Do You Need to be a Fan to Bet on the NFL?

You don't need to be a hardcore fan to bet the NFL this season.

Sports betting has rapidly become a popular hobby among Americans across the country after online sports betting laws were relaxed in several states. Punters have countless sports to bet on in an almost infinite number of ways. 

The NFL is by far the most popular sport in the world. Each year teams like last year’s Super Bowl winners, the Los Angeles Rams, lock horns with legendary franchises such as the New England Patriots. 

Super Bowl LVI pulled in almost 120 million viewers in February, hitting record-breaking figures for a global football broadcast. Every season also sees more sports bettors enter the fray, placing bets on anything from the number of touchdowns scored by individual players to the total yards rushed by each team. 

Sportsbooks generally put the NFL right at the top of their priorities, ensuring punters have more than enough options and several incentives. This is especially true in states that have only recently legalized sports betting. 

For example, Kansas sports betting bonuses offer a range of free bets, deposit matches, and odds boosts promotions. Betters in the state enjoy legal sports betting as of May 2022, so sportsbooks are eager to attract new players with generous promo code offers.  

There are more than enough reasons to get involved, although many people might worry that they need to be an NFL fan to properly enjoy betting on football. It might help with your game knowledge at first, but you needn’t be in love with the game to enjoy wagering on it.  

In fact, not having a favorite team might even work to your advantage, as it takes all sentimentality out of your betting decisions. Keep reading for an exploration of betting on the NFL and whether or not it’s essential to be a fan. 


While some bettors prefer to keep at old-school and visit retail sportsbooks, most punters take advantage of the countless online sportsbooks on offer these days. These platforms typically give a much wider range of potential bets alongside slightly better odds. 

Online sportsbooks and apps are also easier to use, with no need to travel outside your home. All options have dedicated NFL homepages with things like parlays, futures, and prop bets easily accessible. Check out the next section for some information on what these are. 


Betting on the NFL is straightforward, especially when you know roughly what the various possible bet types are. The most basic wagering options include: 

  • Moneyline: A moneyline bet is a straight wager on who you think will be the winner in an NFL game. The favorites have a negative value for their odds, while the underdogs have a positive value. Bets on the latter generate higher payouts but are generally less likely to come in. As an example, we can consider the odds for the 2022 Super Bowl: 

Los Angeles Rams: -200

Cincinnati Bengals: +175

The Rams came in as favorites, and the Bengals were the clear underdogs. In the event, the Rams won, so a $20 bet on this outcome would have resulted in a $10 win. 

  • Point Spread: A point spread bet is slightly more complex than a simple money line wager. It is useful for matches with a clear favorite, as bettors predict the number of points a team will win or lose by. At the 2022 Super Bowl, bookies generally set the spread to -4.5 in favor of the Rams. Punters either bet on the Bengals to win or not lose by more than five points or the Rams to win by more than five. As the Bengals only lost by three points, bettors who backed them would have won the point spread bet. 
  • Over/Under: Another common type of wager on the outcome of an NFL match is an Over/Under bet. This revolves around the total number of points scored by both teams in a game. Sportsbooks set a number, and you place bets on the overall total being over or under their prediction. To go back to the 2022 Super Bowl, the total offered by bookies was generally around 48.5. The overall score, in the end, was 20-23 in favor of the Rams. You would have had to bet under to win the Over/Under bet, as the total was 43 – lower than 48.5. 
  • Parlays: Parlay bets are an exciting way to ramp up the excitement as they offer punters a chance to wager on the outcome of several games simultaneously. The catch is if even one of your wagers falls through, you won’t win any money. All predictions have to be correct. 
  • Futures: A futures bet is a good idea if you think you already know who will win the upcoming NFL season. These are wagers placed in advance of tournaments or big games. As an idea of how sportsbooks present them, here are the favorites to win the 2022-23 season: 

Buffalo Bills: +650

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +750

Kansas City Chiefs: +900 

Green Bay Packers: +1000 

Los Angeles Rams: +1100  


Betting on the NFL relies less on a genuine passion for the game than fantasy football, where it’s crucial to have in-depth knowledge of fantasy football rankings and form. Still, football fans will naturally have more understanding, which could result in more accurate wagering predictions. 

Ultimately, you can bet on the NFL without being a fan. It might take you a bit more getting used to, but after getting to grips with the different teams and in-form players, you’ll be able to place accurate bets.  

Don’t let this put you off, as there is an abundance of information to help you online. And who knows? If you start regular NFL betting, you might even turn into a fan by the end of it. 


The NFL has enjoyed remarkable expansion over the last two decades regarding attendance, TV viewership, and general revenue. Analysts expect this to continue in the future, as events like the Super Bowl gain an increasingly global audience. 

To put things into perspective, consider how the annual value of NFL TV broadcasting rights has grown. From 1998-2005 it averaged approximately $1,100 million, whereas analysts have forecasted an average of $10,000 million between 2022-2033. 

With these numbers, there’s no surprise betting on the NFL has become more common. Franchises are also using the increased revenue to fund better stadiums, training facilities, and teams. Consequently, the quality of football on offer will only get better and better. 


Successfully betting on the NFL requires some knowledge of the league’s power rankings. Each season sees teams evolve, and having a successful pre-season draft can be key to boosting last season’s underperformers into contention. 

The Los Angeles Rams definitely have the mettle to win a second consecutive Super Bowl, but other competing teams have operated shrewdly to make some important big-name trades. The Buffalo Bills are hotly tipped this season after falling short against the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round last season.

Outside of the Rams, NFC teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers always have a chance as well. Realistically, it’s too early to tell exactly who will win the 2023 Super Bowl, but only time will tell. 


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