How to bet on football

What is a moneyline bet? What does the spread mean? Bet Chicago Sports is here to help

The football season is starting back up, and it is as good of a time as any to jump into sports betting.

If you are completely new to sports betting and don’t know where to begin, Bet Chicago Sports is here to help you. We are going to teach you the basics about how to bet on football for the upcoming season, as there are a variety of different ways you can have action on the game.

Make sure to place your football bets at Caesars Sportsbook, which is the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports. Thanks to our partnership, you can get a great new-user offer when you sign up today.

What the odds mean

Before we explain the different types of wagers, it is important to have an idea of what the betting odds mean.

A minus sign means the team or that option is the favorite. A plus sign means the team or that option is the underdog.

Example: The Bears are a +245 underdog to win their Week 1 matchup. Their opponent, the 49ers, are the favorite with a price of -290. This means a $100 bet on the Bears to win would result in a profit of $245, while someone betting on the 49ers would have to risk $290 to win just $100.

Spread bet

This is the margin assigned by oddsmakers that is factored into the final score of a wager, either added to the score of the underdog team, or subtracted from the favored team’s score.

Example: San Francisco is a 7-point favorite over Chicago. This means if you place a straight bet on San Francisco, they will need to win by eight points or more for your wager to be a winner. If you chose Chicago, they would need to lose by six points or fewer — or for Chicago to outright win — for your wager to win.

Moneyline bet

A dollar-value wager placed on a game where a point spread is not assessed. Values are represented by a plus or minus sign and based on betting units of 100.

Example: Kansas City is -220 to beat Chicago, and Chicago is +190 to win. In that scenario, you would have to risk $220 to profit $100, but Kansas City simply would need to win the game, with no additional point spread assessed. If you were to bet on Chicago, you would risk $100 to profit $190, but Chicago would also have to win the game outright and would not benefit from any point-spread boost.

Total bet

A wager based on the number of combined points scored in a game. A bettor must choose “over” for whether more points will be scored or “under” for fewer total points scored than the assigned number for that game.

Example: Detroit and Chicago have a total of 44 points scored in a football game. If you select the over, the combined score must equal 45 or greater to win the wager. If you select the under, the final score must be 43 points or fewer.

First half and halftime wagering

There is the ability to wager on a point spread or total for only the first or second half of a game. A first half wager is determined by the score once a game reaches halftime. A halftime wager, for betting purposes, resets the score of a game at 0-0 at halftime of a game.

For example, if the Green Bay Packers lead the Chicago Bears at halftime by a score of 24-10 and the player bets on the Packers -3.5 in the second half, the Packers must win the game by 18 points or more to cover the spread. Halftime wagers also include any overtime periods that are played.


Caesars Sportsbook offers 6, 6 ½, 7, 10 and 14-point teasers in football. A teaser allows the player to add extra points on an underdog or subtract points on a favorite on multiple games.

In the event of a wagering tie in any game (other than 10 and 14 point teasers), the teaser is reduced to the next lowest number; for example a 4-team teaser with one tie would become a 3-team teaser, etc. In the event of a wagering tie, a 2-team teaser is deemed “No Action” and all money wagered is refunded. Note: 10 and 14 point teasers, ties lose.


A popular way to bet on sports, parlays allow a player to combine several different bets into one single wager. To win a parlay, all legs in the parlay must win.

Because you technically have to win multiple bets, parlays are tougher to win on a regular basis. But they make up for it by offering a bigger payout. Parlays can be fun, but don’t waste your whole bankroll trying to hit it big.

Must be 21 or older to gamble. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537)

Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson is the Sports Betting Content Director for the Shaw Media Local News Network.