How Has Public Betting Affected Past Super Bowl Betting Lines?

Super Bowl XLVII kicks off at 6:30 PM eastern time next Sunday, with the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Baltimore Ravens. According to our Super Bowl betting trends, the 49ers opened as 5-point favorites at Pinnacle and are currently receiving just 39% of spread bets. This lopsided public Super Bowl betting has moved the line 1.5 points to -3.5.

While this split may not seem immense, the 39% of spread bets received by San Francisco would tie for the most lopsided bet Super Bowl game in our database. Back in 2008, the line movement was actually quite similar when the previously undefeated Patriots received just 39% of spread bets as 14-point favorites against the New York Giants. Once again, the line dropped 1.5 points (this time to -12.5) and the Pats not only failed to cover the spread, but also lost the game straight up.

The table below, with line data taken from Pinnacle, shows Super Bowl betting trends for each of the past ten years. The team that covered the spread is highlighted in bold. Overs have been italicized. 

Super Bowl Favorite Underdog Opening Line Closing Line Fav Betting % Closing Total Final
XXXVIII  New England  Carolina NE -6.5  NE -7  49% 37.5  32-29 NE
XXXIX New England  Philadelphia  NE -6  NE -7 55% 47  24-21 NE
XL Pittsburgh Seattle Pitt -3 Pitt -4 49% 46.5  21-10 Pitt
XLI Indianapolis Chicago Indy -6 Indy -6.5 47% 47  29-17 Indy
XLII New England NY Giants NE -14 NE -12.5 39% 54.5  17-14 NY
XLIII Pittsburgh Arizona Pitt -3  Pitt -6.5 44% 46.5 27-23 Pitt
XLIV Indianapolis New Orleans Indy -3.5 Indy -4.5 53% 56.5 31-17 NO
XLV  Green Bay Pittsburgh Pick ‘Em GB -3 49% 44.5 31-25 GB
XLVI New England NY Giants NE -3.5 NE -3 47% 53 21-17 NY
XLVII San Francisco Baltimore SF -5 SF -3.5 39% 47.5 ?

As you can see, underdogs have fared quite well in the Super Bowl, with dogs covering the spread in 6 of the past 9 games. The biggest difference between the Super Bowl and regular season NFL games is likely the public perception.

During the regular season, it is extremely rare to see an underdog receive a majority of public bets. Historically, casual bettors love betting on overs and favorites, but that clearly changes in the Super Bowl. No favorite has received more than 55% of spread bets, and that was in Super Bowl XXXIX where the defending champion Patriots (-7) knocked off the Panthers 24-21, but failed to cover the spread.

Pertaining to the total, the Super Bowl has been relatively low scoring over the past few years with the under hitting in six of the past nine games (although since it’s inception the under is just 23-22). That said, we detailed earlier this week why there may be some value on the under this year.

We will continue to monitor these Super Bowl betting percentages in the days leading up to the game, so make sure check in with us for the most up-to-date information and analysis.

Who do you like in the big game? Do you think this year’s Super Bowl shares any similarities with past games? Make sure to leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.

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