Want to know how to bet on the Super Bowl in 2022? Here’s what you need to know first:
The Super Bowl is the final game of the NFL season, a championship game played between the winners of the two NFL Conference Championships. Played on the first Sunday of February, the game rewards its winner with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and years’ worth of bragging rights.
The Super Bowl is a massive sports entertainment event, watched by 100 million people worldwide. It’s such a big deal that the commercials airing during the game are considered must-see television. To many, the Super Bowl halftime show is as big a deal as the game on the field, featuring A-list celebs and musicians performing one-off concerts full of spectacle.
The American Gaming Association says millions of people bet a total of about $4 billion each year on the NFL’s big game. That makes Super Bowl Sunday by far the biggest single-day handle for sportsbooks. When you consider how much informal betting also takes place, it’s clear that betting on the Super Bowl is a big deal.
Types of Super Bowl Bets
Betting on the Super Bowl is much the same as betting on any NFL game, at least in terms of the types of bets you can place, and the odds offered.
Here’s a breakdown of the four basic types of bets you can place on the Super Bowl:
Money Line Super Bowl Bets
A money line bet is a wager on the overall outcome of the game. It’s the simplest form of football bet, and it’s just as common for the Super Bowl as for any other pro football game.
Placing a money line bet means backing the team you think will win. There’s no concern about the margin of victory or any other factor – if you bet on the team that wins, you win.
A Super Bowl money line looks like this:
Kansas City -170
San Francisco +145
In this scenario, Kansas City is the favorite. We know that because they’re listed with minus odds – see the “-” sign next to the team’s number? That means San Francisco is the underdog – indicated by the “+” sign next to their number.
What do those numbers mean? It means a winning bet on the Chiefs will pay out $1.00 for every $1.70 wagered. If you back the 49ers, and they pull off the upset, the book will pay you $1.45 for every $1 you bet.
The downside of the money line is that a bet on the favorite isn’t very lucrative, and a bet on the underdog is unprotected by a point spread or other margin of victory requirement. In baseball, the run line allows an underdog to lose by a run and still payout. There’s no such mechanism in pro football’s money line.
Point Spread Super Bowl Bets
Bettors sometimes prefer betting for or against a point spread. A point spread is a required margin of victory for the favorite paired with an allowable margin of loss for the underdog. Put simply, the point spread sets a number that the favorite must win by. That number also allows a bet on an underdog to pay out even if the dog doesn’t win outright.
Here’s an example of a point spread for the game I used earlier to describe money lines:
Kansas City -6.5 (-110)
San Francisco +6.5 (-110)
In this example, a bet on the Chiefs only pays out if Kansas City wins by a touchdown or more. Likewise, a bet on the 49ers pays out so long as they win outright or lose by less than a touchdown. Both teams are getting -110 odds, meaning that winning bets pay out $1 for every $1.10 wagered.
Game Totals (Over/Under) Super Bowl Bets
Another popular way to bet on the Super Bowl is the game total, known as an over/under bet.
The game total is the combined point totals of both teams. If Team A scores 20 points and Team B scores 24 points, the game total is 44. Books set a game total and open bets on either side of it. If you think the game will result in more points, you bet the over. Otherwise, you bet the under.
Here’s an example of a game total using our game from above:
Kansas City O47.5
San Francisco U47.5
Here, you’re not backing either team. The books list the odds that way out of convenience. All you’re betting on is the combined point total.
Super Bowl Prop Bets
This is a huge category of Super Bowl bets. Props, short for propositions, are in-game scenarios that cover just about every part of the game. Prop bets exist for the singing of the National Anthem, the result of the pre-game coin flip, and all sorts of other crazy things.
These bets are big during the Super Bowl because most of the sports world is watching the same broadcast – and also due to the degenerate nature of most gamblers. People get itchy to bet, and sportsbooks take advantage by offering lots of different props.
A popular prop bet can stand in here for an example: “What color will the Gatorade poured on the winning coach be?” The colors are each given a different set of plus-odds, influenced by recent Super Bowl Gatorade pouring events.
It sounds insane, but if you can control your spending and dip your toe in just a little, you’ll see that prop bets are a lot of fun.
Casual Super Bowl Bets
The Super Bowl Party is a major tradition in American households. Some people attend multiple Super Bowl parties – one for the husband’s job, one for the wife’s job, and one for the neighborhood. Any time people get together to watch a big sporting event, casual betting is bound to take place.
The most popular form of casual Super Bowl bet is Super Bowl Squares. Betting takes place on a 10 x 10 grid, with the x-axis featuring one team and the y axis featuring the other. Each row and column stand-in for the numbers 0-9. The 100 spaces made by this grid are sold for a predetermined amount (usually $10 or $20 each. Wins are based on the final digit of each team’s score at the end of each quarter. The money paid in is paid out in equal amounts at the end of each quarter.
For lots of football fans, Super Bowl Squares are as much a part of the game as the famous halftime show or the chips-and-dips spread. Other forms of informal Super Bowl betting no doubt take place, including basic straight-up wagers on the outcome, but Squares is by far the most common casual bet played on the first Sunday in February.
Super Bowl Betting Trends
Here are some interesting Super Bowl trends to consider when placing your bets on the big day:
- The AFC is the dominant conference of late, winning six of the last seven Super Bowls, and covering the spread five of those times.
- We haven’t had a repeat champion in 17 years. The modern league is too balanced to allow for the type of back-to-back performance required of a Super Bowl champion.
- Favorites are 27-25-2 in the Super Bowl, a pathetic .500 performance that might have more to do with the inaccuracies of older betting markets than any recent phenomena.
- Game totals have gone exactly 50% over and 50% under. There’s not really a trend to be mined there, except for the fact that the last three games have gone under.
- Wide receivers and running backs have scored the first TD in the Super Bowl 43 times. No other position even comes close. A bet on a WR or RB to score the first six points is a safe bet.
- For what it’s worth, the Gatorade thrown on the winning coach has been orange 7 times out of the last 12 Super Bowls. That’s a heck of a winning trend. The second-most-common color is blue, followed by clear.
Conclusion – How to Bet on the Super Bowl
Millions of Americans have new legal access to sports betting. In states like Iowa and Indiana, bettors can place legal bets on the Super Bowl online, on their phones, or in person. You don’t have to be a market analyst to predict a huge boom in Super Bowl betting as people in new betting markets try their hand at picking a winner.
Betting on the Super Bowl is different from betting on a typical regular-season NFL game. The stakes are incredibly high, the eyes of the sports media world are focused on just two teams, and public interest in Super Bowl bets fills up the betting shops starting in late January. If you understand the type of bet you’re making, and how that bet is affected by all the Super Bowl fanfare, wagering on the big game can be an exciting way to wrap up a season of pro football betting.