While there’s a lot of excitement in the other major sports, there’s no question who is the king when it comes to sports betting revenue: the NFL.

Legalized sports betting in Indiana is estimated to bring in about $2.3 billion in 2020 but that number seems low when you consider that nearly $6 billion is bet on the Super Bowl each year, according to CNN.

If you’re ready to get a taste of the adrenaline, the good news is the state of Indiana has legalized sports betting. On this page, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get you started:

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What you need to know about the 2019 NFL season

The NFL is comprised of 32 teams in total with 16 in each conference (AFC and NFC). The teams each play in four preseason games, 16 regular-season games and then a playoff tournament.

The regular season is comprised of 17 weeks of action. Each team plays 16 games and then also has one week off, which is known as a bye week.

There are eight divisions in football with four teams in each division. Each team plays the other three teams from its division twice and then the rest of the schedule is made up of teams outside of their division.

After the 17 weeks of action are up the top six teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams in each conference get a bye week while the other four play each other in the Wild Card Weekend.

As the playoffs progress, the winners advance and the losers’ seasons come to an end. Eventually, a Super Bowl champion is crowned.

How to watch NFL games

The NFL week typically breaks down into:

  • A Thursday night affair
  • Full slate of games on Sunday
  • Primetime games on Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football

In terms of the Thursday games, they are typically on NBC or the NFL Network.

On Sunday, it’s a mix of FOX and CBS who broadcast the morning and afternoon games. In the evening, it’s NBC who has the primetime game. As for Monday Night Football, that’s currently on ESPN.

You’re able to watch some of these games on local cable channels. However, access to a plethora of games across the country come via different packages from:

  • Comcast
  • COX
  • DirectTV
  • Dish Network
  • Streaming services like YouTube TV or Hulu

Local NFL teams

The Indianapolis Colts are the NFL franchise in Indiana.  They made it to the second round of the playoffs in 2018, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round.

Initially, they were headed into the 2019 season as one of the top teams in the AFC. However, recently, the Colts’ quarterback, Andrew Luck, unexpectantly announced his retirement leaving some big unknowns for the team.

Additionally, regional teams such as the Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals are popular when it comes to Indiana sports betting because of their proximity to the state.

The 2020 Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the NFL’s championship game. Each year, it’s one of the most-watched sporting events in the entire world as well over 110 million people in the US alone watch it.

There are a lot of fun aspects related to the Super Bowl outside of the game itself.

To start, there’s a big halftime performance, which is always talked about. There are Super Bowl ads, which tend to be quite funny and creative.

And, of course, there’s the endless array of prop bets.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, the sportsbooks will post thousands of different props allowing you to bet on everything from what color Gatorade the winning coach will be doused in to how long the opening anthem will take.

All of these different aspects make the Super Bowl quite the spectacle.

2019 NFL Football season important dates

  • Thursday, Aug. 1: 2019 Hall of Fame Game
  • Thursday, Aug. 8: Start Of Preseason
  • Thursday, Sept. 5: Start Of Regular Season
  • Sunday, Dec. 29: End Of Regular Season 
  • Saturday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Jan. 5: Wild Card Weekend
  • Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12: Divisional Round
  • Sunday, Jan. 19: Conference Championships
  • Sunday, Jan. 26: Pro Bowl 
  • Sunday, Feb. 2: Super Bowl

Understanding NFL betting lines & odds

When you first visit an Indiana sportsbook (either online or in-person), you’re going to see a lot of different numbers pop up on the screen. If you’re new to sports betting, you might not be familiar with everything you see.

In this section, we’re going to walk you through the main types of betting odds you’ll see and explain what they are.

Point Spread betting

When it comes to the point spread, you might see a line that looks something like this:

  • New York Giants +6.5
  • Indianapolis Colts -6.5

In this case, what you’re looking at here is a margin of victory. The first key to look at is whether it’s a plus or minus sign in front of the odds.

If it’s a minus sign, that not only denotes the favorite, that also indicates the margin that this team has to win by. In this case, the Colts would have to win by seven or more for you to win your bet.

On the other hand, the Giants have the plus sign next to their odds. That means they are the underdog and can lose by six points or less, or win the game and you’d win your bet.

The point spread is the most popular way to bet on NFL games. It also allows for some more entertainment. The favorite might win but will they ‘cover’ a big margin? Or will the underdog keep it close?

Moneyline bets

The moneyline is a type of bet that allows you to bet on the outright winner of a game. You don’t have to worry about any type of margin of victory. The betting line might look something like this:

  • New York Giants +250
  • Indianapolis Colts -300

In this case, the plus and minus signs are key once again. The minus indicates the amount that you’d have to bet to win $100.

In other words, you’d bet $300 on the Colts to win $100 because they’re a sizable favorite here. On the other hand, a plus sign tells us how much you’d win with a $100 bet. Since the Giants are an underdog, if they surprise and win, a $100 bet would pay $250.

The challenge here is that sometimes a favorite – who is expected to win – will pay out very little if you bet on them and they win. When it comes to betting the underdog, you’ll definitely get paid more betting them to win outright. But it’s a safer bet to take them with the points as it gives you a greater chance of winning.

Betting the Total

The total, which is often referred to as the over-under, is the combined final score of the two teams playing. You might see a betting line that looks like this:

Giants at Colts Over-Under: 49.5

In this case, you’re looking at whether or not the two teams will surpass 49.5 points scored or whether they’ll score less than that mark. If you think it will be a low-scoring affair with a scoreline like 20-10, you’d bet the under. If you think it’ll be a shootout and we’ll see 50 or more points, you’d bet the over.

This is a fun and useful bet as it allows you to predict something other than who will win the game.

More NFL bets

Futures Bets

Futures are a type of bet that’s decided further down the road.

Some examples of popular futures bets are wagering on whether a team will win the Super Bowl, betting on the over or under of a regular-season win total (how many games a team will win) or betting on which team will win a division.

These are long-term bets that take a usually while to decide. However, if you’re right, they tend to pay out quite a bit.

Player Props

Player props are a type of bet that focuses on player performance. Think of it kind of like fantasy football: you can bet on if a player will score a touchdown if a running back will rush for a certain amount of yards or which wide receiver will catch the most passes in a game.

Team Props

While player props focus on player performance in a game, team props focus on different stats or aspects of a team’s performance.

For example, you can bet on whether they’ll score a touchdown in the first quarter, whether their first touchdown will be via a run or a pass, or whether a team will challenge a play through the game.

NFL Live Betting

As technology has advanced, the best sportsbooks have used the innovations to allow sports bettors to bet on the game at any point. With live in-game betting, you can bet on the winner after every snap, score and quarter.

Not only is it very entertaining, but it’s also quite a useful tool.

One of the toughest aspects of betting on the NFL is that you don’t know which teams will surprise on a given week. You might bet the New England Patriots thinking they’ll roll and then they might come out half asleep and struggle. If you’ve already bet them, you’re locked in.

With live betting, it gives you the opportunity to watch some of the game before making your decision. Oddsmakers will adjust the line as the action happens but this way, you can see how the game is playing out and then jump in with a bet. It allows for a more calculated decision.

Live betting also gives you the chance to get out of a bad bet. Let’s say you did bet the Patriots and you didn’t like how they looked. You could use live betting to bet on their opponent and at least salvage some money, rather than losing it all.

NFL betting tips for Indiana bettors

Now that you have a good understanding of how to read the odds and know what the most popular NFL bet types are, you might want to dive in and get going. Before you do, we’ve got a few betting tips to get you off on the right foot.

1. Set up a budget

When you start betting on football, it’s important to set up a budget of what you’re willing to bet. Think of it as entertainment and try to stick with those parameters you set.

The most successful bettors have a winning strategy where they decide what their bankroll is and how much they’re going to be betting per game.

For example, if you’re starting with $1000, you might bet something like $50 per game. If you were betting $500 per game, you risk losing your whole bankroll after just a couple of bad beats. At $50 per bet, you’re wagering 5% of your bankroll each time, which means your money will last longer.

2. Don’t bet with emotion

Of course, it’s easy to get sucked into NFL betting as emotions and adrenaline runs wild when you win or lose. However, the bettors who are level-headed through it all are the ones who tend to win in the long run.

For example, if you lose a bet in the morning games on Sunday, don’t double-up on afternoon games trying to win it all back. Make cool, calculated decisions and try to rely on logic for your decisions, not emotions.

3. Know the NFL inside-out

It may seem like a daunting task to learn about the ins and outs of 32 NFL teams but that’s a big key to succeeding in betting the sport.

That means tracking what happens in the offseason (NFL Draft and free agency), following the preseason games and monitoring what happens each week in the regular season.

If you’re just waking up on a Sunday and betting on the Indianapolis Colts because you have a “feeling” they’ll win, your chances of success diminish.

Instead, spend time:

  • Studying the sport
  • Keeping tables on who is healthy and who is injured
  • Knowing the data behind each matchup

Legal NFL betting sites vs. offshore

When you’re betting on the NFL, it’s very important that you use a legal, regulated sportsbook and not an illegal, off-shore book. Offshore sportsbooks are not regulated, which means they don’t have to abide by any laws or regulations.

Of course, it’s easy to send your money to them but it can often be challenging to get your money out. And if they don’t want to oblige, they don’t have to as there is no one they answer to.

The state of Indiana has many safe, legal options. Stick with those and avoid the headaches of the illegal books offshore.

NFL betting FAQs

When does the NFL season start?

The NFL’s regular season usually begins in the first week in September and runs for 17 weeks.

When do the NFL playoffs being?

The playoffs start after the 17 weeks of regular-season action are over. That’s usually either in the end of December or early January.

When is the Super Bowl?

There are four rounds of action in the playoffs, including Wild Card Weekend, the Divisional Round, Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is usually played in early February.

When is the NFL Draft?

The NFL Draft is held in April of each year. The 2020 NFL Draft takes place on April 23rd, 2020.

How many teams are in the NFL?

There are a total of 32 teams in the NFL.

How many players are in the NFL?

There are 53 players on each NFL roster. With 32 teams, that makes a total of 1696 players in the league.

What does it mean if a team is an underdog?

The underdog is simply the team that’s not expected to win the game.

What does it mean if a team is a favorite?

The favorite is the team that’s expected to win.

Is it easy to deposit and withdraw at Indiana online sportsbooks?

Deposit and withdrawal options vary by sportsbook. There is a comprehensive look at online deposits and withdrawals at Indiana sportsbooks at PlayIndiana.com.