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Legal Super Bowl Betting

Sports betting’s one-day “national holiday” arrives this Sunday, Feb. 3, when the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots square off in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.

As is expected to be the case for many years moving forward, this year’s edition of the Big Game will have a record number of US-based legal wagers placed on it. That’s due to the increasing number of states moving to legalize and regulate sports betting in the wake of last May’s Supreme Court decision eradicating the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

NFL fans in the following states will be able to place plunk down cash on the Rams-Patriots showdown this year at a regulated, brick-and-mortar sportsbook:

Additionally, anyone physically located within Nevada, West Virginia, and New Jersey can bet via mobile devices.

In the Garden State, online sportsbooks options currently consist of the following:

There is no shortage of bet types available at the modern-day sportsbook for most any sport. That especially holds true for a monumental event such as the Super Bowl.

The following is a sampling of some of the most common type of wagers available on Sunday’s game, including an overview of each.

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Point Spread Betting

Point spread betting is arguably the most widely referenced form on football or basketball. In point spread-based wagers, oddsmakers assign a predicted margin of victory to the team they consider favored to win the game. That margin is denoted next to the favored team’s name with a “-” and the predicted margin of victory.

For example, DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Patriots favored to prevail over the Rams by a margin of at least 2.5 points. Thus, the SB LIII entry in DK Sportsbook at the moment reflects “Patriots -2.5” as the point spread. Bettors placing point spread bets on the Patriots as favorites can therefore only cash their wager if New England wins the game by three points or more.

Conversely, a bettor wagering on the Rams — whose underdog status is denoted by “Rams +2.5” — would need Los Angeles to either win or lose by fewer than 2.5 points to cash his or her wager. In other words, the Rams would need to “cover the spread.”

Point spreads also have odds assigned to them that determine the rate of payout. Currently, a correct wager on the Patriots -2.5 at DK Sportsbook would pay out $100 if one were to risk $110. In turn, a correct wager on the Rams +2.5 would pay out $100 if one were to risk $106.

The Patriots’ odds are denoted by “-110” while the Rams’ odds are denoted by “-106”. When interpreting odds, a number next to a minus sign denotes how much must be wagered to win $100. A number next to a plus sign denotes how much is won for every $100 wagered. This year’s Super Bowl is a case where the underdog’s odds do not fall on the “plus side” of the equation. This is not always the case.

Over/Under Betting

An “over/under” bet is simply placed on a game’s cumulative scoring. Currently, the projected total for SB LIII at DK Sportsbook is 56.0. One can either wager that the combined number of points scored in the game will exceed (the over) or fall below that number (the under). For either outcome, the odds are listed as -110, meaning wagering correctly will earn the better $100 for every $110 risked.

You can also bet on projected team totals, as opposed to the game total itself. Moreover, there are proposition bets — covered in detail below — that project point totals for each or both teams on a quarter or half basis.

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline bets might be the easiest for a sports betting novice to understand. A moneyline wager is simply a bet on the winner of the game, irrespective of the point spread. Moneyline bets have a bit more certainty to them, especially in cases where a team is a large favorite. In such cases, one might see moneyline odds that carry a heavy “price”, i.e. the bet size required to win $100.

However, SB LIII is not one such instance. With the point spread relatively tight, the odds for the Patriots moneyline currently sits at -134. Then, with the Rams the underdog, their moneyline carries a +115 number. Therefore, bettors must risk $134 to win $100 if they are wagering on a Patriots win. Conversely, they’ll win $115 for every $100 if they correctly wager on a Rams victory.

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Parlay Betting

Parlay betting involves a bettor placing a wager on two or more facets of a game. There are various forms of parlay bets based on the different bet types previously outlined: point spread parlay wagers, moneyline parlay wagers, and over/under parlay wagers.

In contrast to the more straightforward nature of other bets, parlay wagers are a bit more involved and difficult to win. Yet the trade-off is better payout due to the lower overall chances of success. The most challenging component of a parlay is that all bets therein must hit. A single lost bet sinks the bundle.

An example of a Super Bowl LIII parlay wager would be a Rams cover, a Patriots moneyline bet, and the “over” on the projected total. In such a scenario, the bettor would need the Rams to lose by less than the previously cited point spread of 2.5, the Patriots to win, and the two teams to combine for a score that exceeds 56 points. For example, a Patriots 30-28 win would satisfy all three “legs” of the wager and likely pay out a handsome return.

Prop Betting

Proposition bets, or “prop” bets as they are more commonly known, are simply wagers that can be placed on a specific in-game occurrence, one that either comes to pass during the course of the contest or doesn’t. Prop bets on an individual player, team, or game level are available at most sportsbooks.

The Super Bowl is annually one of the most popular days in the entire calendar year for prop betting. The relative immediacy of a prop bet is part of what makes them popular and, in a way, more exciting than end-of-game options described such as point spread, moneyline, or over/under wagers.

Legal, regulated sportsbooks will offer their customers no shortage of prop bets for Super Bowl LIII on a virtually limitless number in-game eventualities. Some of the more common include:

  • First team to score
  • Margin of victory
  • Type of scoring play for the game’s first points
  • Leading team at the end of any of the first three quarters
  • Total number of points in the first or second half
  • First player to score in the game
  • First player to score a touchdown
  • Quarterback over/under for yards thrown
  • Running back over/under for yards rushed
  • Wide receiver over/under for yards caught
  • Super Bowl MVP

In-Play Betting

In-play bets take the fairly short life cycle of proposition bets to a completely different level. As the name implies, in-play bets are based on even more granular aspects of a game than proposition wagers. For example, during Super Bowl LIII, bettors may be able to place a wager on what the outcome of the current offensive possession will be. Odds will be made available on whether that particular drive will end in a punt, a turnover, a safety, a field goal, or a touchdown.

In-play bets made available through the mobile version of sportsbooks are typically revealed once the game commences.

How many states might have legal sportsbooks by Super Bowl 2020?

With sports betting legislation enjoying considerable momentum nationwide, there should be an appreciable increase in the number of jurisdictions in which fans will be able to place a wager by Super Bowl LIV, which will unfold at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Even the game’s host state is a dark horse candidate to get in on the sports betting fun by that point.

Meanwhile, many others have made degrees of progress toward sports betting legislation in recent months, including: