NFL Super Bowl Wagering Guide
We have created a visual guide to NFL Super Bowl Wagering. Doc’s Sports will dissect the Super Bowl from every conceivable handicapping angle for the next two weeks leading up to the big game. Click here for Doc’s 2015 Super Bowl betting page.
UNDERSTANDING THE SUPER BOWL LINE
- Gamblers bet a record $119.4 million in Nevada casinos on the 2014 Super Bowl. More than five times that much is believed to be wagered offshore and through illegal means.
- The Super Bowl spread is not a prediction on the actual game. It is an attempt by the books to split the betting 50-50 on each team.
- The team that is favored in the Super Bowl is not necessarily the better team, just the team that the public is most likely to bet on.
- Example: Last year Denver was FAVORED by 2.5 points over Seattle and they lost 43-8.
- The favorite has only won once in the last five Super Bowls.
HISTORICAL SUPER BOWL SPREAD DATA
- Super Bowl favorites have gone 33-15 straight up and 27-18-1 against the spread in the Super Bowl.
- The favorites dominated the first three decades of the Super Bowl. But the underdogs have covered three straight and are 6-1 ATS in the last seven games.
- The underdogs are 10-4-1 ATS since the turn of the century.
- The point spread rarely comes into play in the Super Bowl. The team that wins the game has covered the spread 42 of 48 times (87.5 percent).
- The last time a team won but didn't cover was Super Bowl 43 when Pittsburgh beat Arizona but didn't cover the touchdown closing line.
HOW TO HANDICAP THE GAME
Bet against the public
- The public favorite has only covered three of 13 Super Bowls and all three ATS wins were close. The last blowout by a public favorite was Baltimore in 2001.
- Figure out the most "likely" storylines - who will win MVP, who will have a "big game", which player is in the "key matchup" and bet against them. The oddsmakers know who and what the public wants to bet. The value is going the other way.
Don't get bogged down with stats.
- Everyone has some mathematical formula for handicapping the Super Bowl based on stats. This is a waste of time.
- Focus on fundamental matchups. Examples are if one team can't protect the quarterback and the opponent has a great pass rush or if one team can run the ball well against a team that struggles to stop the run.
- Weight any statistics from the postseason much more than anything from the regular season. How a team is playing right NOW is more important than who they were in the regular season.
Understand Relative Conference Strength.
- Over the past five years the NFC has been vastly superior to the AFC. That's been obvious watching the games but is also proven by the NFC's straight up and against the spread records in interconference play. Not surprisingly the NFC has won four of the last five Super Bowls.
- The AFC was the stronger conference this year in head-to-head play. The AFC went 33-30-1 straight up and 36-28 against the spread against the NFC this year.
Take The More Physical Team.
- The public usually loves the team with the higher scoring offense and the better passing game. But the team with the better running game, better defense, and better offensive line wins the Super Bowl the overwhelming majority of the time.
BETTING THE TOTAL
- The total represents the number of combined points scored by both teams in the Super Bowl.
- The sportsbooks always set the total high because the general public loves to bet this game to go 'over'.
- Three of the last four Super Bowls have played 'over', including each of the last two games.
- There has only been a run of three straight 'overs' in the Super Bowl twice in the 48-year history of the Super Bowl (1985-1987 and 1997-1999).
- The 'over' was the play throughout the 90's and went 9-4 from 1992-2004. However, six of the next eight games went 'under' prior to the last two years.
- Historically the total has been split 24-24 in the 48 Super Bowls.
- This is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable ways to bet on the Super Bowl. It also can be easier to make money on these bets than the spread and total.
- There are hundreds of proposition bets (or "props") on the Super Bowl. Examples are:
- Will the coin toss be heads or tails?
- How long with the national anthem be?
- Who will score the first touchdown?
- Who will be named Super Bowl MVP?
- Be careful not to spread your money around too much on too many props. It is better to pick your favorite 1-4 and go with those.
- Most prop bets have a $500 maximum bet on them
- The bets on individual team or player props offer the best value. Any prop involving more than two potential winners (like "Who will win the MVP") offer poor odds and should be avoided.
MONEY MANAGEMENT AND GENERAL TIPS
- Always wager in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
- Do not "Go Big!" or "Bet It All!" on the Super Bowl. This is stupid and what amateurs do.
- The Super Bowl is just another game. The money you win on the Super Bowl is not worth more than the money you won on a game back in Week 3.
- The Super Bowl is one of the most difficult games to turn a profit on because the odds are generally spot-on.
- Bet what you feel comfortable with and never bet anything that you're not willing to lose.
- Don't brag about your bets during the game. That is very poor form. Win or lose like a man. And always remember that this is supposed to be FUN or its not worth betting at all!