For better or worse, betting and the Super Bowl have gone hand in hand over the years. While the NFL attempted to distance itself from the gambling industry for decades, the league has started to see the light over the past couple of years. Since the Supreme Court made it legal for states to open and operate their own fully legal gambling markets back in 2018, Roger Goodell and the NFL have done a virtual about-face with regards to betting.
Last year, the NFL saw one of its marquee franchises move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The league was also slated to hold its annual draft in Sin City, only to see it postponed as a result of the unfolding health crisis last April. Instead, the NFL has pledged to bring the draft back to Vegas in 2022.
Of course, the NFL’s reluctance to embrace gambling hasn’t done much to negatively affect the Super Bowl wagering industry over the years. Despite the fact that sports betting hasn’t been legal outside of Nevada for the vast majority of the league’s existence, billions and billions of dollars have been risked on the NFL’s championship game on an annual basis.
At this point, the FIFA World Cup and NCAA’s March Madness are the only singular sporting events that draw nearly as much global interest as the Super Bowl does from a betting perspective.
With more and more states opening up their own regulated gambling industries, it’s safe to assume that we will continue to see records shattered in the future when it comes to the amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl.
How Much Money Is Bet on the Super Bowl Every Year in the US?
The American Gaming Association estimated that a record $6.8 billion would be bet on the Super Bowl 54 in 2020. With hundreds of millions of people tuning into the big game every year, it’s no surprise that the game draws plenty of global betting interest. Over 100 million people in the United States alone watched the Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. Americans wagered an estimated $70 million on Super Bowl 29 back in 1995. Needless to say, interest in betting on all facets of the game has exploded exponentially since then.
A survey from the American Gaming Association released in 2020 showed that about three million more Americans planned to wager on Super Bowl 54 than bet on Super Bowl 53 the previous year. In all, the AGA guessed that about 26 million Americans would have some money riding on the game in some form or fashion.
About four million people placed their bets at a land-based retail sportsbook, which was a jump of about 25% over the total number that did so in 2019.
Another five million people were estimated to have wagered on Super Bowl 54 online, which was a 19% increase over Super Bowl 53. The vast majority of sports bettors place their bets online these days, so those numbers should rise once again ahead of Super Bowl 55. An estimated 16 million Americans placed off-the-books bets with bookies or just casually with friends or family.
The state of New Jersey, which was the first state outside of Nevada to open its own legal sports betting industry, reportedly took over $1 billion worth of bets in the year 2020. New Jersey sportsbooks took over $54 million worth of bets on Super Bowl 54 alone! That number shattered the amount of $34.8 million that was wagered in the Garden State on Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. Expect New Jersey to once again set a new Super Bowl betting record in 2021.
While billions of dollars have been illegally wagered on the Super Bowl in the past, we can expect the number of illegal bets to decrease in the years to come. More and more states offering legal sports wagering options means fewer Americans will have to run afoul of the law if they want to get action on the big game.
Super Bowl Betting Fun Facts
The Super Bowl offers a little something for everybody when it comes to betting. While hardcore football fans may relish the countless opportunities to wager on the game itself, you don’t have to be a devout lover of the game in order to have fun wagering on the festivities. Non-football fans can enjoy any of the various prop bets offered by Super Bowl betting sites and retail sportsbooks alike.
Bettors interested in the game itself may be wondering about how previous Super Bowls looked from a betting perspective before kickoff. What were some of the more noteworthy Super Bowl betting lines in history? We’re glad you asked.
Biggest Super Bowl Point Spread – Super Bowl 29 (18.5 points)
While the Chargers are one of the oldest franchises in the NFL, the team has still yet to enjoy a championship. The Chargers’ franchise has made a grand total of one Super Bowl appearance since its inception in 1960. That came back in 1994, when Stan Humphries, Junior Seau, and Natrone Means led the Bolts into Super Bowl 29 where they would face the mighty San Francisco 49ers.
As you can see, oddsmakers weren’t too keen on the Chargers’ chances in this one. While San Diego was fresh off of an impressive 11-5 season and a win over the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, sportsbooks heavily favored the Niners in the Super Bowl that year.
San Francisco, which had advanced to the NFC Championship Game in five of the six years heading into the 1994 season, was a massive 18.5-point favorite.
Perhaps the spread should’ve been even larger. The Niners stormed their way to an eventual 49-26 win in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls in NFL history. Steve Young won his first Super Bowl MVP trophy in what is still the 49ers’ most recent championship victory.
Smallest Super Bowl Point Spread – Super Bowls 16, 17, 54 (1 point)
While oddsmakers didn’t expect the Chargers to give the Niners much of a fight in Super Bowl 29, there have been three other Super Bowls in history with a point spread of just one. The Miami Dolphins were one-point favorites over Washington back in Super Bowl 16, while the Niners were favored by a point over the Bengals the very next year. Just last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were one-point favorites over the Niners, as well.
The Dolphins were slight favorites in Super Bowl 16 despite entering the game undefeated. The AFC was thought to be the weaker conference back then, so oddsmakers clearly didn’t think Miami was one of the best teams in NFL history at the time. The Dolphins wound up pulling off a 14-7 win in that Super Bowl, however, to complete what is still the only perfect season in the history of the league.
The very next year, the Niners were one-point favorites over the Bengals.
While Cincinnati proved to be a worthy foe, Joe Montana was ultimately able to lead his team to a 26-21 win for the first of his four Super Bowl titles.
If you’re reading this, the chances are pretty good that you remember what happened in Super Bowl 54. The 49ers jumped out to a surprising 20-10 lead entering the fourth quarter, only to see Patrick Mahomes rally his Kansas City Chiefs to a come-from-behind 31-20 victory. San Francisco actually opened this game as the favorite before heavy public betting action on the Chiefs caused oddsmakers to shift the line in favor of Kansas City by the time kickoff rolled around.
Biggest Super Bowl Over/Under – Super Bowl 53 (57.5 points)
We’ll forgive you if you have erased Super Bowl 53 from your memory bank. The game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams was billed as a shootout between a pair of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. What actually transpired was, in fact, quite the opposite.
The Patriots wound up beating the Rams by the measly score of 13-3 in a game that featured 14 times as many punts as touchdowns. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick made history as the only player and head coach to ever win six Super Bowl titles that day, which was really the only memorable note from one of the dullest Super Bowls in recent memory.
Smallest Super Bowl Over/Under – Super Bowls 7, 8, and 14 (33 points)
Offense is king in the NFL these days, but that has not always been the case. Back in the earlier days of the NFL, points came at a premium. Oddsmakers set the over/under at just 33 points ahead of Super Bowls 7, 8, and 14. Nowadays, an over/under of 33 points in an NFL game is completely unheard of.
Miami and Washington combined to score just 21 points in Super Bowl 7. Miami won another Super Bowl the very next year by the score of 24-7 over Minnesota. While that was a higher-scoring affair, the game still wound up coming in under 33 points. Super Bowl 14 between the Steelers and Rams was expected to be a defensive struggle, but the game wound up shooting out. Pittsburgh came away with an easy 31-19 win over LA back in 1980 as the Steelers nearly went over the pregame total by themselves.
Every Super Bowl Betting Line Ever
While every Super Bowl is different, it is still interesting to take a look back at the history of the big game and see how oddsmakers viewed every matchup prior to kickoff. Handicappers aren’t always correct, of course. Of the 54 Super Bowls to this point, the betting underdog has wound up winning the game outright 23 times. Meanwhile, pregame favorites have covered the spread another 28 times.
Below is a look at the result, pregame point spread, and over/under for every single Super Bowl heading into 2021:
Click here to view every betting line in the history of the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 1: Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10 (GB -14, N/A)
Super Bowl 2: Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14 (GB -13.5, 43)
Super Bowl 3: New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 (BAL -18, 40)
Super Bowl 4: Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7 (MIN -12, 39)
Super Bowl 51: New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 (NE -3, 57)
Super Bowl 52: Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33 (NE -4.5, 49)
Super Bowl 53: New England Patriots 13, Los Angeles Rams 3 (NE -2.5, 55.5)
Super Bowl 54: Kansas City Chiefs 31, San Francisco 49ers 20 (KC -1, 53)
Super Bowl 55 Betting Odds
Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: -3.5 (-105) O/U: O 56.5 (-115)
Spread: -3.5 (EVEN) O/U: O 56 (-115)
Spread: -3 (-123) O/U: O 56 (-108)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: +3.5 (-115) O/U: U 56.5 (-105)
Spread: +3.5 (-120) O/U: U 56 (-105)
Spread: +3 (+103) O/U: U 56 (-112)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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