Favorites, Over pay out when Super Bowl spreads get tight
Over the 48-year history of the Super Bowl, the NFL spectacle has seen its share of tight spreads - though few can measure up to the line for Super Bowl XLVIII, which opened pick'em and presently has the AFC Champion Denver Broncos as 2.5-point favorites over the NFC champions from Seattle.
Eleven Super Bowls have gone off with spreads of three points or fewer - and the trend in those games has seen the favorite cover in a low-scoring contest. Here is a list of the previous tight Super Bowl spreads, and how those games turned out:
Super Bowl V - Baltimore (-2.5) vs. Dallas
After four straight matchups featuring heavily favored teams, the first tight Super Bowl spread saw the Baltimore Colts do battle with the Dallas Cowboys in what amounted to a defensive struggle in Miami. The Colts pulled out a 16-13 victory for the narrow cover, while the teams fell a touchdown under the total of 36.
Super Bowl VII - Miami (-1) vs. Washington
Playing in their second consecutive Super Bowl, the Dolphins entered as one-point favorites and pulled out a 14-7 win over the Redskins. It remains the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in league history, and was the fourth of what ended up being seven straight "unders" in the NFL title game.
Super Bowl IX - Pittsburgh (-3) vs. Minnesota
The Steelers were favored by a field goal against the Vikings at New Orleans, and made good with a convincing 16-6 triumph. Despite a record-low-tying O/U of 33, the teams never came close to going over.
Super Bowl XV - Oakland vs. Philadelphia (-3)
The Eagles were modest favorites in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, but were thoroughly outplayed on the way to a 27-10 defeat. Oakland became the first underdog to cover a low spread, while the score fell "under" by a measly half-point.
Super Bowl XVI - San Francisco (-1) vs. Cincinnati
San Francisco was the slightest of favorites against the Bengals in the narrowest spread in Super Bowl history. The game was as competitive as advertised - the 49ers prevailed 26-21 - while the game came oh-so-close to surpassing the O/U of 48.
Super Bowl XVII - Washington vs. Miami (-3)
The Dolphins were considered the slight favorite against the Redskins, but came up woefully short of expectations in a 27-17 loss. Washington easily covered the spread while the game went well over its O/U of 36.5.
Super Bowl XVIII - Los Angeles Raiders vs. Washington (-3)
Washington's return to the big game wasn't nearly as successful as its previous visit. Despite being favored by a field goal, the Redskins were thumped 38-9 in what was, at the time, the biggest blowout between teams with a spread of three points or fewer. The teams nearly hit the O/U of 48 on the number.
Super Bowl XXII - Washington vs. Denver (-3)
The Redskins were once again involved in a tight Super Bowl spread, this time as a three-point underdog to Denver. The Redskins were on the other end of a blowout this time around, trouncing the Broncos 42-10 to cover by a mile and send the game over the O/U of 47.
Super Bowl XXXV - Balitmore (-3) vs. New York Giants
The title game saw 12 straight spreads of 6 1/2 points or more before this one, with the Ravens favored by just a field goal against the Giants. Baltimore stomped New York 34-7 while outscoring the O/U of 33 by itself.
Super Bowl XLV - Green Bay (-3) vs. Pittsburgh
The Steelers found themselves a three-point underdog against the rival Packers. Green Bay prevailed 31-25 in a thriller while producing the highest scoring title game in four years, easily surpassing the O/U of 45.
Super Bowl XLVI - New York Giants vs. New England (-2.5)
In one of the most thrilling finishes in Super Bowl history, the Giants rallied from behind to stun the Patriots 21-17. That allowed the Giants to cover as 2 1/2-point underdogs, though the teams were well shy of the O/U of 53.
Overall totals: Favorite 7-4 ATS; 7-4 O/U