How to bet on NFL: Understanding markets, odds, best sportsbooks

Credit: Craig Dudek

Credit: Craig Dudek

Another riveting season of football is here, and fans will certainly be wondering how to bet on NFL in 2023. The reality is that there are a slew of options with which to legally wager on NFL action, as the online sportsbook scene has continuously grown year over year.

With legal sports betting becoming more and more popular throughout the country, the options for football fans to wager on the NFL have increased tenfold. In addition to a variety of trusted sportsbook operators, NFL fans have access to a plethora of bet types. Some of the more popular options on gameday include moneyline bets, point spread bets, player prop bets, live betting, parlays, and over-under total bets.

It’s also important to know that NFL betting isn’t just limited to the day of the game. Users can call their shot long in advance with futures betting markets to score top-of-the-line odds on some of the biggest sporting events of the year. Rest assured that this guide will have even the most novice of users primed and ready to go with everything they need to know for how to bet on the NFL in 2023.

Bettors located in states where online sportsbooks have already been launched can take advantage of impressive new user sports betting bonuses provided by AJC below.

How to bet on NFL games

Football fans will be delighted to know there are a myriad of ways to bet on NFL games in 2023. NFL fans will never be shorted on bet types, or NFL betting apps to accept those wagers. The most popular ways to bet on the NFL are by playing moneylines, point spreads, and over-under total bets, but there are many more intricate ways to wager as well.


Betting the moneyline for either team in an NFL game is one of the easiest ways to get in on the action. A moneyline bet simply represents the winner of the game, regardless of point spread differential. Moneyline odds are reflective of each team’s win expectancy and affect the payouts accordingly. Favored teams will carry (-) odds, while underdog teams will be represented by (+) odds.

To give an example, if you bet $150 on the Atlanta Falcons at -150 odds (favorite) to beat the New Orleans Saints, a winning wager would return a $100 payout. However, if you bet $100 on the Atlanta Falcons at +150 odds (underdog) to beat the New Orleans Saints, a winning wager would return a $150 payout.

Point spreads

Playing a point spread bet is another very easy way to get started, and is arguably the most popular way to bet on the NFL. Point spreads represent the handicap that the oddsmakers have set between the two teams in the game. Favored teams will be giving (-) points, while underdog teams will be getting (+) points.

For an example of a point spread bet, you might take the Atlanta Falcons to cover the spread (-3) vs. the Carolina Panthers. To win your wager, the Falcons will need to win the game by at least four points. If you bet the Falcons +3 against the Panthers, you will need the Falcons to win the game outright or lose by no more than two in order to cash your bet ticket. In the event a point spread bet ends in a tie, it is considered a “push” and the wager is refunded.

Over-under totals

Football fans with less of a rooting interest in either team in a given game can quickly find something to cheer for by playing an over-under total bet. That’s because over-under bets combine the scores of both teams in the game to see whether the final total falls over or under the pregame number set by the oddsmakers. Just like in point spread betting, an over-under total bet that ends in a tie is considered a “push” and the user is refunded.

Player props

Betting on the success of individual players in an NFL game is certainly a popular method as well, these are called player prop bets. Player prop bets only pertain to individual players, and disregard team win/loss outcome. Common player props users might see are first touchdown scorers, anytime touchdown scorers, passing totals props, rushing totals props, or receiving totals props, just to name a few. Player prop bets can oftentimes be parlayed together for multiplied odds, allowing one individual player to make or break your bet ticket no matter what else happens in the game.


Perhaps the most risky, but potentially most lucrative way to bet on the NFL is by placing a parlay bet. Simply put, a parlay is multiple betting lines combined together on one ticket for multiplied odds. Parlays require users to hit each individual leg on the ticket in order for the bet to cash. And if any one of the parlay legs loses, the entire ticket is busted. In the event that one of the legs of your parlay bet is a push, that leg is typically voided (removed) from the ticket.

Parlay bets are very attractive because users can potentially wager very little and still win massive amounts, thanks to the multiplied odds. However, each leg that a user adds to their parlay ticket makes the bet a riskier proposition, as there are more chances to lose.

Same-game parlays

Users also have the option to parlay together multiple betting lines from one game, this is called a same-game parlay. Rather than having to follow along with a number of different games, users can place multiple wagers within one game’s betting markets, and lock in to see if their bet will cash.

Some sportsbooks will have pre-picked same-game parlays, in addition to allowing users to create their own. It should be noted that certain sportsbook operators carry slightly different sets of rules for same-game parlays, as opposed to traditional parlays. Be sure to read through the terms and conditions before getting started with a same-game parlay.

Futures betting on NFL in 2023

There are even more ways to bet on the NFL besides the regular gameday wagers. Futures betting is a very popular way to play and can prove to be rather profitable. A futures bet is essentially calling your shot in advance, betting on a future event like the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South division, the NFC (conference), or even the Super Bowl. NFL bettors can also place futures bets on individual players to win awards like MVP, offensive/defensive player of the year, offensive/defensive rookie of the year, as well as individual players’ statistical milestones.

Part of what makes futures betting so popular is the ability to lock in wagers with peak-value odds that may never be available again. This is because futures betting odds update as to reflect the ongoing status of the event in question. For example, let’s use a pre-season bet on Atlanta Falcons first-year running back Bijan Robinson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) in the NFL in 2023.

If Bijan Robinson comes out of the gates hot with impressive performances in his opening games, his odds to win OROY will increase, and the value in his betting line will decrease. However, the value of your pre-season wager will increase, as those odds may end up being the peak value for the entire season.

Subsequently, if you were to wait to place that OROY bet and Robinson struggles in his opening games, his odds to win the award will decrease. That would allow NFL bettors to score extra value on those futures bets, as his odds would likely be longer than those available during pre-season.

It’s all about when you place your future bet on the NFL. So if you’re feeling confident in a specific team or a particular player, search out a futures betting market and watch your prediction come to fruition, all whilst winning you some cash.

Team futures

Placing wagers on team futures is perhaps the most common type of futures betting on the NFL. Every year, fans of various teams come into the season with high hopes for their favorite gridiron gang. Whether it be to simply reach the playoffs, a conference title game, or even for their team to win the Super Bowl, NFL fans can bet on teams to reach these eventual marks, and users can place those wagers before the season even begins (as well as during the season).

Win totals

Also available for team futures betting are win totals. These are the pre-season (then updated during the season) total number of games that the oddsmakers predict each individual team will win. Users can then bet on teams to go over (win more games) or under (win fewer games) than the pre-set number. In the event that a team ties their win total, the bets on that team would be considered a “push” and users would be refunded.

Individual player awards/stats

Betting on individual players’ awards or stats is another way to place a futures bet on the NFL in 2023. Some of the more common bets include players to win MVP, offensive/defensive player of the year, offensive/defensive rookie of the year, comeback player of the year, and coach of the year.

Users can also place futures bets on individual players’ statistics, like passing/rushing/receiving yards over-under totals, passing/rushing/receiving touchdown over-under totals, sack totals, interception totals, and much more.

Best NFL betting promos

One of the most exciting aspects of new players wondering how to bet on NFL is the potential for new user sportsbook promos. These sign-up offers often provide the player with a sportsbook bonus to help get them up and running on their legal NFL betting journey.

NFL betting promos can arrive in the form of bonus bets, deposit matches, “bet & get” bonuses, and other exciting offers. To help get you started in the right direction, check out the list of the best NFL sportsbook bonuses below. These sign-up offers are available now in many states where legal online sportsbooks have been launched.

DraftKings sportsbook NFL bonus

DraftKings Sportsbook is among the top operators for betting on the NFL in 2023, thanks in large part to the profitability of the sign-up offer. Using the linked promo codes on this page, new users can score a welcome offer to bet just $5 and get $200 in bonus bets instantly from DK. The bonus is paid out in eight separate ($25) bonus bets, and users can use those funds to bet on the NFL as they please.

Click this link for the best DraftKings promo code to unlock an offer to bet $5, and get $200 in bonus bets instantly.

FanDuel sportsbook NFL bonus

Prospective users wondering how to bet on the NFL in 2023 will find everything they need at FanDuel Sportsbook, including an impressive sign-up promo. With the linked offers on this page, first-time bettors at FanDuel can bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets guaranteed plus $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket. The code for $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket can be applied to any package of choice, and is applicable via YouTube and YouTube TV.

Use the linked offer here to sign up with FanDuel and score $200 in bonus bets plus $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket with just a $5 qualifying wager.

Caesars sportsbook NFL bonus

The new user promo from Caesars Sportsbook is one of the best ways to wager on the NFL this season. First-time bettors can score $250 in bonus bets after placing their first cash wager of at least $50 using bonus code RUSH2GET. The user will receive a $50 bonus bet shortly after placing their initial qualifying wager, then another $50 bonus bet each Monday for the next four weeks.

BetMGM sportsbook NFL bonus

BetMGM Sportsbook provides a whopping $1,500 first bet offer for new users getting started with betting on the NFL. The sign-up promo from BetMGM ensures that the user either wins their first wager or receives a refund (up to $1,500) in BetMGM bonus bets. It should be noted that the BetMGM first bet offer is paid out via five separate bonus bets (if the user loses their first real money wager).

Use the link here to take advantage of a $1,500 first-bet offer from BetMGM when you register for a new account.

bet365 sportsbook NFL bonus

Providing an ultra-low-risk proposition for new users wondering how to bet on NFL, bet365 Sportsbook players can score $200 in bonus bets guaranteed for placing just a $1 qualifying wager. Although bet365 is only available in six states (CO, IA, KY, NJ, OH, and VA) the bet $1 get $200 offer is simply too good to pass up. So if you’re located in one of the lucky states where bet365 is currently operating, make sure to score the awesome bet365 bonus code for betting on the NFL this season.

Use this link to bet $1 and get $200 in guaranteed bonus bets on bet365 using the promo code AJCXLM.

ESPN BET sportsbook NFL bonus

Slated to launch in Fall 2023, ESPN BET will bring yet another terrific option to online bettors all throughout the country. The soon-to-launch sportsbook was the product of a recently formed partnership between ESPN and PENN Entertainment. Seeing that PENN already holds online sports betting licenses in many locations throughout the country, the expectation is that the ESPN BET promo code will be available in a number of states at the initial launch.

Where can you bet on NFL?

StateOnline sports betting?Retail sports betting?
Arizona✅ Yes✅ Yes
Arkansas✅ Yes✅ Yes
Colorado✅ Yes✅ Yes
Delaware❌ No✅ Yes
Illinois✅ Yes✅ Yes
Indiana✅ Yes✅ Yes
Iowa✅ Yes✅ Yes
Kansas✅ Yes✅ Yes
Kentucky✅ Yes (starting Sept. 28, 2023)✅ Yes
Louisiana✅ Yes✅ Yes
Maryland✅ Yes✅ Yes
Massachusetts✅ Yes✅ Yes
Michigan✅ Yes✅ Yes
Mississippi✅ Yes (limited)✅ Yes
Montana✅ Yes (limited)✅ Yes
New Hampshire✅ Yes✅ Yes
New Jersey✅ Yes✅ Yes
New York✅ Yes✅ Yes
Ohio✅ Yes✅ Yes
Pennsylvania✅ Yes✅ Yes
Tennessee✅ Yes❌ No
Virginia✅ Yes✅ Yes
West Virginia✅ Yes✅ Yes
North Carolina❌ No (expected 2024)❌ No (expected 2024)

Legal sports betting has already been launched in a number of states throughout the country, including AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV. Bettors located in those states can utilize the lucrative sportsbook bonuses on this page to score an awesome welcome offer to bet on the NFL during the 2023 season.

Right now, it is not expected that North Carolina online sports betting and, in turn, North Carolina online sportsbook promos will be ready in time for Super Bowl 58. Still, the launch of the following offers are expected to arrive during the first half of 2024:

While legal and launched in the aforementioned states, it’s important to note that each state carries its own rules and regulations for sports betting. When using a mobile sports betting app to place wagers on the NFL, users will be required to enable the location services on their access devices. This is so that the sportsbook operator can verify the user is located within legal sports betting boundaries.

Can you bet on the NFL in Georgia?

Neither retail nor online sports betting has been legalized in Georgia to this point, though not for lack of trying. There have been multiple efforts over the years to legalize GA betting, though a breakthrough has yet to be realized. Prospective bettors can utilize our dedicated Georgia sports betting tracker to stay in the know on all things pertaining to legal sportsbooks in the Peach State, including legalization status, launch details, and the best GA sportsbook promos.

If and when the state of Georgia launches legal sports betting capabilities, it’s fully expected that NFL betting will be one of the more popular avenues for gamblers to take. As potential legalization and launch dates become more clear, be sure to circle back with AJC for all things pertaining to how to bet on NFL in Georgia.

How to bet on NFL FAQ

Is it legal to bet on NFL in 2023?

Yes, it is legal to bet on the NFL in a number of locations throughout the United States in 2023: Legal states include AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV.

How to bet on NFL in Week 1?

New users can get started by placing one of the more common NFL bet types like moneylines, point spreads, or over-under totals: Make sure to utilize one of the sportsbook promo codes listed on this page to score a new user offer.

Can I use a sportsbook promo code to bet on NFL?

Yes, players can use a sportsbook promo code to claim a bonus for betting on NFL: The new user bonuses listed on this page are a great place to start for fans wondering how to bet on the NFL in 2023.

What is the best sportsbook to bet on NFL in 2023?

The best sportsbooks to bet on the NFL in 2023 are PointsBet, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, and bet365: Be sure to score a welcome offer at any of these sportsbooks using the NFL promo codes listed on this page.

What is the best promo code for betting on NFL?

The sign-up offer from PointsBet Sportsbook allows new users to bet $50 and get $150 in Fanatics credit: The $150 Fanatics credit can then be used to purchase an official NFL jersey or team gear.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not an online gambling operator or gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

Bet365 terms & conditions: New Customers only. Bet $1 and get $365 in Bonus Bets. Sign up, deposit (minimum $10) to your account and place a qualifying bet of $1 to get $365 in Bonus Bets once your bet is settled with bet365. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. Terms & conditions, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code AJCXLM can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way.

PointsBet terms & conditions: New customers only. Must be 21+ and present in CO/IA/IL/IN/KS/MD/MI/NJ/PA/NY/PA/VA/WV. Offer not available in all states. Your first bet must bet $50+ cash with odds of -500 or longer to qualify. Promotional credit redeemable only via Additional terms & conditions apply. See the PointsBet promos page for details. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO/IL/MD/NJ/PA/WV) OR VIST MDGAMBLINGHELPLINE.ORG (MD). Call 1-800-BETS OFF (IA); CALL 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN). Call 1-800-522 -4700 (KS); CALL 1-800-270-7117 (MI); CALL 1-877-8-HOPENY/TEXT HOPENY (467369) (NY); CALL 1-888-532-3500 (VA).