Due to the legalization and rise of sports betting across America, Super Bowl LVII will likely be the most wagered-on sporting event in U.S. history. Your cousin, neighbor, colleague and heck even your pastor might have some action on the big dance. All that sounds exciting, but it also gives sportsbooks across the country a tremendous chance to cash in on a big payday.
Sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetMGM, Caesars and others are growing exponentially not because their clients are thriving but because they’re making hoards of money off the betting public. Aka – the vast majority of bettors lose more than they win.
My job and the purpose of this piece is to help you navigate all of your options for the championship game so you can come out on top. Below are some of the central tenets I adhere to. Let’s end the season on a high note for your bankroll, shall we?
Avoiding Side, Total Is OK
The sportsbooks know everything you do about the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. That means the Super Bowl lines (currently Eagles -1.5, Total: 50.5) are razor-sharp. Of course, we saw instant line movement when the Chiefs initially came out as favorites. The sharp betting community apparently loved the value they were getting on Philadelphia, shifting the line from Chiefs -2 to Eagles -2 in minutes.
It’s unlikely the sportsbooks will move this line to +3 on either side, so this line is virtually a pick-em. Besides the lack of value that gives bettors, the line also reveals this should be a close game. If you pick a side, you’re probably better off just picking that side to win. If you don’t know which side you like best, maybe stick to some consistent narratives we’ve seen all season from these two teams and bet on that. A few examples could be:
- Eagles first half -0.5 (+100) – Philadelphia leads the NFL in first-half points, averaging 18.2 this season
- Patrick Mahomes over 289.5 passing yards (-115) – Kansas City is the most explosive offense in the NFL, and it led the league in yards per pass, averaging 7.7 this season
The total is just as tricky. The Eagles and Chiefs are a strength-versus-strength matchup in many ways. The Chiefs’ No. 1 passing offense meets the Eagles’ No. 1 passing defense. On the other side an inexperienced but hyper-talented Eagles’ offense will clash with an experienced, underestimated Chiefs’ defense.
Historically, betting the under on totals of 50 points or more is 9-3 against the spread (ATS) in the Super Bowl, and I’m inclined to take the under because of how much pressure will be on both offenses. Yet, the total continues to tick up (it opened at 49.5, and now it’s up to 50.5 at most sportsbooks), meaning that sharps like the game to go over.
Some Trends Matter; Most Are Irrelevant.
On many sports betting websites, you’ll read articles during the next two weeks on Super Bowl trends. Many websites will consider these trends integral data on how you should wager on the big game. If I were you, I’d ignore most of it.
While historical performance in a game as massive as the Super Bowl holds some value, it’s never an indicator of future results. Does history repeat itself? Sure, sometimes it does. But in most contexts, the modern-day NFL product is tough to compare to any time before the last 10-15 years. Scoring is higher, there’s more parity, there are more rules that help out quarterbacks and offenses and advanced analytics are used by coaches and players alike.
Here are some recent trends I consider essential to know. There aren’t many:
- Underdogs are 10-5 ATS the last 15 Super Bowls.
- Among the 10 underdogs to cover, nine won straight up.
- Super Bowls often start slow; the last 15 games averaged only 8.6 points in the first quarter. the first-quarter total for Super Bowl LVII is 9.5. It’s also worth noting the last three Super Bowls all resulted in 10 points scored in the first quarter
- Six straight Eagles playoff games have gone under the total.
- If the line stays the same (PHI -1.5), that will break Kansas City’s NFL record of 15 straight postseason games as the betting favorite.
Avoid 50/50 Bets
Betting is all about probabilities and gaining an edge. Bets that are 50/50 coin flips mean you and the sportsbooks share equal probabilities, which isn’t ideal, and you’ll often need to pay a price even though it’s a 50/50 bet.
For example, on FanDuel, the coin toss winner and coin toss result (heads or tails) are listed at -104, meaning you’d have to pay $104 for every $100 you want to win. Does that make sense on a 50/50 wager? No, it does not; it immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Avoid these at all costs.
Avoid Outlandish Bets
Then, you have your novelty bets. I know they’re fun, and hey – who am I to tell you what to bet or how much to bet? You work hard for your money, and maybe you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, so I get you want to make it fun. However, as a professional sports bettor, I suggest using maximum caution on these bets. Below are some wagers I would personally avoid:
- Coin toss result
- National anthem length
- Gatorade color
- Rihanna’s outfit or hair color
- Number of beers or hotdogs sold (yes, this is a real bet)
- Who will be shown first bets (example: Travis Kelce is -210 to be shown first during America the Beautiful, which is interesting)
- Bets on commercials
I think you get the point. Of course, if you have some rare insider information about any novelty bet and you feel great about your odds (i.e., you’re not paying an inflated price), by all means, place your wager. For the most part, avoiding bets like the ones above will result in more cash in your wallet at the end of the game.
Bet ‘Overs’ on Player Props Early
Some sportsbooks are starting to offer higher limits on prop bets (FanDuel), but most won’t let you bet too much money in the prop market. In fact, most sportsbooks outsource data companies to create prop lines, so they don’t carry a vested interest in getting the numbers as accurate as they do with the actual betting line. Because of these realities, sharp bettors rarely care and rarely affect the prop marketplace.
That means it’s the one area public bettors can affect. Public bettors, as most of us know, love betting the over on pretty much everything. Passing yards, rushing yards, points, catches, touchdowns, you name it.
Since that’s the case, if you like any over-bets in the Super Bowl, I would place your wagers now. The line itself and the price you’ll have to pay to bet the over will only rise, giving you less of an edge and less value as we get closer to kickoff. Contrarily, if you like unders, I would wait. Betting on them right before the game starts is the best methodology.
Consider Factors Beyond Traditional Data
Unfortunately, because sports betting is such a young industry, all we hear on betting shows are regurgitated data points on both teams. While that can be useful, it’s hardly original or constructive for a game with the magnitude the Super Bowl carries. The Super Bowl is a giant stage and not all professional football players handle it the same way. For events like this, I’d rather evaluate intangible factors. Below are some examples:
- Super Bowl experience: Super Bowl LVII will be Andy Reid’s fourth appearance as a head coach. This is Mahomes’ third appearance. Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts have never been to a Super Bowl.
- The last time the Chiefs were in the Super Bowl, they got spanked by Tampa Bay two years ago. Mahomes has been seeking revenge ever since.
- The last time the Chiefs won a Super Bowl, Mahomes led his team to 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the San Francisco 49ers.
- With a win, Hurts would join an impressive group of quarterbacks who won their first Super Bowl at a young age. Currently, the youngest Super Bowl-winning QBs include:
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, Super Bowl 40: 23 years, 11 months, three days
- Mahomes, Chiefs, Super Bowl 54: 24 years, four months, 16 days
- Tom Brady, Patriots, Super Bowl 36: 24 years, six months
- Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Super Bowl 48: 25 years, two months, four days