The Super Bowl is the most heavily bet single event on the regular sports calendar, with billions of dollars wagered on the annual NFL championship.
That mass appeal draws plenty of new sports bettors, all wondering how to bet on the Super Bowl. We get you started with our Super Bowl betting guide.
How does Super Bowl Betting work?
Oddsmakers set the betting lines for the Super Bowl immediately following the conclusion of the AFC and NFC Championship Games, which is usually two weeks prior to the Super Bowl.
Looking at the betting odds for Super Bowl LV, the Kansas City Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites (-1.5) versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were +3 underdogs.
The moneyline odds – the odds to win the game outright – had Kansas City as a -165 favorite (bet $165 to win $100) and Tampa Bay as a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145).
The Over/Under total for Super Bowl LV was 56 points.
Understanding Super Bowl betting odds
The first Super Bowl betting line oddsmakers will release is the point spread, followed by the moneyline odds and the Over/Under total. Sportsbooks will then add to the Super Bowl betting options during the two-week ramp up to Super Bowl Sunday.
Point spread: Pick who will cover
The point spread is the most popular way to bet on the Super Bowl.
It’s the perceived margin of victory of the game. The favorite is indicated by a negative value (-) in front of the spread and the underdog is indicated by a positive value (+) in front of its spread.
For the favorite to cover the spread, it must win by more than the point spread. And, for the underdog to cover, it must win outright or lose by less than the spread.
For Super Bowl LV, Kansas City was a -3 favorite and Tampa Bay was a +3 underdog. This means that K.C. had to win by four or more points to cover the spread. Tampa Bay could win outright or lose by one or two points to cover the spread. If Kansas City were to win by three, this wager results in a push, and the bet amount is refunded.
Over/Under: Will the combined score go Over or Under the total?
The Over/Under (also referred to as the total) is the projected total number of points scored by both teams. You can wager on whether the final score will go Over or Under that total.
The Over/Under total for Super Bowl LV was set at 56 points. If 57 or more points are scored, the game goes Over; if 55 points or fewer are scored, the game goes Under. If 56 exactly are scored, the game results in a push, and the bet amount is refunded.
Moneyline: Pick who wins the game
The moneyline is the most basic Super Bowl bet you can place: Simply pick the winner of the game.
The moneylines for Super Bowl LV had Kansas City as a -165 favorite, which means for every dollar you wish to win you have to wager $1.65. Tampa Bay was a +145 moneyline underdog which means for every $1 risked, you could win $1.45. Whichever team wins the game outright will be the moneyline winner.
Six other popular Super Bowl bet types
There's more to Super Bowl betting odds than the moneyline, point spread, and Over/Under totals. If you would like to add some fun alternative ways to bet on the Super Bowl, these are some of the most popular
Props: The fun bets!
Super Bowl prop bets are one of the most popular and growing markets when it comes to betting on the Big Game.
Props – also known as proposition bets – can vary in their terms and areas of focus. Props can be for specific team performance, player stats, or events throughout the game. These can be wagered on in Over/Under, Yes/No or head-to-head (involving spreads) options.
With a game this big there are thousands of different prop options to choose from, including which player will win MVP, the length of the national anthem, the coin toss, halftime show, and color of the Gatorade bath given to the winning coach.
Live betting: In-play wagering
Another way to bet on the Super Bowl is in-game wagering.
Most online and mobile sportsbooks will offer live betting odds, which constantly adjust to the action and outcomes that are happening on the field. And, for an event of this magnitude, Super Bowl live betting has a massive menu of in-play odds.
In-game lines will offer adjusted point spreads, moneylines and Over/Under totals as well as in-play prop odds, such as next team to score, next player to score a touchdown, and even the outcome of the next play.
Parlays: More risk, more payout
Betting a Super Bowl parlay is a good way to score a big payday on the Big Game. But be warned: A parlay bet is one of the riskier wagers you can place.
Parlays require you to tie together two or more bets and in return offer a greater possible win if all those bets are correct. The more bets added to the parlay, the greater the potential payout (and also the greater the risk). However, if even one of the bets included in the parlay loses, the entire parlay is graded as a loss.
Super Bowl parlays can include point spreads, moneylines, Over/Under totals, and props. If you parlayed Kansas City -1.5 (-110) and Under 53 (-110) in Super Bowl LIV, a single $10 bet would have won $26.44.
Teasers: Moving numbers in your favor
Much like parlays, teasers require you to tie together two or more bets. However, teasers allow you to move spreads and Over/Unders up and down a set amount of points in your favor – normally six, 6.5, or seven points.
The number of points allotted as well as the number of bets included in the teaser will adjust the possible payout. And just like parlays, all the bets included in the teaser must be correct for it to be graded as a winner.
For example, a 6-point teaser for Super Bowl LV on Kansas City -3 and Under 56 would move those odds to Kansas City +3 and Under 62. A single $10 bet on that teaser (-110) would have paid $9.09.
Derivatives: First quarter, first half, and more
Sportsbooks offer Super Bowl derivative odds on segments of the game – quarters and halves – allowing you to bet spreads, moneylines, over/under totals, and team totals designated to just those segments.
The first-quarter derivative spread for Super Bowl LV is Kansas City -0.5. This means that Kansas City needs to be leading by one or more after the first quarter for this bet to win.
The first-quarter total for Super Bowl LV is 10. This means that 11 or more points need to be scored for the Over to hit; the Under would be the winning wager if nine or fewer points are scored.
Tips to make the best Super Bowl bets
There’s no shortage of information to base your Super Bowl bets on. No game in sports is more dissected and analyzed over the two-week ramp up to Super Sunday, but there are some things you might not know about Super Bowl betting. On top of getting to know the two teams competing for the Lombardi Trophy, make sure to use these tips to make the best Super Bowl bets.
The Super Bowl is unique in that it has two weeks to take action from bettors. Generally, we see the bulk of the line movement in the few hours after the odds are released and in the final 24-48 hours before kickoff — which is when the bulk of the bets are placed. If you’re looking for a certain number to bet, jump in early or look to bet late.
Create a narrative
Depending on how you’re betting the Super Bowl spread and total, you will want to create a narrative for how the game will play out and how you’ll bet on Super Bowl props.
When betting on the team with better defense or the Under, you may want to look to bet on the Over for the number of sacks or interceptions or the Under on the opponents’ offensive props.
If you’re betting the Over, you should back up that prediction with bets on the Over for the number of touchdowns, passing yards, or other positive offensive props.
Look beyond the spread and total
The spread and total are the most popular ways to wager on the Super Bowl. However, if you don’t have a strong opinion on either, there are thousands of other ways to wager on the Big Game. Props, team totals, derivatives, and alternative lines can offer great value and provide just as much profit as the mainstream markets. Don’t limit yourself.
Bet smart, not big
Just because it’s the “Big Game” doesn’t mean you need to bet big. You should have a dedicated bankroll set aside for the Super Bowl and designate your wager size on the odds and props you feel most confident about. Always play within your means, regardless of whether it’s Super Sunday.
Bet at a reputable sportsbook
Where you bet is as important as what you bet. If the Super Bowl is your first time signing up for a sportsbook, be sure to read reviews and ratings for legal options available in your area. Consider payment methods, bonuses, and odds available, but also dig into any issues others have had with those operators and rules around withdrawing winnings.
What can we learn from past Super Bowls?
Football bettors should treat each contest on a game-to-game basis, even a game as big as the Super Bowl. There are, however, some tips and betting trends from past NFL championships that can help point you to profits.
Early action has been right
When oddsmakers set the Super Bowl point spread, bettors should pay close attention to the early opinion and to which team the spread moves in favor of.
The early line movement has predicted the ATS winner in 10 of the last 13 Super Bowls. The spread for Super Bowl LIV opened pick’em and early bets moved the spread to Kansas City -1.5. The Chiefs would win and cover in the Big Game.
Low-scoring first quarters
One of the most profitable Super Bowl betting trends is betting the Under in the first quarter props, team totals and derivative totals. There has been a total of just 89 points scored in the first quarter of the past 13 Super Bowls. That’s an average of only 6.8 points per first quarter. Teams are a little nervous and tight in the opening 15 minutes of the championship game, and that has led to lower-scoring opening frames.
Take the team that scores first
If you’re live betting the Super Bowl or have a solid read on which team will find the scoreboard first, you will want to remember that the team that scores first has won 36 of the past 54 Super Bowls, including winning seven of the last nine.
Super Bowl against the spread trends
Breaking down the basic Super Bowl records, betting favorites are 36-17 straight up and 28-23 against the spread in 54 Super Bowls (two Super Bowls pushed with the closing spread and one closed as a pick’em). Underdogs have covered in 12 of the last 19 Big Games (one pick’em).
Super Bowl betting mistakes
The Super Bowl has plenty of pitfalls for bettors and with a game this big, the losses can get even bigger. If you're looking for more ways to sharpen your skills, don't fall for these Super Bowl betting mistakes.
Betting too big
Perhaps the gravest error you can make when wagering on the Super Bowl is betting too big and beyond your means. Bettors should have a dedicated bankroll and stick to it, avoiding getting in over their heads when it comes to wagering.
Another mistake many bettors make, especially with the endless options of Super Bowl odds, is contradicting your wagers. Someone who places a bet on the Over will want to stick to that narrative and avoid betting on props that would work against the original opinion. If you like a high-scoring game, you don’t want to bet Unders on the quarterbacks’ prop markets.
One crucial no-no that’s not reserved for the Super Bowl but can be exasperated by the Big Game hype is chasing your bets. This pertains to in-game live odds. If your pregame wagers aren’t looking so good, refraining from chasing those potential losses by betting the other side in the in-play markets or throwing cash at random props trying to make that money up. These wild live bets are often made on impulse with little thought or research.
How to place a bet on the Super Bowl
The draw of the Super Bowl has many fans betting on football for the first time. Here’s a step-by-step process for placing a bet on the Super Bowl:
Choose a betting site
Research legal sportsbooks in your area and read reviews and ratings, identify banking methods, as well as the available odds markets for bets you want to place.
Sign up for an account
Once you find the sportsbook that fits those needs, register for an account and deposit money into your sportsbook via one of the banking methods available.
Browse the odds
Once your account is activated and funded, browse through the Super Bowl betting odds and find the bets you want to place.
Place your bets
Add those bets to your bet card and designate the wager type and amount of money risked on each. Double-check that the bets and wager size are correct, then click submit/place a bet.
Review your bets
View your active bets to confirm the bets have been accepted successfully.
Super Bowl betting FAQs
How much money is bet on the Super Bowl?
An estimated $6.8 billion was bet on the Super Bowl in 2020, with only about 2.27 percent of that coming through legal and regulated sportsbooks.
Does Super Bowl handicap betting include overtime?
Yes. Super Bowl and NFL handicap betting does include overtime unless the original bet states otherwise.