Five Super Bowl betting tips from longtime handicapper
By Danny Sheridan,
An expected $15 billion will be bet illegally worldwide on Super Bowl LVII. More than half the adult population of the United States will have a stake in the Eagles-Chiefs game via U.S. and offshore bookmakers, internet wagers, office pools and person-to-person bets at Super Bowl parties. It is the single biggest sports betting event annually — and there is no close second or third — which is the main reason it is the highest-rated TV show every year.
Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia offer legal sports betting. Three more states are legal, but not operational. Seven states have active legislation and the remaining seven states have no legislation.
Five rules, which have helped me correctly predict 21 of the last 22 Super Bowls versus the spread and 19 of the last 22 Over/Unders, will help you wager correctly and win or save money on Super Bowl LVII:
Rule No. 1: Don’t sweat the spread
Only seven times has the winner of the Super Bowl failed to beat the spread, a record of 46-7-3. That means winning favorites have covered the number or underdogs have won outright at a combined rate of 86.8 percent. So ignore the point spread and wager on which team you think will win the game. One exception came last year when the Rams (-3.5) defeated the Bengals, 23-20. You have to go back to 2009 for the next most recent example, when the Steelers (-7) topped the Cardinals, 27-23.
Points wagering (the combined score) has become the second-most popular Super Bowl wager. When offensively potent teams meet, bet the Under, as they tend to play conservatively, feeling they can score whenever they want. Also, many offensive juggernauts only open up after the teams have felt each other out for a half.
Last year, the Super Bowl featured Matthew Stafford versus Joe Burrow and went under the 48.5 total (23-20). In 2021, Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes (two Hall-of-Fame-bound scoring machines) went under the 56-point total (31-9). A year earlier, the Chiefs and 49ers (who scored 88 and 72 combined points, respectively, in their two playoff games), went under the total of 53 (31-20). In 2019, the total opened at an all-time-high 59 points (closing at game time at 56) and the Patriots and Rams, the two top-scoring teams in the league, scored a combined 16 points.
Conversely, if two dominant defensive giants collide, bet the Over, because the offenses tend to open up. Coaches figure any scoring will help their defense and are less fearful of making mistakes. When these offenses open up, they are more prone to turnovers, which often leads to more scoring. In 2018, Philadelphia and New England, which had dominated their opponents defensively in the playoffs, combined for 74 points (41-33), easily beating the Over (49 points).
If one team is known for its offense and the other team for its defense, I’d recommend attacking your Super Bowl food and drink and passing on wagering on the total.
Do not make any proposition bets. Sportsbooks will put up 400-500 of them. The public generally bets propositions to the Over (quarterback completions, player receiving and rushing yards, fumbles, field goals, etc) and loses doing this almost every year. One of the biggest sportsbooks in Las Vegas and another offshore each reported before the 2022 Super Bowl that they had lost money booking prop bets just twice in 26 years. That tells me it’s not prudent to bet props, and doing so can be hazardous to one’s wealth!
Rule No. 4: Start again at the half
Bookies post a new point spread for the second half. Always bet the team at halftime that you think will beat the original Super Bowl line, as the team that has beaten the opening point spread also has beaten the halftime spread in 26 of the last 29 Super Bowls.
Rule No. 5: Don’t bet teasers
There’s a good reason they are called teasers, as they might look good, but your chances of betting them and making money aren’t good. Also don’t bet parlays, as more than one-third of a bookmaker’s profits come from them. Two-team parlays pay 2.6/1 (true odds are 3/1); three-team parlays pay 5/1 (true odds are 7/1) and four-team parlays pay 10/1 (true odds are 15/1). Hello!
Danny Sheridan has been handicapping football games nationally for 35 years. He provided the sports odds for USA Today for 30 years, and appears regularly on national TV, radio and in newspapers.
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