Legal Online NFL Betting 2017/2018

USA Friendly FlagIn the United States, sports betting is a vibrant and lucrative industry generating billions of dollars in revenue from both legal and illegal betting operations. In fact, according to a Washington Post article, Americans place illegal sports bets totaling $80 to $380 billion annually. As an example, the 2015 Super Bowl attracted illegal bets worth $3.8 billion and $100 million is bet on the Super Bowl legally each year, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). College football betting is not far behind those figures, especially when you add in the NCAAF Championship game. In Las Vegas, one of the largest gambling cities in the world, legal sports betting generates about $4 billion annually. It is worth noting that NFL games account for 40% of all legal US sports bets, according to the National Gambling Impact Study carried out in 2012.

Is It Legal To Bet On NFL Games In The United States?

Illegal sports bets far exceed legal bets in the US because sports betting is largely illegal across the country. The only states that allow this form of gambling include in Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware. Still, this has not stopped American players from betting via offshore bookmakers because the law does not ban this practice. For instance, if you bet with an offshore sportsbook such as those we recommend below, there is nothing written in any law book that makes the act of placing the bet illegal. You can read more about the specific laws that come into play when betting on NFL games in our FAQ's section below.

Highest Rated Sports Betting Site
To Bet On NFL Games

Best USA Online Sportsbooks
To Bet On NFL Games - 2017/2018 Season

These are the top rated sportsbooks to be on NFL games for the 2017/2018 season. Each are licensed and regulated by an offshore commission that governs sports betting. And when I say these are the best, I mean it. I've been in the industry over 10 years and know which sites can be trusted and which sites players should avoid. I gamble too, so I wouldn't recommend any site that I don't bet at myself.

Legal USA NFL Betting Sites

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Bovada Sportsbook Logo
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FAQ's About Betting On NFL Games In The United States

Which Laws Affect Betting On NFL Games In The US?

The main laws governing sports betting in the US include the Federal Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). In addition, a few states such as Maryland and Washington have enacted laws to regulate sports betting recently.

Federal Wire Act Of 1961

The Federal Wire Act came into effect in 1961 when sports fans used the phone to place bets on games. The aim of this act was to outlaw bookmakers operating outside the state of Nevada. At the time, the Internet did not exist meaning the creators of the Wire Act may not have envisioned or foreseen the technological changes that would revolutionize communication a few decades later. In fact, the US Department of Justice has said that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker rooms and other online sports betting sites. Although the Wire Act has never been used to pursue sports bettors, it has been used to prosecute several gambling site owners. In 1961, the then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Emanuel Celler, warned while delivering his contribution to the debate on this bill that it only targets bookmakers or gamblers who place bets on behalf of others. It does not focus on the casual gambler. The Federal district court of Rhode Island concurred with this view during the United States v. Baborian case when it said that Congress "did not intend to include social bettors within the umbrella of the statute, even those bettors that bet large sums of money and show a certain degree of sophistication."

At this point, it is worth noting that the Wire Act is not a standalone legal framework. It complements various anti-racketeering statutes such as the Illegal Gambling Business Act, Travel Act and the Interstate Transportation of Wagering Paraphernalia Act. It is important to understand this aspect because it underpins the legality of sports betting via offshore bookmakers.


The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006, on its part, does not expressly ban online sports betting in the US. Instead, it simply bars US financial institutions from processing payments related to gambling sites. While the UIGEA did make online sports betting difficult, it did not stamp out the practice completely. It is easy to circumvent this legal hurdle by using financial institutions that have no connection with US banks. Alternatively, you can use pre-paid cards to avoid leaving a digital trail.


The last major legal framework related to sports betting is PASPA. This act's aim is to limit the number of states where bookmakers can engage in sports betting legally. In theory, sports betting is legal in Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon. At the time when this act was enacted, it had a loophole that legal experts opined was aimed at allowing New Jersey to join this exclusive club because it permitted states that allow gambling to license sports betting. Although New Jersey had until 1993 to do so, the relevant authorities failed to take advantage of this loophole. Consequently, it has taken the courage of Governor Chris Christie to say that New Jersey will defy federal bans on sports betting. In spite of this, Nevada remains the undisputed king of sports betting. Sports fans can bet on National Football League games in Delaware, but only in the form of parlays. In the other two states (Oregon and Montana), legal sports betting is virtually non-existent despite PASPA approval. Over in Nevada, lawmakers are working on a bill that would allow out-of-state bettors to wager on games. Currently, only three states (Nevada, California, and Louisiana) have explicitly banned online sports betting. This notwithstanding, no US citizen has ever been arraigned in court to face charges of engaging in online betting.

Betting on NFL legally does not mean, however, that each Internet sportsbook offers a reliable experience. A thorough review process should still be undertaken before you open an account at any online sports betting portal. Whether betting on football in the U.S.A., the UK or some other country, you will find that different casinos offer vastly different NFL betting odds, and it often pays well to hold multiple accounts at competing Internet sportsbooks. This always ensures you can get the most attractive side, number, line or total, giving your Sunday or Monday night wager the best possible chance at winning.

Just Bottom Line It For Me- Is NFL Betting Legal Or Not?

A lot of players just want a straight up answer as to whether or not it is legal to bet on NFL games. We are not lawyers and recommend all players to consult with an attorney for a legal answer. Especially if you are a USA player as the laws do in fact vary from state to state. As a whole our feeling is that there is nothing illegal about betting with an offshore sportsbook with the exception of Washington State. However because online gambling is slowly becoming legal in the United States, the laws are constantly changing. So again we really encourage all players to consult with an attorney.

We can say with 100% confidence that every one of legal US online betting sites that we endorse are in fact legally licensed and regulated in their respective jurisdictions. Each of them has been vetted by our team of professionals to ensure they employ advanced security protocols, are licensed and compliance certified, utilize an industry leading, reliable software platform, and provide an overall high quality sports betting experience. Learn more about accessing the industry's leading online sports betting brands in our section covering online sportsbook reviews.

What Are The Benefits Of Betting Offshore?

Many people want to know if there are any benefits with betting offshore compared to your local bookie.

Offshore sports betting has several advantages. Firstly, most offshore bookies offer great bonuses. Furthermore, offshore betting sites tend to offer larger bonuses due to economies of scale and low overheads. Such offers may include reload bonus, signup bonus, and referral bonus. Secondly, you would be able to enjoy sports betting without breaking the law. As mentioned earlier, the US sports betting laws do not prohibit the use of offshore bookies, meaning you do not have to worry about the feds knocking on your door. Thirdly, offshore betting operations generally better odds compared to US-based bookies because they are domiciled in countries that do not subject them to heavy tax burdens and they can pass this benefit down to their clients in the form of better odds. Finally, offshore betting sites offer wide range of wagering options.

Do These Sites Offer Mobile Betting Options?

Online gambling in general is currently moving to the mobile format in a big way. Our favorite computers are making the transition from the desktop to the pocket or purse, in the form of smartphones and tablets. And when the Baltimore Ravens open up at the Denver Broncos on September 5 this year for a rematch of last season's AFC championship game, regular-season NFL betting officially begins. If you are an NFL betting fanatic like we are, you are anxious to place your first bet of the 2017 season. Just remember any potential Internet sportsbook should still undergo an extensive review process either by our team of professionals or yourself before you deposit your hard-earned money and start surfing the NFL betting odds. Each of our featured legal US betting sites has gone through this review process.

Understanding NFL Betting Lines

To increase your likelihood of placing a winning bet, you need to understand NFL betting lines. In other words, you should have excellent knowledge of how money line, point spread, teasers and parlays wagers work. Here is a quick primer on each of those terms to get you started:

Money Line Wager

Money line wager involves placing a bet on the team that you believe will win a game. Moreover, money line wagers have no spreads. The upside to this type bet is a winning bet on an underdog translates to a higher payout. The downside is money line wagers require one to risk more money. Money line odds usually have a plus (+) or a minus (-) sign preceding them. Odds with plus signs denote underdogs, whereas those with minus signs denote favorites. To understand how money line wagers work, consider a hypothetical game between the Colts (+350) and Bengals (-380). In this case, bookmakers favor the Bengals to win. To even out the betting field and avoid running loss-making businesses, bookmakers make bettors wager more on favorites and less on underdogs. This means you would have to bet $380 to win $100 if you pick the Bengals. On the other hand, every $100 wagered on the Colts would translate to $350.

Spread Betting

Spread betting is the most popular type of NFL bet. Bookmakers list favorites to win games using odds preceded by a minus sign, whereas the odds for the underdogs are preceded by a plus sign. In cases where there is no clear favorite/underdog, bookmakers list both teams as "Even" or "Pick". This is in addition to the "point spread" (PS) for each team. Depending on a team's perceived likelihood of winning/losing a game, PS can range from double to low single digits. With this in mind, assume the Buccaneers (+7.5) are up against the Texans (-7.5). The expectation is that the Texans would trounce the Buccaneers by 7.5 points. The Buccaneers would have to win by eight points or more in order for bookmakers to pay bettors who wagered on the underdog. To cash out a winning favorite bet, the Texans cannot afford to lose by more than eight points. In other words, they would have to lose by less than eight points, tie the game, or win.

Over/Unders (Totals)

The over/under bet, which is also known as totals, entails predicting the total number of points that both teams are likely to score. This betting line is relatively easy to understand because all you have to do is predict whether the final score between two NFL teams will be over or under the bookmaker's figure. For instance, consider a case where the New York Giants are playing the Detroit Lions and a bookmaker has listed a total score of 45. Bet under if you expect the final score to be less than 45 points and vice versa.

What is a Push?

A push is an outcome that results in a tie between a bookmaker and a bettor. To avoid such outcomes, most bookmakers add 0.5 (half point) to the spreads or point totals they publish. The industry name for this half point is "hook" and its aim is to maintain betting house advantage over bettors.

Parlays and Teasers

A parlay refers to a situation where a bettor selects and groups two or more wagers to increase potential payout. However, all wagers grouped together must win in order to receive a parlay payout. The good news is you can group together different types of NFL bets to increase amount of potential winnings. A teaser, on the other hand, is in many ways similar to a parlay. The only difference is teasers allow bettors to buy and add extra points to the point spreads or totals given by bookmakers. Once again, you can select and group more than two teasers to increase potential winnings.

NFL Betting Tips

Develop A Good Betting Strategy

To improve your chances of placing winning bets, you must develop and use credible betting strategies. Such a strategy would catapult you into the rare category of professional NFL bettors who deploy sophisticated betting strategies that include variables such as free agency prospects, injuries, home team advantage, overall team strengths, winning/losing streaks, and overall team weaknesses. After carefully evaluating these factors and comparing results with bookmaker's odds, seasoned punters can determine more precisely odds of picking winning bets.

Financial Discipline

One of the most misunderstood, but important aspect in NFL betting, is financial discipline, which largely entails planning your bets in advance and more importantly, sticking to your plan. Jimmy Vaccaro, an influential Las Vegas bookmaker, recommends betting no more than $50 a game. If you do not fancy strait-jacket-style money management, Morey "Doc" Moseman, a professional gambler, recommends betting no more than you can afford to lose.

Contrarian Betting

Contrarian betting is similar to the stock market investment strategy that goes by the same name. By adopting this strategy, you would place bets that defy conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, only do so after carefully evaluating other factors like an NFL team's strengths and weaknesses.

Avoid Alcohol

Do not place bets when under the influence of alcohol, at least big bets. If you are just putting a few bucks on an NFL game to have something to sweat, that's one thing. But if you are betting big money, it's really not wise to bet under the influence. Yea it's fun, but it can bust you quick if you aren't careful.

Consider Public Opinion

Before betting on any sporting event or game, consider the prevailing public opinion. You may come across new game-changing information that you had missed/overlooked earlier.

5 Things You Didn't Know About The National Football League

1. No film of Super Bowl I

No film exists of the first Super Bowl that took place in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Legend has it the broadcasters, NBC and CBS, taped soap opera content over the film of Super Bowl I.

2. The Super Bowl trophy is worth $25,000

In an age when star players earn millions of dollars in salary per year, the most coveted trophy in the sport is worth only $25,000.

3. Fans only get 20% of all Super Bowl tickets

Corporate sponsors get the lion's share (80%) of Super Bowl tickets.

4. Smallest NFL player

Jack Shapiro played for the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929, despite weighing 119 pounds and standing 5' 1" tall.

5. NFL football material

Contrary to popular belief, footballs are made from cowhide, not pigskin.

Summing It Up

When it comes to online wagering, offshore betting operations generally offer more in terms of larger bonuses, mobile and live betting options, better odds and a wide range of wagering options. I don't know of any sportsbook in Vegas that will match your bankroll as soon as you walk in the door. Even the guru handicappers who live in Vegas bet offshore because of the benefits it offers. And the fact that there is nothing illegal about betting on NFL games through an offshore bookie makes it a no brainer for players living in the United States.

Additional Sports Betting Guides Included In Our Series:

Legal Online Football Betting Guide

Legal Online NCAAF Betting Guide

Legal NCAAF Championship Betting Guide

2017 College Football Preview

Legal Online Superbowl Betting Guide

2017 NFL Football Preview

Player Resources:

If you are wanting to get a jump on what is going to be happening in the 2017-2018 NFL season, you can find some great information on the NFL official website. You can also check out NFL's stance on betting online, it's a really interesting read.

Additional Sports Related Online Gambling Options:

USA MLB Betting Sites: Get the most current information on industry leading sportsbooks covering MLB betting lines and offering a sophisticated security profile, legitimate licensing and certification profile, and an over all high quality online sports betting experience.

US NBA Betting Sites: Obtain helpful information that introduces you to the safest and most trusted online sports betting brands that feature NBA betting lines and a wide range of wagering options, all within a safe and secure gaming environment.

USA Horse Betting Sites: Enjoy learning more about the horse betting industry and how to get involved by accessing the industry's most trusted and secure options. Our team has vetted several reputable brands for inclusion in our guide.

Additional Non Sports Related Online Gambling Options:

For players who enjoy a variety of online gambling venues, feel free to visit our pages dedicated to legal USA poker sites and USA legal casinos.