The NFL’s Super Bowl is the pinnacle of sports and sports betting in the United States. No annual sporting event in America is bigger and more popular than the Super Bowl. The NFL Championship game, which pits the National Football Conference (NFC) against the American Football Conference (AFC), culminates every year in February.
For the bookmakers, both in Vegas and offshore, the Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year. The game has more action than any other event by a substantial margin. The amount bet continues to rise, despite a slight drop in wagering on Super Bowl 49.
In 2014, Nevada-based sportsbooks took in a record $119 million in wagers and raked in $19.7 in profits — a record. However, while these numbers may seem huge, the amount bet in legal sportsbooks was paltry compared to the amounts wagered offshore.
The American Gaming Association estimated that bettors across the United States wagered a whopping $3.8 billion in 2015 on the Super Bowl in grey markets. This includes offshore bookmakers or street-corner bookies. Of course, this is true for all forms of betting in the United States but is perfectly illustrated by Super Bowl wagering. Don’t forget, foreign markets also wager heavily on American football. The single game alone is a billion-dollar betting industry.
The Super Bowl brings people out who haven’t placed a bet all year, and you can bet (no pun intended) that every recreational sports bettor has some sort of a wager on the game, even if they have no idea how to bet on NFL.
History of the Super Bowl
As an event, the Super Bowl goes back to 1967. However, the NFL is a bit older. The league was initially formed in 1920 and was called the American Professional Football Association (APFA).
The Steelers currently lead the league with six Super Bowl titles. The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are close behind, with five titles each. There had been several different titles before the Super Bowl was introduced in the 1960s, however. The Green Bay Packers are tops in the NFL history books, boasting a whopping 13 NFL Championships, including four Super Bowls.
Super Bowl Betting
The Super Bowl is also one of the most profitable times of year for sports betting sites. The number of markets for the game is huge. Aside from traditional point spread, total and moneyline betting, some sportsbooks offer literally provide a thousand or more proposition wagers. Live betting or in-play betting markets are also in full swing.
Exotic bets aren’t just focused on the game, either. Sure, there’s going to be a ton of team and player propositions, certainly more than any other game of the year. But some of the bets available on the Super Bowl are downright hilarious.
There are numerous markets on the halftime show every year, the length of the National Anthem before the game, or which color hoodie or shirt a coach might wear. These markets just scratch the surface. There’s no limit to the wagers the oddsmakers come up with at Super Bowl time.
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Nearly everyone who has a slight interest in gambling puts in a Super Bowl bet, but is the big game a good spot to place a large wager? That depends. Value can be found in any betting market depending on line movement and odds shopping, and we put the hours in bring you our top free tips. But remember: the oddsmakers can’t afford to make a mistake when it comes to the most-wagered game of the year.
The Super Bowl is the sharpest betting market bettors will see all year. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet on the game, but you certainly shouldn’t wager on the game for a significant amount of money simply because it’s the culmination of the NFL season.
Consider a random Thursday Night Football game, where you take a look at the game, line shop and find no edge. You wouldn’t bet on the game, just because it was the only game that night. The same logic should be used for the Super Bowl.
Placing a small wager for the enjoyment of the game makes perfect sense. But if you’re not a fan of the available markets, you shouldn’t feel pressured to place a wager. That said, there are certainly profitable markets when it comes to the title game.
Super Bowl sides and totals will be affected by public betting patterns more than most markets because of a large number of recreational or “square” action that comes in (compared to normal contests).
Like most NFL games, sharp bettors move the line early. The public moves the lines later in the week. Professional-level bettors bet much sooner while recreational gamblers often wait until the day of the game to place a bet – or, in some cases, minutes before the event.
It’s tough to predict line movement, but if you like the early number and are afraid of line movement going the other way, go ahead and bet the early. If you anticipate the public moving the odds in your favor, it may be best to wait. Remember, the Super Bowl happens two weeks after the Conference Championship weekend concludes, so the timetable for the market to mature is a bit longer.
Super Bowl lines may not move much because the oddsmakers are very careful about their opening number. They don’t want to give “steam” bettors a chance to catch them off guard on such a highly wagered event.
Bettors will usually find more value in player and team props, which is often the case in the regular season as well. These bets are amplified for the Super Bowl. While their betting limits are much lower than sides and totals, they’re created for recreational action and aren’t monitored closely by the sportsbooks.
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