With Or Without The Points? Understanding Super Bowl Betting Spreads

Written By Frank Weber on February 11, 2022 - Last Updated on July 28, 2022
A breakdown of the Super Bowl betting spread for NFL fans in Ohio

We’re just days away from the Big Game, so it’s time to buckle down and figure out your best Super Bowl bets.

Not only is the Super Bowl the most-watched sporting event in America, it is also the most bet-on. A record-setting 31.4 million Americans plan to bet on the Super Bowl this year and will wager an estimated $7.61 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

Ohio sports betting, by the way, won’t launch until early 2023.

One of the most popular options is betting on the spread. It offers bettors a bit of leeway if they want to bet on the underdog. Or the opposite if they want to bet on the favorite.

Right now the line is set at 4.5 points, in favor of the Rams. So if you bet on the Rams with the spread, they not only have to win, but they have to win by more than 4.5 points.

However, if you bet on the Bengals with the spread, they can either win outright OR lose by less than 4.5 points. Either way, your bet will cash.

In the recorded betting history of the Super Bowl, the point spread has been an average of 6.7 points per game. That’s just under a touchdown.

In total, almost half of all Super Bowls (28 of 55) had a closing spread of six points or less. While six points may seem like a lot to lay, let me show you why it has never been an issue.

A history of the meaningless spread

In the 28 Super Bowls where the spread has been six points or less, 14 have been won outright by underdogs. 14 have been won by favorites covering the spread. This makes a perfect 50/50 split.

So, never once has an underdog lost the game but covered a spread of six or fewer points. 

This theme has been reflected in this year’s playoffs as well. Only one team has lost yet covered the spread, the 49ers against the Rams.

The remaining games were as follows:

  • Six favorites won and covered
  • Five underdogs won outright

Additionally, in the last 55 NFL playoff games with spreads less than a touchdown, only eight favorites have won and failed to cover.

We even see this trend on the college level. Underdog teams seem to either win outright or lose and not cover the spread in big bowl games.

Since the BCS National Title Game was created, just three of 24 games have seen the underdog lose and still cover.

So, what does this mean for Super Bowl LVI?

First things first: Bet what you want. Statistics are proven wrong all the time in sports betting. Betting on the trend can often put you on the wrong side of history.

However, if you are a bettor in Ohio that loves to rely on numbers, here’s what I’m saying:

  • If you like the Bengals, ignore the spread and take them moneyline
  • But if you like the Rams, take them with the spread and get a bit of an odds boost

Will this trend continue in 2022? Only time will tell. But all I know is I love Joe Burrow’s chances at lifting the Lombardi Trophy this year.

Photo by Jeff Dean / Associated Press
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Frank Weber

Frank Weber is a US-based gambling writer with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. He loves baseball, football, basketball, soccer and the UFC and collects sports cards and memorabilia in his spare time.

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