Super Bowl Totals Betting Trends
Oddsmakers have done a pretty good job of posting totals for the Super Bowl over the years. There have been 52 Super Bowls played up to this point. For some reason there was no total in the first game. Since then the teams have combined to go "over" the total 27 times and "under" 24 times. Considering that books make money most happily when action is balanced, that's a pretty impressive record over that sample size. Within those 51 games, there are surely some interesting, and potentially useful, Super Bowl betting trends to uncover. And we can also look at the matchup this year for trends that can help us.
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The first thing that stands out is our chance for history being made this year. As I write this on the first Tuesday of the two-week wait for the Super Bowl to kick off, the total widely sits at 57.5, with 58 available in a few spots. The highest total we have ever seen in a Super Bowl was two years ago when the Patriots and Falcons went over 57. We also saw 57 when New Orleans and Indianapolis met in Super Bowl XLIV. The teams went under that time. We have a chance at seeing a new high set here. In total we have seen 10 games with totals of 50 or more. Six of them have gone under the total.
While the split between overs and unders has been fairly even overall, things have been a bit more tilted lately. Starting with the San Francisco-Baltimore battle of the Harbaugh brothers, five of the last six Super Bowl games have gone over the total. The only one that didn't was that horribly boring Denver-Carolina mess, which went under by 9.5 points despite having by far the lowest total over this stretch.
Since the Patriots seemingly play in every Super Bowl, it makes sense that we look at their history in the game. In the Brady and Belichick era they have played in eight prior Super Bowl games and have gone over the total four times - including in each of their last three appearances. They have faced totals of 53 or higher three times and have gone over only once. One of the unders was the first time this year's opponents met. The total that year was 53, which was the third highest total ever to that point. The teams went way under as the Rams' vaunted offense didn't show up and New England pulled off the massive upset at 14-point underdogs.
This is obviously the first time the game has been played in Atlanta's shiny new stadium, but it is the third time it has come to the city. In the previous two visits, both games went under the total. The second was when the Rams organization won their first and only Super Bowl over the Titans.
The Rams went under in their two most recent appearances, but they have not pulled off the clean sweep. In their lone prior appearance as the L.A. Rams in Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena, the total was set low at 36 points, and the favored Steelers almost went over single-handedly, winning 31-19 despite L.A.'s massive geographical advantage.
While the recent Super Bowl trends point to an over, the teams aren't necessarily going to do their part. They had the second and fourth best scoring offenses in the league this year and combined to score more than 60 points per game on average. And they have gone over three of four playoff totals to date - only the Rams in New Orleans stayed under. But the Patriots went over the total only five times in 16 regular-season games, including three times in eight games away from Foxboro. And the Rams weren't the consistent over team you might expect given their strong offense and problematic defense, either. They went over in just half of their regular-season games and went under the total in six of eight road games.
This game sets up as a close, hard-fought battle. The spread sits with New England favored by as much as 2.5 points as I write this, so it is reasonable to expect that we won't see a number higher than three by kickoff without some big news. In a lot of cases big totals in the Super Bowl have come with strong favorites. Just twice before have we seen a total over 50 with a spread of three points are fewer. Of note, both also featured New England. Against Atlanta New England was favored by three and went over the 57 total in the crazy comeback. But against the Giants in the second meeting between the teams, New England lost as 2.5-point favorites, and the game went under the 53-point total.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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