This year is the first time that Maryland sports bettors can legally do some Super Bowl betting.
Congratulations, Maryland gamblers. Your moment has finally arrived. Your time to bet on one of the most gambled-on sporting events of the calendar year is here.
However, the experience of betting on a Super Bowl can be overwhelming for some. After all, this is the one sporting event on the planet with which sportsbooks will even take wagers on the result of the coin toss.
While some of you are seasoned sports bettors with several trips to Vegas under your belt, others will be making their first trip to a sportsbook to bet on this Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams.
For those who fall into the latter category, I’m here for you. Let’s walk through the variety of different bets you could make and clear up any confusion you might have.
Betting the outcome of the Super Bowl with the moneyline
It’s important that before we move forward, you understand what the moneyline is because most wagers will come with moneyline odds.
The moneyline is just a fancier way of displaying the odds of a bet. If the number is displayed as negative, the outcome is the favorite. If the number is displayed as positive, the outcome is the underdog.
When it is a negative number, it shows how much a bettor must wager to win $100. When it is a positive number, that is the amount won when betting $100.
However, nobody needs to bet $100. This functions as a ratio.
For example, a -200 favorite means that you will lay the book 2-to-1. If you bet $20, the casino will pay you $30 if you win. Your initial $20 wager plus the $10 you won from the sportsbook.
If a team is a +200 underdog, the operators will lay you 2-to-1. A $20 bet would pay a total of $60 if you bet and win.
I would’ve chosen the -200 example regardless because of the easy math, but both Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook have the Rams listed as a -200 favorite. If you bet on the Rams to win the game with the money line, your profit will be exactly half of whatever you bet.
However, as more money is wagered, sportsbooks may shift the lines. As a result, these odds are subject to change at any time.
On the other hand, Caesars is listing the Bengals as a +170 underdog. This means that the sportsbook will lay you 1.7-to-1 on a wager. If you bet $10 on the Bengals moneyline, you could net $17 in winnings.
Betting on the Super Bowl outcome with the spread
The point spread is much easier to explain than the money line. The underdog will be “getting” points, which is denoted with a positive sign, and the favorite will be “giving” points, which is signified with a negative sign.
You choose which team you think will win and then adjust the final score of the game to see if your team “covered” the spread.
At the time of writing, Caesars has the Rams giving 4.5 points and the Bengals getting the same amount. If you were to bet on the Rams, they would need to win by 5 points or more to cover the spread. And if you bet on the Bengals, they just need to lose by fewer than 5 points.
For example, let’s say that you bet on the Rams and the outcome was a Rams victory by the final score of 24-21. You would lose that bet.
When you adjust for the spread, the Bengals were getting 4.5 points, so the final score in the eyes of the bet is the Bengals 25.5 and the Rams 24. However, if the Rams won by a touchdown instead of a field goal, you could go collect your winnings.
Since the book is, in a way, evening out the game through the spread, both sides of the bet are listed as -110.
If you think back to the last section, that means you’ll be laying the book 1.1-to-1 regardless of which side you bet. So a $10 bet on the spread would profit $9.09 and payout a total of $19.09.
Betting the point total over/under
Yeah. It’s as simple as it sounds. The book will list a number for the total number of points scored by both teams in the game, and you decide if the actual number will be more or less than that amount.
Both Caesars and BetMGM have the over/under listed at 48.5 points. If you think the total number of points scored will be higher than that, bet the over. If not, bet the under.
Bettors will lay the book a small price either way as both are listed as -110. The added 10% reflected in the moneyline odds is commonly referred to as “the vig.”
In-game and pre-game prop bets
These are the type of bets that make the Super Bowl the Super Bowl. These are the wagers that drive the conversation the following day at the proverbial water cooler. Prop bets are any wagers that aren’t associated with the outcome of the game.
It’s when you get to brag about how you knew that the coin toss would be tails. Or that you knew Joe Mixon would score the first touchdown of the game.
Yes, those are both bets you could make if you wanted to. In my opinion, these are the most fun bets to make. If for no other reason than they aren’t available all the time and I enjoy some oddities in my gambling.
I would love to go through every prop bet right here. However, Caesars’ Super Bowl “Wagering Menu” is 16 pages long.
Here are a few of my favorite prop bets listed by Caesars:
- What will happen first in-game?
- Touchdown (-125)
- Sack (-105)
- Will the first play from scrimmage result in a first down?
- Yes (+260)
- No (-330)
- Distance of the first field goal made in-game?
- Over/Under 36.5 (-115)
Those are just a few of my favorites. But I’m also partial to binary outcomes with my prop bets.
On the other hand, there are endless other bets that have more options to choose from. As a result, some of those wagers will have significantly higher odds and bigger payouts.
For example, if you bet $10 that Chris Evans scores the first points of the game and win it. You would be looking at a $400 payday.