Super Bowl Betting Guide For Beginners

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Betting on the Super Bowl is an easy thing to mess up if you don’t know what you’re doing or understand the terminology. Should you take the three points and bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Will the Kansas City Chiefs win by more than three?

Can the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs straight up? What the heck is a total?

Sports betting may seem relatively easy. You may think you don’t need help. But do you want to put your money at risk over a procedural error or misunderstood terminology? Here’s a guide to help you understand betting before you place your wagers. 

Sports Betting Terminology

The betting line tells bettors the odds for a game and will give three betting options— the point spread, the moneyline, and the total (over/under):

BetRiversPoint SpreadMoneylineTotals
Kansas City Chiefs-3 (-117)-162O 56.5 (-112)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+3 (-105)+143U 56.5 (-112)
FanDuelPoint SpreadMoneylineTotals
Kansas City Chiefs-3 (-120)-166O 56.5 (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+3 (-102)+140U 56.5 (-110)

As you can see, the odds are similar between the two sportsbooks, but they have some differences. That is why you should always ‘shop around’ for the best odds before putting some money down. But to tell who has the best odds, you need to know what they are. 

Moneyline

When you are betting the moneyline, you are picking one team to win the game. Rather than give or take points to level the playing field, sportsbooks increase the amount you can win if you bet on the underdog. Consequently, you will win less betting on the favorite.

How can you tell how much you will win?

That is what the moneyline is for. The three-digit number will be preceded by a (-) for the favorite and a (+) for the underdog. Bet the moneyline on the Buccaneers at BetRivers, a $100 bet wins $143. But if you were to take the moneyline on the Chiefs instead and they win, you’d have to risk $162 to win $100.

Point Spread

Sportsbooks know all teams are not created equal. To give each team an equal chance of winning, they give or take points to even the playing field. Like with the moneyline, the favorite is preceded by a (-) and a (+) for the underdog.

For Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs are considered a three-point favorite (-3). That means the Buccaneers are three-point underdogs (+3). Bet the spread on Kansas City, and they will have to win by four or more points for you to win your bet.

As for Tampa Bay, if they do not lose by three or more points, you win the bet. If the final score was 26-24, Chiefs, and you bet the spread on the Buccaneers, you would still win.

Total (Over/Under)

The total, or over/under, refers to the total number of points scored by both teams in the game. Sportsbooks will list one number in the betting line (56.5 for Super Bowl LV). If you think both teams will combine for 57 points or more, take the over.

But if you believe they will combine for 56 or less, take the under. 

How to Place a Bet

Now that you are familiar with the terminology, let’s talk about how to make a bet. The process may vary from one book to the next, but most will be like this:

  • Register for an account and make your first deposit.
  • Be sure to take advantage of any bonuses offered like the one FanDuel is running for first-time users. Make your first deposit and bet $5 on one team to win, and the odds for that team will get boosted to 55/1 (+5500).
  • Decide how you want to bet and click on it.
  • After your choice appears in your betting slip, decide how much you want to bet.
  • Click ‘place bet’ to place your bet.

But How Should You Bet?

Novice bettors are like most bettors and tend to gravitate towards the great equalizer, the point spread.

A three-point spread is the most common one in the history of the NFL. Underdogs have won more than favorites over the years, but the breakdown is close to 50/50. However, when it comes to straight-up wins, the scale tips more towards the underdogs (almost 60/40).

This season, the Chiefs were only 7-9 against the spread while the Buccaneers were 9-7. So, from a historical perspective, it looks like taking the Buccaneers and the points could be a great bet– but it is far from a lock.

Not sure which bet to make? Try our free Super Bowl Squares game with your friends.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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