Top Potential NFL Betting Apps in California
Although betting on the NFL is still not legal in California, we can take a look around the country and make an educated guess about the California betting apps that could potentially be available once it is given the green light. Based on the operators available in other legal states, here are the top NFL betting apps Californians could expect to be using in the future.
|NFL Betting App
|NFL Player Props
|Local NFL Fans
Despite only launching in November 2023, ESPN BET has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps for betting in the NFL. Whether or not the newcomer can maintain this momentum will be the true indicator of how well the app is being received, especially compared to the other four operators on this list. DraftKings and FanDuel dominate market share in the states where they are legal and carry high ratings and positive reviews. Although odds boosts have become a common feature across most platforms, Caesars Sportsbook California really shines here and offers the most daily boosted odds options. BetMGM is great for fans of local NFL teams as it does the best job of presenting local betting markets front and center on the home screen.
Regardless of which NFL betting apps in California become legal, mobile wagering will dominate the market (assuming it gets passed). In states where both retail and online sports betting are available, online wagers routinely make up 90% or more of all bets placed.
Is Betting on the NFL Legal in California?
NFL betting, and any other sports betting for that matter, is not legal in California. Residents had the opportunity to vote on two different ballot initiatives in November 2022 and both were resoundingly rejected. Prop 26, which would have legalized in-person betting at retail locations, received the most support and still saw 67% of voters turn it down.
For NFL fans in California wanting to lay down a wager, your options are to wait it out for legislation to pass or travel to one of the surrounding states that have already legalized sports betting.
When Will California Legalize NFL Betting?
While there is no formal timeline for California sports betting legislation, the earliest possible chance would be in 2025. With the crushing defeat of both November 2022 ballot initiatives, it's back to the drawing board for California's tribes and national betting brands alike.
There was a separate ballot initiative submitted to California's Attorney General late in 2023 but the state's tribes were not consulted with prior to the bill being sent out. Because of this, the hopeful legislation is already crushed without the tribes' support and will likely not make it to the 2024 voting process.
NFL Teams in California
California is home to the most professional sports teams in the US, so it's no surprise that multiple NFL franchises call the Golden State home. Prior to the Las Vegas Raiders relocating from Oakland, California housed the most NFL teams of any state. Now with three NFL teams in the state, California is tied with Florida and New York (I guess?) for the most franchises in a single state.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL and have a long list of Hall of Fame inductees and memorable games. In addition to their rich history, the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl odds have placed them as one of the betting favorites for the past few seasons and the team is making its case again this year.
With its dominant win against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12, the 49ers moved to the top of odds boards, placing them as Super Bowl 58 betting favorites.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams made a splash in 2022 to move on from former first-overall pick Jared Goff in favor of veteran gunslinger Matthew Stafford. The hefty trade paid off immediately as the Rams secured their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Although the team doesn't appear to be a true contender for a championship this year, the Los Angeles Rams' playoff chances are improving and they have a shot to get in as one of the final Wild Card teams.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, but it feels like that's where the list of positives begins and ends for the team. Although the season isn't over yet and they haven't been mathematically eliminated just yet, it feels as though the Chargers' playoff chances are shot and another disappointing end is nearing.
Regardless, once NFL betting gets the green light in California, the Chargers will be a popular team to bet on.
Popular NFL Bets
The NFL is the most popular sport in the US so it makes sense that betting on it also reigns supreme. Here are a few of the most popular wager types when it comes to betting on the NFL:
- Moneyline - NFL moneyline bets are one of the most popular wagers in part because they are the most straightforward. With moneyline bets, you're simply picking who you think will win a game. It's that simple.
- Spread - When it comes to betting on the NFL, the spread can be looked at as an attempt to level the playing field. The spread either gives or takes points away depending on the team viewed as the underdog or favorite, respectively. If the 49ers are -3.5 favorites for a particular game, they have to win by at least 4 points for your wager to hit. On the flip side, if the Chargers are +5.5 point underdogs, they can lose by up to 5 points and your bet would still win. A loss by 6 or more, however, and your walking away with a loss.
- Total - Totals, or more commonly referred to as "over/under" bets, task you with deciding whether the combined amount of points scored in a particular game will be more or less than a given number. For example, the total for a Rams game might be 44.5. If the Rams and their opponent score 45 or more points, the "over" would win. Fewer than 44 points would be a hit for "under" bettors.
- Player Props - Player props have exploded in popularity over the past few years because they allow you to bet on a single player's performance. Props cover things like the number of passing yards a quarterback has, receptions for a wide receiver, rushing yards for a running back, touchdowns scored, and so on. These are great options for those who have a good idea of how a player might do statistically, but the outcome of the game is not called into question.
- Parlays - Parlays allow bettors to combine two or more bets into a single wager. By combining multiple bets - called legs - into one wager your potential payout increases because these are often at higher odds. Bettors beware, however, as the higher payouts also come with higher risk. For your parlay to hit, all of your wagers must be successful. If you put together a 4-leg parlay but only 3-legs are correct, your entire bet is a bust.
NFL Betting in California FAQs
No, NFL betting in California is not legal as sports betting in general is still available. While there is no set timeline for when California sports betting might become legal, the very earliest would be in 2025. With the ballot initiatives crushed in November 2022, it will likely be even longer.
Cody Kutzer has been covering the sports betting and gambling space for several years and has been losing his parlay bets for even longer. He currently serves as an editor and fact-checker for BetCalifornia.com to ensure readers have the latest and most accurate information surrounding what's happening in California sports betting.