Guest contribution by Alex Hepgurn.

Brains. Brawn. Speed. Endurance. Tactics. Instinct. It is these contradictory elements and many more which make up the brutal ballet we know so fondly as the National Football League. While the light and shade of this noble sport is what makes it America’s second national pastime, it also creates a potential minefield for newcomers to NFL betting; learning the intricacies of gridiron gambling can be a long and arduous process, but any veteran will tell you how rewarding that journey is for both your heart and your bank balance.

NFL bets are a rare and delicious fruit due to the limited nature of regular season games, numbering only 16 compared to a grueling 82 in the NHL and nearly double that in MLB. Even the two teams competing in the Super Bowl will only have played 24 games (including exhibitions) by the time they leave the field in February, making it unique as the only sport in which a franchise has really any chance to go unbeaten for an entire season (’72 Dolphins, ’07 Patriots). It’s a rare feat, but if you’re a die-hard Steelers or Giants fan, it’s a show of solidarity to make a long wager on a 16-0 season that might just earn you a pretty penny come February.

However most NFL fans, including high-profile American celebrities like talk-show host Larry King, enjoy betting game-by-game and stick to the spread or an over/under. The complexity and mid-level point-scoring averages make these two prospects equally attractive to the discerning bettor but can leave a novice in the dust. At this point, I must issue a word of advice; if you’re naïve to the ins and outs of the NFL, it’s best to leave these dark arts until you’ve proved yourself in the gladiatorial arena.

Over/under bets are good for neutral parties – patriotic Canadians, I’m looking at you – who lack a team allegiance but still know what they’re talking about and want a piece of the action. Naturally, the smart money is not spent downtown these days but online and Canadian Sports Books is an exhaustive resource for freshly-interned bettors looking for a digital bookmaker’s to call home. The site and others of its kind rate individual oddsmakers on their ease-of-use, accuracy, features and any other attribute you care to mention, ensuring you find the best possible service with which to bet on the NFL.

For those of you who are new to the game, straight up moneyline betting is where you’ll make the most progress. It eliminates the push so that risk takers in your number won’t go home disappointed while readily available stats in miniscule detail and celebrity favorites (again, see Larry King’s Twitter page) will make the decision a simple one. Some sites even have a popularity bar, which shows in real time where that service’s users are posting their virtual slips. However, stakes are rarely high and a smart man’s money is best spent hedged across all of Monday’s games.

In my view, the NFL is the best of all the American sports for prop betting. The Europeans, especially the British, are connoisseurs of this particular discipline to the point that player to score first, score at half-time and other in-play bets are advertised prominently on their betting sites and bookmaker’s windows. NFL teams contain a lot of players but many will never get a chance to run a touchdown making the decision simpler than sports like soccer. You could even bet on how many fumbles the Bears will make in a game!

Whether you keep it simple on a moneyline, go for the spread or lay $200 on Cincinnati to punt the most, betting on the NFL is the most exciting and in-depth gambling experience in American sports.  There are plenty of sites with Canadian currency accounts that make it quick and easy to bet weeks in advance or live during games so take the plunge today!