It wouldn’t be unfair or inaccurate to state that jargon can get in the way of a newcomer’s enjoyment of football. Terms like 'first-down', 'yardage', 'encroachment', and 'lineman' seem more suited to a gardener’s handbook rather than a sport about throwing a ball around, yet this parlance is in daily use at many stadiums across the USA. For this reason, it’s sometimes easier to learn by doing – by strapping your own helmet on and testing your mettle on the field.
Much the same could be said for sports betting, which is now legal in eighteen US states, including almost all of the Northeast, a large part of the West, and the southern half of the Midwest. It’s only really the most southerly states that are still holding out against legalization. But there can be many different reasons for this. Overall, the uptake of sports betting in the United State is on an upward trajectory.
Of course, those same specialist terms, like 'over/under', 'Moneyline', 'spread', and 'futures', can still seem insurmountable at first glance. But sports betting is rarely more complicated than choosing who will win or what will happen. The key thing to remember is that sometimes betting outlets will try to make the proceedings more interesting to sports fans by adding or removing certain rules and limitations.
The obvious example is handicap betting. If a team is looking too strong, there’s no value in betting on the winner. Normally, the latter market is known as a Moneyline bet or, in Europe, as the outright market. However, in order to make the match competitive for bettors, the most likely winner will be given a points deduction before the game even begins. This is not a real handicap, but one added solely so that the bookmaker can create better odds.
Different from the standard Moneyline bets, a prop bet is another way of taking NFL betting to the next level. In brief, these are wagers on very specific outcomes. During the regular season, for instance, the most popular NFL prop bets include a player accumulating under or over a certain amount of passing or receiving yards. For the Jets' Elijah Moore to receive more than four balls in a game, for example, a bet of Over 3.5 Rec can be made. In reality, he only caught one on Sunday, 12th September, which would be represented as Over 0.5 Rec or Under 1.5 Rec.
During the Super Bowl, things can get a little bit silly, as the markets on offer are determined by previous occurrences at the game. The website How to Bet mentions three markets in particular that are applicable to any Super Bowl that Tom Brady has played in: how many yards will he throw for? How long will the National Anthem take? Will there be a wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show? The celebrity aspect of the NFL's final game keeps things wild, year after year.
Of course, there's no right or wrong way to bet, and there's no need to listen to advice from anybody if you don't want to. It's more important to simply have fun on gameday.
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