It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and the Bengals and Rams have just kicked off. The beer is cold, the pizza is hot, and you’ve made all your Super Bowl bets. Nothing more to do than sit back and enjoy the action, right?
Well, unless you want to miss out on all the excitement and extra value of Super Bowl live betting. In-game wagering on the Big Game is massively popular as sportsbooks react and adjust to the second-by-second outcomes on the field.
If you’re new to live betting on Super Bowl odds or a seasoned in-game veteran, here are some possible Super Bowl live betting strategies and scenarios to watch for and how you should treat them in the in-play markets.
Scenario: Slow start
Best live bets
- Rams point spread
If the opening 15 minutes of Super Bowl LVI are a snore-fest, don’t push the panic button. We’ve routinely seen competing teams start slow, as Big Game nerves get the best of them, leading to errant throws or bad drops.
When it comes to the Rams and Bengals, they both run slower offensive paces in the first half of football and could be very much feeling each other out in those first few possessions. No one wants to make the first mistake; teams could focus on careful play calling in the first quarter.
Things historically pick up in the second quarter of the Super Bowl once teams get over those opening frame jitters. Looking back at the past 11 Super Bowl contests, teams have combined for 17 or more points in the second quarter in six of those games, with 24 or more points being scored three times.
If Super Bowl LVI starts with a pop and a fizzle, look to come back on any knee-jerk adjustments to the Over/Under total. Keep an eye on the Rams’ point spread and see if it ticks down to a key number of a field goal.
Scenario: Jalen Ramsey covers Ja’Marr Chase
Best live bets
- Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd Over receptions and TD props
Cincinnati wideout Ja’Marr Chase drawing Rams corner Jalen Ramsey is not a death sentence for your pre-game Chase player props. It shouldn’t keep you away from getting down on any live yardage odds for the Bengals’ top target.
Los Angeles ranks No. 16 in DVOA when defending No. 1 receivers, and we’ve seen rival teams get big days from their best WRs, with eight guys posting 100-plus yard efforts against Los Angeles this season. Mike Evans, Brandon Aiyuk, and Justin Jefferson torched the L.A. coverage most recently. However, Evans is the only rival WR to go for 100 or more yards and score a touchdown all year.
The Rams gave up a mere 17 passing touchdowns (second-fewest) on the season, and just 10 of those were to receivers. Los Angeles ranks No. 9 in Pass Defense DVOA inside the red zone. If its pass rush forces Burrow to hurry up to start the game, Cincy won’t have time to allow those big home run plays for a streaking Chase to develop.
That could lead to more intermediate throws across the middle and exploiting a massive size advantage for the Bengals tall targets like Tee Higgins (6-foot-4) and Tyler Boyd (6-foot-2) inside the red zone. Los Angeles is already thin in the secondary, and Ramsey is the only starter in that unit taller than 6-foot.
Scenario: Rams come out running
Best live bets
- Under live total
- Over Stafford longest reception
- Over Kupp, Beckham longest reception
- Under Bengals team total
- Over Burrow pass attempts
Given that Cincinnati hasn’t been able to slow opposing running backs for the past two months, a run-heavy approach from Los Angeles is a popular narrative.
The Bengals have given up 100 or more yards on the ground to seven of their last eight opponents, with those offenses boasting a 49.2% success rate per rush since Week 12.
McVay has no qualms about going ground-and-pound, and those short, successful gains will keep the clock ticking while parking Cincinnati’s offense on the sideline. That could open the door for a live bet on the Under for Cincy’s team total and give value to the Over for any live Burrow pass attempt markets, as the Bengals will likely need to press with the pass on those limited possessions.
A run-centric start for Los Angeles also revs the engines on McVay’s play-action scheme. It will open up the passing game for a couple of big shots over the top once the Bengals sell out to stop the run. Stafford averages 10.2 yards per play-action attempt and in second halves – when L.A. is usually playing with the lead and running more. His average yards per pass jump to 9.0 (compared to 7.5 YPA in the first half).
Scenario: Bengals quick lead
Best live bets
- Rams moneyline
- Stafford passing props Over
One of the key live betting strategies is to go against anomalies, especially early in the game. Those quirks often correct themselves over the remaining minutes of action – more so if that anomaly occurred due to freak plays like a muffed punt, a special teams play, or unlucky turnover.
Cincinnati is priced at +110 to score first (47.62% probability) and +220 to post a touchdown as the opening score (31.25% probability). We’re trending into the unusual if the Bengals draw first blood with a TD and go up early.
If the Bengals lead early due to strange happenings, look for discounted outright win odds for the Rams. Size up the Over Stafford’s live passing props, as L.A. will likely go pass-heavy to make up ground.
Los Angeles has shown the ability to rally back from early holes, like a 17-7 gap in the NFC title game and a 10-0 hole versus Baltimore in Week 17. Stafford put up 309 passing yards on 35 attempts versus the Ravens and 337 yards on 45 attempts against the Niners.
Scenario: Rams quick lead
Best live bets
- Cam Akers, Sony Michel Over rushing props
- Matthew Stafford Under passing props
- Under live total
As it stands, expect the Rams to be ahead by about a point after the first quarter and hold a three-point lead at the halftime break, according to the derivative spreads.
But given that L.A. has jumped out to at least a seven-point lead in four straight games, it’s not crazy to think Los Angeles holds a bigger edge early into Super Bowl LVI. Of course, re-examine how that lead came about: solid football or strange plays?
Should Los Angeles look legit out of the gate, start thinking about what the rest of the game looks like and how Sean McVay will call plays with the lead. The Rams offensive tempo ticks down significantly when playing with a lead of a touchdown or more, calling a play every 29.38 seconds – more than two seconds longer than their season average of 27.24 second/play. Funny enough, the Bengals’ methodical tempo barely budges regardless of the situation on the scoreboard.
McVay is often criticized for being too conservative with the lead, heavily leaning on the ground game to chew up the clock rather than piling on. We’ve seen that approach come back and bite L.A. in Week 18 and the Divisional Round.
If this scenario plays out early into Super Bowl LVI, look at the Under with the live total and Under on any Stafford passing props, and go in on Over in rushing props for Cam Akers and Sony Michel.
Scenario: Bengals hanging around at halftime
Best live bet
- Cincinnati live moneyline
- Under live total
- Stafford INT props
The Bengals have the resiliency of Rocky Balboa and Michael Myers combined. They showed it in their two wins over Kansas City this season. Most recently, they came back from the dead after a 21-10 halftime hole (which could have been worse if not for a goal line stand before the end of the second quarter).
Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is a master of second-half adjustments. The Bengals lugging an EPA per play of +0.021 in first halves (17th) then tightening the bolts for a metric of -0.048 in the final 30 minutes (7th). In the second half, they’ve outscored their three postseason foes 30-19.
Should Cincy be hanging around by the time Dr. Dre & Co. wrap up and not look completely out matched, start looking at its live moneyline as well as the live total, knowing that the Bengals turn the dial to 11 on defense down the stretch.
A poke at Stafford’s INT props may also be worth a wager, given Cincinnati has sparked those strong second halves with chaos by creating pressure, putting rival QBs on the run, and forcing turnovers from rushed passes. Stafford has just one interception in the playoffs, but we all know how quick he can turn sour.
As mentioned, McVay can get a little too conservative when playing with a cushion and that has led to blown leads in recent outings, like the Divisional Round (27-3) and Week 18 (17-0). Los Angeles’ defense drops from third in EPA allowed in the first half to 13th in the second, with opponents pulling out a 44.9% success rate per play (18th) in those final two quarters.
The Bengals have the home run hitters on offense to sudden surge back if give the shot, so the closer this game gets in the second half the more it favors the steel-jawed Bengals.
How to live bet the Super Bowl
Just like the Boss sang, you can’t start a fire without a spark. If you want to learn how to live bet the Big Game, make sure you have an out that allows that. Depending on where you call home or where you’re watching the Super Bowl, online sports betting may or may not be available (select casinos will take live bets at the counter for special events).
For those lucky enough to have the option, shop around a bit before depositing into a sportsbook and make sure they have the in-game odds you want to bet. Most books will allow visitors to view the available markets without signing up, so browse around between now and kickoff (I wouldn’t wait that long) and see which operators tickle your in-running fancy.
With in-game odds now at your fingertips, how are you going to live bet the heaviest wagered-on single event of the year in North America? We don’t have a crystal ball, so the outcome of Super Bowl LVI is very much unknown, but we do have some pointers for betting football in-running odds specifically.
Look at the key numbers
Key numbers are important when capping pregame odds and are equally as important when betting in-running odds. Due to the scoring system in football, NFL games are more often decided by the same margin of points: three, six, seven, and 10. Betting on and around those key numbers can be the difference, especially when it comes to the Super Bowl—the most scrutinized and drum-tight line of the entire season.
The current Super Bowl LVI spread has the Rams laying four points as favorites — close to the key number of a field goal. But, should the Bengals open scoring with a touchdown, the live spread may swing closer to a pick’em or even Cincinnatti -1. Should the Bengals add another TD to open a 14-0 lead, you may see LA +6.5, +7, or even +7.5, depending on game flow and the clock.
Most books will offer up multiple alternate in-game spreads and totals too, not just serving up one live line, so you can shop a little bit and lay the extra vig (cost of making the bet) to get a better spread around a key number that fits your opinion.
Plus money can be a negative
An important thing to keep in mind when sorting through the tempting Super Bowl live markets: don’t fall in love with plus money. Oftentimes, in-game bettors hunt only for plus-money offerings (bets that return more than your original wager) and ignore what could be great value on a line that you have to lay a little lumber to get. Don’t forget that little “+” is there for a reason.
Slow starts = Over/Under betting value
Before we send you off into the in-game wagering wilderness, I do have one live betting tidbit to share for Super Bowl. Opening quarters have been somewhat uneventful in the Big Game, with the first 15 minutes seeing just 59 total points over the last nine Super Bowls, which is an average of only 6.55 points per first quarter in that span.
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers did hang 10 points on the board in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIV, but there have been goose eggs on the scoreboard in the opening frame of the Super Bowl in three of those previous 10 championship showdowns. Chalk it up to nerves and skill players being a little tight or the defenses just being amped up to hit someone after a two-week break: whatever the cause, it’s been slow going in Super Bowl first quarters.
Given that piece of info, keep an eye on the in-game Over/Under. If the Rams and Bengals come out slow like some previous Big Game contenders, there could be value playing the Over on the adjusted live total (the early Super Bowl total is at 48 points), especially with two explosive offenses that ranked second and third in total passing plays of 20 or more yards and posted scores of 38 and 31 points in their respective conference title games (both going Over the total).
Live betting Super Bowl player props
If you like betting Super Bowl props, make sure your operator of choice offers live markets around player performance. Examples of live player props odds you can live bet on include passing props, touchdown props, receiving props, and rushing props.
How to bet on the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl's popularity is always bringing in new sports bettors. Before you start betting on the Big Game, brush up on how to bet the Super Bowl with our extensive guide.
Where can you live bet the Super Bowl?
Almost all regulated sportsbooks offer live betting options for the Super Bowl. This includes live markets for moneylines, spreads, Over/Unders and props. If you're looking to make some in-game wagers on Super Bowl 56 make sure you're signed up at the best Super Bowl betting sites.