Super Bowl 50: Historical Betting Trends

Super Bowl 50 kicks off on Sunday, February 7th at 6:30 PM when the Carolina Panthers face off against the Denver Broncos. The Panthers opened as 3.5-point favorites at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and, at the time of publication, were receiving 81% of spread bets. This one-sided public betting has pushed the line from Carolina -3.5 to -4.

It’s worth nothing that several prominent offshore sportsbooks — including CRIS and 5Dimes — have already moved to Carolina -4.5. That half-point discrepancy may not seem significant to casual bettors, but “4” is actually the fifth most common margin of victory since the start of the 2003 NFL season. According to our research, 6.7% of all games have been decided by exactly 4-points.

We also found it very interesting to find that Carolina is receiving such overwhelming public support. Our analysis found that the Denver Broncos (closed -1.5) received 68% of public bets in Super Bowl 48, which was the most lopsided public betting for any Super Bowl matchup.

Our analysis found that Super Bowl betting trends have traditionally been very evenly split. In fact, there have only been two teams to receive less than 44% of spread bets — the Seattle Seahawks in each of the past two Super Bowls.

The table below, using lines from Pinnacle and public betting percentages from our seven contributing sportsbooks, displays historical Super Bowl trends for the past twelve years. Readers can see all of the data by utilizing the scroll bar at the bottom of the table.

Super Bowl Favorite Underdog Opening Line Closing Line Fav Betting % Opening Total Closing Total Over % Score
50 Carolina Panthers Denver Broncos CAR -3.5 *CAR -4 81% 45.5 45 75% ?
49 Seattle Seahawks New England Patriots SEA -2.5 NE -1 36% 49 47 55%% NE 28, SEA 24
48 Denver Broncos Seattle Seahawks SEA -1 DEN -1.5 68% 47.5 47 46% SEA 43, DEN 8
47 San Francisco 49ers Baltimore Ravens SF -5 SF -4.5 44% 48.5 47.5 56% BAL 34, SF 31
46 New England Patriots New York Giants NE -3.5 NE -3 47% 54 53 49% NY 21, NE 17
45 Green Bay Packers Pittsburgh Steelers Pick 'Em GB -3 49% 44 44.5 66% GB 31, PIT 25
44 Indianapolis Colts New Orleans Saints IND -3.5 IND -4.5 53% 56 56.5 65% NO 31, IND 17
43 Pittsburgh Steelers Arizona Cardinals PIT -6.5 PIT -6.5 44% 47 46.5 59% PIT 27, ARI 23
42 New England Patriots New York Giants NE -14 NE -12.5 40% 55 54.5 58% NY 17, NE 14
41 Indianapolis Colts Chicago Bears IND -6 IND -6.5 49% 48.5 47 59% IND 29, CHI 17
40 Pittsburgh Steelers Seattle Seahawks PIT -3 PIT -4 49% 46.5 46.5 53% PIT 21, SEA 10
39 New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles NE -6 NE -7 55% 44 47 50% NE 24, PHI 21
38 New England Patriots Carolina Panthers NE -6.5 NE -7 44% 38 37.5 48% NE 32, CAR 29

Not including this year’s game, on average the favorite has received 48.54% of spread bets. Although bettors typically tend to pound favorites and overs during the regular season, this behavior changes dramatically during the postseason. Since 2003, there have only been six playoff teams to receive less than 30% of spread bets — all of whom have been home underdogs.

  1. 1/24/16: Denver Broncos (+2.5) vs. New England Patriots (DEN received 29%)
  2. 1/12/14: Carolina Panthers (PK) vs. San Francisco 49ers (CAR received 26%)
  3. 1/9/11: Kansas City Chiefs (+3) vs. Baltimore Ravens (KC received 27%)
  4. 1/10/10: Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (ARI received 29%)
  5. 1/3/09: San Diego Chargers (+1.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (SD received 21%)
  6. 1/3/04: Baltimore Ravens (+1) vs. Tennessee Titans (BAL received 29%)

As you can see, no playoff team in our database has ever received less than 21% of spread bets. There’s still plenty of time for these public betting percentages to even out, but the Broncos (19%) are on pace to be the least popular side in NFL playoff history. That definitely makes them an interesting contrarian play.

We also wanted to examine some basic Super Bowl betting trends which have been listed below: (all data since 2003)

  • Underdogs have gone 8-4 ATS
  • Underdogs of at least 4.5-points have gone 6-1 ATS
  • Underdogs have gone just 5-7 with +3.5 units won on the moneyline.
  • Underdogs of +4.5 or less have gone 4-3 with +3.15 units won on the moneyline.
  • The over has gone 6-6.
  • The over has gone 2-0 when the closing total is 46 or less.
  • The NFC representative has gone 8-4 ATS
  • Teams receiving less than 50% of spread bets have gone 6-6 ATS and teams receiving less than 40% of spread bets have gone 1-1 ATS.
  • Teams with a winning percentage of 80% or less have gone 5-0 ATS when their opponent has a superior record.
  • Follow the line movement. When the spread gets at least a half-point worse for a team (i.e. moving from +4 to +3.5 or from -7 to -7.5), they have gone 7-4 ATS.

  • These numbers are subject to change before kickoff, so bettors should be sure to visit our free NFL odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more. We will also be updating the blog with new content daily, so make sure to sign up for our sports betting newsletter.

  • Have any questions for the staff at Sports Insights? Utilize our live chat to speak with a customer service representative or e-mail us at Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at
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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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