What Are the NFL Betting Rules?

Learn the essential NFL betting rules, from common wagers and live betting rules to player prop bets and playoff bracket betting. Understand how legal regulations impact NFL betting and discover specific guidelines for NFL players. Bet confidently on NFL games with our comprehensive guide.

Claudia Hartley
Claudia Hartley

Last Updated: 2024-06-13

A. Tzamantanis

7 minutes read

Depending on where you are in the world, the NFL betting rules will vary, even amongst the best NFL betting sites.

All betting sites are subject to the laws laid out by their jurisdiction, which can change things such as how old you need to be to bet and whether you can place single player prop bets.

When it comes to rules that aren’t governed by the law, such as the types of bet you can place, what happens in the event of a tie, and bracket betting,  these rules stay the same across all sites.

We’re going to take a look at that last set of NFL betting rules, as well as a few wildcards. By the end, you’ll be able to bet with confidence on all NFL games.

General NFL Betting Rules

Let’s kick things off with a few of the betting rules that you’ll see across the NFL and many other sports. Then we’ll move onto the live betting rules, as well as a glossary of terms that you might come across when investigating the NFL rules on betting.

Common NFL Wagers

You’ll find all kinds of different types of bet that you can place on the NFL. Below are some of the most popular.

●    Moneyline: This is the most popular kind of bet, simply a bet on who will win the game. 
●    Point Spread: This allows bookmakers to level the playing field by giving one team a handicap. Betting on the point spread means you’re betting on the team to exceed the points that the bookmaker has predicted.
●    Totals: This kind of betting doesn’t require you to predict a winner or a loser, but rather how many points will be scored by both teams, in total.

Live Betting Rules for NFL

The NFL live betting rules that you’ll come across tend to be fairly simple. The most common rule is when you place a live bet on a play that is then declared a ‘no play’ by the referee. In this instance most betting sites will refund your stake.

NFL Betting Glossary

There are all kinds of betting terms that you’ll find in NFL betting rules. Below are some of the most important.

●    Point Shaving: The NFL betting rules for players prohibit point shaving. This is a practice where players collude with gamblers to allow a team to win but not cover the point spread, allowing bets to be paid out.
●    Push Outcomes: A push outcome happens when your bet is declared a tie. In this instance all good betting sites will refund your stake, but won’t pay out anything additionally.
●    House Advantage: Also known as juice, the house advantage can be seen as a small percentage that the sportsbook takes as a fee for letting you place your bets.

Specific NFL Betting Rules  

These rules are unlikely to crop up under normal circumstances, but if they do, it pays to be prepared.

●    Player Props: For any player props to be paid out, the player must take part in the game.
●    Home Away Swap: In the event that the stadium in which a game changes making the home team the away team, betting sites will void bets and return stakes.
●    Extra Points/Conversions: If extra points or conversion points are awarded these are generally not counted in bets involving next point scoring actions.

NFL Betting Rules for Players

The NFL player betting rules leave no room for interpretation. Below are the three key betting rules for NFL players.

●    No Betting on NFL: All NFL players are banned from placing any bets on any NFL competitions.
●    No Betting in Workplace: All NFL staff and players are banned from placing any bets at all whilst at their place of work.
●    No Betting for NFL Staff Excluding Players: NFL players are allowed to bet on other sports (except at their place of work). Other NFL staff are not allowed to bet on any sports at all.
●    Fantasy Sports Limitations: NFL players can bet on fantasy sports but cannot accept winnings of more than $250.

New NFL Betting Rules

The only new NFL betting rules have been a crack down on NFL players’ betting rules, imposing sanctions on those that do not obey. These were put into action in September 2023 and include:

●    Ban for players betting on their own team was raised from one year to two years. 
●    NFL staff betting on other sports are suspended for two games.

NFL Tie Betting Rules

Ties can happen in NFL games, which means there is a real need for clear NFL tie betting rules. Below are the rules that come into effect when a tie happens in an NFL game.

●    Moneyline Bets: Traditional moneyline bets where the outcome is a bet on a win or draw are voided when there is a tie.
●    Three Way Moneyline Bets: Three way moneyline bets allow you to bet on a win, lose, or draw. In this instance, if a bettor has backed the draw, their bet would be paid out. 
●    Parlays: If a bettor has made a parlay that includes a draw, this will be paid out. Any bettors who’ve made parlays that state a win or lose in a game that ends in a draw will have their bets voided and stake returned.

NFL Playoff Bracket Betting Rules

The NFL playoff bracket betting rules are simple to understand, but super important if you want to make profitable bets. NFL playoff bracket betting is simply trying to correctly predict which teams will be matched up in the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl.

Looking at Other Player’s Picks

Regardless of the site that you’re using to make your bets, this only happens after the pick deadline has passed. It ensures that everyone makes picks based on their own ideas rather than what’s popular, or who won last year.

Point Systems

Depending on where you place your playoff bracket picks, the point system can differ dramatically. Some give higher marks for correctly predicting later games, some higher points for correctly picking underdogs. Some even give higher points depending on guessing the point spread correctly.

Unfortunately, this has to be looked into according to the specific sportsbook you’re betting with, as the rules vary so greatly.

Prize Distribution

Some pools award prizes to the participant with the most points, others at each stage of the playoffs. Sportsbooks can choose to do the same, but the values will always be advised ahead of time. Wherever you’re playing, this will always be outlined in the rules of the site. 

Can NFL Players Bet on Themselves?

NFL players are not allowed to bet on themselves, or any NFL games for that matter. This rule is in place to stop players from deliberately performing poorly for financial gain.

In some US states this ruling is taken even further, not allowing anyone to bet on college football players. This ruling is in place for the same reasons, as the stakes in college football are considered lower and thus players are perhaps more likely to collude with gamblers.