Betting on the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is by far the largest betting event for sportsbooks. Nevada casinos book over $100 million in wagers on the Super Bowl. Offshore sportsbooks and local bookies take in about 100 times that action combined. This is after the hundreds of millions of dollars wagered on playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl, and the billions bet during the regular season.

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Betting on the Super Bowl Outcome

The most popular way to bet the Super Bowl is by picking the point spread. One team will lay points, while the other team receives points. This is one of the most popular ways to bet the NFL. The favorite gives points up to the underdog. For example, Super Bowl 48 saw the Denver Broncos -2.5 versus the Seattle Seahawks. A bettor backing the Broncos would need the team to win by three or more points to cash his ticket. The Seahawks bettor wins by losing by two or fewer points or winning the game outright.

As we saw in Super Bowl 48, the underdog Seahawks won in a blowout so those tickets cashed. The Broncos tickets became souvenirs.

Another way to bet the outcome is by taking the moneyline. This wager disregards the point spread. It is based solely on the team that wins. In Super Bowl 48, the Broncos were -160. This meant that for every $100 a Broncos backer wanted to win, he needed to lay $160. The Seahawks were +140. A Seahawks bettor won $140 for every $100 wagered.

Alternative Point Spreads

The Super Bowl offers alternative point spreads. These differ from the published one because the line moves past important numbers. The further a point spread is from the published one, the more it pays on the underdog, and the more money a backer of the favorite must lay. Alternative point spreads will typically be based on the numbers of 3.5, 7.5, and 14.5.


If you have a crystal ball, the exactas are for you. These bets allow you to predict the exact number of points a team will win by. Other exacta bets include predicting the exact number of points a team will score, or the actual final score of the game.

Super Bowl Totals

Some bettors feel that a football game may be low or high scoring. These bettors make a wager on the total, also referred to as the over/under. The total in Super Bowl 48 was 47. The Seahawks almost scored that without any help from the Broncos, pushing the total over the published total.

Offense Super Bowl Prop Bets

There are several ways to bet on offenses during the Super Bowl. One way is to wager on the number of passing or rushing yards gained by a team. These may be combined for a total yards wager. Rushing and touchdown passes may also be wagered. Individual bets on rushers, passers, and touchdowns scored are also available. Another offensive prop bet is which player scores the first touchdown.

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Field goals are another offensive prop bet available. This can be an over/under on the longest field goal, or the number kicked by one or both teams.

Defensive Prop Bets

Defensive prop bets include whether a safety is scored, the number of interceptions, which player will have the most tackles, or the number of sacks recorded by a team. There are also bets that include whether there are any fumbles lost. You can bet the number of passing or rushing yards given up by a team, or combine them for total yards gained against a defense.

Long shot bets include whether the first score of the game is a safety or whether a defensive player wins Super Bowl MVP.

Exotic Super Bowl Prop Bets

Offshore sportsbooks have an advantage over ones in Nevada. These sports betting sites can offer wagers on exotic entertainment bets. These include how long the National Anthem takes to sing, what songs the halftime performer sings, the number of times an announcer says certain phrases, the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach, and who the Super Bowl MVP thanks first.

This is because Nevada sports books require an official record for wagers to win. These typically come from the Associated Press. The AP cannot verify if the Gatorade was yellow or orange, nor does it report whether the Super Bowl MVP thanked mom or his coach first. Offshore sportsbooks scour the production to grade these wagered, a luxury not available to Nevada books.

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