betting on the super bowl

Betting on the Super Bowl - Everything You Need to Know

football12 1 - Betting on the Super Bowl - Everything You Need to Know

While this article discuss Betting on the Super Bowl, and we highly recommend you read the full article, here are the key points we will focus on:

  1. Understanding Super Bowl Lines & Odds
  2. Understanding NFL Point Spreads
  3. Understanding NFL Moneylines
  4. Understanding NFL Totals
  5. The Different Types Of Super Bowl Bets
  6. Super Bowl Live Betting

Everything You Need To Know About Betting The Super Bowl

In early 2022, the Super Bowl comes to the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. It’s a West Coast Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara in February of 2015, when the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning defeated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. However, this will probably not be an outdoor Super Bowl, unlike Levi’s Stadium. The game will very likely be indoors, which facilitates a better entertainment product, including the staging of a halftime show with a big musical act. It will be the first time the greater Los Angeles area hosts the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXVII in January of 1993, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California.

There have been a few Super Bowls in San Diego over the past 30 years – Super Bowl XXXII in 1998 and Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 – but Los Angeles has been kept out of the mix until now. There’s more to say about this Super Bowl in the sections below.

Super Bowl 2022 Game Details

  • Teams: TBD (NFC Champion vs AFC Champion)
  • Date: February 13, 2022
  • Location: SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, California
  • Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Broadcast: NBC (English), Telemundo (Spanish), and streamed online via Peacock/NBC Sports Universal

Understanding Super Bowl Lines & Odds

Sportsbooks make it possible to bet on the Super Bowl on a very large scale. Each NFL season, online sports betting sources create new ways for bettors to get in on the action and participate in this sports extravaganza, giving them the opportunity to make a bet on at least one part of the larger theater of the Super Bowl as an American event. Keep in mind that this doesn’t refer specifically or solely to the game itself; the surrounding events and points of fascination attached to the game are also available for betting action. That’s one of the extra hooks which makes betting on the Super Bowl so attractive to a large and wide cross-section of people. Making betting action interesting and a source of kitchen-table or barroom-style debate with your friends and family – something everyone in the room can get in on and discuss with a sense of fund – is part of the lure of sports wagering. In this larger realm, online sportsbooks will unearth ways to make the act of betting accessible and interesting, never boring. That’s how and why bettors of various dispositions and backgrounds, people with many different experiences, keep coming back to bet on some part of the Super Bowl every winter.

When you set up an account at an online sports betting site to make a bet on the Super Bowl, it can be intimidating or foreign at first, with so many different betting propositions and prices to sift through. It’s like going to a buffet restaurant and having 50 different things you can eat. You wouldn’t eat all 50 on the same night. You wouldn’t have enough room in your stomach. However, do you want to eat the three main courses, or do you want to nibble on 10 different things? Betting can be like that sometimes. You might make three big bets that you’re really confident about, or you might make several smaller bets if you are leaning in a direction on a bet but don’t want to commit too much money to any one of them individually. Here is a look at how you can easily read Super Bowl betting lines and the odds on the game which are made available to the general public.


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Understanding NFL Point Spreads

The point spread is probably the most recognized and popular kind of sports wager. When you see or hear analysts or pundits predicting who will win a game, they often ask, “Who will cover?” They might also refer to teams being good “against the spread.” They are referring to the point spread, not to other kinds of bets on individual sports games. Point-spread bets are definitely one of the most popular sports bets made on the Super Bowl every year. In this specific form of a sports bet, the sportsbook sets a number of points one team is expected to win by. When betting on the point spread, you will get a specific set of data points, laid out in a specific way. Below is an example of how this information is presented. Let’s use, as an example, the most recent Super Bowl, which was Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3
Kansas City Chiefs -3

In last February’s Super Bowl, the Chiefs were a 3-point favorite at kickoff time. In discussing this game through the prism of the point spread, here’s how we would present the betting situation: To cover the point spread, the Chiefs needed to win by four points or more. The minus sign next to their listed odds shows that they are deemed the betting favorite by the sportsbook or other betting outlet which is presenting the odds for the public to bet on. The number next to the minus sign is the number of points they must exceed in order to cover the point spread. Winning the game by three points doesn’t cover the spread; it represents a push or tie. The bettor doesn’t win but also doesn’t lose. If the point spread is 3.5 points – the half a point being used to generate more betting action – there is no push, since games are never decided by half-points. For example, if the Chiefs were a 3.5-point favorite and had won the Super Bowl by only three points, they would have failed to cover the spread. If they won by four, they would have successfully covered the spread.

Let’s add more details on the Super Bowl LV spread between the Chiefs and Bucs, with the Chiefs installed as a 3-point favorite: Any bet made on the Chiefs to cover the spread was a losing bet since Kansas City lost that game 31-9. Even if the Bucs won 21-19 instead of 31-9, the Bucs still would have covered. Kansas City needed to win by four or more points to cover the spread. The Chiefs would have needed to win, 35-31, to cover. If Tampa Bay had scored 34 points, the Chiefs would have needed to win 38-34 to cover. If they had won 33-31 or 37-35, they still would not have covered the point spread.

Very simply, if a team favored to win the game loses the game outright, it automatically loses any point-spread bet. That’s the viewpoint from the favored team’s perspective.

Now let’s turn to the perspective of the underdog, the team that is expected to lose the game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were listed as a 3-point underdog in Super Bowl LV this past February. The plus sign next to the Buccaneers’ name shows they are the underdog. Favorites have minus signs, underdogs plus signs. The number next to the plus sign is the amount of points the underdog is receiving in the point spread. Tampa Bay won this game by 22 points, but it would have covered the spread even if it had lost by two points. If it had lost by three points – the actual spread – that would have been a push.

Whereas the team favored to win the game automatically loses the bet if it loses the game outright, the underdog can still win the point spread bet if it loses the game outright. It just has to lose by a smaller amount than the listed point spread. The insight here is that you have to trust that a favored team will win the game when making a bet. You don’t have to trust the underdog to win the game, only that the underdog will make the game close. The standards are different for each team.

Understanding NFL Moneylines

The money line is a simpler kind of bet on a sports game. It is a reductionist bet, meaning that it reduces sports to its basic essence: who wins and who loses. In a moneyline bet, the purpose is to simply pick which team wins the game outright. The margin of victory – the number of points by which a team wins – is thrown out the window here. It doesn’t matter at all. Let’s look at how a moneyline bet might be presented, with the prices attached. We’ll explain these prices and how they work.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +165
Kansas City Chiefs -140

The minus and plus signs identity the more expected outcome and the less expected outcome. Minus signs identify the favored team in a point spread bet. They identify the moneyline favorite, which is the same as saying that one team is expected to win the game outright. However, the signs (plus or minus) in a moneyline bet also indicate the prices involved. It’s a separate, additional meaning.

The Chiefs are listed at -140 odds. This means that to win $100 by betting on them, you – as an online sports bettor – must wager $140 as your stake. Tampa Bay is listed as a betting underdog at +165 odds. So, you could wager $100 as your betting stake to win $165 by betting on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl, which they did. Betting on a moneyline favorite is naturally a lower risk proposition, so the payout you get for winning the bet on a moneyline favorite is naturally lower than it would be if you bet on the moneyline underdog, which is a less likely outcome according to the sportsbook. Betting on a moneyline underdog is obviously a higher risk proposition.

The moneyline bet and the point-spread bet are not the same thing. However, there is a certain degree of correlation between the two. The smaller the point spread, the smaller the payouts for betting on a moneyline underdog. The larger the point spread, the larger the payout for successfully betting on a moneyline underdog.

One of the most famous Super Bowls of all time, also one of the most famous upsets in the history of the Super Bowl, was Super Bowl XXXVI at the end of the 2001 NFL season. The game was played in February of 2002 in New Orleans. The St. Louis Rams were 14-point favorites over the New England Patriots. The moneyline odds for that game aren’t available, but generally, if a team is a 14-point favorite relative to the spread, that team would probably be something like a -1600 moneyline favorite, meaning that you would have had to bet $1,600 on the Rams on the moneyline to win $100.

That doesn’t sound very enticing, but if you were totally convinced – as many people were – that the Rams were an absolute lock to win the game (maybe not by 30 points, but certainly by any margin at all) – you might have felt you would make an easy $100 by betting $1,600. If you had $4,800 to spare, you might have thought you were making an easy $300 on the game.

On the other hand, when a team is a 14-point underdog against the spread, as the Patriots were, that team is often priced around +900 on the moneyline. If you bet $100 on the Patriots to win that game outright, nearly 20 years ago against the Rams, you won $900.

Obviously, that’s a great payday, but you would have had to believe the Patriots had a realistic chance of winning that game. Many people did not. Those who expressed faith in the Patriots made out well. If you bet a much larger sum on the Patriots with the moneyline, you really cleaned up. This does bring up the point that on moneyline bets, betting on underdogs with smaller amounts of money offers an opportunity to grab an unexpected pile of cash. You wouldn’t want to bet a king’s ransom on a big moneyline underdog, but maybe you bet five bucks. If you bet five bucks on the Patriots moneyline in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, you would have won 45 dollars for that very small investment. Not bad. Even if you lost the bet, you would have been out only five bucks. You can make small investments on moneyline underdogs, and they might sometimes pay off. You can’t do the same with the point spread, since the point spread is always measured against the other team. The moneyline is simply about who wins, without connection to the spread. That’s an important difference.

Understanding NFL Totals

The total is separate from the point spread and money line bets. In this kind of bet, you are betting on the full amount of points scored in the game, by both teams combined. It doesn’t matter which team wins the game straight up, and it doesn’t matter what the margin of victory is. It also doesn’t matter which team scores most of the points in a game. One team can score 95 percent of the points and the other team scores five percent of the points. One team can score 51 percent of the points and the other team scores 49 percent. None of that matters. It’s just the final total, period. When betting on the total of a football game, also known as the “Over-Under”, you could very easily see a line such as this one:

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over-Under: 65.5

In this example, the total is 65.5 points. This means that if the Chiefs and Bucs had combined to score 66 points or more in the Super Bowl, the “OVER” bet would have won, relative to the listed total. If the teams had scored 65 points or fewer, the “UNDER” bet would have won, relative to the total. You just have to pick the combined number of points scored which will fall on the right side of the total.

The Bucs beat the Chiefs 31-9 in the Super Bowl, meaning that 40 total points were scored. If you bet the under in that game, you would have easily won – by 25 points – since 65 was the highest possible number of points for a winning under bet. You would have lost by 26 points if you bet the over. You were either expecting both teams to score in the mid-30s, or you were expecting one team to score in the 40s and the other team at least in the high 20s. It doesn’t matter how the two teams arrive at a certain total, but the combined number needs to get there.

There was a game on Sunday between the Los Angeles Rams and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The total was 45 points. The Rams have a talented offense, however. Some people might wonder why the total was that low for a game in which the Rams figured to score a lot of points. The answer was that the Rams’ defense is elite and the Jaguars’ offense is terrible. Sure enough, while the Rams scored 37 points – nearly all of the total – they held the Jaguars to just seven points. The total number of points in the game was 44. The under bet won; the over bet lost. This is because one team scored a lot but gave up hardly anything. Sometimes that’s how a total is won and lost. Other times, two teams both score a lot or a little. Every game is going to be different in its scoring combinations. You need to figure that out and study how both teams are going to interact with each other. It’s not just about one team in isolation.

The Different Types Of Super Bowl Bets

While it’s difficult to cover each unique kind of bet you can make on the Super Bowl, here’s a look at the most popular bets:

Point Spread

As we noted above, the point spread is the betting public’s favorite Super bowl bet. When popular media personalities or cultural figures talk about the Super Bowl or any other big football game, they often ask, “Who will cover the spread?” It’s such an easy way to make conversation with your friends or roommates or your work colleagues.


The money line is a popular bet because it’s so easy. It’s uncomplicated. People just need to pick the actual winner and loser of the game. No margin of victory is involved. Just win. People can relate to that.


The Over-Under, or the total, is betting on the combined score of the teams playing in the Super Bowl. You would want to bet the “OVER” if you think the game will be more explosive and high-scoring than the sportsbook total. You would choose to bet the “UNDER” if you think the game will be a low-scoring slugfest with a score such as 13-10 or 16-13. If you expected the Buccaneers’ defense to dominate the Chiefs’ offense, and you then decided to bet the under in Super Bowl LV, you won easily. The actual total listed just before kickoff time was in the low-to-mid 50s, near 53 or 54 points. The actual total was 40, so that under bet won by nearly two full touchdowns. That’s a pretty comfortable cover. The outcome was sealed well before the final gun.


The futures wager is a sports bet you can make months before the Super Bowl, well before the actual matchup is set. You can bet on which team will win the Super Bowl before the regular season starts in early September. You can bet on to which teams will win the conference championships, AFC and NFC, to get to the Super Bowl. Because a futures bet can be made four or five or however many months before the actual event, you’re taking a much bigger risk than betting on a result one or two weeks before it is set up. Therefore, a winning future bet made far in advance of the event happens will give you a much bigger payout. A Super Bowl future bet made in September will generally pay more than in November, provided that the team you are picking is in a relatively similar position to win. If a team with high odds of winning the Super Bowl in September loses three straight games, you could make futures bet in November with that team’s odds at a much lower point. You could get a much bigger payout if you get a team at its lowest point. Obviously, though, if there’s a team many people don’t expect to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season in September, and you make futures bet at that early point, you will stand to cash in if that team starts the season 7-0. Then it will become a leading favorite in November, and anyone who bets on that team in November will get a far smaller payout. You, by betting on that unlikely Super Bowl team back in September when no one else gave it a chance, could really make bank.

Super Bowl Props

The Super bowl is a one-of-a-kind day for a sporting event because sportsbooks post all sorts of lines beyond the actual winner of the game.

Pre-game Props

You can bet on whether the coin toss before the game is heads or tails. You can bet on how long it will take the singer or musical performer to perform the national anthem. You can bet on whether the TV network – this February, it’s NBC – will show a specific celebrity or public figure on camera.

Halftime Props

Which song will be played last by the halftime musical act? How many songs will be played? These are examples of halftime betting props. You don’t need to know anything about football in this case. This is the broader cultural reach and appeal of the Super Bowl.

Player Props

Player props relate to player-specific statistics and facts in the Super Bowl game. You can bet on the player who will score the first touchdown of the game. You can bet on the number of yards a running back will rush for, or the yards a quarterback will throw for, or the yards a receiver will catch. All that is fair game and in play. Because the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense scored only nine points in this past season’s Super Bowl LV, almost any bet on a Chiefs receiver or running back gaining fewer yards than a given numerical total would have cashed in for you as a winning ticket. There might have been one particular exception – Travis Kelce had a good game as the Chiefs’ tight end – but that was it. No one else performed well. On the other hand, if you bet on Tom Brady to have a good game or the Buccaneers’ running backs to have a good game, you probably made out pretty well with a player prop.

Team Props

Team props give you another way to bet on the Super Bowl without worrying about the final score or the margin of victory. You can bet on how many touchdowns or field goals a team will score, or how many turnovers it will commit if you think a team might struggle and lose. It’s more action and more ways for you to make a bet on the Super Bowl.

Post-game Props

The color of Gatorade in which a coach is bathed by his players after the game ends is one prop. Red, orange, and blue are the most popular colors, but you don’t always know which one. What company will a winning athlete endorse after the game? Disney World is one, Disney Land is another. Maybe a beer company will be part of the postgame commercial activity.

Which player will be named MVP? That’s a bet you can consider. You do have to realize that the overwhelming majority of Super Bowl MVPs come from football’s most important and popular position: quarterback. If you are betting against a quarterback, you are taking a real risk. Be forewarned.

Super Bowl Live Betting

In the modern age, football fans can bet on the Super Bowl during the game. You can follow the action and make new, responsive bets. It’s not a situation where you size up a game before it starts and place a wager. You can see the game for yourself and determine where you think the outcome is headed. You might need only one play of game action to make your choice. You might need five minutes. You might need to see the first quarter of the game and then make a play in the second quarter. You could wait until halftime and make a bet on how many points will be scored in the second half, of what the margin will be solely in the second half.

There is something called “middling.” It’s not an adjective. It’s a verb. You “middle” a game by hitting both sides of a bet. For example, the over-under for Super Bowl LV was 54 points, maybe 53 in some places. At halftime or in the third quarter, the over-under might have dropped to 38. You could have bet the under at the start of the game, which won. You might have bet over 38 midway through the second half. You therefore would have won both an under bet and an over bet. You would have hit the middle on both sides of the number. That’s the kind of thing you can do with live in-game betting.

How to Watch the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl has a few unique elements this year in terms of its television presentation.

Super Bowl LVI will air on NBC and Telemundo on February 13th, 2022.

After that, Super Bowl LVII will be broadcast on FOX in 2023. After that, CBS will air Super Bowl LVIII in 2024.

One twist: Telemundo will air the first major Spanish broadcast of the Super Bowl over United States airwaves.

Another twist for this upcoming Super Bowl in 2022: NBC airs the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. This Super Bowl broadcast will lead directly into Olympic coverage once the game ends, something which has never occurred before in the history of sports television.

Last 10 Super Bowl Champions

  • Super Bowl LV: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Super Bowl LIV: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Super Bowl LIII: New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles
  • Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl L: Denver Broncos
  • Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl XLVIII: Seattle Seahawks
  • Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens
  • Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants

All About the Super Bowl

Nearly every year, around 110 million Americans watch the Super Bowl. There is a rating for each game, meaning the percentage of all households in the country, but also something called a share, meaning the percentage of households actually watching television at any given moment. The Super Bowl with the highest rating is still Super Bowl XVI from 1982 between the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. The rating was 49.1, nearly half of all American households. The share was 73, nearly three-fourths of all American households watching television on the evening of January 24, 1982.

Super Bowl Records

  • Most points by one team: 55, San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXIV in 1990
  • Most Super Bowl wins: 6, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Most Super Bowl wins by one player: 7, Tom Brady, six with the Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Most points in one quarter: 35, Washington Redskins, in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXII in 1988 against the Denver Broncos
  • Most consecutive Super Bowl appearances: 4, by the Buffalo Bills: Super Bowl XXV in January of 1991 through Super Bowl XXVIII in January of 1994
  • Most Super Bowl appearances by one team: 11, by the New England Patriots
  • Most Super Bowl losses: 5, by the Patriots and the Denver Broncos
  • Most Super Bowl losses by one team without winning at least one Super Bowl: 4, by the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills, both 0-4 in Super Bowls
  • Longest Super Bowl drought (years since a first Super Bowl appearance): New York Jets, 53 years – first Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl III (January 1969) and have not returned since
  • Teams which have never made the Super Bowl: Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions; the Lions are the only NFC team which has never made the Super Bowl

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