American Football Betting Sites & Offers
The American National Football League (NFL) is a burgeoning sport in the UK. With several fixtures each year now held in Britain at Wembley Stadium and more games planned at other stadia in the UK you can be sure to find some great markets and American football betting offers from the best betting sites.
A game with a great tactical dimension it naturally lends itself to a cheeky wager. The sport is particularly good for in play betting, keeping you interested during those long interludes. Bet on all sorts of lines from the match / series winners, touch down scorer, number of points / touch-downs, field goals, time of points, half and quarter betting and many more. For the latest season the UK’s best American football bookmakers have plenty of latest and regular offers for punters. We list all of the top promotions and deals here.
Special NFL new customer free bets and welcome bonuses, when available, can be found on our home page. Looking to find the Super Bowl betting offers? Check out our dedicated page around the time and we will list all the deals worth a punt.
Major American Football Events
American Football & NFL Free Bet & Money Back Offers
888 Sport are one of the only bookies these days to provide accumulator insurance for US Sports. The American Dream offer gives you your money back, up to £25 (£5 minimum) as a free bet (within 72 hours of settlement, valid 7 days for any sports) if your 5+ accumulator is let down by one leg.
Bets can be placed on any American Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey or Soccer markets, Pre-match or Live. Each leg must have odds of 3/10 (1.30) or greater.
Your free bet will be rounded down to the nearest £5. For example, if your accumulator of £6.50 qualifies for a free bet you will get a free bet token of £5, if your acca was £13 you would get a refund of £10, etc.
bet365's fantastic Soccer Accumulator Offer Bonus includes the top domestic leagues in Europe along with the group and knockout stages of the Champions League. You can earn a bonus of up to 70% if you place accumulators on selected competitions including the Premier League, Serie A, Primera Liga, Bundesliga 1 and French Ligue 1, Champions League and Europa League. Place a pre-match accumulator with bet365 of 3 or more selections on the standard Full Time Result, Both Teams to Score or Result/Both Teams To Score markets combining teams in any of these competitions and, if successful, the relevant bonus will be added to your returns.
The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake. Where all selections within the bet have been marked as won and this has been Cashed Out for the full return value, the bonus will apply and the maximum bonus that you can receive is £100,000 or currency equivalent. If a qualifying bet is edited using the Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.
Bets placed with Bet Credits, Double Chance bets or combination bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky 31’s do not apply for this offer. T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers.
Coral vary their offers but you can be sure there will be one every week during the NFL season, right up to the superbowl.
This will either be a free bet promotion, such as bet £10 on a game get £5 free in play, or a variation on this. Alternatively Coral may run a refund offer, such as their 2-minute-rush refund promotion - if your bet is up at the two minute warning but goes on to lose, Coral will give you your stake back up to a maximum of £25, again as a free bet.
Betfred have brought their popular double delight promotion to NFL.
Back a player to score the first touchdown and if they do and then go on to score a second in the match the bookie will double the odds of your bet. Money back as cash up to £3000 of extra winnings.
Betfred are also offering their hat-trick heaven promotion for NFL games live on Sky Sports. If your selected player scores the 1st touchdown and then goes on to score another get double the odds, if they score a third get treble the odds. Extra money in cash up to £3,000.
NFL always attracts regular offers season from Ladbrokes. This season the bookie are going all out enhancing outright prices both to win the Super Bowl and on individual matches.
During the season they also occasionally offer touchdown specials, for example, place a 1st Touchdown scorer bet in any NFL game live on Sky Sports, and if your winning first touchdown is scored in the first 10 minutes, get double the odds on the winning player on stakes up to £25. Extra winnings in cash.
Best NFL and American Football Bookmakers
American Football Betting Guide
Betting on American Sports, and NFL in particular, can throw even the experienced punter. Many of the bets we usually place in the UK and Europe are termed differently in the USA and therefore for the uninitiated it can seem confusing when looking at American football markets at first glance.
In reality backing a team to win a football game in America is almost identical to backing a football team in the UK. A parlay for example is simply an American term for an accumulator. I’ll run through a few common wagers here to help you get a handle for betting on the sport.
There is not too much to tell here, the markets are exactly the same as any other sport, you are simply a team or player to win the league, team to win the super-bowl, etc.
It is important however to have a good scan around for the best prices. Unlike sports such as tennis or soccer the price variation between European bookmakers for American sports can be quite large, over 100% in some cases. Even if you are getting an offer in connection with your outright bet you still may not necessarily be getting the best prices.
Money Line Bets
A money line bet is fundamentally the same thing as a conventional match result bet. The odds on a team to win or lose a match. It is called money line as it is named after the American odds format which is also often referred to as moneyline odds.
American Odds are different depending on whether it is odds on or against. Positive odds will show you the amount of money you would win from a $100 bet, +500 for example is the same as 5/1. Negative odds show you the amount you would need to wager to win $100, -500 for example is the same as 1/5.
In any case if you are betting with a European bookie the odds will be in fraction or decimal anyway, therefore “money line” is just a name and really means nothing. Treat moneyline bets the same as match result bets.
Unlike many of the low scoring sports we enjoy in Europe American Sports (with the exception of Ice Hockey) tend to be high scoring affairs. This means on average the underdog wins less often than in normal football for example. The consequence of this is standard match result (or money line) prices tend to be very skewed, with strong favourites and high prices outsiders. This makes money line betting less attractive to many punters.
In American Sports therefore it is very common to place handicap bets, which they call spreads. This gives a points advantage or disadvantage to a specific team to make the outcome and odds more favourable.
There is nothing special about a spread bet, just think of it as a handicap bet. What you will find however is far more ‘spread’ markets available than you would see with most sports.
A parlay is basically just an accumulator. Treat them as identical.
What is different is the type of lines you would commonly put in a parlay. Due to the very common odds difference for money line bets most American football palays are made up of spread bets.
In terms of offers there are more available for accumulators than any other bet type, so if you like a parlay look around for an insurance or bonus deal to suit you. Beware however in general accumulators offer poor value for money due to compounded bookmaker margins.
American’s love their ‘prop bets’. Again this is just a name, a proposition bet does what it says on the tin, it proposes a possible scenario.
Prop bets package tons of different markets into one type. You could wager on the winning margin, total points, double results, highest scoring teams, game to go into over-time, total goals, points, time of a score, method of next score or victory, conversion success rate, number of field goals, longest/shortest touchdown, etc., you name it you can bet on it.
Two-way and three-way betting is very common for American football on these shores. Americans don’t like draws in their sports and the high scoring nature means they very rarely happen.
A 2-way bet will have a +/- half point advantage/disadvantage that means a team can only either win or lose. A 3-way bet is rounded to a whole number so that the draw is a possible wager.
NFL and other US Sports also attract a lot of Over/Under markets. This may be on the final result, score in a half or period, number of points/touchdowns/passes/blocks/goals/runs, etc., scored by a certain player.
To get the best out of these bets you first need a bookmaker that will cover them and then you need to trust the odds are fair.
Pay Out Rates
When you start to stray away form traditional sports betting sites pay out rates can start to vary a lot. Do not assume that the site you bet with will pay out six figures if you were to win a big bet or parlay on a US Sport.
If you back these kind of markets on a regular basis and you either go high stakes or high odds it is worth scouting out a site with high payout rates to be sure your winnings won’t be capped if you do have a large win.
Top established bookmakers generally have the highest standard payout rates for all sports. For the NFL some will pay out a maximum of £500,000 for outright, money line, totals (e.g. score total) and spread bets, £50,000 for other markets. Some bookies could be as low as £1,000 so bear this in mind as even the average punter on a lucky day could hit those limits.
About American Football & NFL
One of the most frustrating and yet intriguing debates in sport revolves around which is the real ‘football’. The English variant, in which players use their feet to kick a ball, or the American sport that features people mostly throwing it to one another across long distances. Few English people have ever bothered to entertain the idea of following one of America’s national sports all that closely, with those that do being labelled as hipsters or try-hards. Yet to be dismissive of American football is to remove yourself from being able to watch one of the most tactically fascinating sports since the days of monarchs using real people as chess pieces.
It’s easy to be dismissive of American football from the point of view of an English sport’s fan, convinced that it’s just ‘rugby with pads on’. If that were truly the case, however, then there’s no way that even the very best players in the game would be able to earn eight-figure salaries on a yearly basis. Earn that they do, however, and that’s mostly because it is a sport that combines things that appeal to different groups of people. There’s the obvious physical strength needed to play, which those that like brute force to play a part in sport will like, as well as the aforementioned tactical skill involved. There’s also the undoubted flashiness that’s wrapped up in the sport in general. How much do we truly know about it, though?
History Of NFL & American Football
In order to understand where American football came from, it’s first important to understand where the sport that the Americans would refer to as ‘soccer’ began. In the early to mid nineteenth century, countless different sports that involved kicking a ball with the feet or punting it with the hands existed. It’s why there’s a feel of confusion around the idea that ruby was formed when a player decided to ‘pick up the ball and run with it’. Whilst it appears as though there’s some truth in that story, it wasn’t as though everyone else has been playing football as we understand it up until that point. Virtually each school had their own idea on how the game should be played, so it was only when they began to want to play each other and some more formal rules were formed that the specificity of each sport emerged.
Indeed, rugby and football were essentially the same sport until 1871 when there was a definitive split according to which set of rules the players wanted to use. The origins of American football can also be traced back to around the same sort of time, with debates over rule changes and ideas causing the formation of a new sport. The big rules that those who were in favour of the new sport wanted introduced were ones such blocking being allowed, a line of scrimmage being used and forward passes being legal. This was mostly taking places in American colleges like Yale, with college football growing in popularity with each passing month. Indeed, by the end of the 1950s it was the dominant sport in the country and what were known as ‘Bowl games’, played in the wake of the college football season, attracted national audiences.
Though the modern era of the sport didn’t really get underway until after the 1932 playoff game in the National Football League, its professional side finds its origins in a game between the Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. A man named William “Pudge” Heffelfinger offered talented players $500 to play for the former in order to beat the latter. Still, it would be another twenty-eight years before the American Professional Football Association was to be formed. That might not be a name that you recognise but you probably will when you realise that it became the NFL in 1922. The reason that 1932 game is considered to be so important in a modern sense, though, is that it was the first since the formation of the NFL to see the goal posts moved back the goal line, the use of forward passes beyond the line of scrimmage and hash marks.
That was the year that many consider to be the birth of modern American football, but the sport still wasn’t the same thing that we know and watch today. For starters, the ends of the physical ball used weren’t tapered until 1934. Five years later, as Europe became more and more embroiled in the Second World War, Americans settled in to watch a televised game of football for the first time. Even then, though, it still wasn’t the phenomenon that it would later become. The sport truly gripped hold of the public conscience in 1958 after a game that has since become known as ‘the Greatest Game Ever Played’. It took place on the 28th of December at Yankee Stadium and saw the Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants 23-17. The reason it’s seen as so important is two-fold: firstly the Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry set a record for the number of receptions and secondly it was broadcast live on NBC.
American Football Rules and How To Play
To someone that has never watched a game before, American football can seem outrageously complicated. In order to understand how it works it’s firstly important to know the basics. Each team has eleven players plus substitutes and the game is played out on a rectangular pitch that has goal lines on both ends. Teams can make as many subs as they want during a game, but players can only enter and leave the pitch when play has stopped.
The ball itself is oval-shaped, making it more similar to a rugby ball than a soccer ball. The team that has control of the ball is known as the offense, whilst the other team, rather obviously, is the defense. (American spellings are being used here, as is the decision to refer to the English game of football as ‘soccer’). The offense attempts to get the ball up the field by passing it or running with it, whilst the defense attempts to stop them and, in doing so, take control of the ball. Teams have specialist players who are good offensively or defensively, hence making use of the unlimited subs to swap in these players is common.
The offensive team gets four plays, known as downs, to move the ball at least ten yards. If they manage it then they get another four downs to try to do it again, whilst as soon as they fail the ball gets turned over to the other team. As with any competitive sport, the idea behind American football is to score better than your opposing team. In golf that requires you to score fewer shots, in this sport it means you need to get more points on the board. There are a number of ways to score points, which are as follows:
- Scoring a touchdown – 6 Points
- Getting an extra point conversion – 1 Point
- Getting a two-point conversion – 2 Points
- Scoring a field goal – 3 Points
- Managing a safety – 2 Points
A touchdown is achieved when a player carries the ball across the opposition’s goal line or when a player catches a pass in the End Zone. ‘What’s the End Zone?’, you might ask. In order to answer, it’s time to have a more specific look at the layout of an American football pitch. They are typically one hundred and sixty feet wide and one hundred yards long, with an additional ten yards at each end. This additional ten yards is the section of the pitch known as the End Zone, whilst the very ends of the pitch are the goal lines themselves. There are markers on the pitch every ten yards from the goal line to the fifty yard marker, which is the centre of the playing surface. That means that if you were to look at the pitch from above it would look something like this the image above.
After teams have scored a touchdown they’re allowed to attempt to get an extra point conversion, worth one or two points depending on what they do, which is a spumier system to the one used in rugby. Field goals, meanwhile, require the team to kick the ball between the upright sticks on the goal. Finally, safeties are awarded when a defensive team tackles the offensive team’s player who has the ball when he’s in their End Zone.
American football games are an hour long, split firstly into two halves of thirty minutes and then further into four quarters of fifteen minutes, which is why you might have heard phrases like ‘first quarter’ used in relation to the sport. Though they’re an hour long, the clock stops when the ball is out of play or the game is stopped, meaning that they can often last for as long as three hours. They get underway when the captain of the team that won the toss at the start decides to either kick the ball to the opposition before trying to tackle them or else says that the opposition can kick the ball towards them and they’ll try to keep hold of it. If the ball touches the floor or else goes out of bounds then that is the end of that down.
Major American Football Competitions
Even those that have never watched an American football game in their life will have heard of the sport’s crowning moment, the Super Bowl. Yet there are a few other competitions and tournaments that we can tell you about, as we’ll explain here:
- IFAF World Championship – The International Federation of American Football is, as the name suggests, American football’s international governing body. It was founded in 1998 and is responsible for numerous competitions, with the World Championship being the first. This takes place every four years and welcomes teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana.
- IFAF U19 World Cup – Once again the name gives you all of the important information, with this trophy being the World Cup for players under the age of nineteen. It launched in 2008, with the inaugural tournament taking place the following year. Eight teams compete in it, with sides from countries such as Kuwait, Mexico and China going up against the North American countries. It is played out every three to four years.
- IFAF Women’s World Championship – As with the U19 World Cup, there’s no surprises who this tournament is for. Created in 2010 and taking place every three to four years, the IFAF Women’s World Championship welcomes ladies teams from six different countries. They are the obvious ones like America and Canada, plus teams from countries you might not expect to feature on the list such as Finland and Germany.
- NFL International Series – Different from the International Federation of Football games, which are played between different nations and the teams that represent them, the NFL International Series is a set of games that are a regular part of the NFL championship but which take place outside of the United States. Traditionally these games were played at Wembley Stadium in London but in recent times there have been matches played in Mexico City, too.
- National Football League (Super Bowl) – Now we get to the main competition in American football, the National Football League itself. It is split into two halves, with the thirty-two teams that take part in it divided equally between the National Football Conference and the American Football conference. The winners of each then go head-to-head in the Super Bowl to decide which team has been the best NFL side in the country that year. The first Super Bowl took place in 1966 after the NFL and American Football League agreed to merge.
- National Football Conference – One half of the NFL, the National Football Conference was created in 1970 after the merger of the NFL and AFL was completed. The sixteen teams that take part in it are split into four divisions with four teams in each, namely the East, North, South and West. Each team in each division plays each other twice, with the top six teams proceeding to the play-offs at the end of the season.
- American Football Conference – As with the NFC, the American Football Conference makes up the National Football League and features sixteen teams that help to make up the thirty-two sides that compete in the NFL. The tournament has been split into four divisions, like the NFC, depending on geographical locations. The structure of the two leagues is the same, meaning that twelve teams enter the end of season play-offs to see who will make it to the Super Bowl at the culmination of the season.
American Football Key Facts & Figures
|Competition||Most Successful Team|
|IFAF World Championship||United States|
|IFAF U19 World Cup||United States / Canada|
|IFAF Women’s World Championship||United States|
|NFL International Series||New England Patriots|
|National Football League (Super Bowl)||Green Bay Packers|
|National Football Conference||Dallas Cowboys|
|American Football Conference||New England Patriots|
Now that you know more about the competitions themselves, here’s a look at the team that is most successful in each of them.