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Arguably still the biggest sport in the USA, American football - referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron - is growing in countries across the world like Mexico, Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Germany.
Given there are now four NFL games taking place in London every year, American football betting UK interest is high.
This increased global popularity brings stronger American football betting markets, with 256 NFL games taking place each season.
Tom Brady is the most recognisable name in the NFL, synonymous with the New England Patriots, but 32 teams in total compete every year for the Super Bowl. .
Understanding the American football betting markets
For both professional American football leagues the NFL and AAF, there will be a selection of markets available on which to place your bets.
The NFL, consisting of 32 teams, is divided into eight divisions, with each team playing 16 games through the regular season - eight at home and eight away. This makes the season short in timespan compared to most major sports leagues, running from early September through to February.
A season-long dynamic to American football betting is provided by the fluctuating odds on which team will win the Super Bowl - which takes place in early February each year.
The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL where the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC) compete against the champions of the American Football Conference (AFC).
Closer to the start of the season, bettors will be able to back which teams will win the NFC and AFC outright as well as which player will be awarded college football’s Heisman Memorial Trophy.
This is given annually to the most outstanding player in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which represents college football in America.
The Heisman winner tends to be the No 1 pick in the NFL draft, in which 254 newly eligible players are selected by the 32 NFL franchises across 7 rounds. There will also be a number of markets available on the draft itself, which usually takes place at the end of April.
When the NFL season starts, a whole host of match betting options arrive.
How to win betting on American football?
To place successful bets on American football, bettors must understand American football betting and fully understand American football betting rules.
Predicting the Super Bowl outright winner means selecting a team from the NFC or AFC that does not necessarily win their conference but triumphs in the NFL playoffs through the Wild Card Round, Divisional Round, Conference Championships and then the Super Bowl.
American football handicap betting represents the most traditional and popular way to bet on American football games.
We will refer to them as handicaps but they are also known as point spreads or betting lines.
An American football handicap is an estimated final margin for a given match. The margins are determined as a 50/50 bet.
Therefore there is a 50% chance the result will end on one side of the estimated margin and a 50% chance the result will end on the other side of the estimated margin. Bettors can bet on which side of the margin they think the game will end on.
Anyone looking for American football betting tips should check out news.williamhill.com/american-football.
Other valuable American football betting tips
Before picking which team will end a game on which side of the margin, betters must have had the American football handicap betting explained in more detail.
Using an example, imagine the Green Bay Packers are facing the Baltimore Ravens. The handicap for the game is listed as: Green Bay Packers -8.5 @ 1.94 and Baltimore Ravens +8.5 @ 1.94.
So, what does this mean? Firstly, the Packers are considered favourites are they are the minus handicap while the Ravens are the underdogs with the plus handicap.
It’s been decided that the final margin will be either side of Green Bay by 8.5 points. Bettors can then bet on either side of this margin.
If you believe Green Bay will win by more than 8.5 points (9 points or more) then you would place a bet on Green Bay Packers -8.5 points.
However, if you think the Ravens will win the game or at the very least will not lose by more than 8.5 points (8 points or less), then you would place a bet on Baltimore Ravens +8.5 points.
Calculating whether your American football handicap bet was a winner is simple. Let’s say that Green Bay thumps Baltimore by 40 points to 20.
If you bet on the favourite Green Bay -8.5, then you deduct 8.5 points from their final score. In this case that would leave us with an adjusted final score of Green Bay Packers 31.5 Baltimore Ravens 20. Having deducted the handicap, Green Bay are still easy winners meaning your bet on Green Bay -8.5 is successful.
On the other hand if you had bet on Baltimore +8.5 points, you must add 8.5 points to their final score, giving us an adjusted final score of Green Bay Packers 40 Baltimore Ravens 28.5.
However, even with the handicap added to Baltimore’s losing scoreline, Green Bay still wins the game so our bet on Baltimore +8.5 points is a losing bet. That is how handicap betting American football works.
Assessing the American football NFL and Super Bowl odds
The NFL season kicks off in September, four months after the NFL draft has taken place.
In American football’s elite competition, all roads lead to the Super Bowl which is the NFL’s championship game.
The regular NFL season is split in half into the NFC and AFC - of which six teams from each conference progress to the NFL playoffs.
Qualification is achieved by the four divisional champions from each conference, who get seeded from one to four based on their overall win-loss-tie record.
Two wild-card qualifiers from each conference (the two teams with the best overall records of all the remaining teams), are then seeded 5 and 6.
So the NFL playoffs contains 12 of the 32 NFL teams, who then all have a shot at winning the Super Bowl.
Form assessment is imperative going into the playoffs, as some teams charge through unbeaten whilst others fall away despite having successful regular seasons.
Other significant American football competitions
College football (NCAA) is hugely popular in the USA despite being an non-professional league and runs similarly alongside the NFL from August until January - culminating in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
In 2019, a second American football league called the AAF was created with play starting a week after the Super Bowl and going through until the Championship match in April.
This competition has some different rules to the NFL - aiming to be a shorter game in length, more focused on attacking and because it will be viewed online hopes to have less TV adverts and breaks in play. Only 8 teams are involved in the AAF, all from states in the south of the US.
American football #YourOdds on the up
As the new NFL season draws closer, you’ll see a number of #YourOdds bets available across our American football betting odds.
Anyone can request their own American football #YourOdds by tweeting @WilliamHill outlining the type of bet they wish to place.