NFL betting is very popular in the United States. The postseason draws a high number of bets ranging from point spreads to props and everything in between. As history as shown us, the Super Bowl is what pulls in the most wagers. Legal Super Bowl betting includes a spectrum of wagers, including some with incredible payouts. Super Bowl LI set the record for most money bet on the game in multiple Vegas sportsbooks. Some sportsbooks took a huge hit on the live betting front, as the New England Patriots mounted the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. With Super Bowl LII right around the corner, what are the odds we see a similar type of betting coverage?
Let’s recap. Last year, the red-hot Atlanta Falcons won the NFC and a date with the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Despite the Falcons’ high-scoring offense all season long, the Pats were still favored to win by at least 3 points. In most betting scenarios, people do not wager on the favorite and the over, but in this case, many did. It seems that games with stakes as high as the Super Bowl typically lead to this reaction. It is easy to see why people would bank on the Patriots. QB Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick had won 4 Super Bowls together and they looked good that year. However, as most of us know, things did not go according to plan at first.
The Falcons put up 28 points in the first half while the Pats only mustered 3. A 28-3 score at halftime, in the Super Bowl, historically means the game is decided. After the half, New England came out not where they needed to be, but showing signs of life. Once the score moved up to 28-9, the Pats were listed at 16/1 odds of winning the game. For those who picked up this type of bet, the profits were massive. No one would expect a team to bounce back and tie the game and possibly send it into overtime, but that is exactly what happened. Perhaps die-hard New England fans and the most experienced of sports analysts could see it coming, but most had no idea what would happen.
Not only did the Pats coming back lock in winnings with 16/1 payouts, but it also led to several other betting dominos falling. For one, the over bet covered. Overs only hit when there is a blowout or a massive comeback that sends the final score well into double digits. In the case of Super Bowl LI, the latter occurred. A high number of Super Bowl prop bets also hit throughout the duration of the game. Prop bets are based on very specific occurrences. For instance, betting on the Patriots to score a 2-pt conversion, or multiple 2-pt conversions. This would normally not be considered a good bet because the Pariots are rarely behind, and while coach Belichick is known to call aggressive plays once in a while (like going for a 2-pt conversion when already up), he is smart enough to not do so in a Super Bowl. However, the Pats had their backs against the wall in this game, so they had to go for 2 in order to minimize the point differential. So, bettors who wagered on this happening made a pretty penny.
Another instance of prop bets leading to high winnings came with wagering on WR Julian Edelman to throw a pass. Edelman was a QB in college, so his passing game is there. And again, when against the ropes you have to pull every trick out of the book to clamor back. When Edelman threw a pass, that bet hit. This type of scenario also leads to favorable when outcomes on betting the over/under on how many players will attempt a pass.
With Super Bowl LII right around the corner, it is about time we see the outlandish prop bets surfacing. The Patriots are still in the running, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. Out of these teams, the favorites to win are (in order) the Pats, Vikings, Eagles and Jags. If New England does make it, you can bet they will be the favorite again. However, after last year’s game, some will consider betting on the underdog. In the instance of the Vikings making it, they have enough offensive weapons to go at the Patriots’ defense. Edelman is out, so there is no chance of him throwing, but that does not mean the prop bet on how many players throw a pass will be absent.
There will be tons of props. For example, you will see some on the defense and whether or not they convert a touchdown—same for special teams. You could also see one on the over/under for field goals, whether there is a missed field goal, whether one bounces off the post, etc. The prop betting environment is one where anything can happen. It also allows for way more money to be won, because betting on the point spread is not enough (as evidenced by last year’s game). Alternate point spreads are available, but if you want to get into the nitty gritty of the prop betting world, consider trying your hand at some of the more specific bets. The odds help guide your decision, but prop bets are a different type of wager.
Will a team score on their opening drive? Will there be a safety in the first quarter? Will more than 2 players throw a pass? Will there be a fake field goal? Will a team successfully retrieve an onside kick? Will a player get flagged for excessive celebration? These are the types of questions prop bets ask, and the Super Bowl is one of the best places to try and answer them from a financial standpoint.