There’s just something about the Super Bowl that brings out the gambler in everyone.
Whether it’s in order to enhance the excitement of the game, because there are so many fun ways to bet on it, or simply because everyone else is doing it, millions of people across the world will have something riding on this year’s Super Bowl. According to American Gaming Association estimates, approximately $5 billion was wagered on the 2018 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Think you’ve got to go to Vegas to bet on the Super Bowl? Think again. Of that $5 billion, “only” $160 million of that handle was wagered at sportsbooks in Nevada. And even with several other states poised to offer Super Bowl betting this season after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting across the country, the majority of people will still do their Super Bowl betting at online betting sites because of the convenience, the odds, the bonuses, and other perks that offshore sportsbooks provide.
In case you’re thinking about joining all of those people who love betting the Super Bowl online, we’ve put together this Super Bowl betting guide to tell you everything you need to know. By the time you’re done reading it, you’ll be the most informed gambler at the next Super Bowl party!
The Super Bowl is always played on the first Sunday of February, two weeks after the conference championship games and one week after the Pro Bowl. The host city for the game changes every year, and kickoff is typically scheduled for shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. Pacific).
The 2019 Super Bowl (Super Bowl 53) will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The exact time of kickoff has not yet been announced.
The Super Bowl is one of the most popular gambling events in the entire world, so you won’t have any difficulty finding a betting site offering Super Bowl odds. Many of those sites will also be featuring huge sign-up bonuses in an effort to stand out from the rest of the competition and earn your betting business.
For these reasons, it’s absolutely critical to know that whichever site you are joining and depositing money at is safe and reliable. That’s something that’s obviously important at any time of year, but especially before the Super Bowl when a lot of shady sites will throw promises of big bonuses and other promotions, never intending to honor those commitments.
Besides, whichever site you end up joining for the Super Bowl will probably be the one that you continue using for betting on other sports. There’s no point in signing up and depositing money at a betting site if their betting selection in other sports isn’t very good, if their deposit and withdrawal methods don’t suit your needs, or especially if you aren’t confident that your money is safe.
Here’s a short list of sites that we feel 100% confidence in recommending as the best to use for betting on the Super Bowl (and on any other sport, for that matter):
The Super Bowl features the champions of the NFL’s two conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (NFC).
Both the NFC and AFC feature four divisions of four teams. Each of the division winners automatically qualifies for the conference playoffs, while the top two non-division winners in each conference are awarded wild card spots.
In the first round of the conference playoffs, the top two division winners are granted a bye, while the third- and fourth-ranked division winners host games against a wild card opponent. In the second round, the top seed in each conference hosts the lowest-seeded survivor of Round 1, while the second seed is home to the top-ranked survivor. Winners of those games advance to the conference championships, which determine the teams that will compete in the Super Bowl.
Here is how the eight divisions in the NFL break down:
If we were to discuss every possible way to bet on the Super Bowl, this page would go on forever!
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. At some point, we’d run out of ways to bet on the Super Bowl. But you would seriously be reading this page for a few hours, because there’s more ways to bet on the NFL championship game than there are to bet on any other event in the world.
You don’t want to be reading this page all day, so we’ve boiled the ways to bet on the Super Bowl down to the basics listed below (we haven’t included Super Bowl props here, but we’ll get into those in a section later in the article).
Most people who have bet on sports already understand the point spread. However, since the Super Bowl draws so many first-time bettors, we thought we should explain the concept again here.
The point spread is like giving a head start to a slower runner in a race with the intent of giving both runners an equal chance of winning. By giving points to the underdog and taking them away from the favorite, the point spread levels the playing field between two unevenly-matched teams.
The benefit of the point spread is that it allows you to bet on either team at nearly even odds (typically -110, although point spread odds can vary by the betting site.) If you take the favorite, the tradeoff for better odds is that they’ll need to win by a greater amount than the point spread in order for you to win your wager. If you take the underdog, you won’t get as good a payoff as you would if you take them to win the game outright, but you just need them to keep the score closer than the spread.
Although point spreads in the Super Bowl have been 14 points or higher, they’re usually under a touchdown. New England was a 4.5-point favorite over Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52, meaning that anyone who bet on the Patriots needed them to win the game by 5 points or more.
If you want to keep your Super Bowl bet simple, the moneyline is for you. Instead of having to worry about how many points a team wins or loses the game by, you’re only wagering on which team will win the game.
The amount you can win on a moneyline bet depends on how likely either team is to win the game. If you’re betting on the favorite, be prepared to risk more than you stand to win (that’s the tradeoff for the higher probability of winning your wager). If you’re betting on the underdog, you can win a lot more than you risk, but you also don’t have as good a chance of winning your bet.
The amount that you have to risk/can potentially win will be indicated in the odds. The favorite will have a minus (-) sign in front of their odds, which tells you how much you’d have to risk in order to win $100. The underdog will have a plus (+) sign in front of their odds, informing you how much you can win on a $100 wager.
The third popular way to bet on the Super Bowl is to bet on the Over/Under, which is when you’re simply wagering on how many points will be scored in the game.
To be more accurate, you’re betting on whether there will be more (Over) or less (Under) points scored in the game than the total that is posted by the oddsmaker. The total will take into account the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, so a Super Bowl between two potent offenses will have a higher total than a Super Bowl between two defensive powerhouses.
Generally speaking, the Over/Under in a Super Bowl will be somewhere between the mid-40s and mid-50s. If the total is set at 46, a 27-23 score would go Over (27 plus 23 equals 50, which is more than 46), while a 24-21 score would go Under (24 plus 21 equals 45, which is less than 46).
Although totals in Super Bowls are often a bit higher than they should be because so many people like to bet on the Over, five of the last six Super Bowls (as of 2018) have gone Over the total.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls in NFL history, claiming six titles. Four of those Super Bowl victories came in a six-year span from 1975-80, although Pittsburgh has also won the Super Bowl twice in the past 13 years.
New England, Dallas, and San Francisco are tied for the second-most Super Bowl victories, each with five. All of the Patriots’ titles have come since 2002, and New England has gone to the NFL championship game three other times during that span as well.
Four teams – the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans – have never played in the Super Bowl, and eight other franchises (Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans, and Arizona Cardinals) have never won it.
Below is the score of every Super Bowl played in history:
Every Super Bowl has its great moments, especially if you’re a fan of one of the teams involved.
Even the blowouts over the years have had their key plays that determined which way the game was going to go, such as Joe Montana’s bomb to a streaking Jerry Rice on the third play of Super Bowl 29 (setting the tone for San Francisco’s 49-26 rout of the Chargers) or the snap that sailed past Peyton Manning for a safety 12 seconds into Super Bowl 48 (the first points of Seattle’s 43-8 pounding of Denver).
But these moments below stand out in particular as the greatest in Super Bowl history, or certainly the most memorable:
Before the American Football League officially merged with the National Football League in 1970, the Super Bowl featured the champions of the two leagues against each other.
Despite the AFL champion losing the first two Super Bowls by a combined score of 68-24, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath boldly guaranteed that his AFL squad would pull off the upset of the 18-point-favorite Baltimore Colts.
Namath then went out and backed up his words by completing 17 of 28 passes in New York’s 16-7 victory, earning Super Bowl MVP for himself and legitimacy for the AFL.
With the San Francisco 49ers trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13 and just 3:10 remaining in regulation time of Super Bowl 23, future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana orchestrated one of the greatest winning drives in Super Bowl history.
After calming his teammates’ nerves by joking that he saw John Candy in the stands, Montana marched the 49ers down the field by completing 8 of his 9 passes, including a 10-yarder to John Taylor with 39 seconds left that gave the 49ers a 20-16 win.
For the first time ever, the outcome of the Super Bowl was decided on the final play of the game.
Down 20-19 to the New York Giants with 2:16 left on the clock in Super Bowl 25, the Buffalo Bills drove from their 10-yard line to New York’s 29, then sent out kicker Scott Norwood for the potential game-winning field goal.
However, Norwood’s 47-yard boot sailed just right of the uprights, giving New York the only one-point victory in Super Bowl history and handing Buffalo the first of what would eventually become four straight Super Bowl defeats.
Seeking the first Super Bowl title of his legendary career, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway simply wouldn’t be denied.
With Denver tied 17-17 with the Green Bay Packers midway through the third quarter, Elway and the Broncos faced third-and-eight on the Packers’ 12-yard line. Elway scrambled towards the first-down line before diving through the air, getting hit by two Packers defenders and helicoptering for the first down, and the Broncos scored the go-ahead touchdown two plays later.
The courage and desperation that Elway displayed on his scramble is considered the signature moment of his career, and it buoyed the Broncos to the first of two consecutive Super Bowl titles.
None of the first 50 Super Bowls went to overtime, but Super Bowl 34 came as close as it possibly could.
Trailing the St. Louis Rams 23-16 late in the fourth quarter, the Tennessee Titans drove deep down into St. Louis territory and faced first and goal from the 10-yard line with six seconds remaining.
However, Steve McNair’s slant pass to Kevin Dyson came up just short as Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Dyson on the one-yard line, denying Tennessee the game-tying touchdown (assuming the convert was good) as the final second ticked off the clock.
The legend of Tom Brady was born in Super Bowl 36, when the second-year quarterback led the Patriots to one of the biggest upsets ever in the NFL championship game.
Despite being a 14-point underdog to the defending champion St. Louis Rams, New England carried a 17-3 lead into the fourth quarter before the Rams rallied to tie the game with 1:30 left in regulation. With no timeouts at his disposal, Brady led the Patriots on a 53-yard drive, moving them into range for Adam Vinatieri to kick a game-winning 48-yard field goal as the clock expired – marking the first time that the Super Bowl was won by a score on the final play.
With his New York Giants trailing New England 14-10 late in Super Bowl 42, receiver David Tyree made arguably the greatest catch in Super Bowl history and one that keyed the Giants’ eventual victory.
On third-and-eight from the Giants’ 44-yard line, New York quarterback Eli Manning barely avoided a sack, then desperately heaved the ball down the field. Tyree leapt up in the air to get both hands on the ball, then pinned the ball against his helmet with one hand as he went down to the ground, barely preventing the ball from hitting the field.
The 32-yard completion gave New York a first down, and the Giants scored a go-ahead touchdown four plays later, winning 17-14 and spoiling New England’s quest for a perfect 19-0 season.
The Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers played one of the all-time classics in Super Bowl 43, providing not one but two of the most memorable moments in the NFL championship game.
The first came on late in the opening half, when the Cardinals trailed 10-7 but were one yard away from scoring a go-ahead touchdown. With 18 seconds left on the clock, Steelers linebacker James Harrison faked a blitz, then backed into coverage and intercepted Kurt Warner’s pass in the end zone. Harrison then broke down the near sideline and ran the length of the field for a 100-yard touchdown, barely breaking the plane of the Arizona goal line as time expired.
The second tremendous play was provided by Santonio Holmes, whose acrobatic catch in the back corner of the end zone secured a go-ahead touchdown for Pittsburgh with 35 seconds left in regulation time. The grab, which was confirmed by video replay, finished off a 78-yard drive by the Steelers, who held on for a 27-23 victory by recovering a Warner fumble with five seconds left.
One yard away from a go-ahead touchdown in the dying seconds of Super Bowl 49, the Seattle Seahawks inexplicably decided to pass the ball instead of handing it off to powerful running back Marshawn Lynch.
With 26 seconds to go and Seattle trailing 28-24, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson attempted a slant pass for receiver Jermaine Kearse. However, Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler read the play, jumped the route, and intercepted the throw in the end zone, preserving the victory for New England.
You don’t come back from a 25-point third-quarter deficit in the Super Bowl without making big play after big play, and that’s exactly what the Patriots did to rally from 28-3 down to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl 51.
Here’s a quick summary of all the big moments that went New England’s way en route to authoring the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history:
When legendary Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro posted the first-ever Super Bowl prop in 1985, not even he could have imagined how popular Super Bowl props would eventually become.
That prop (whether Chicago Bears defensive lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown in Super Bowl 20) not only drew a ton of betting interest, but it also generated a lot of media attention. Things began snowballing from there, and we’re now at a point where Super Bowl prop bets receive a bigger handle than betting on the game itself!
Here’s a sampling of just a few of the crazy Super Bowl prop bets that we’ve seen in recent years:
However, not all Super Bowl props are as absurd as those ones. In fact, a lot of them are quite relevant to the outcome of the game, and you might even be able to find an edge if you put in some research.
Here are some examples of some of the more traditional Super Bowl prop bets that draw a lot of betting action every year:
When it comes to Super Bowl prop bets, a safe rule of thumb is that if there’s a chance of something happening during the game, there will be a prop about it. A lot of betting sites will even post “crossover props” that include games from other sports that are played on Super Bowl Sunday, such as whether Tom Brady will complete more passes than LeBron James scores that day in NBA action.
Although the National Football League has been in existence since 1922, the first Super Bowl wasn’t played until 1966.
That’s when the NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League, an upstart league that directly competed with the NFL from 1960-69. As part of the agreement, the champions of the NFL and AFL began facing off in a world championship of American football. The game was originally known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game but was quickly nicknamed “Super Bowl” based on a suggestion by Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt. That nickname became the official name of the game within three years.
In the early days of the Super Bowl, there was concern about the competitive balance of the game. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers easily won the first two Super Bowls, whipping the AFL’s Chiefs and Oakland Raiders by a combined score of 68-24. But the fears of NFL domination over the AFL were put to rest in Super Bowl 3 when the AFL’s New York Jets defeated the NFL’s Baltimore Colts 16-7. The following season, the AFL and NFL officially merged, with the NFL’s Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers joining AFL teams in the American Football Conference, while the remaining squads formed the National Football Conference.
Although the all-time series is quite balanced (the NFC has won 27 Super Bowls, while the AFC has won 25), both conferences have enjoyed lengthy tenures of Super Bowl domination over the years. The NFC won 16 of the 20 Super Bowls played throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including 13 straight at one point. The scales tipped back towards the AFC in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, however, thanks in large part to the Patriots dynasty.
The games have gotten a lot better in recent years as well. After a string of lopsided results in the 1980s and ‘90s (when 13 of 15 games were decided by double digits, and 10 of those were decided by 17-plus points), many derisively began referring to the Super Bowl as the “Super Bore.” But fans have been treated to some tremendously entertaining games since the turn of the century, a span during which only seven games have been decided by more than one score and eight were decided by four points or less.
If you haven’t bet on the Super Bowl already, you’re honestly missing out.
Wagering on the point spread, moneyline, or Over/Under will give you something to root for throughout the game. And if you don’t consider yourself enough of a football betting expert (even after reading our Super Bowl betting guide) to make that type of wager, the hundreds of Super Bowl props available will give you the ability to bet on virtually anything else that you want.
Just remember that anything really is possible in the Super Bowl (as we covered in the section about the most memorable moments), so don’t get carried away betting more than you can afford to lose. There aren’t many worse feelings in the world than being at a Super Bowl party where everyone else is having the time of their life while you worry about how much money you lost!
As long as you stay disciplined with your wager sizes and use one of the best Super Bowl betting sites, we guarantee you’ll enjoy this year’s Super Bowl a lot more when you have some money riding on the outcome!