The Super Bowl attracts the largest amount of betting activity in North America on an annual basis, as casual football fans join NFL zealots in an attempt to predict the outcome. Many will look at the history of the Super Bowl to discover clues that might reveal the result of the big game. However, the trends which are most relevant to the outcome of Super Bowl LI revolve around modern outcomes, especially since the beginning of the “Brady-Belichick era”.
Current Super Bowl odds list the New England Patriots as favorites over the Atlanta Falcons by a field goal for the 2017 edition of the big game. Super Bowl LI also features a record-high over/under of 58.5 for totals betting. Before putting money down on the spread and the over/under, make sure you’re aware of these five key Super Bowl betting trends.
1. Super Bowl Underdogs
During the first 30 years of Super Bowl history, favorites had superior results compared to underdogs, winning about two-thirds of all championships. This trends peaked during the 1990s, when seven of ten favorites matched or beat the spread. Over that decade, the average spread was nearly 11 points per game, including five consecutive years with a spread of 10 or above. Eight of ten favorites won outright, including Super Bowl XXX, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17, winning without beating a 14-point spread.
Super Bowl XXXII appeared to be the turning point for the favorites trend. The 1998 edition of the championship game resulted in Elway’s Broncos defeating the Packers, who were 11-point favorites. Since then, underdogs have beaten the spread about two-thirds of the time, including spectacular upsets engineered by Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and other top pivots who step up and deliver during crunch time.
The underdog has won five consecutive Super Bowls outright, with the biggest upset taking place during Super Bowl 50. The Carolina Panthers were five point favorites to win, but the Broncos managed to overcome the odds to get Peyton Manning another ring in the final game of his career. With the exception of Baltimore’s three-point victory over San Francisco during Super Bowl XVLII, the underdogs have won by a margin greater that the spread attributed to the favorite.
2. Super Bowl Totals
Super Bowl I didn’t have a total listed for over/under wagering – this type of bet appeared during the second edition of the championship game. Over won the first totals wager listed by sportsbooks, with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Oakland Raiders 33-14, beating the over/under by four points. The next seven Super Bowls resulted in the under winning, but this trend eventually evened out over time. Currently, the over/under has a record of 25-24, which shows a remarkable consistency compared to how point spreads have trended during the early and modern eras of the Super Bowl.
Three out of the past four years have seen a lot of offensive production in the Super Bowl, as the over has won three times. During the past two decades, the over has won eleven times, mimicking the long-term trend. Compare this to the underdog point spread trend where about two-thirds of favorites used to win, before the trend flipped around 1998.
Given the fact that the totals betting has roughly been a coin flip over Super Bowl history, choosing the over/under is more difficult than it appears, even when both squads are offensive powerhouses.
3. Line Movement
Currently, the lines for Super Bowl LI remain static, with the New England Patriots listed as three point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons. This has remained the projected spread right up until a few days before the kickoff. When you look at historical Super Bowl spreads and moneylines, you’ll notice that some oddsmakers list different pre-game numbers. True – some sportsbooks give slightly better lines than others to draw more customers. However, since most sites rely on similar sources for setting spreads, totals and moneylines, most bettors don’t consider the possibility of line movements. Under the right circumstances, a shift in numbers provides you with a potential opportunity to profit from changes in the Super Bowl betting market.
During the run-up to the Super Bowl, the volume of bets increase dramatically. If punters rush to back one team over another, Vegas lines may be altered to reflect a drastic change in betting pools. Instead of a 3-point spread, if plenty of NFL fans bet on the Patriots, the spread could edge up by half a point. A spread of 3.5 instead of 3 represents a huge difference, because the Patriots would have to win by more than a field goal. This increases the chance that the favorite wins despite losing to the spread, an outcome that’s happened only six times in Super Bowl history.
4. New England Patriots ATS & Over/Under Record
Those who have shown faith in the New England Patriots have been rewarded well this year. This squad has managed to produce a 15-3 record against the spread during the 2016-17 NFL season, including regular season and post season games. Over the last five games, New England has beat the spread and won straight up. Against the Atlanta Falcons, New England has been 4-1 against the spread over their last five meetings.
In terms of totals, the Patriots have a record of 8-9-1 on the under this season, although the total has resulted in an over win in four out of the last six games New England has played. The over has also won four of the last six games between Atlanta and New England.
It should be noted that the Patriots have never beaten the spread as favorites, and three of their four latest Super Bowl wins have been by a single field goal. New England managed a four-point win against the Seattle Seahawks during their last Super Bowl victory, which only happened because of the worst play call in the history of the championship game. The under is 4-2 over the last six Patriots Super Bowl games.
5. Atlanta Falcons ATS & Over/Under Record
The Atlanta Falcons have never won the Super Bowl, and their last appearance at the big game resulted in a 34-19 loss against the Denver Broncos before Y2K. Since the Falcons haven’t appeared for 18 years, historical Super Bowl ATS and over/under data don’t apply. This increases the unpredictability of betting on the Falcons, which helps feed perception of the Patriots as favorites for Super Bowl LI.
During the season, the Atlanta Falcons are 12-6 ATS, with the over winning 16 out of 18 games. Similar to New England, the Falcons have won five games straight up and against the spread. During this time, the over has won every time. A few days before kickoff for Super Bowl LI, nearly 60 percent of bettors have lined up on behalf of the chalk, also choosing over at a similar rate.