Super Bowl betting: Odds, props & winning

How big is the Super Bowl? Big enough so that it’s impossible to hyperbolize. Check out these numbers: the NFL claims up to 1 billion viewers tune in annually, and running a TV commercial during the game’s U.S. broadcast costs a world-be advertiser $5 million (or $166,666.66 per second).

And while the product-hockers seek to appeal to that massive audience, said audience is chowing down lustily: Americans typically eat 30 million pounds of chips, 13.2 million pounds of avocado and 8 million pounds of popcorn.

Betting on the Super Bowl draws more wagering than on any other event worldwide. Most of this betting is done in the United States and Canada, but gamblers in nations such as Australia and Great Britain are starting to discover the marvel of Super Bowl betting – kinda like the way Americans re-discover World Cup betting every four years…

Over $140 million was wagered on Super Bowl LII at Las Vegas sportsbooks, but lest you believe that figure is overly impressive, consider that unofficial estimates from the American Gaming Association (AGA) place the total number of best at $4.76 billion. This means the ostensible gambling capital of the U.S. was covering less than 2.95% of the total take. That’s huge.

Despite that seemingly small sub-3% take in Las Vegas, the truth is that Super Bowl betting is significant enough to support some small- to mid-sized sportsbooks throughout the year. Pre-Supreme Court decision of 2018, an estimated 25% or more of *all* online bets were made on the Super Bowl.

On top of everything else great about betting on the NFL’s big game, the sheer amount of bets, lines, odds and proposition bets on the Super Bowl are absolutely wonderful. Scoring by quarter, player props, game MVP props, Will The First Score Be a Safety, Will Anyone Score a Safety, the opening coin flip – all this and so much more are available on the (long) two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas (or soon in the future, your local betting shop or casino), you know how much fun, insanity and winnings may be had when betting the Super Bowl. Of course, if you think that’s nuts, just wait until the Las Vegas Raiders are playing in Super Bowl LV in 2021…

Super Bowl LIII: Four possibilities, four parlay bets

Monday, 14 January 2019 14:59 EST

Now that we know the NFL’s final four, what’s your choice for Super Bowl LIII? A meeting of the top two candidates for 2018 Most Valuable Player? Or how about the possible final hurrahs of two all-time great QBs? Perhaps you’d like a rematch of the insane 105-point game which had football fans of all stripes proclaiming The Death Of Defense? Or even a chess match between the consensus greatest head coach ever and the near-consensus shiny new genius?

Whichever narrative wins out, NFLbets is looking at Super Bowl matchups in terms of what else but turning wagers into profit. The potential payback on a parlay involving your two picks straight up is quite good, even if you’re running with the favorites.

Four teams, four Super Bowl LIII parlays

The few possible Super Bowl LIII matchups and their odds shake out as follows.

The All-star Bowl
New Orleans Saints (-175 ML vs Rams) vs Kansas City Chiefs (-155 ML vs Patriots): +160

This version of LIII would be touted as a Drew Brees vs. Patrick Mahomes battle, always an insipid storyline because, well, *they don’t actually face off on the f^#@^#ing field*. Here, the prospective hype is even more egregious because,l as the Chiefs and Saints got six (Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce, OT Eric Fisher, FB Anothony Sherman, LB Dee Ford) and five (Brees, WR MIchael Thomas, OT Terron Armstead, C Max Under, DE Cameron Jordan), respectively, elected to the Pro Bowl.

Note for those predicting (and betting) these two teams to advance: This is the sole Super Bowl LIII parlay pick that cannot be hedged against for profit.

The Old Guard Bowl
New Orleans Saints (-175) vs New England Patriots (+135): +300

Okay, this is crazy: Tom Brady and Drew Brees have played a combined 474 regular-season games for their current teams; Bill Belichick and Season Payton have coach 596 for theirs – yet Belichick/Brady and Payton/Brees teams have met just three times. (For the record, the Patriots are 2-1 SU/ATS.) Again, a Saints-Patriots Super Bowl is hardly about quarterbacks and head coaches alone, but these two combinations have become so inextricably linked with success that they’re likely to become synonymous with the franchises for years to come.

Also consider two relatively weak pass defenses allowing the old guys to enjoy one last spin – NFLbets thinks it’s no controversy to state that these two teams as constituted won’t see another Super Bowl again – and you might have even more of a scoreboard-spinner than Saints-Chiefs or…

The Points Aplenty Bowl
Los Angeles Rams (+155) vs Kansas City Chiefs (-155): +320

What would be more appropriate to cap the 2018 season with a rematch of the teams that gave us the insane 54-51 game midway through the season? We can’t imagine a Rams-Chiefs Super Bowl LIII would see 105 points scored again – particularly since Jared Goff seems to have used up his allotted passing statistics for the year in the week 11 game – but the battle of Andy Reid vs The Clock might be just as much fun here.

Additionally, this would give the NFL a great opportunity to consolidate St. Louis football fans – if any still exist – around the Chiefs. Seriously, what self-respecting former Rams fan could back the Los Angeles Screwjobs?

The Full Circle Bowl
Los Angeles Rams (+155) vs New England Patriots (+135)

From either a marketing or a poetic justice standpoint, this is the only possible choice. If the NFL’s powers-that-be really want to solidify their hold on the Los Angeles/Southern California market and ensure that Stan Kreonke’s Pleasure Palace in Inglewood actually does some business, what better way to do so than to have these Rams vanquish (perhaps for the final time this time) the league’s heavy?

Additionally, flashback to 2002 when the upstart New England Patriots, known mostly for, well, not much except for squeaking into and subsequently losing convincingly in a couple of prior Super Bowls, were installed as 14-point underdogs to the high-flying St. Louis Rams, only to go on to form a dynasty like the NFL’s never seen.

Talk about your perfect symmetry: How poetic, how wonderful, how just would it be for the dynamic and fun (well, not Ndamokung Suh; nothing amusing about that guy) Rams to bookend the history of these Patriots with a 3-point victory in Super Bowl LIII? We even got portents last week: Not only did Super Bowl XXXV hero Adam Vinatieri miss a couple of easy FGs in the Indianapolis Colts’ loss, Rams players were reportedly stealing the Cowboys’ defensive signs on Saturday.

But of course things never turn out this neatly in sports. Do they…?

Super Bowl LIII: Four teams not to bet

Saturday, 21 July 2018 07:19 EST

Yesterday, NFLbets gave you four NFL teams to bet in the proposition bets “To Win Super Bowl LIII” and “To Win 2018-19 Conference Championship.” Because half of wagering is knowing what *not* to bet and because the process of elimination is quite useful when dealing with a limited field of possible outcomes, today we’ve got four teams not to bet when wagering on NFL futures this year.

Let’s begin this round with the slaughtering of a big fat sacred cow, followed by a few easy ones.

New England Patriots – 4/1 to win Super Bowl; 7/5 to win the AFC Championship
sad Tom BradyLike Tom Brady’s official status week to week since 2004, these lines are questionable. That 7/5 to even get to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII would be considered close to collective insanity were this any other team – Seriously, they’re going off at even odds? Are NFL bettors so convinced that a history-making four Bowl appearances within five years (only those Buffalo Bills of the 1990s have done so) that they’re throwing their money at such a rate? Hell, it’s only late July: By opening day, the Patriots could be 10/11 to take the AFC.

Clever NFL bettors, however, realize a key fact or two. Even beyond the simple mathematics of Tom Brady’s age and the rumored dissonance with Patriot land, the truth is that this roster has seen quite the makeover from a Super Bowl loss in which all Brady & Co. did was help set the record for biggest offensive game ever. All Belichickian magic aside, we’ll see how newcomers Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson mesh in the receiving corps, if they play at all: All the late-season signing of high-profile Kenny Britt got New England last year was two catches on five targets. NFLbets’ feeling here is that this is the thinnest WR corps since Reche Caldwell was the go-to guy.

But hey, the Patriots still have Rob Gronkowski, best TE in the NFL, right? Sure – except the dude hasn’t played an injury-free season since 2011, has now undergone three major surgeries and was contemplating retirement this past offseason. For Gronk, like the rest of the Pats, the writing may be on the wall here.

Then there’s the defense, now officially without Malcolm Butler, are heading to camp with some 17 CBs and DBs, with perhaps the only reasonably recognizable name that of Devin McCourty. The overwhelming majority of the remainder is comprised by dudes possibly generated by Madden Football, e.g. J.C. Jackson, Duke Dawson, Damarius Travis, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner ... the Patriots secondary will likely be demonstrably worse than one which surrendered 538 yards and 41 points to a Nick Foles-led offense in Super Bowl LII.

Now, what’s the argument for the 2018 New England Patriots? Brady? NFL bettors appearing to be suffering en masse from willful self-deception on ol’ Touchdown Tom. To place Tom on a pedestal is to ignore quite an impressive bunch of youngsters in the rearview mirror: We’re talking DeShaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, Patriots castoff Jimmy Garoppolo, and even Jared Goff here, many of whom will be leading Super Bowl contenders in ’18.

Face it: The times are changing. But change is good – for the prescient NFL bettor.

Philadelphia Eagles -- 15/2 to win Super Bowl; 4/1 to win NFC Championship
Sad Eagles fansHere’s an understatement we can all agree on: Winning the Super Bowl is difficult. Winning back-to-back ’Bowls has been done eight times before, all by all-time great teams led by Hall of Fame coaches. The list runs as follows.

• 1966-67 Green Bay Packers
• 1972-73 Miami Dolphins
• 1974-75 Pittsburgh Steelers
• 1978-79 Pittsburgh Steelers
• 1988-89 San Francisco 49ers
• 1992-93 Dallas Cowboys
• 1997-98 Denver Broncos
• 2003-04 New England Patriots

Admittedly, NFLbets is no more psychic or time-traveling than any of our readers. And perhaps Carson Wentz is the 21st-century Steve Young, Jalen Mills is the 2020s’ Deion Sanders and/or Doug Pederson is the new Bill Belichick – but, completely stoically, we wouldn’t bet on it.

Minnesota Vikings – 10/1 to win Super Bowl; 29/5 to win NFC Championship
Superstition and “historical” mumbo-jumbo have no place in the proper NFL bettor’s philosophy, so we’ll try to ignore the Vikings’ absolutely pitiful mark ATS in the playoffs since, well, forever, really. (Since 1977, the Vikes are 0-5 SU in NFC Championship games and 1-4 ATS, with the sole ATS win by ½ point in a 3-point loss to the eventual champion New Orleans Saints.)

For 2018, the Vikings Sad Vikings fanshave been saddled with one seriously grueling schedule which includes away games at Green Bay, Los Angeles (to play the Rams), Philadelphia, New York (to play the Jets, NFLbets' current top pick for biggest surprise of the 2018 season), New England and Seattle, plus home games versus the 49ers, Saints and Packers – That’s eight games against presumed playoff contenders at least, including five of the top six odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl.

In fact, the Vikings get just two three-week stretches in which they may avoid the NFL’s top teams (weeks 9-11, which includes the bye; and 15-17) and both of these include games against the divisional rival Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears.

All in all, the Vikings have drawn a schedule which will make getting to 10-6 an impressive feat, never mind ascending to the NFC Championship game…

Cleveland Browns – 66/1 (at least) to win Super Bowl; 33/1 to win AFC Championship
Somewhere out there is a guy who’s thrown $20 on the Browns winning the NFL title annually. If Cleveland takes the Lombardi Trophy within the next 10 years, he’ll still come out ahead lifetime (not adjusted for inflation) at odds of 66/1. Here’s to thinking he’s kissing Andrew Jackson goodbye for this season, however.

Super Bowl LIII: Three teams to bet on

Friday, 20 July 2018 08:03 EST

Super Bowl LIII alternate logoAll right, before we get started, let’s agree to accept a couple of facts: Almost always will preseason predictions from “experts”, pundits or your best buddy online are simply based in the past rather than the future. Year after year, NFL predictions are cookie-cutter rubber stamps of the previous season’s results. O sure, some prognosticators are sharp enough to account for teams trending upward (for 2018, the poster boys for these phenomenon are the San Francisco 49ers and superstar QB heir apparent Jimmy Garropolo), but generally speaking most would-be Nostradami mindlessly reproduce last year’s results in their envisioning of the next season.

And yet, at the end of every NFL regular season, the same old statistical narratives are told. Stuff like only eight defending champions have repeated as Super Bowl winners; that in the last 25 seasons, 10 Super Bowl losers failed to return to the playoffs, and another four lost in the wild-card round; that only twice in its 16 years of existence has the NFC South had a repeat champion (both times the Carolina Panthers, including the 7-8-1 season of 2014); and so on.

But while the everyday punter ignores such larger trends, the sportsbooks cannot afford to. Though naturally to some extent appealing to the masses – How else to explain the New England Patriots’ freakin’ 4/1 odds to win Super Bowl LIII? – sportsbooks can hardly afford to not account for change.

NFLbets is even more fearless. We don’t mind putting our money on what many bettors would call stretches, for great money may be made with just a little open-mindedness.

Herewith, then, are three teams NFLbets is considering for investment in the proposition bets “To Win Super Bowl LIII” and “To Win Conference Championship.” We’ll wait until camps are over/the odds get nicely longer (whichever come first) to finalize these prop bets, but we’re pretty settled on the following four good picks and four bad picks.

Houston Texans – 20/1 to win Super Bowl; 8/1 to win AFC Championship
Houston Texans vs PackersIn his seven games at QB last season, DeShaun Watson tossed for over 242 yards per game and threw 19 TDs versus just eight interceptions. Proportioned over a full season, Watson would have led the NFL in 2017 in TD passes and, given his averages of 266.67 and 3 TDs per start, would have finished fifth in yardage and might have run up 14 more TD strikes than real-life #1 Russell Wilson.

As though the return of the former NCAA National Championship MVP for Texans Opening Day 2018 weren’t enough, consider that J.J. Watt is back again and Sammie Coates was signed for another weapon in the receiver corps. On top of all this, Houston is graced with a third-place schedule in ’18 on top of two games against the NFL’s worst non-Ohio team, the Indianapolis Colts. Heck, after game one at the New England Patriots, the Texans won’t face a truly serious contender until *week 16* when they visit defending champion Philadelphia – and by then, they’ll certainly have a playoff bid clinched.

Think we’re talking out our butts? The Texans are the third-favorite to win the AFC at most sportsbooks, behind the perpetual chalk favorites in New England and Pittsburgh. NFLbets believes.

Green Bay Packers – 15/2 to win Super Bowl; 4/1 to win NFC Championship
Quick: How long has it been since Aaron Rodgers got “Titletown” its only Lombardi Trophy of the 21st century? If you said “seven,” you’re correct; time flies, particularly when your team is perpetually in contention. Indeed, until 2017, the Pack had enjoyed nine consecutive seasons with a playoff bid.

In response to the team’s 7-9 bid of 2017 combined with Rodgers’s, um, concerns with his roster, the Packers’ front office this offseason did … well, the typical little. Rodgers’s favorite target Jordy Nelson is out, Jimmy Graham is in. So why should we take these Packers seriously? We’re thinking “window of opportunity” here. Truth is, most NFC teams are in a state of flux: We’re expecting less from the still-ascendant Philadelphia Eagles and winding-down Atlanta Falcons. Who knows what the hell’s going on with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants; no dominant team appears to be coming out of the South; and the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams could still be vulnerable in the playoffs, particularly the Pack’s division-rival in Minny.

One can easily imagine the Packers going 10-6, grabbing a wild-card spot and tromping through the NFC playoffs. We’re thinking 4/1 on Green Bay to take the conference is a good hedge against more speculative wagers, such as betting on the…

Los Angeles Rams – 9/1 to win Super Bowl; 29/5 to win NFC Championship
Ndamokung SuhNFLbets knows that the Rams are the vogue pick for Super Bowl LIII and also that vogue picks make may NFL bettors squeamish. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to bet against an overall surprisingly young team returning the NFL’s Coach of the Year, Offensive Play of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year; on top of this one may add the acquisition of the NFL’s scariest natural phenomenon in Ndamukong Suh.

Sure, the road to the Super Bowl will certainly not be easy for the Rams, whose roster is still mostly comprised of dudes who are a collective 0-1 in the playoffs thanks to last season’s near no-show in the wild-card game against the Atlanta Falcons. Before the Rams even think about the playoffs, they’ll have to deal with the upstart San Francisco 49ers and still somewhat dangerous Seattle Seahawks, plus a schedule which includes the Vikings, Eagles, Packers and the Broncos in Denver.

It may not be an easy ride for the Rams in 2018, but it says here that this is one solid squad whose odds are well worth a few bucks. Meanwhile, those in the Los Angeles/Southern California market can look forward to all those Lebron James/Todd Gurley commercials we’ll soon be seeing…