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How to bet on the Super Bowl

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

January 28th, 2021

The Super Bowl is not only the most watched television broadcast in the U.S. It’s also the largest betting event in America.

To get you ready for the NFL championship on Sunday, Feb. 7 in Tampa, here is everything you need to know about betting on football, particularly on Super Bowl Sunday.

How to read the odds board

It may seem difficult at first glance, but interpreting odds and betting lines is fairly straightforward. If you’re looking to make a bet or two on the Super Bowl, here’s a quick and simple breakdown of how to read the odds board at your favorite sportsbook.

What are the odds?

The odds set by a sportsbook indicate how likely a particular outcome will occur in a specific sporting event. As you can see below, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in the Super Bowl. On the odds board you will find the odds that the Chiefs will win the matchup and the odds that the Buccaneers will win the matchup.

Sun, February 7 2021, 11:30 PM

TB Buccaneers

Moneyline

+143

Spread

+3.5

Total

O 56.5

KC Chiefs

Moneyline

-175

Spread

-3.5

Total

U 56.5

What does the + and - mean?

The minus sign: The minus sign is associated with the favorite to win a match. The larger the number next to the minus sign, the more likely the favorite is to win. In the example above, the Kansas City Chiefs are a -175 favorite to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The plus sign: The plus sign is associated with the underdog in the match. The larger the number next to the plus sign, the less likely the underdog is to win. Betting a heavy underdog can result in a larger payout but also comes with greater risk.

What is the moneyline?

Pick which team you think will win outright.

How much will you win based on the odds?

Betting the underdog: The number next to the plus sign designates how much money you would win if you bet $100. If you were to wager $100 on the Buccaneers as a +143 underdog, and they won outright, you would win an extra $143. That would net you $243 in return.

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Betting the favorite: The number next to the minus sign designates how much money you need to risk in order to win $100. You must bet $175 in order to earn $100 if the Chiefs, the -175 favorite, win outright. You would then net $275 in return.

*Note: You do not have to wager $100 on a match. You are free to go well below or above that number. The odds board simply uses the figure of 100 as a basis for establishing the odds.

What is a push?

In the regular season, an NFL game can end in a tie. If the final score is a tie, the bet is called a push, and you get your bet refunded as a result. Since the playoffs must decide a winner, a push is not possible on a moneyline bet. It can occur with a spread bet or total bet, if the spread or total is set at a whole number (example: -4) instead of a half-number (example: -4.5).

What is the spread?

Spread betting is the most popular type of football bet. A spread, or point spread, is a number set by oddsmakers to even the playing field in a matchup. Oddsmakers will pick one team as the favorite and one team as the underdog, then assign a point value based on how many points the favorite should win by.

The Kansas City Chiefs are favored to win by 3.5 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The minus sign indicates the Chiefs are the favorite, while the plus sign indicates the Buccaneers are the underdog.

Betting Buccaneers to cover: If you bet on Tampa Bay, you win your bet if the Bucs either win the game outright or lose by fewer than 3.5 points. Another way to say you bet on Tampa Bay is to take "Tampa Bay plus the points."

A 34-31 Kansas City victory would win you your bet, because Tampa Bay lost the game, but by less than the 3.5-point margin.

Betting Kansas City to cover: If you bet Kansas City, you win your bet if the Chiefs cover the spread, meaning they win by four points or more.

What is the Over/Under?

In a given matchup, oddsmakers set a predicted total, or the combined final score of a game. Based on the projected total, you can bet whether you believe the combined score will be more or less than the amount set by the sportsbook.

Over 56.5: If you believe Tampa Bay and Kansas City will combine to score more than 56.5 points, you would bet the Over. Let’s say the final score is 34-24. The two scores added together equal 58, which means the total is more than 56.5, so you win your bet.

Under 56.5: If you believe Tampa Bay and Kansas City will combine to score fewer than 56.5 points, you would bet the Under. Let’s say the final score is 34-21. The two scores added together equal 55, which means the total is less than 56.5, so you win your bet.

What is a futures bet?

A futures bet is where you wager on the outcome of an event in the future, such as which team will end up the conference or league champion. In the NFL the most common futures bet is which team will win the Super Bowl.

A futures bet can be made well before the beginning of the season. Once the season is underway, you’ll find the odds on each team change week to week, based on performance and record, so betting on a team with longer odds ahead of the season can provide excellent value if they turn out to perform better than expected.

NFL Championship 2021/2022

Sun, February 6 2022, 5:00 PM

Kansas City Chiefs

+575

Green Bay Packers

+900

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

+1100

Baltimore Ravens

+1200

Buffalo Bills

+1200

San Francisco 49ers

+1500

New Orleans Saints

+1500

Los Angeles Rams

+2000

Seattle Seahawks

+2000

Cleveland Browns

+2200

Although Super Bowl LV has yet to be played, you can already bet on which team will win Super Bowl LVI in 2022 at TwinSpires Sports. The Chiefs are the current favorites at +575. 

What is a prop bet?

A prop bet, short for proposition bet, provides odds on whether a specific event will occur within a game or season. For example, in Super Bowl LV, you can wager on the first team to score or the first team to 20 points.

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What is a parlay?

A parlay bet is made by combining two or more bets into one wager. You can do this by stringing together multiple moneyline, spread, or Over/Under bets on one ticket. You must hit each bet in your parlay in order to win, which makes parlay betting much more difficult than a simple moneyline or spread bet. However, with the higher level of difficulty comes a much higher payout.

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