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Betting on the Super Bowl, explained

Wonder what Super Bowl prop bets are? How to bet on Super Bowl 2020? Where to bet on Super Bowl 54? What betting terms mean? Who to bet on? We’re here to explain it all.

Atmosphere at the Grand Opening of DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts November 20, 2018 at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photo by Bill McCay/Getty Images for Draft Kings

The 2020 Super Bowl is just about upon us. The San Francisco 49ers face the Kansas City Chiefs and it also means we have reached the biggest single day of sports betting on the calendar. March Madness will likely get more wagered for the length of it, but nothing compares to Super Bowl Sunday in America.

This marks the second Super Bowl since the Supreme Court struck down a law that made sports betting illegal in America. In May of 2018, the Court declared that states were allowed to implement sports betting regulations as they chose to moving forward. Since then, 14 states have legalized and implemented sports betting, seven states have legalized but do not yet have it operational, 15 states have active legislation, and 15 states have no legislation at this point in 2020.

Growing legalization has resulted in a growth in legalized sports betting. Whereas people previously either did not bet or chose to bet through illegal operations, more states offering sports betting has provided more legal opportunities.

This has resulted in people dipping their toe in the water of sports betting. And that means more people who are trying to figure this whole thing out. With the biggest sports betting day on the calendar coming up, here’s an explainer of everything you need to know about betting on the Super Bowl. And if you’re interested in some fun opportunities that don’t require risking money, we’ve got some of that, too!

What can I bet on during the Super Bowl?

I won’t say everything, but this is one night where most everything feels like it’s up for grabs. You can bet on who will win or loss, who will cover the spread, and whether the game will go over or under the point total. You can bet on prop bets like the coin toss, the MVP, who will throw the first interception, who will catch the first interception, and plenty more.

Whoah, whoah, whoah, slow down. What is the spread?

A point spread, or “the line,” is a number set by oddsmakers to give an advantage to one team and a disadvantage to another team based on the margin of victory or defeat for the two teams. The favored team is giving up points for purposes of the wager, meaning they not only have to win, but they have to win by X amount of points. They are listed with a minus sign before the number. The underdog team is getting points for purposes of the wager, meaning they can still lose the game, but they must lose by less than X amount of points. They are listed with a plus sign before the number.

Using the 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl matchup as our example, the Chiefs are listed at DraftKings Sportsbook as a 1.5-point favorite. The Chiefs are listed at -1.5, while the 49ers are listed at +1.5. If you bet on the Chiefs to cover the spread and they win by two points or more, you win. If you bet on the 49ers to cover the spread and they lose by one point or win the game, you win.

Key terms to know related to the point spread are laying points and getting points. The Chiefs at -1.5 are laying 1.5 points, while the 49ers are getting 1.5 points for purposes of the point spread. It basically means that for betting purposes, the game starts out 49ers 1.5 - Chiefs 0.

So, is this a prediction by the sportsbooks?

No. The point spread is not a prediction of the final outcome of the game, but rather is created to generate an equal amount of betting on both sides. In a perfect world, a sportsbook will get the same amount of money bet on the 49ers to cover as they get on the Chiefs to cover. If there is an even amount of money bet on both sides, the house is guaranteed to profit because of the juice placed on bets.

I’m sorry, did you say “the juice”?

Correct. The juice, also known as the vig (short for vigorish, which originates from the Russian word for winnings) is effectively a fee you are paying to place the bet. If you bet on the point spread, you’ll often see -110 placed next to each betting option. That means that you have to bet $110 to win $100. If there is an even amount of money bet on both sides of the line, the juice guarantees a profit for the house.

What are prop bets?

A prop bet takes individual events within or connected to the game and allows you to bet on them. They can be connected to the on-field action, meaning you can bet on things like total passing yards for Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo, total receiving yards for Tyreek Hill or Emmanuel Sanders, or total rushing yards for Damien Williams or Raheem Mostert. It can get even more intricate, where you can bet on how one player will perform against another player (e.g. who will have more interceptions, Mahomes or Garoppolo?).

Additionally, the Super Bowl offers a host of prop bets on a variety of events that don’t directly involve football itself. You can bet on the result of the coin, the color of the Gatorade shower dumped on the winning coach, and whether or not certain players will retire after the game.

Where can I bet on the Super Bowl?

Sports betting has been legalized and formally implemented in 14 states. Each state has different regulations. Some only allow for sports betting in brick-and-mortar facilities, while others have both physical and mobile sports betting. These states include:

Arkansas
Delaware
Indiana
Iowa
Mississippi
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Where do you recommend I bet on the Super Bowl?

Considering draftkings.com is in the URL, we’d be remiss if we did not point out the locations where you can bet through DraftKings.

Mobile app

  • Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia,

Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks

  • New Jersey: Resorts AC
  • New York: Del Lago Resort & Casino
  • Indiana: Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago
  • Iowa: Wild Rose Casino & Resort
  • Mississippi: Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort
  • Pennsylvania: The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
  • West Virginia: Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

What if I want to play along but not risk money?

There are a couple ways you can track some of these prop bets or otherwise engage further in the Super Bowl without spending any money. We’ve discussed a couple games that you can take part in at your Super Bowl party.

  • Super Bowl squares: This game uses a 10-by-10 grid featuring the numbers 0 through 9 on top and down the left column. The row of numbers represents the last digit of the score of one team, while the column of numbers represents the last digit of the score of another team. Usually, the scores are applied to the first, second and third quarters, and then the final score. The numbers can go in order 0 through 9, or they can be randomly ordered.
  • Prop bet scorecard: This printable scorecard lists 26 prop bets that you can answer and track throughout the game. It includes multiple coin toss bets, jersey number for the first touchdown score, who will call the first timeout, whether a kick will hit the upright or crossbar, how many total touchdowns we’ll see, and so much more.

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.