The Super Bowl was not always a sold-out event. In fact, not every Super Bowl has been played to decide the NFL title.
The “greatest show on Earth” began in 1967 as an exhibition between the National Football League and the American Football League. The Super Bowl was considered less important than the NFL Championship Game.
Things changed after the AFL’s New York Jets upset the NFL’s Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The gala grew in stature in the ‘70s as the leagues merged to form the modern NFC and AFC. Soon, the Super Bowl would become the most-watched American TV broadcast on an annual basis.
Americans wagered nearly 5 billion dollars on the Super Bowl in 2018. If you’re thinking about placing a bet, check out this list of the best Super Bowl betting sites at which to get in on the action.
Our List of the Best Betting Sites for 2018
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Identifying the Most Legitimate Super Bowl Betting Sites
LegitGamblingSites.com is stringent when determining the legitimacy of NFL betting sites. Our first step is to investigate a sportsbook’s history and its reputation among bettors. If the site is found to be scrimping on payoffs, delaying account actions, or cheating its customers in any way, it’s not welcome here.
We take pride in finding Super Bowl betting sites that offer great customer support around the clock. Super Bowl odds can change in a hurry, so being connected to your bookie 24/7 is of utmost importance when betting on the biggest kickoff in football.
Here are a few other factors to consider when choosing the best Super Bowl betting site for you.
History and Reputation of a Sportsbook
LegitGamblingSites.com looks into every site’s history and reputation to ensure that gamblers will find Super Bowl betting sites they can trust to pay out on won wagers.
Super Bowl Betting Sites: Safety and Legitimacy
A legitimate and up-to-date license is the first ingredient any sportsbook needs to establish trust with the sports gambler. Don’t place bets at any site until you’re sure it’s licensed.
Finding the Best Odds
Players with busy schedules should look for a site that keeps the lines steady instead of changing odds often to reflect the betting action. If variety is your bag, a sportsbook that posts dozens of NFL betting markets for every game is a major plus.
Some Super Bowl betting sites offer a smaller-than-usual percentage taken by the sportsbook. Those betting sites are known as ”reduced juice” sites. Reduced juice does tend to keep a gambler’s account fatter over time. However, sites that offer reduced juice tend to be much stricter about withdrawals.
Sportsbook Bonuses and Rewards
Rewards can include free-play credits and merchandise offers and VIP access to swanky parties. Don’t expect these rewards if you’re wagering nickels and dimes. Only high-rollers tend to get the truly luxurious perks from the house.
Ways to Bet on the Super Bowl
Super Bowl betting sites count on low-information sports bettors making mistakes. First-time gamblers make up a large chunk of Super Bowl betting action.
Don’t get duped! Here’s a guide to the different types of Super Bowl bets found on the internet. Choose how to bet on the Super Bowl in a way that suits your lifestyle and goals.
One of the most common types of Super Bowl betting is the moneyline, which asks the bettor to choose which team will win the game by any final score. Moneylines are given in fractions relating to $100. A “+” symbol indicates an underdog, while a “-” denotes the favorite.
A line of (+200) means that the gambler will receive $200 on a winning $100 wager, while a (-200) moneyline means that the bettor must wager $200 to potentially win $100.
All Super Bowl betting sites offer moneyline betting, and it’s a good place to start out if you’re new to betting on sports. Learn more about this type of betting by following the link below.
Picking “against the spread” means choosing a team to prevail on a plus/minus handicap with points spotted to the underdog. Favorites must win by more than the spread to win for bettors who picked them. Underdogs must either win the game or lose by less than the spread.
Spread Betting on the Super Bowl takes essentially the same strategy as betting on any other NFL game, so utilizing our NFL point spread betting guide will provide everything you need to get started on placing your first spread bet on this year’s Super Bowl.
Over/Under Point Totals
The Over/Under, or O/U, asks the bettor to pick whether the final point tally will exceed an O/U line set by the sportsbook. If the point total of the game and the O/U line are equal, the wager is a push.
If Super Bowl betting sites expect to make a profit, they’ll need an equal amount of money wagered on both teams. To accomplish this, they’ll adjust the O/U line as needed to encourage betting on the team less wagered on.
To learn more about NFL spread betting, read our dedicated article below.
Super Bowl Proposition Bets
Super Bowl proposition bets are made on specific happenings or statistical feats that could occur during the event. Props can be anything from the number of TD passes thrown by Tom Brady to the brand of guitar used by a musician at halftime.
The sheer randomness of some prop bets between sites is just staggering. One Super Bowl betting site may offer a few, while another could offer dozens. It may seem like there’s not much you can do to predict these types of bets but having a thorough understanding of them is still a must.
Interesting and Funny Prop Bets at the Super Bowl
Prop bets are usually simple and serious, such as, “Will Todd Gurley rush for 100 yards on Sunday?” But some Super Bowl betting sites like to get creative with their props for a major-scale event.
Here are just a few silly Super Bowl props from recent years.
- Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first in his post-game interview?
- Options have included Mother, Father, God, Teammates, Head Coach, or None of the Above
- What color of liquid will be poured on the winning head coach?
- Since no pattern of Gatorade flavors has ever been identified, this popular prop market is based in pure chance
- How many times will President Trump tweet during the game?
- As you might have guessed, this Super Bowl prop first surfaced in 2017
- Will a streaker be broadcast during the game?
- Odds on “no” have gotten as short as (-2000) due to broadcasters’ expertise in spotting and eliminating streakers from on-air camera shots before anything so unsightly as a naked prankster ends up on TV
Historic Wins and Great Finishes in the Super Bowl
Quite a few Super Bowls have unfortunately ended in boring blowouts. But the event has had more than its share of heart-stopping finishes and legendary winners. Here are a few classics in chronological order.
Lombardi and the Windsor Knot
As the first Super Bowl approached, the NFL community united to focus on proving its superiority to the upstart AFL. Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers were on a historic run of NFL championships and under no serious threat from the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs, but “The Pope” received telegram after telegram from National Football League representatives demanding a win.
The pressure on the franchise reached a crisis level. After a shaky first half, the Pack struck back and beat the Chiefs 35-10. A still-tense Lombardi tried to undo his tie after the contest, but he had nervously cinched a Windsor knot so tight that he had to cut himself loose.
Technically a blowout, Super Bowl XX is unforgettable thanks to the Chicago Bears of 1985-86. The Monsters of the Midway had a potent offense full of colorful stars like Walter Payton and Willie Gault. But their “46” defense is the memory that endures. The blitzing Chicago defense destroyed the New England Patriots en route to a 46-10 win just days after releasing “Super Bowl Shuffle,” a cocky hip-hop track with performances by over a dozen players.
Joe Cool’s Ultimate Moment
Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl wins in 1982 and 1985. But the coolest moment for “Joe Cool” came in 1989 while trailing the Cincinnati Bengals with moments to go in Super Bowl XXIII. “Look,” he told frowning teammates in the huddle. “Up there in the stands. It’s John Candy!” Players began laughing, and soon Montana hit John Taylor for the winning score.
Davis Demolishes the Packers
Quarterbacks aren’t the only Super Bowl legends. John Elway of the Denver Broncos did not throw a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII. But teammate Terrell Davis was establishing himself as the greatest tailback in franchise history. Davis rushed for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns on 30 carries as Denver beat Brett Favre and the Packers 31-24 to win Super Bowl XXXII.
The Steelers Steal Super Bowl XLIII
The Arizona Cardinals made a strong upset bid for the title in 2008-09. The Big Red had lost several late-season games and were not expected to contend for the NFC Championship. But led by aging QB Kurt Warner, the Cards advanced out of the Wild Card round to face the Pittsburgh Steelers for the NFL title.
Warner hit future HOFer Larry Fitzgerald on a home-run play to put Arizona ahead with 2 minutes left. But Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes in the end zone with :35 left to give Pittsburgh an unlikely 27-23 win and the Lombardi Trophy.
Pete Carroll’s Ultimate Blunder
The Seattle Seahawks were trailing the New England Patriots 28-24 in the closing moments of Super Bowl XLIX. With Russell Wilson lined up next to powerful RB Marshawn Lynch and the ball on the 1 yard line, the Seahawks would surely run up the middle or around end for the winning score. But head coach Pete Carroll foolishly allowed a pass to be thrown instead.
Malcolm Butler intercepted Wilson in one of the most shocking plays in NFL history, and the Patriots won their 4th Super Bowl championship of the new millennium.
Great Upsets in Super Bowl History
The history of the Super Bowl includes many thrilling upsets, which tend to offer excellent payouts on the best Super Bowl betting sites. Here are some of the biggest surprises in Super Bowl history.
Joe Namath’s Guarantee
The Packers won Super Bowl II by a lopsided score over the Oakland Raiders.
Super Bowl III was expected to be yet another blowout, with the NFL’s Baltimore Colts carrying the day over Joe Namath and the New York Jets. But Namath famously guaranteed victory in an interview.
NFL loyalists scoffed, calling the “rock-star” QB crazy and overrated.
But the Jets beat the Colts 16-7, proving Namath right and ushering in a new era of super-competitive Super Bowls.
Brady’s Brazen Debut
The St. Louis Rams roared through the 2001-02 season with a high-powered offense dubbed the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Few handicappers gave AFC champion New England and a young quarterback named Tom Brady much of a chance to beat St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI.
But the Pats punished the Rams’ offense with pocket pressure and fierce tackling, giving Brady the opening he needed. Tom Terrific would lead his first of many Super Bowl-winning drives as the underdog prevailed 20-17.
Parcells Pencils a Masterpiece
Super Bowl XXV was played in the shadow of the first Persian Gulf War. But pundits did not expect much of a war on the field. The dynamic Buffalo Bills entered Tampa Stadium ready to rock against a lunch-bucket New York Giants team coached by Bill Parcells.
Parcells drew up a masterful game plan, slowing down the fast-paced Buffalo offense and giving his Giants a chance in the 4th quarter. Buffalo PK Scott Norwood jerked a last-second field goal attempt wide right to give New York the upset win. The Bills would go on to lose in 4 straight Super Bowls.
Eli’s Electrifying Finish
It was the Patriots’ turn to be upset in February 2008. New England had raced to an 18-0 record and threatened to become the first NFL team in almost 50 years to finish unbeaten. Tom Brady and the Pats led the New York Giants 14-10 with under 3 minutes to play and forced quarterback Eli Manning into a 4th-and-forever dilemma.
The desperate QB threw over the middle into tight coverage, and David Tyree made one of the most spectacular catches in history to convert a 1st down. Manning later hit Plaxico Burress for the winning TD, ruining Brady’s near-perfect season.
Funny Stories from the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is a serious matter. But it’s also ridiculous. The “circus” atmosphere of the game has led to thousands of moments of pure comedy gold. Here’s a small taste of the laughable lore.
Reporters Run Amok
Players on Super Bowl teams have had to handle all kinds of stupid questions from reporters looking desperately for an angle. Doug Williams, the first non-white QB to start in the Super Bowl, was asked, “How long have you been a black quarterback?”
But everyone’s all-time favorite Q&A occurred in the same 1989 press gathering when Broncos defensive lineman Walter Bowyer was asked, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” “A cheese tree,” answered Bowyer.
Hunting for a Fight
Legendary sportswriter Hunter S. Thompson attended a Super Bowl in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, striking up a friendship with football guru Paul Zimmerman. The men were sitting in a biker bar when Thompson whispered, “This place ain’t so tough.”
When a patron overheard him, the author stood up and yelled, “I said this place ain’t so tough!” A fight erupted with Thompson at the center of the brawl. Zimmerman managed to escape out a back door to cries of “Traitor!” from his demented pal.
Can’t Let it Happen
Not all of the hilarity has happened off the field. Dallas Cowboys lineman Leon Lett scooped a loose ball on the turf and ran toward the goal line during the Cowboys’ 52-17 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. But in the bumbling manner that would define his career, the overconfident Lett slowed and trotted gleefully toward the Buffalo end zone. Bills wide receiver Don Beebe ran him down and knocked the ball free for a touchback.
Some Super Bowl Betting Statistics
Some betting statistics are just trivia. Others can help bettors gain perspective about sportsbooks and betting on the Super Bowl. Here are some facts to ponder.
In-person sportsbooks in Nevada placed a record total of $138.48 million in bets for customers before and during Super Bowl LI in 2017.
The dollar figure grows exponentially when under-the-table and online betting are included. The American Gaming Association has estimated citizens of the United States alone gambled upwards of $4.7 billion before and during Super Bowl LII.
There is no worthwhile system for betting the point spread in the Super Bowl, regardless of which Super Bowl betting site you’re utilizing. That’s according to gambling statistician Evan Abrams, who reports that favorites and underdogs are each 25-25-2 ATS after 52 years.
The largest O/U differential in Super Bowl history occurred in Super Bowl XIII, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even the best Super Bowl betting sites felt that a matchup of the “Steel Curtain” vs. “The Doomsday Defense” would yield around 37 points. Instead, the final score was 35-31 as Over bettors enjoyed a payday and a stress-free viewing experience.
The Tom Brady-era Patriots are thought to be nearly unbeatable in the Super Bowl and the NFL playoffs. But the Pats are tied for the worst franchise point-spread record in the event, losing on the spread 5 times. Only the Denver Broncos have matched the number.
5 starting quarterbacks have managed to cover the Super Bowl spread in consecutive years: John Elway and the Broncos, Troy Aikman and the Cowboys, Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers, Bob Griese and the Dolphins, and Bart Starr with Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.
Super Bowl Betting Tips and Strategy
Betting on the Super Bowl is a tradition and a social occasion for many sports bettors. But hey, we’d all like to win some money, too. Feel free to try any of the following tips to try to gain an advantage against the house.
Betting Against the Public
The time-honored tactic of allowing the public to guess wrong, then betting on the changed odds as the event grows closer, is an effective way of winning your Super Bowl bets. It helps that so many gamblers take part on an annual basis. Action is so heavy that the point spread and moneyline can fluctuate wildly as the oddsmakers of various Super Bowl betting sites try to keep bets balanced on both sides.
Super Bowl bettors are almost always fans of the sport. They can get swept up in mistaken mob thinking, such as the flurry of bets on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Most NFL fans felt that the Seahawks read-option offense was a useless gimmick that would fall to the superior passing team. But Russell Wilson and the ‘Hawks had the more physical unit and destroyed the Broncos 43-8, winning money for against-the-public bettors on the moneyline and ATS.
The Giants’ win over the Patriots in 2008 is another example. Despite the Pats struggling to score points in the AFC playoffs, gamblers simply couldn’t get New England’s 18-0 record or the early-season memories of Tom Brady-to-Randy Moss out of their minds. Action leaned toward the Patriots to cover and blow out the O/U. Instead, the Giants won with a patient, conservative game plan and won money for bettors who played the under or picked the upset.
Betting on “Sure Thing” Props
Sportsbooks love to offer Super Bowl props that are novel, interesting, or funny. The very existence of such markets is free publicity for the bookmakers, as reporters are bound to pick up on the crazier props.
But the practice forces a lot of extremely short and long lines on oddsmakers. In 2018, one of the best Super Bowl betting sites at the time offered a prop bet asking gamblers to predict whether Pink (the pop star and pregame national anthem performer) would wear a revealing outfit on the field. The odds were (-400) that she wouldn’t. But “no” was an extremely high-percentage pick since the memory of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” still lingers in Super Bowl producers and entertainers’ minds.
Pink wore a nice classy outfit and won the prop for “no” bettors. They didn’t win much money. But the pick was a virtual lock. Take advantage of such “silly” Super Bowl props on the short side.
Cross-Sport Super Bowl Props
Experts in multiple sports should take advantage of cross-sport Super Bowl props. Such prop markets ask the gambler to pick whether an athlete will out-score or out-statistic a team from another league or competition.
A cross-sport Super Bowl prop might ask, “Will the Boston Celtics score more points on February 7th than Ezekiel Elliott will gain yards in the Super Bowl?” If the Celtics are playing a tough defensive team just as Elliott is set to play in the Super Bowl against an average run defense, then it’s the Cowboy tailback who becomes the actual favorite (regardless of the Vegas odds) to win the prop.
Have a Super Betting Experience
Finally, remember that the Super Bowl is just one game. It’s very difficult to get rich from one bet every 365 days. So while it’s important to make the most informed and low-risk bets available, it’s also crucial to step back and look at the big picture…and your bankroll.
Place a bet that makes the game more fun to watch. Consider laying down small amounts with friends to make one big amount, and spending the winnings (if they come) on a party. Consider passing up that tempting moneyline high-roll and placing a modest bet on the O/U.
Don’t let the stress of making a monster wager ruin your Super Bowl experience. Enjoy the action and the thrill of the gridiron’s greatest game. It only happens once a year!