What is an Octopus in Football Betting? – Scoring an Octopus Explained

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Written by Dan Fitch

Updated: 08:28 am EST, 02/07/2024

An octopus is when a football player scores a touchdown worth six points and then a successful two-point conversion, immediately after. This eight-point haul gives this gambling term its name. We’re going to explore what is an octopus in football betting, so that you can place such a wager yourself.

The Origins of Octopus Betting

The NFL octopus bet began life in 2019 when the Sports Illustrated writer Mitch Goldich used the term octopus to describe when a football player scores a touchdown and the same player scores the subsequent conversion.

With a touchdown being worth six points in the NFL and a conversion two points, this adds up to an eight point haul. This occurrence could have just as easily been named after an eight-legged creature, such as a spider or a scorpion, but Goldich went for octopus with its eight tentacles and it has stuck.

Players were achieving this feat long before the octopus betting term entered the lexicon. It became possible in 1994 when the NFL introduced a two-point conversion to follow a touchdown, which was already a feature in college football.

When a team scores a touchdown, they have the two choices. They can try for a one-point conversion, which requires them to kick the ball through the uprights. Or they can go for a two-point conversion, by running the ball across the goal line from the two-yard line, which is essentially like scoring another touchdown.

The reward is greater with the latter option, but it is more difficult to achieve, so the risk is greater. Throw in the fact that the same player must score both the touchdown and the conversion and it is no surprise that an octopus is a relatively rare occurrence.

Possible Since 1994

From that point in 1994 when this rule was introduced to the NFL, through to the end of the 2023 season, there have been 188 occasions when a player has scored an octopus. There were 11 added to that tally during the 2023 season.

With this eight-point play having been given a recognizable name, online sportsbooks have added the octopus to their array of novelty prop bets that are available for NFL games. Sports betting operators are always looking for new fun novelty prop opportunities.

That is why online offshore sportsbooks include this wager on some NFL matches. An octopus in football games provides the perfect ingredients for such a wager. It doesn’t happen very often, but not so rare that there’s not at least a chance of an octopus being scored in every game.

Explaining an Octopus Football Bet

Before we explain how you place a wager on an octopus betting market, it is important to nail down exactly what a player has to do to score an octopus.

Octopus football betting rules requires a player secure the ball in the end zone for the touchdown and then for that player to then do the same thing for the conversion. A pass from a quarterback for a touchdown, would not count towards an octopus.

Let’s show you an example of octopus sports betting. Imagine that the Super Bowl is coming up and you want to place a bet on whether there will be an octopus scored or not. The market might look like this:

Will there be an octopus at the Super Bowl? Odds
Yes 1600
No -6000

Yes or No Only Outcomes

There are just two possible outcomes with this Super Bowl octopus bet. Either there will be an octopus and ‘Yes’ will win. Or there won’t be one and ‘No’ will win.

We can see from the betting odds that a $100 bet on ‘Yes’ could win you $1,600. In order to win $100 from there not being an octopus with a bet on ‘No’, you would have to stake $6,000.

As you can see, the odds of there being an octopus provide a healthy return. Conversely, the odds are very short for there not to be one, as this is what happens in the majority of football games.

Across the regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl in the 2023 season, there were a total of 285 games. These 285 games only produced an octopus on 11 occasions.

For this reason, you will not find an individual player prop bet for a player to claim an octopus. They are a rare enough phenomenon without making it more complicated by having to pick out the player that gets an octopus.

Pros & Cons of Wagering on an Octopus in Football Betting

In order to explore the topic of what is an octopus in football betting, it is necessary to examine the advantages and disadvantages of this type of bet. Here are the pros and cons as we see them.


  • Exciting event to witness made better with a bet
  • Octopus odds can be huge and bring in large returns
  • Fun prop bet that doesn’t require big stakes
  • Your chances of predicting an octopus can be improved with research


  • Not always available for regular season games
  • Very rare occurrence in the NFL
  • Odds of an octopus being scored do not necessarily provide value

Key Players to Score an Octopus

This individual prop bet might rarely provide a winning result, but when it does it tends to be exciting. Generally speaking, it’s a risky play, so it is generally reserved for moments when the stakes are high.

Some of the most notable players in modern NFL history have scored an octopus. We’ll start our recap with the player who played a part in popularising the phrase.

In October 2018, Torrey Smith scored an octopus for the Carolina Panthers, though of course at the time, no one had heard of the term. Smith’s feat caught the attention of Mitch Goldrich, who sent out the following message on Twitter:

Goldrich’s friend Michael Wallace suggested octopus and the term was born, with the famous SI piece from 2019, cementing the word into the minds of football fans.

Feat Predates Naming of Term

Long before the term was known, the first octopus was scored in 1994 and bizarrely there were two instances of it in the same game week. Torrance Small of the New Orleans Saints was the first to do it, followed shortly afterwards by Rob Moore of the New York Jets.

There are a number of players who have scored more than one octopus, but the king of this discipline is Todd Gurley. Though the running back’s career was cut short through injury, he scored an octopus on four occasions for the LA Rams, which is more than any other player in NFL history.

Bettors making a Super Bowl octopus prediction have generally been disappointed, but that wasn’t the case at Super Bowl 57. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts became the first player to score an octopus at the Super Bowl, with a late effort that levelled the scores, before the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately won out.

Another quarterback to have scored an octopus is Patrick Mahomes. The three-time Super Bowl winner had completed his own eight-point haul for the Chiefs earlier on in the 2022 NFL season, in a game against the Tennessee Titans.

What is an Octopus in Football Betting Strategy I Can Use?

Now that we have explained what is an octopus in football betting, you may be itching to place such a wager yourself. Before you do, consider these strategies which will aid your octopus betting prediction.

Keep Stakes Relatively Low

As we have discussed, an octopus is a rare thing in the NFL. An octopus can therefore make for a fun bet in games, but it’s not something that you want to be risking a lot of money on. The odds of one are always pretty healthy, so you can be conservative with your staking and still win big.

Will They Try?

Consider how likely it is that someone will even attempt to go for an octopus. In the majority of seasons two-point conversion attempts do not exceed 10%. The two-point conversion is a high-risk move that teams only go for if they’re desperate for the points. Look out for underdogs likely to be chasing the game.

Consider Conversion Percentages

In the 2023 NFL season there were seven teams with a 100% record of success from two-point conversion attempts. There were then a number of teams with impressive records in the high 80s or 70s. Yet many had a conversion percentage of under 50%. This particular stat is something to study before making any wagers on this football betting market.

Repeat Offenders

Many players have scored an octopus more than once. When Jalen Hurts became the first player to do it in the Super Bowl, it was his second career octopus. Keep an eye out for players that have managed this before. It’s a sign that they are offensively important players that the team trusts.

Consider Other Betting Options

An octopus is a difficult bet to win with. When you’re placing any type of wager, it makes sense to consider whether there are other related lines that might provide a better option. If there’s a certain player that you fancy to grab an octopus, check out other markets. Take a look at their odds for touchdowns or total points. It’s unlikely you’ll find something with the same high odds, but you might increase your chances of a winning return.


What is scoring an octopus?

What is a two-point conversion?

How often does an octopus happen in the NFL?

Will there be an octopus prop bet for regular season games?

Where can I put an octopus football bet on?

Will there be an octopus bet on the Super Bowl available?

Do quarterbacks get the credit for an octopus if they throw a touchdown?