Sports Betting Tips

What Are Some Great Gridiron Betting Options Available During The NFL Off-Season?

The NFL Season runs from September through to February, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot to bet on during the NFL Off-Season.

While the teams may not be playing any games from mid-February through to the first pre-season matches of the year in August, there’s still lots happening in the NFL.

And not only that, but sites like bet365 Sport also ensure that there is still plenty to bet on for American Football fans too.

You may be more used to betting on the outcome of matches during the 17-game regular season, or during the playoffs up to and including the Super Bowl. But what we aim to show you here is that you can bet on the NFL all-year round.

Especially on sites such as bet365 Sport.

So with that in mind, let’s first get to grips with what a yearly calendar looks like in the NFL.

NFL Yearly Calendar

Rather than following the calendar year from January to December, we are going to start our NFL Calendar in mid-February each year, after the preceding season’s Super Bowl has taken place.

We are also going to break the calendar up into the different parts of the NFL Year, starting with the Pre-NFL Draft period.

NFL Off-Season – Pre NFL Draft

The NFL off-season begins at different stages for the 32 NFL teams. Those that do not progress to the playoffs will begin theirs in early January. Playoff teams begin theirs either when they are knocked out of the playoffs, or after the Super Bowl which usually takes place in early-to-mid February.

At this stage of the season, the players clear out their lockers and head off on a much deserved break and to spend some time with family. However, for the 32 NFL franchises, the management team have a lot of work to do over this period.

Not only are they honing their preparations for the forthcoming NFL Draft in April, they are also making decisions about their franchise playing staff. Notably those players that are going to be free agents after this season has completed, or those players that they may want to move on still under contract but who the team no longer want to keep.

There is a focus on reviewing and interviewing draft candidates by each team and pre-season workouts can begin for teams in early to mid-April just a couple of weeks before the draft.

From mid-March, the process of signing Free Agents players, depending on what the salary cap has been set at for the year and the team’s position over or under the cap, begins and will continue for several months.

Key dates during this period include:

  • Late Feb to Early March – NFL Scouting Combine for NFL Draft Prospects
  • Early March – Decisions about players that are given the Franchise Tag designation must be made official.
  • Mid March – About a week after the Franchise Tag decisions, the current NFL season officially ends at 4pm on the chosen day. At that time, the trading window opens and players who were in the final year of their contract in the season just concluded, will become free agents. These free agents are also allowed to sign with a new club from the 4pm deadline.
  • Late March – Annual NFL League meeting in Orlando. This is when potential rule changes are discussed by the teams and league officials each year.
  • 1st April – Clubs with a new head coach can begin offseason workout programs.
  • 15th April – Clubs with returning head coaches can begin offseason workout programs.
NFL Season

NFL Draft

The NFL Draft takes place at a different venue around the country each year, in 2023 it was in Las Vegas, in 2024, it is in Detroit. It takes place over three days at the end of April, with the 1st Round picks on Day 1, 2nd and 3rd Round picks on Day 2 and the 4th to 7th Round picks on Day 3.

In early to mid-May, each team can hold their post-draft Rookie mini-camp on one of two weekends.

NFL Off-Season – Post NFL Draft

In early to mid-May, each team can hold their post-draft Rookie mini-camp on one of two weekends.

Teams also start to offer more voluntary and mandatory workouts, plus one or more training camps for both rookies and under contract players to attend. The first few workouts are generally voluntary, but as time gets close to pre-season, the camps will become mandatory. Training camps tend to be mandatory for players who have agreed a contract, but players not yet agreed a contract can sit out.

This is also the point of the season when teams will make trades in readiness for the start of pre-season and they will also evaluate their squads, taking on around 70-80 players to ensure they have enough players for all the different practices.

With trades, players being signed and released to waivers, rookie integration and contracts to be agreed, plus preparation for the start of pre-season, it can be a busy and somewhat exhausting time for coaches and players.


Preseason begins with the Hall of Fame game in Canton, the two teams who compete will be allowed to have four pre-season games if they so wish. This is played on the eve of the enshrinement of the next batch of players to enter the NFL Hall of Fame.

Then in August, preseason begins with three weeks of preseason games. Teams use these games to evaluate players and give key players a little game time. Over the three games, head coaches will start the process of cutting down their squad from the 70 or 80 players they have, down to an eventual 53-man roster for the start of the season.

Preseason games do not count towards a team’s record for this season and teams often play fringe and younger players in these games to evaluate them.

Regular Season

The regular season begins in September with the first Regular Season games.

The season is 18 weeks long and teams will play 17 games in total, also having one bye week at some point between week 6 and week 14 of the season.

Trades can be made up until the 31st October, at which the Trade Deadline passes at 4pm ET.

Some team’s matches will also be selected for the International Series games which take place in places like the UK, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.

At the end of the regular season, the four divisional winners and the three next best teams based on their win/loss record in each conference progress to the playoffs.

Playoffs & Super Bowl

In the playoffs, the team with the best record in the AFC and also the NFC are given the top seed and also a bye through the first week of the Playoffs.

The playoffs then follow as follows:

  • Wildcard Weekend – 6 games
  • Divisional Round – 4 games
  • Championship Round – 2 games
  • Super Bowl – 1 game

The Pro Bowl games are scheduled to take place over the weekend between the Championship Round and the Super Bowl.

We are now back at the start of the NFL off-season where our review of the NFL season began and the whole process begins again.

Top NFL Off Season Betting Markets

NFL Off-season

You may think that seeing as the season is over, and the next one is not to start for a good few months, that the off-season is a quiet time for NFL betting.

However, sites such as bet365 Sport offer an extensive range of bets you can make throughout the year.

Listed below are some of the more interesting bets you can make with bet365 Sport on the NFL during the off-season.

NFL Futures Betting Markets

  • To Win Outright

A simple bet on which of the 32 NFL teams will win the Super Bowl in the forthcoming season.

  • To Win Conference

Another easy bet this time on which of the 16 teams in the AFC will win that conference, or which of the 16 in the NFC will win that conference.

  • To Win Division

There are eight divisions in the NFL, four in each conference. You can place a bet on any of the 32 teams to win their division.

  • Next NFL MVP

Which of the NFL’s top stars are most likely to win the Most Valuable Player award in the forthcoming season. Usually, this award goes to a quarterback.

  • Number of Regular Season Wins

This is an Over or Under bet on the number of wins a team will achieve throughout the whole of the forthcoming regular season.

  • To Make the Playoffs

A bet on whether a stated team will make the playoffs either via Wildcard or as a Divisional winner.

  • Offensive Player of the Year

Which player on offense will be the NFL offensive player of the year.

  • Defensive Player of the Year

A bet on which defensive player will be the NFL defensive player of the year.

  • Division of Super Bowl Winner

A chance to bet on which of the eight divisions the next Super Bowl winner will come from.

  • Winning Conference

A bet on whether the Super Bowl winner in the forthcoming season will come from the AFC or the NFC.

NFL Draft Betting Markets

  • Team to Draft Player Markets

A bet on which NFL team will draft which particular player. This bet tends to focus on NFL teams that have an early first round draft pick, most notably picks in the top five.

  • Number 1, 2, 3 Overall Picks

A trio of bets on which players will be selected first, second or third in the draft.

  • First Non-QB to be selected

A bet on who will be the first player to be selected in the next NFL Draft who is not a quarterback. In other years, this may be changed to a different position depending on who is likely to be selected first in the draft.

  • First QB to be selected

A bet on who out of the quarterback prospects in the draft will be picked first. Again, in other years, or nearer the draft, other positions may be offered as a market.

NFL Specials Markets

  • Which team will player X be at for the start of the season

Bets on which team a player that is a free agent, or who has been linked with a trade, will be playing at when the season starts in September.

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