History of Betting the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the biggest sports betting event of them all and the world’s premier entertainment showcase, but it did not get that way in one day or even one decade. In fact, there was a certain point in history where the Super Bowl wasn’t even viewed as the top football matchup of the year let alone the biggest sporting event.

Since the NFL and the sports gaming industry have reflected each other in various ways during their rise to supremacy, it is only natural that both paths would coincide with each other in the current day.

Every season, the NFL and sportsbooks top themselves in terms of Super Bowl betting handle. With so much unrelenting fan and media attention surrounding the contest on an annual basis, both land-based and online markets witness an increase in profit and payout seemingly every year with record-breaking pace.

To track this, you’d have to do some digging, so allow us to assist you…

Super Bowl Betting History At Its Roots

Originally conceived as an exhibition matchup between what was then the National Football League and the American Football League, the Super Bowl has exploded from a secondary football contest to the world’s most-watched stage.

Over the decades, added elements of production value and an increase in football consumerism have made the Super Bowl a polar opposite of what it was upon its debut in the late 1960s.

This uptick in consumerism can be measured in the betting world, as professional football as a whole has worked in a form of symbiotic relationship with the gaming industry.

As the biggest sporting event on the planet has grown, so has the infatuation to bet it.

Wagering the Super Bowl has become such a common thing to do that the entertainment capital of the world benefits off it in the form of tourism, as countless bettors flock into the Las Vegas valley from all over the world to get in on the big day’s action.

This has caused the gambling scenarios and ensuing ramifications to become its own theme of the game itself, just as prop bets, commercial variety, and halftime entertainment have become over the years.

Digging Through the Vault

The best way to gauge the timeline of Super Bowl betting is to look at the numbers themselves. When it comes to football betting, the point spread always tells the story. It doesn’t matter if it is before, during, or after the game; looking at the line will always give you a clue.

By seeing the point spread and even the total of a contest, one can at the very least get a bare minimum understanding of what to make of the matchup. While the spreads and totals in past Super Bowls is irrelevant to the dynamics of a modern-day matchup, it does reflect how the public gets involved with their betting desires.

All time, the NFC edges out the AFC with a mark of 27-26 in the first 53 Super Bowl contests.

Looking at the gambling fallout, the betting favorites have gone 35-17 straight up in the game, with a record of 28-20-2 against the number. The biggest upset came in the form of the New York Jets, who were 18-point dogs against the Baltimore Colts in 1969’s Super Bowl III.

Interestingly, there have only been six occasions with a favorite winning the game but failing to cover the spread. To go along with that, only two Super Bowls have ended right on the number, with pushes taking place in 1997 and 2000.

Totals play their role as well, as NFL scoring has become far more sophisticated. Due to this, “over/under” bets are as popular as ever with final combined scores currently the highest they have ever been.

Yet another close trend, the over has hit in 27 of the 53 Super Bowl outings. 25 contests have finished beneath the posted mark. The largest total points ever scored in a Super Bowl went down in 1995 when the San Francisco 49ers blew out the San Diego Chargers 49-26 for a combined 75 points in Super Bowl 29.

That win by San Francisco served as more than just a successful over bet, as it was just one of two losses the books have taken on the game since handle first was tracked in the early 90s.

  • The books lost $2.5 million (a negative hold of 2.8 percent) when the Giants upset the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl 42.
  • Thirteen years before, they took a hit of $396,674 (negative hold of 0.6 percent) as the 49ers covered as 18 ½ point dogs against the Chargers in the aforementioned contest.

The second-largest came just two years ago, when the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots combined for 74 points in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory.

It was that very contest that set the all-time record for Super Bowl handle as well, generating a mind boggling $158.6 million on the game.

In fact, up until last season’s contest between the Patriots and the Rams, the sportsbooks have cleaned up the last five years in record-breaking fashion, with last year’s installment still finishing second all-time.

Super Bowl 52 New England 13, Los Angeles Rams 3 $158.6 M
Super Bowl 53 Philadelphia 41, New England 33 $145.9 M
Super Bowl 51 New England 34, Atlanta 28 $138.5 M
Super Bowl 50 Denver 24, Carolina 10 $132.5M
Super Bowl 49 New England 28, Seattle 24 $115.9M

With so many examples to reference, it is clear that betting handle will continue to see certain trends moving into the future. But there is one that is already alive and well and has been making its presence known over the last decade: online wagering.

Super Bowl History is Changing…

With technological growth moving at such a high frequency, the football gambling world has done a fine job of staying neck-and-neck as the use of mobile sports betting apps is seeing its greatest relevance yet.

While the functioning of these betting apps for a multitude of markets continues to see a gradual increase, their operation has helped further boost football betting into the public eye for both experienced bettors and novices.

Though not all online sportsbooks have corresponding mobile apps, the sites we recommend do and it is their existence that helps bring the sports betting realm to a whole new demographic of clientele.

All of these apps and their respective football betting sites are known for being trustworthy and well-run.

With fluid customer satisfaction and consistent web accessibility, these sites have become reputable in the sports wagering community with their rise in popularity highlighting that.

To further emphasize the safety aspects of these sites and mobile apps, we have tested our selected markets ourselves.


With the usage of the internet greatly impacting the betting history of Super Bowl betting, it must also be noted that the location in which the event is wagered has also seen a shift in importance.

Super Bowl Betting Sites vs Land Based Sportsbooks

While there are certain aspects of betting the Super Bowl where both online gaming sites and on-location sports books crossover with each other, being able to separate the two is a useful tool to possess.

Brick and mortar sports books function as a physical market; a shop where players can be met with leisure and entertainment in a gambling setting while immersing themselves in their sports bets.

Due to this factor, numerous bars, drink vouchers, meal tickets, restaurants, slot machines, and reward/bonus offerings are all common for many land-based sportsbooks as the house’s aim for these patrons is not only to draw them to the betting counter but to keep them in the casino.

This notion is commonplace all year long, but is kicked into overdrive for Super Bowl Sunday betting.

While this more traditional approach still appeals to those who prefer to flock to casino floors, many people prefer to skip that step entirely and go straight to the wager. This is done literally at the fingertips, as online gambling sites for the Super Bowl allow bettors to skip the human interaction process entirely.

With sign up, processes and the functionality of betting sites (and their accompanying mobile apps) becoming smoother for users with each passing year, betting the Super Bowl through a website is at an all-time high in terms of convenience and ease.

Much like traditional sportsbooks, Super Bowl betting sites have unique perks that are specific to the entity being used.

These include certain sign up bonuses and other reward benefits that come simply from a patron deciding to pursue an account online and depositing their money into it for the first time.

Although many loyal customers still find pleasure with the on-the-spot appeal and human interaction elements of a casino property, betting the Superbowl with the use of websites is strongly trending upwards.

As sports gaming becomes more legalized and universally accepted, the process of betting on-property is not as distinguished as it once was, and those looking for action are starting to prioritize quickness and accessibility more than they once did, thus once more altering the history of Super Bowl gambling.

Fast Forward to Super Bowl 2021

As the sports betting universe prepares itself for yet another Super Bowl, the big game in 2021 is sure to deliver across the board once again. Those who plan to bet on the Super Bowl in 2021 will be part of one further step in the evolution of both football betting and the entire gaming industry as a whole.

As the NFL and sportsbooks prepare to enter a new decade, it is almost a certainty that a seismic shift will take place given how much ground was covered in 2010.

With record-breaking handle and profit in a decade where sports gambling was banned in most states, one can only imagine what both traditional markets and online betting sites are able to accomplish with more and more states lifting their ban and joining the wagering community.

As bookies and the public gear up for another big Super Bowl in 2021, they at the same time enter a new era where the sports betting community perhaps for the first time ever has a reputation that is overwhelmingly positive. A successful Super Bowl Sunday this February will only advance that reputation.

Super Bowl History FAQs

Will understanding Super Bowl History increase my chances of winning a bet on the game?

It will help you have a better understanding of how the sports gaming industry works which in turn will make you a smarter bettor. But ultimately the handicapping process is still very much based off what numbers a person has available, and it is their ability or lack thereof to use this number effectively that increases the chance of a winning bet.

What is the best way to reflect the changes in Super Bowl betting over the course of the game’s history?

Looking at the odds and what bets cashed. Football may be an evolved game and betting an evolved science, but there will always be patterns to catch. Different eras of football mean different styles of football. Different styles of football lead to more various outcomes, in turn meaning greater diversity in the betting sphere.

Will learning the history of other sporting events give me a better grasp on Super Bowl betting history?

No, simply because the Super Bowl is so unique. It is important to remember that while the Super Bowl is a game, it is viewed as a spectacle. While other championship contests have high stakes and receive betting action, the existence of Super Bowl Sunday and its purpose as an entertainment staple separate it from its spheres. While it may share similarities with other championship games, very few championship events come close.

What is one thing about Super Bowl betting history that both hardcore and casual bettors can benefit from?

The game is always changing and so are the ways to bet it. Because of this, one can never get too comfortable or set in their ways, even if they do have methods that have sustained over time. Understanding its history will help a person realize that betting on the Super Bowl is something that grows over time as well.