football and the NFL?
- How Does the NFL Work?
- NFL International Series
- Top 10 NFL Betting Tips & Strategies
- Popular NFL Betting & American Football Betting Markets
- Super Bowl Betting Tips
- Popular Super Bowl Betting Markets:
- Things to Consider on NFL & American Football Betting
- The NFL Teams
- American Football & NFL History
- Upcoming Sporting Events
- NFL Betting FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
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Best NFL Betting Sites
We've ranked all the best NFL betting sites UK so you don't have to! Check them out below:
#03 Paddy Power
#04 William Hill
NFL 2021 Betting Odds
Find the best NFL betting odds for the Super Bowl offered by bet365 below.
Super Bowl Outright Winner
|Kansas City Chiefs||11/2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6/1|
|Green Bay Packers||9/1|
|Los Angeles Rams||11/1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||18/1|
|San Francisco 49ers||22/1|
|New Orleans Saints||40/1|
|Las Vegas Raiders||50/1|
|Washington Football Team||66/1|
|New England Patriots||66/1|
|New York Giants||150/1|
|New York Jets||300/1|
AFC Championship Winner
|Kansas City Chiefs||11/4|
|Los Angeles Chargers||11/1|
|Las Vegas Raiders||22/1|
|New England Patriots||40/1|
|New York Jets||750/1|
NFC Championship Winner
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11/4|
|Green Bay Packers||4/1|
|Los Angeles Rams||5/1|
|San Francisco 49ers||10/1|
|New Orleans Saints||20/1|
|Washington Football Team||25/1|
|New York Giants||75/1|
What Is American Football and the NFL?
One of the reasons NFL betting is great for UK punters is the amount of available stats. The NFL site displays stats for Passing, Rushing, Receiving, Fumbles, Tackles, Interceptions, Field Goals, Kick-offs, Kick-off Returns, Punting, and Punt Returns for individual players as well as teams. They also offer Next Generation Stats for things like Fastest Ball Carriers and more.
Ultimately, betting on the NFL is much safer if you understand the game and its stats. For this reason, we'll be explaining all the rules of the game.
The game plays with 11 players on each team, and the action unfolds over four 15 minute quarters. Teams score 6 points for a touchdown, 3 points for a field goal. After a touchdown a team can either kick from 36 yards for a point or attempt a two-point conversion with their offense from the two-yard line.
A touchdown is successful when the attacking side carries the ball over the designated line or end zone and touches the floor with the ball. Touchdowns happen when attacking players run with the ball until tackled, or throw the ball downfield to a teammate who carries the ball over. A touchdown can also be scored by a defensive player through an interception or fumble return to end zone. Scores can also occur special teams through a punt/kick/blocked kick/fumble return.
The NFL is very strategic, with teams deployed in various defensive and offensive positions for each play. Teams are typically divided into three units, depending on the team’s position and who has the ball. Unlike European football (soccer) or rugby, teams can switch players, or even the whole team, between plays. Teams must stay in formation until the snap of the ball.
When the team has ball possession, the goal is to get the ball to the other side of the field to score a touchdown. The team will form a legal offensive formation with the quarterback in the centre. There can be no more than four players on the backfield and no less than five on the offensive line.
The most important positions in the offensive unit are the quarterback (QB), halfback/tailback (HB/TB), and fullback (FB):
- Quarterback: Generally seen as the team leader, he (or the coach) calls the plays. Quarterbacks usually call the plays in the huddle, before the teams line up. He stands behind the ‘center' to take the snap (the first pass backwards), and then passes or runs with the ball.
- Halfback: Catches and carries the ball on running plays. They are also called ‘running backs' or ‘tailbacks'.
- Fullback: Fullbacks are usually physically larger than halfbacks. Their job is to block the other team from tackling the quarterback or halfback. They sometimes function as runners, and pass less frequently.
- Offensive Line Players: The offensive line consists of players who are responsible for blocking the other team from tackling the players with the ball. The middle player is the ‘center', who typically stands in front of the quarterback. On either side of him are the ‘guards', who are flanked by the ‘tackles'.
- Receivers: Catch passes from the quarterback. They also function as decoys or blockers during plays. The principal receivers are the wide receivers (WR) and the tight ends (TE). Wide receivers line up close to the ‘center', while ‘tight ends' are further away. ‘Tight ends' also function as blockers.
When the other team has the ball, the defensive unit comes into play. Their goal is to tackle the ball carrier, or force turnovers by intercepting the ball or causing the other team to fumble a pass.
- Defensive Line: The defensive line is made up of defensive ends (DE) and defensive tackles (DT). Defensive ends are at the end of the line, while defensive tackles are in the centre. Their job is to pressure and block the offensive line, stop the quarterback from running plays, and allow the linebackers to break through.
- Linebackers: Linebackers are just behind the defensive line. They are divided into middle linebackers (MLB) and outside linebackers (OLB). They call the defensive plays and lead the defensive strategy.
- Defensive Backfield: Often called the secondary, the defensive backfield is made up of cornerbacks (CB) and safeties (S). Cornerbacks position themselves outside the defensive formation, often to cover a receiver. Safeties line up further back between the linebackers. They are the last line of defence against deep passes and touchdowns.
Special Teams Unit/PAT (Point After Touchdown)
Whenever the team has a chance to score a field goal, the special teams unit comes into play, being responsible for all kicking plays. It has three specific positions:
- Placekicker (K or PK): Kicks the ball forward, either as a pass or an attempt at a field goal.
- Long snapper (LS): Catches the ball and pass it to the holder or punter during punts.
- Holder (H): Holds the ball for the kicker. There isn't always a holder in kickoffs, since the ball is usually kicked off a tee. However, in certain situations, a holder will hold the ball for the kicker. This is common in windy situations.
- Kickoff Returner (KR): The player on the receiving end who catches the ball from the kickoff.
- Punter: If an offence fails to convert on third down they more often than not opt to kick the ball downfield back to their opponents using their punter.
How Does the NFL Work?
The NFL has a very different structure to most European sports. The NFL Draft is unique when compared with European contracts, and the season has an overall structure that starts with the Preseason, going up to the Playoffs, and finally the Super Bowl.
Unlike in professional European football, where teams can offer contracts to any player and buy players during the transfer window, the NFL has a much more egalitarian system for assigning new players to the league.
Players are recruited from college, after playing college football for at least 3 years. Every year, the best college football players are drafted into the NFL, rather than choosing their own teams, rookies are selected by NFL teams once a year.
The idea is that the worst team in the league should get the first choice of player. This goes on to the Super Bowl champion, who gets the 32nd pick:
- Non-playoff teams: choice 1–20
- Eliminated in Wild Card round: choice 21–24
- Eliminated in Divisional round: choice 25–28
- Conference runners-up: choice 29–30
- Super Bowl runner-up: choice 31
- Super Bowl champion: choice 32
In total, there are 7 rounds of 32 picks. Teams can trade picks or make agreements, allowing them to trade picks in various rounds. Teams are also awarded compensatory picks if they have lost players in certain positions due to free agency. As such, NFL draft betting is one of the most highly anticipated betting events of the NFL season.
Players are traded rather than sold in the NFL. A trade has to occur during the offseason, or before the 8th week of the season. NFL teams can trade players for another player or for a draft pick, usually in one of the lower rounds. Unlike professional soccer, a team cannot simply sell a player. They have the option to trade a player or cut, waive, or release him at the end of a contract. This makes a player a free agent who can sign wherever he pleases.
NFL free agency occurs at the start of the new league year in March. Players that are out of contract can then discuss terms and sign with new franchises after expiry of their previous deal. The system was brought into place in 1993 to address balance in the NFL. It has given rights to players to seek out the best financial deal possible on the open market from all 32 teams. Leading players in the NFL such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are among the most notable players to hit the open market.
Before the start of each season, NFL teams play unofficial exhibition games before the regular season starts. It starts with a Pro Football Hall of Fame game in early August, leading up to five weekends of exhibition games.
The NFL consists of two conferences, each made up of 16 teams, divided into four divisions of four teams each.
American Football Conference (AFC)
- East Division: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
- West Division: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers
- North Division: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
- South Division: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
National Football Conference (NFC)
- East Division: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
- West Division: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
- North Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
- South Division: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The NFL regular season lasts for 18 weeks, running from early September to late December. Each team must play 17 games with one bye week after the league amended their schedule for the 2021 season to include an extra game.
NFL games are typically played on Sundays, although there is usually a Monday night game and Thursday night game as well. Normally, NFL games are absent on Fridays or Saturdays, at least until late in the regular season, as they are barred by federal law from competing with college or high school football.
- Each team must play against the other teams in the division twice a season. This gives a home game and an away game, for a total of 6 games.
- A team must also play 4 games against 4 teams from another division in the same conference.
- They must also play 4 games against 4 teams from another division in the other conference.
- They must play 2 games against 2 teams from the two remaining conferences.
- Finally, for the new regulations brought in for 2021, the team must play one side from other conference not in the division from their other inter-conference games.
Starting in 2020, 7 teams from each conference (14 teams in total) earn a spot in the NFL playoffs. The top team from each of the four divisions from each conference is selected for a total of 8 teams. The three teams with the best record from each conference then get a wild card spot, which gives 6 more teams for a total of 14.
First Week – Wild Card Round
In the first week, the teams with the best record from each conference get a bye week (a chance to rest). Meanwhile, the six other teams from each conference have to battle it out in an elimination round, which leaves three winners from each conference. The Wild Card Round is scheduled to take place on the weekend beginning January 15 2022.
Second Week – Divisional Round
In the divisional round, the four remaining teams in each conference play each other in direct elimination. They are seeded according to their records. The top seed from the both the AFC and NFC enters the fray. The Divisional Round is scheduled to be played in the 2021 season on the weekend beginning 22 January 2022.
Third Week – Conference Championship Round
The conference championship round sees the winners of the divisional round take each other on for the AFC and NFC Championships. The teams with the best records host the Championship Games. These games are scheduled to be played in the 2021 campaign on January 30 2022.
The Super Bowl is the most important event in the football year. It sees the AFC and NFC champions face off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It's a huge cultural event for Americans, with stars performing during halftime and plenty of other entertainment. The Super Bowl for the 2021 campaign is scheduled to be played at SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles on February 13 18:00 ET.
NFL International Series
The NFL made a commitment to broaden their reach outside of the United States to raise the popularity of the game. The league failed in their attempts to build a league outside of the States as NFL Europe failed to capture the attention of fans across the continent. As a result, the league made the decision to play games in the United Kingdom, beginning in the 2007 season when the New York Giants played the Miami Dolphins.
Due to the success of the programme, the International Series in the UK has expanded to a total of four games per season played at both Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while Twickenham Stadium has also hosted matches. The NFL are now exploring the possibility of moving games further afield into Germany where they also have a passionate fanbase. Mexico City has also hosted games since the 2016 season, with the league recognising the loyalty and the love of the game from the neighbours to the south.
The Covid-19 Pandemic prevented games from being played overseas for the first time in 13 years. However, the Series has returned to the UK in the 2021 campaign with the two following matches at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets – Sunday 10 October
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins – Sunday 17 October
Every NFL side except for the Green Bay Packers have competed in the International Series. The Jacksonville Jaguars have played the most games overseas, playing their eighth contest in 2021. The Jaguars have been the most active franchise in playing aboard, although it has not been overly successful in their bid to reach the Super Bowl for the first time.
The Jags under Urban Meyer are a rank outsider in the NFL betting tips 2021 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They will be hopeful of a surge from their trip to London. Due to the Jags’ strong presence in London, they have been mooted with the potential switch to England on a permanent basis to become the first franchise to be based outside of the States. However, no deal has come to fruition yet, with doubts whether regular travel back and forth between the UK and the USA would work logistically for all parties.
London Games History
|October 28 2007||New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins||13-10|
|October 26 2008||San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints||32-37|
|October 25 2009||New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35-7|
|October 31 2010||Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers||16-24|
|October 23 2011||Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24-18|
|October 28 2012||New England Patriots @ St Louis Rams||45-7|
|September 29 2013||Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings||27-34|
|October 27 2013||San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars||42-10|
|September 28 2014||Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders||38-14|
|October 26 2014||Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons||22-21|
|November 9 2014||Dallas Cowboys @ Jacksonville Jaguars||31-17|
|October 4 2015||New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins||27-14|
|October 25 2015||Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars||31-34|
|November 1 2015||Detroit Lions @ Kansas City Chiefs||10-45|
|October 2 2016||Indianapolis Colts @ Jackonsville Jaguars||27-30|
|October 23 2016||New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams||17-10|
|October 30 2016||Washington Football Team @ Cincinnati Bengals||27-27|
|September 24 2017||Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars||7-44|
|October 1 2017||New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins||20-0|
|October 22 2017||Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams||0-33|
|October 29 2017||Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns||33-16|
|October 14 2018||Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders||27-3|
|October 21 2018||Tennessee Titans @ Los Angeles Chargers||19-20|
|October 28 2018||Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars||24-18|
|October 6 2019||Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders||21-24|
|October 13 2019||Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||37-26|
|October 27 2019||Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams||10-24|
|November 3 2019||Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars||26-3|
Mexico City Games
|November 21 2016||Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders||20-27|
|November 19 2017||New England Patriots @ Oakland Raiders||33-8|
|November 18 2019||Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers||24-7|
Top 10 NFL Betting Tips & Strategies
Here are some NFL betting tips and evergreen betting strategies for all you football punters out there.
1. Home field advantage matters
Just like in most team sports, the home team generally has a huge advantage. In the US, NFL teams must often fly for several hours to reach their opponent. They usually have even fewer of their home supporters than league matches in European sports. Dome (indoor) teams often perform worse outdoors when exposed to the elements, especially snow.
2. Pay attention to time zones
Many punters overlook the fact that the US has three separate time zones. It can be a challenge for those teams based on the west coast of the US, who have to play games three hours earlier than usual. For a 1pm ET contest, it would be like playing at 10am PT. Therefore, their performance can be affected after being taken out of their normal routine. The same can be said vice versa, although the timings more often than not favour the teams on the east coast.
3. Individual matchups are important
As they say in boxing and UFC, styles make fights. The same applies to football. While a team may have an overall better record than another, its weaknesses may play directly into the opposite team’s strengths. This is why it's important to compare the individual players going head to head (for example, the offensive tackle versus the edge rushers, or a particular wide receiver against a cornerback).
4. Pay attention to the coaching styles
Coaches are even more important in American football than in soccer. This is because every play has been planned and rehearsed by them. They tend to use recurring plays and strategies that work better against different opponents. They know other coaches’ tendencies, and some can adapt better than others.
5. Know which players are injured
Football is a team sport, so each player is an essential part of a larger whole. A small change to the line-up can have major implications, especially if it's a key position like a quarterback. Teams are required to submit injury reports on a daily basis after practice before confirming the eligibility of those ailing players to play in the upcoming game. Therefore, it's a good idea to pay attention to who is missing practice in a game week. Teams’ official websites along with Twitter and Instagram can be very helpful in this regard.
6. Manage your bankroll
Whichever sport you wish to bet on, bankroll management is quite important. A bankroll is your “wallet” for betting. You can leave it on your bookie’s account, or even spread it between several bookies. If you want to bet on an NFL season, you can deposit a sum on a bookie or several bookies. It's usually best to bet between 2% and 5% of your total wallet, as this helps you keep your bets under control and gives you a chance to win back lost money.
7. Look for value
While some punters will bet on whomever they think will win, regardless of the odds, this isn't always a recipe for success, since bookies are very good at odds. It's up to you to see if you can find value in some bets. Value means odds are overpriced or underpriced, or what's more or less likely to occur, than what the bookies’ odds imply.
8. Choose the best odds
Bookies often offer different odds for the same events. Each bookie has its own methodology for setting odds. Shopping between different bookies can often lead to better odds and more value.
9. Watch the betting lines
Betting odds are not set in stone. They move depending on how much money comes in at either side. Since NFL odds invariably move, you should monitor the movement. When odds drop suddenly, it's often a sign that big money has come in on a particular side. Often, this money is “smart” money, meaning money from other educated punters. In this case, you should look for a bookie where the odds have not dropped yet. Of course, odds can also drop because of “hype” money, with casual punters betting more than they should. Here, you would usually bet the opposite of what the masses are betting.
10. Never tilt
This is a very common mistake. Even the best NFL punters lose bets of up to 40%. Whenever you lose a bet, don't get overemotional and try to win your money back on bets you haven't analysed. A sound betting strategy means occasionally accepting your losses.
Popular NFL Betting & American Football Betting Markets
While the NFL has struggled to make a mainstream breakthrough in Europe, where massively popular sports already exist, American football and NFL betting is becoming increasingly popular outside of the US. This, in turn, means that the game has a growing audience this side of the ocean.
If any further proof was needed, NFL fixtures are taking in place in London each season, and there have even been whispers of a London franchise being created in the future, so the outlook for the game looks very bright indeed.
Overseas fixtures only make up a fraction of the regular season games, but national television networks across Europe have picked up the broadcasting rights. As a result, more and more fans are watching NFL at home, making this the perfect time to learn about different bet types for NFL betting.
Betting against the spread, or spread betting, is the most popular type of betting in the NFL and American football. This is when a set number of points has been established pre-match by the bookmakers, and it's up to the bettors to decide where to lay their money. Do you think that the favourites will win by more or less than the bookmakers suggest? Or will the underdogs lose by more or less than the number of points proposed by the odds-makers?
The moneyline in American football betting is essentially betting on who will win or lose the game, just as we do when betting on other sports.
This type of American Football betting type is basically American for “accumulator“: pick upwards of two winning selections for a larger payout.
Totals NFL betting works by calculating how many combined points will be scored by both teams during the game. Bookmakers propose an option to bet on whether or not the total points will be either over or under the totals mark and you bet against it, similar to the spread.
While we've outlined the more common American football betting markets, there are many more offered by bookmakers that bettors can consider. Because of the nature of a match being divided four ways, punters can bet on specific markets within any of the game’s quarters, first and second half, or touchdown scorers.
There are also season-long outright wagers that you can lay, such as season win totals for individual NFL teams, division champions, and, of course, the Super Bowl winner and most valuable player recipient.
Another way to bet on the NFL and American football is live betting, often referred to as in-play betting, where bettors can watch a game unfold for one, two, or three quarters and place their bets using real-time odds.
Bet builder are commonplace across football betting, but are now beginning to emerge as a market for American football and the NFL. This allows bettors to select individual markets for one particular game
Super Bowl Betting Tips
The most eagerly-awaited match in the NFL 2021/22 schedule is packed with Super Bowl betting opportunities. While sizing up your bets, keep these Super Bowl betting tips in mind:
- Consider The Leading Contenders – The favourites for the Super Bowl are there for a reason. In the 2020 campaign the Tampa Buccaneers were a leading contender at the start of the season, but their indifferent form resulted in a difficult road to the Super Bowl. However, their true quality shone through in the crux moments of the campaign to win three away games before lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Teams of the ilk of Kansas City, Tampa Bay, the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers should be in consideration.
- Repeating Is Hard – There has not been a back-to-back Super Bowl winner since the 2004 New England Patriots. The Seattle Seahawks, Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs have each returned to the Super Bowl one year removed from lifting the crown, but were beaten in the title game. It is certainly worth bearing in mind before placing a bet on the Bucs this term.
- Don't limit yourself to the money line: So many of punters suffer tunnel vision while betting on a headline event like this. It's almost like they feel obliged to back a winner. If you aren't seeing value in either side, that's OK – in this day and age, there are so many markets available that you're literally spoilt for choice. Consider over/under total points, handicap, both teams to score x amount of points, etc. There are loads of options.
- In-play Super Bowl betting can be key: In some cases, it can be better to ignore pre-match odds and wait to see how both teams start before wagering. In-play betting always offers value to pounce on – just don't let emotions drive impulsive decisions.
Popular Super Bowl Betting Markets:
A straightforward wager on which team will win Super Bowl LV. Sometimes, the simpler the better – which is what makes this such a popular market amongst fans.
Best Super Bowl Betting Site for Money Line: bet365
A market where a virtual points advantage or virtual points disadvantage is given to a team. The minus handicap is applied to the favourite, in this case the Kansas City Chiefs, while the plus advantage is given to the underdog, in this case the Buccaneers. For example, if the handicap is set at – 3 for the Chiefs, they will need to win by over 3 points for your bet to be sucessful.
Best Super Bowl Betting Site for Handicap Betting: Paddy Power
This is a bet on the total amount of points to be scored in a match. You'll be able to find markets on one team, or on the combined sum between both teams. For example, it's possible to bet on over/under 56.5 points between the two teams.
Best Super Bowl Betting Site for over/under points Betting: betfair
First/Last Touchdown Scorer
Getting away from team betting, with first/last touchdown scorer, you're wagering on an individual, and more specifically, which individual will be the first or last touchdown scorer. This is a market where Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are most heavily backed.
Best Super Bowl Betting Site for first/last touchdown scorer : betfair
Things to Consider on NFL & American Football Betting
There are so many factors that can influence a game that experienced bettors will always take into account when laying money on an outcome. Remember the Ice Bowl match at Lambeau Field we told you about earlier? Well, how would freezing temperatures effect your picks? Also, consider the impact that playing at home versus away will have on the result.
Is there a personal issue, or reported slight injury to a star player that could sway the result? These are all factors you may want to take into account.
For the really studious, you could consider putting together a stats pack of information, such as a team’s strengths and weaknesses, in order to calculate who will have the advantage on any given Sunday. This allows you to further develop the perfectly informed American Football and NFL betting strategy.
The NFL Teams
- Buffalo Bills (Colours: Red, White, and Blue / Stadium: New Era Field)
- Miami Dolphins (Colours: Turquoise, and White / Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium)
- New York Jets (Colours: Green, and White / Stadium: MetLife Stadium)
- New England Patriots (Colours: Red, White, and Blue / Stadium: Gillette Stadium)
- Baltimore Ravens (Colours: Gold, White, and Blue / Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium)
- Cincinnati Bengals (Colours: Orange, White, and Black / Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium)
- Cleveland Browns (Colours: Orange, White, and Black / Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (Colours: Yellow, White, and Black / Stadium: Heinz Field)
- Houston Texans (Colours: Red, White, and Blue / Stadium: NRG Stadium)
- Indianapolis Colts (Colours: White and Blue / Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Colours: White and Black / Stadium: TIAA Bank Field)
- Tennessee Titans (Colours: White and Blue / Stadium: Nissan Stadium)
- Denver Broncos (Colours: Orange, White, and Blue / Stadium: Empower Field at Mile High)
- Kansas City Chiefs (Colours: Red and White / Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium)
- Los Angeles Chargers (Colours: Yellow, White, and Blue / Stadium: Dignity Health Sports Park)
- Oakland Raiders (Colours: White and Black / Stadium: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum)
- Dallas Cowboys (Colours: White and Blue / Stadium: AT&T Stadium)
- New York Giants (Colours: Red, White, and Blue / Stadium: MetLife Stadium)
- Philadelphia Eagles (Colours: Green, White, and Black/ Stadium: Lincoln Financial Field)
- Washington Redskins (Colours: Red, White, and Gold / Stadium: FedExField)
- Chicago Bears (Colours: Orange, White, and Blue / Stadium: Soldier Field)
- Detroit Lions (Colours: Silver, White, and Blue / Stadium: Ford Field)
- Green Bay Packers (Colours: Green, White, and Yellow / Stadium: Lambeau Field)
- Minnesota Vikings (Colours: Purple, White, and Yellow / Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium)
- Atlanta Falcons (Colours: Red, White, and Black / Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- Carolina Panthers (Colours: Black, White, and Blue / Stadium: Bank of America Stadium)
- New Orleans Saints (Colours: Black and Gold / Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Colours: Red, White, and Black / Stadium: Raymond James Stadium)
- Arizona Cardinals (Colours: Red and White / Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium)
- Los Angeles Rams (Colours: Gold, White, and Blue / Stadium: LA Memorial Coliseum)
- San Francisco 49ers (Colours: Red, White, and Gold / Stadium: Levi's Stadium)
- Seattle Seahawks (Colours: Gold, White, and Blue / Stadium: CenturyLink Field)
American Football & NFL History
The NFL was first established in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with only ten sides participating, and all recruited from just four states. Two years later, the league took its current moniker, and from those original ten sides, only two remain, also having different names. The Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals are now more famously known as The Bears and The Arizona Cardinals respectively, while the Green Bay Acme Packers are the oldest NFL franchise still calling their original location home.
In the past century, the NFL has seen more than its fair share of legendary performers, all-star winning coaches, and great nights in historic arenas, but which are the greatest of all time?
Most Successful Franchises in American Football and NFL History
Despite the fact the Raiders haven't qualified for the postseason since 2002, such was their dominance before the shallow years that they still make the top five successful franchises in NFL history. For an entire decade between 1967 to 1977, the Raiders made the playoffs in all but one season, and picked up their first Super Bowl in 1976. Within seven years, they had scooped up a further two Super Bowls to sit alongside their five conference titles and 15 division titles.
New York Giants
With 4 Super Bowls, the Giants have enjoyed success throughout NFL history, making NFL championship game appearances in each decade from the '20s through to the '60s. And while the '70s saw some barren years, they still won the Super Bowl in 1986, 1990, 2007, and 2011, which go nicely next to four pre-Super Bowl championships and 11 conference titles.
New England Patriots
In the 18 years between 2001 and 2018, the Patriots won 16 of their 20 division titles, which is almost unmatched in professional sport, let alone American football. Throw in another 6 Super Bowl wins and a further 11 conference titles and you begin to see why the Patriots are one of the greatest franchises in world sport.
Since 1970, the Steelers have the best record in football, winning the most games and earning the best winning percentage. They have also scooped 23 divisional titles and 6 Super Bowl titles, while winning 10 out of 16 division titles and another 8 conference titles. That’s a record that speaks for itself.
Green Bay Packers
Established in 1919, the Green Bay Packers have, over the past century, amassed 17 division titles, 9 conference titles, 9 pre-Super Bowl championships, and 4 Super Bowl titles. Even the Super Bowl trophy itself is named after the man who coached the Packers to all those titles, the legendary Vince Lombardi.
|New England Patriots||6||20||11|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||19||6|
|New York Giants||4||22||11|
|Green Bay Packers||4||18||9|
During a 13-year career, Payton missed only one game, which gives you some idea as to the type of player he was. Nicknamed Sweetness due to his off-field persona, Payton refused to concede an inch on the pitch, punishing defenders with his plays for The Bears. He finally hung up his boots in 1987, but has never been forgotten.
49ers star Joe Montana was the most decorated quarterback of his generation in the NFL, having retired winning four 4 Super Bowls, 8 Pro Bowls, and making the NFL’s All-Pro team an astonishing five times. In 1990 he was named MVP of the league for the second year straight, while he was also named MVP of the Super Bowl three times before retirement his in 1994.
Tom Brady is another quarterback with a CV to make his rivals sweat. Over the past 20+ years, Brady has scooped 7 Super Bowls, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, 3 NFL MVPs, and 14 Pro Bowls, which makes for a truly blessed career spent almost entirely with the New England Patriots before his move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. What’s more, during that time, Brady has made 10 Super Bowl appearances in 21 NFL seasons.
Widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, record-breaking Rice, who turned out for the 49ers, Raiders, and The Seahawks over a 19-year career that ended in 2004, is the highest-scoring touchdown scorer in the game’s history. Rice is also the all-time leading receptions maker, as well as having received almost 22,500 yards, way ahead of his closest challengers. Famed for his attitude and never-say-die work ethic, Rice never shirked a challenge and never shied away when it mattered most.
Weighing in at 230 lbs and standing at over 6'2″, Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns was unbeatable throughout his career, which sadly only lasted nine seasons. During that time, and using his considerable gifts, Brown was bigger, faster, and stronger than any of the competition, amassing 8 rushing titles among his many records.
Collecting 2 Super Bowls and 6 Conference Championships, Don Shula was a '60s master of the NFL as he took charge of The Colts and then The Dolphins. He could have won even more times had the fates not decreed that Johnny Unitas be struck down by injury in the 1965 divisional round, forcing Shula into a reshuffle that ultimately saw his Colts side unable to see out a win against The Packers. By the end of his time coaching, Shula had won more games than any other NFL coach.
49ers legend Bill Walsh masterminded 3 Super Bowl wins on his way to legendary status back in the '70s. Quite rightly accepted as a reformer and a pioneer, Walsh’s brilliant take on the game originally came about by way of necessity when, as assistant with The Bengals, he designed an offence of three-step drops, quick reads, and short throws by way of overcoming a team injury crisis that would later carry his teams to many famous wins. Throughout his career, that short passing philosophy was his stock in trade, which redefined the game.
Before founding the Cleveland Browns, Paul Brown devised the playbook while still working as a high school coach. In a career that would later see him coaching Ohio State and developing his football philosophy while serving during World War II, Brown did perhaps more than anyone to develop the game we know today, from naming a franchise after himself to devising the 40-yard dash. He really was an incredible man with an influence over the game like no one else before or since. That he achieved it all so young is even more remarkable. Oh, and you can throw in 3 NFL Championships and 4 AFC Championship wins too!
Lombardi is quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest football coaches of all time as evidenced by his all-conquering Green Bay Packers, which swept aside all before them during the 1960s. Scooping 2 Super Bowl wins and a further 3 NFL Championships, Vince served for five years as assistant coach to the New York Giants, where he played a critical role in the Giants’ success, culminating with the league championship in 1956, after which The Packers came calling, and the rest is history.
The most decorated coach in the game, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has collected an incredible 5 Super Bowl wins and 7 AFC Championships. He didn’t get there immediately, however, working first as Bill Parcells' defensive strategist with The Giants, before tanking as the head coach of The Browns. After going back to the drawing board, he redefined his game when he took up his ultra successful job with The Pats, which have dominated for a generation.
AT&T Stadium, Dallas Cowboys
The 100,000-seater AT&T Stadium, with a retractable roof and gigantic video board, is located in Arlington, Texas, and opened in 2009.
CenturyLink Field, Seattle Seahawks
Hosting soccer games as well as football, CenturyLink is generally accepted to be the loudest stadium in the NFL, especially when this downtown Seattle venue is at full 68,740-person capacity.
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota Vikings
Built in 2016, the U.S. Bank Stadium is a modern venue that puts others to shame. This indoor glass and metallic cultural highlight holds 66,655 people, making it a true symbol of Minnesotan pride.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Falcons
Complete with a floating, circular video board, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is home to The Falcons, while also serving as home of Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer. When the former play, the pitch gives way to allow up to 71,000 fans.
Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers
Opening in 1957, Lambeau Field, named after founder, player, and coach, Curly Lambeau, is a classic stadium that harks back to the games’ golden age. Set outdoors on Green Bay’s notoriously cold frosty shores, this historical old ground is located on Lombardi Avenue, named in honour of former head coach, Vince Lombardi.
Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys – 31 December, 1967
Taking place on the last day of 1967, this classic match was christened the Ice Bowl as the game was played between two of the league's most recognisable teams, and took place in arctic conditions as the winter of December’s final day blew in off Lake Michigan. Players suffered, while Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry played out their chess match on the side of the pitch, before Lombardi ordered a final drive by Bart Starr to win the tie outright rather than tie the game and force a horrid frozen overtime that nobody other than the fans really wanted.
Miami Dolphins vs Kansas City Chiefs – 25 December, 1971
This Christmas Day classic is still the longest NFL game ever played at 82 minutes and 40 seconds, and while The Dolphins came out on top, 27-24, it was The Chiefs who had raced into 10-0 lead and held good for a holiday win. Miami fought back in the second quarter to draw the game level before almost allowing The Chiefs back in for the win in standard time, only to see them miss a game-winning field goal. Extra time proved to be just as wasteful, only this time for both teams, before The Dolphins clinched the win in the second overtime.
Denver Broncos vs Cleveland Browns – 11 January, 1987
In one of the most iconic games in NFL history, TV replays showed what in-play video reviews did not: the winning goal, struck by Broncos’ Rich Karlis, went wide of the posts instead of over them to deny Browns a place in the Super Bowl. What’s worse, the miss hit shot was launched as part of a play that started with only 5:32 left on the clock.
San Diego Chargers vs Miami Dolphins – 2 January, 1982
Every so often, you get a sporting contest where all involved play so well that no one deserves to lose. Such was the case with this '80s classic that led to Sports Illustrated labelling it “The Game No One Should Have Lost“. Although The Chargers stormed into a 21-0 lead, The Dolphins fought back to only lose by 41-38.
Baltimore Colts vs New York Giants – 28 December, 1958
The first NFL game to be broadcast live on TV, the networks really couldn’t have selected a better match to run with. Featuring the legendary Johnny Unitas starting at quarterback for The Colts, Unitas got the ball with a few minutes of play left before embarking on a two-minute drill that saved the game for his team with seconds left to play and mark the first overtime in NFL championship history. In added time, The Colts repeated the trick to win the game 23-17.
New York Giants v New England Patriots – 3 February 2008
The Patriots were aiming to become the first team in NFL history to go 19-0, after surging through the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Giants were their only obstacle, who had scraped their way into the post-season and put forward an incredible run to reach Super Bowl XLII, beating the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. New York’s defence held MVP Tom Brady’s record-breaking offense in check for the majority of the contest. However, a late strike to Randy Moss appeared to have won the game for the Pats. Eli Manning had other ideas, orchestrating a drive that included the infamous ‘helmet catch’ to David Tyree before throwing a game-winning touchdowns to Plaxico Burress, breaking Patriot hearts and denying them the ultimate season.
New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons – 5 February 2017
The game will live long in the memories of Patriots fans and haunt the Falcons for the rest of their days. League MVP Matt Ryan guided the Falcons into a dominant 28-3 lead at Reliant Stadium in Super Bowl LI in the third quarter. Atlanta were rampant and the statisticians predicted that they had a 99.7% chance of securing the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time. However, Tom Brady was on the other sideline. After a terrible start to the contest, including a pick-six to Robert Alford, the GOAT revitalised the Patriots and delivered an emphatic 25-point comeback in the final 18 minutes of regulation to stun the Falcons. New England received the ball first in overtime and James White found space to find the endzone to secure a fifth Lombardi and second in three years for the Pats.
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NFL Betting FAQs
❌ Can I bet on the NFL?
Yes, you can, and what’s more, there are loads of options for you to choose from.
❔ How does NFL betting work?
Betting on the NFL is simple and works exactly the same way as betting on, for example, soccer or rugby. Players can place accumulators, simple singles, or season-long bets that pay when the trophies are handed out.
➕ What is the most popular way to bet on the NFL?
The most popular way to bet on the NFL is spread betting, also known as betting against the spread.
🍒 How do I bet on the NFL?
You can place your bets on the NFL in the same you would if you were betting on soccer. Pick your selection, add it to your betting slip, and place the bet.
💲 Can I bet on my mobile phone?
Of course! These days, more and more people bet through their smartphones, and bookmakers make sure that their sites work on desktop, laptop, tablets, and mobiles on either Android or iOS.
🎲 Can I watch live NFL matches?
Yes, there are loads of ways to watch your favourite NFL matches. Many European broadcasters have bought the rights to broadcast events, so you can watch the action take place from the comfort of your own home.
🔎 What is the NFL International Series?
The NFL International Series is a slate of games that are played in London on a yearly basis. The league has played up to four matches from its schedule of regular season matches at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since 2007. It allows fans from Europe to attend matches without having to travel to the United States
❓ Has every franchise competed in the NFL International Series?
No. The Green Bay Packers are the one franchise that has not competed overseas yet. The Jacksonville Jaguars have played the most games abroad and will compete in their eighth contest in London in the 2021 season.
🔎 Can I bet on the NFL International Series?
Yes. You can bet on the NFL International Series just as you would any other NFL game.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
So now you know how to bet, and who you are betting on, in American football, from the teams involved to the traditions and histories they are playing for. You'll now be able to join in on the conversations, online or in person, that are becoming increasingly commonplace now that the game is picking up some serious traction this side of the Atlantic, incentivising bookmakers to offer even more opportunities to bet on this great sport.
This is why regular season games are increasingly taking place in Europe, and there have even been mooted suggestions that London may one day be the home of its own NFL franchise. Watch this space.