The biggest gambling medium in the American sporting calendar for bettors and sportsbooks alike revolves around the Super Bowl betting lines and odds. This once a year national event spawns a whole host of bookies’ markets. There are lines on numerous potential outcomes, writes Marilee.
For Super Bowl 52 in February 2018, the betting lines include the moneyline (outright winner), the points spread (the favorite is given a points handicap) and the total points for the game (PPG, where you choose to go under or over the sportsbooks’ figure). There are many Super Bowl prop bets too, for instance ‘who is leading at half-time’ and MVP (Most Valuable Player) odds as well as lines on the yardage that certain key players will achieve.
These are examples of just a few of the key markets that online sportsbooks are offering. You can link through to the recommended online bookies websites (on the right, or below for mobile users) to see all the opportunities. In fact they are offering these type of NFL betting lines on all American football games throughout the season.
Super Bowl History
Although it is just 52 years young, the prize awarded to the best American football team, known as the Super Bowl or Lombardi Trophy, is the most prestigious of all American sports.
Despite this showpiece sports event being the youngest of the four main US sports (basketball, baseball, football and hockey) championships, it is the most celebrated and its history has become a time honored tradition for generations of the past and certainly those to come in the future.
Before it existed, the best football teams in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) competed for top honors to win the world championship. The competition between these leagues was not unlike many of the other sports at that time, as teams from both sides strove for ultimate success hoping to convince the best players to join their league and their team.
In addition to direct competition between the NFL and AFL, the American football associations also faced competition from Major League Baseball (MLB). At the time, baseball was the true American pastime and with the World Series being the most revered American professional championship, football was virtually powerless to compete. The growth in Super Bowl betting is just one of the many factors that has seen this fixture rise to its current status.
Having already abandoned outright titles in favor of a playoff system, the NFL and AFL collaborated to create the Super Bowl Championship. Both teams continued to play their regular season and then, much like in baseball, the champions of both leagues played each other with a greater emphasis and title on the line. As it turned out the championship game was so successful that in just a few short years, the NFL and AFL merged, paving the way for the new National Football League to become the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Lombardi Trophy
The merger created two rival conferences in the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) in 1970. Before this happened however, three Super Bowl Champions were crowned.
The first Championship was played on January 15, 1967 between the NFC Champion Green Bay Packers and winners of the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs. In what was anything but a closely contested game, the Packers led by head coach Vince Lombardi and quarter back Bart Starr, won SB I. The following year, and as worthy favorites in the Super Bowl betting odds, the Packers again headed by these two Hall of Famers followed up with victory, soundly defeating the Oakland Raiders.
With the success of Lombardi and the Packers, by the time SB III was contested in 1969, the championship trophy had been named the Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl Traditions
Since the early 1980s, this huge spectacle began to take on a new meaning. The game itself had become one of the most watched sporting events in America and had the major networks of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, all competing to air the national event which has become a de facto American holiday. Internationally it has appeal as well. It is second only to soccer’s UEFA Champions League final as the world’s most watched annual sporting event.
As the years went by, the spectacular occasion increased in popularity, so much so that in 2011, SB XLV contested between the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, became the single most watched American television program in history.
Here are some other traditions linked with the Super Bowl:
Half Time Show: As a stand-alone event, this 12-minute performance is one of the most watched events each year in America. Musical acts from nearly every genre have been represented and in some cases, the half-time show has garnered more viewers than the game itself. Formerly consisting of college marching bands, popular artists including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Paul McCartney, Gloria Estefan, U2 and Diana Ross began headlining the show in the 1980s. Lady Gaga took the plaudits in 2017.
Commercials: Because of viewership for this event being so high, airtime for ads and commercials is at a premium. Companies such as Budweiser, Doritos and Pepsi Products have been perennial participants in creating new commercials for the day. Sites such as YouTube also participate, allowing people to rank their favorite commercials.
Gambling: It is a bonanza for the online sportsbooks as they offer their Super Bowl odds and betting lines on a dazzling array of markets. The most simple are the moneyline and the spread. The former is picking the outright victor while the latter gives the favorite a points handicap to even up the odds on the two teams. This is particularly popular with bettors if one team goes in as a red hot favorite against an underdog.
Trends To Influence Your Super Bowl Betting Picks & Predictions
- As of the 2017/18 season, only the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans have never made the big day. An additional nine teams have gone to the game but have yet to win the championship.
- The New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets have each won the only SB that they appeared in.
- From 1991-94, the Buffalo Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls, setting the record. In losing all four, they join the Minnesota Vikings as the only teams to reach and lose all four of their appearances.
- The New England Patriots have appeared in the most finals, nine of them. They won five (including in February 2015 and 2017). The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys have each appeared in eight finals. They faced each other twice with Pittsburgh winners of both. The Steelers are the most successful franchise with six Championships.
- The San Francisco 49ers were the only team to have won every one they have appeared in (5-0 record), that was until 2013 when the Baltimore Ravens defeated them.
- There have only been six times when the same franchises have met with the only back-to-back matchups coming when the Cowboys met and defeated the Bills in 1993-94.
- The NFC leads the overall championships with 26 to the AFC’s 25.
- Quarterbacks have dominated the MVP winning 28 of 51 awards. QBs Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning have all won the MVP twice. QB Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers has three, while Tom Brady tops the list with four.
- Charles Haley (SF/DAL) has the most rings of any player with five. New England Patriots head coach and NY Giants former defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, leads all coaches with seven. (IND/NE) kicker Adam Vinatieri is the only kicker with four rings.
With a relatively short but rich history, this fixture has now become a major global sporting day. It also garners more wagering interest from pro gamblers and once-a-year bettors alike than any other USA sports game. That has given birth to a myriad of Super Bowl betting opportunities from the online sportsbooks. The odds are that this coming year’s Super Bowl 52 clash will be no different.