How to Bet on the Super Bowl

NFL Betting: How to Bet on the Super Bowl

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Everything on Super Bowl Sunday is big–the biggest parties, the highest interest, and the most media attention. And that’s just in the mainstream. So imagine what it is like at the sportsbook, where everything revolves around sports. It is even bigger–the single-most important day at the book and not by a little.

It is the only time where there is only one NFL game being played. It is a full two weeks after the last game. So bookies can give this one game their full attention with lots of time to come up with a long slate of possible wagers. Like all NFL games, you can bet on the side (who will win) or the total (how many points will be scored), but the amount of prop bets are head-spinning.


This is how you bet on all the different types of Super Bowl wagers:

Betting Sides: The most common form of football betting–picking which team will win against the spread. You will see two teams and a point-spread. One team will be (+) and one team will be (-). The team that is (+) is the underdog. They are getting a certain amount of points, which means they can either win the game outright or lose by under that specific amount of points and you win the bet. A (-) team is the favorite. They have to win the game and do so by an amount that exceeds that number. Here is an example:

New England Patriots -13
New York Giants +13

You’re betting against the spread. So if you take New England, they have to win the game by more than 13 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on New York, they can either win the game or lose by under 13 points for you to win the bet. A Patriots win with a margin of victory of 13 points results in a “push,” where all bets are returned.

Maybe you don’t like the point-spread component. No problem. If you want to simply bet on who will win the game outright, you can make what is called a money-line bet. Again, the team with the (+) is the underdog, while the team with a (-) is the favorite. But instead of a point-spread are a set of odds. Here is an example:

New England Patriots (-475)
New York Giants (+350)

The numbers you see on a money-line bet revolve around a $100 bet, though you can bet any amount. New England at -475 means you would need to bet $475 to win $100. New York at +350 means you would win $350 on a $100 winning bet.

Betting Totals: One of the easiest bets to make, where you simply predict if the final combined score of both teams will be over/under the number posted by the book. Here is another example:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts (48.5)

An “under” bet would win if the combined score was under 48 points, with an “over” bet winning if the score is 49 or over.

Prop Bets: This is where it can get a little sticky. Prop bets can be found during the regular season, but it’s usually confined to things like “Which quarterback will throw for the most yards?” In the Super Bowl, there are those type of bets, but a ton of other prop bets–some having to do with football and some not.

There are two types of prop bets in essence–ones that can be handicapped and those that are more of a sheer gamble. Trying to figure which running back will run the for the most yards or how productive a specific offensive player will be can be thoughtfully analyzed.


Bets like “Which player will score first?” are more random events with little if any handicapping involved. Or whether the first score will be a touchdown, field goal, or safety is another wager where you’re really just betting to make the game more interesting. At least it’s football-related and you might have a good hunch on something like “Will there be a special-teams touchdown?”

Then there are things like the over-under on how long it will take to sing the National Anthem that are pure blind gambles–thrill bets. I guess it can be handicapped, but if you’re at home studying the vocal patterns of Christina Aguilera trying to gauge how long it will take her to complete the Star Bangled Banner, then good luck. The limits on such bets are also significantly lower than regular bets.

Be aware of the hidden juice in prop bets. Some are either/or equations–like which of two players will gain the most yards. In those wagers, the juice is easy for you to see. In prop bets with a large field of choices, the juice can be crippling. You will see something like “Who will score the first touchdown?” and there will be like 8 guys at 5-1 or under. You can figure out pretty easily that these are the types of bets the book wants you to make.

Another great Super Bowl betting site that offers tons of wager types (including prop bets) and where your credit card will work is Bovada.

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