NFL Betting Pools 101 (How Do Football Squares Work in 2023)

I’ve placed a lot of bets on NFL games over the years. But my favorite bets are in NFL betting pools. This post explain what NFL betting pools are and how football squares work in 2023.

In other words, here’s NFL betting pools 101 with coverage about how football squares work in today’s environment.

In simple terms, NFL betting pools collect a pool of money and the money eventually gets paid out to a gambler or gamblers that win the pool. A betting pool can pay out to one or many entrants into the pool.

I like NFL betting squares pools best, so I cover them first. Then I give you the best strategy for beating NFL squares betting pools. Finally, I also cover two other popular types of NFLL betting pools.

Types of NFL Betting Pools

Several different types of NFL betting pools are available, but some betting pools are more popular than others. In this post, I only cover the NFL betting pools you’re most likely to find.

NFL football betting square pools are my favorite. But I’ve also played in NFL survivor pools and random NFL betting pools.

Once I learned how to handicap NFL games, I quit playing in random pools. If you know how to handicap and evaluate NFL games, you can make a long-term profit entering betting square pools and survivor pools.

I include a complete section on NFL betting squares strategy in this post. You can’t use a strategy when playing in random NFL betting pools. And I’ve included a little bit about strategy in the NFL survivor pool section below.

These strategies work for NFL betting pools in 2023 and should continue working in the coming seasons.

NFL Football Squares

I love NFL football squares betting pools. Over the years I’ve set up several of them and have made a net profit. If you’re not familiar with NFL squares betting pools, here’s how they work.

Create a board with 10 numbers from zero to nine across the top and down the left side. This creates 100 squares. The number across the top are for the home team and the numbers down the left are for the away team.

Gamblers pay a fee for each square they buy. If each square costs $20, the total collected for the board equals $2,000. 100 squares times $20 equals $2,000.

A quarter of the prize pool pays after each quarter. So the gambler owning the square that wins at the end of the first quarter wins $500. And the owner of the square that wins at half wins $500. Another winner comes at the end of the third quarter and the end of the game.

The winning square comes from the score at the end of each quarter. The only numbers used from the score are the numbers in the ones place or the number farthest to the right.

So a score of 14 to 7 uses 4 and 7. If the home team has 14, you go across the top of the board to the 4 space. Then go down the board to the 7 space for the away team. Where the two meet in a square wins.

As a gambler buys each square, his or her name gets written on the square. You can learn more about NFL football pool betting squares in the section covering strategy below.

NFL Survivor Betting Pools

NFL survivor betting pools are fun. They look like they’re easy to win, but upsets happen every week, so you have to be lucky and good to have a chance to win. Here’s how NFL football survivor betting pools work.

Everyone pays a fixed amount to enter the pool. Most NFL survivor pools start with the first week of games. Every week each gambler picks one team to win. Gamblers can pick the same teams. If your team wins, you advance to the next week. If your team loses, you’re eliminated from the pool.

Each NFL survivor pool uses a set of rules. And the rules aren’t always the same. Common rules include:

  • You can only pick a team once during the pool. So if you pick the Saints in week one, you can’t pick them again.
  • Point spreads don’t matter. You’re only picking a team to win, not cover the spread. An NFL survivor pool can use spreads, but most don’t.
  • The last survivor wins all of the money. Some survivor pools split the money between people still in the pool at certain points in the season. And if two or more survive through the entire season they split the pool equally. Or the survivors continue picking through the playoffs.

If you run a survivor NFL pool, set up a way for everyone to submit their picks by a set time each week, and post the picks where everyone can see them.

I recommend saving the best teams in the NFL for later in the season. In the first quarter of the season, you need to focus on finding teams that should win that aren’t in the top eight teams in the league.

Random NFL Betting Pools

Random NFL betting pools are good for people who don’t know much about gambling. They don’t require any handicapping or skill. Random NFL betting pools are all based on luck. Here’s how a random NFL betting pool works.

All of the teams playing are put in a container. People pay a fee to collect one team from the container. Gamblers can usually buy more than one team. The teams are drawn at random.

Random NFL betting pools can be set up in a couple of different ways. The most common way covers the playoffs. Each playoff team gets entered, and the gambler who holds the winning team wins all of the money from the pool after the Super Bowl.

The other way to run a random NFL betting pool only covers a week at a time. Each team playing this week gets entered into the draw. The gamblers holding the winning teams double their money.

Here’s an example:

Each team costs $20 and every game has a winning team and a losing team. The gamblers holding the winning teams get $40. In the event of a tie, each team gets $20 back.

NFL Betting Pool Football Squares Strategy

If you want to have the best chance of winning in an NFL betting pool using football squares, you have to use the correct strategy. Fortunately, you can quickly learn the best NFL betting pool football squares strategy.

You want to buy as many squares for the following numbers as you can.

  • 0
  • 3
  • 7

If those three numbers aren’t available, the next best options are the squares for numbers six and four.

Field goals are worth three points and touchdowns with extra points are worth seven. And if a team doesn’t score one side of the winning square you want zero squares. A touchdown and field goal also wins one side of a zero square.

Six can be a decent number because two field goals equal six points. Four can be decent because two touchdowns equal 14 points.

If you look at final scores for NFL games you find every number represented. But remember that the final score only covers 25%, or one out of four, of the squares that win.

How do you buy the best squares consistently? You need to be the first person buying squares, or at least one of the first gamblers with a shot at buying squares. And the best way to have first access usually comes from setting up the board and running the pool.

I recommend buying the following squares any time you can.

  • 0 – 0
  • 3 – 3
  • 7 – 7
  • 0 – 3
  • 3 – 0
  • 0 – 7
  • 7 – 0
  • 3 – 7
  • 7 – 3

That covers nine squares out of 100. And it gives you a strong chance to win the first quarter, which makes a good profit.


Betting squares are my favorite type of NFL football pools. But betting squares aren’t the only type of popular NFL betting pool.

If you don’t know much about the NFL, play a random NFL betting pool. They don’t require handicapping or evaluation skills. If you know a little about the NFL, a survivor pool can be a fun way to gamble without risking much money.

The best way to win an NFL squares betting pool will always be setting up and running the pool. That way you get the first choice of squares and the best chance to win.

While the three types of NFL betting pools listed in this post are popular, they aren’t the only types of pools available. Make sure you understand how an NFL betting pool works before entering.

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