Super Bowl Betting History
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Big Super Bowl Upsets
There have been some significant Super Bowl upsets over the years. The biggest was in Super Bowl III when the AFL’s New York Jets stunned the NFL’s Baltimore Colts as an 18-point underdog. The AFL struck again in the following year when the Kansas City Chiefs took down the Minnesota Vikings as a 12-point underdog. It would take nearly three decades before another major upset would occur. In 1997, the Denver Broncos knocked off the Green Bay Packers as an 11-point underdog.
Underdogs have been on quite a run in recent Super Bowl match-ups. Dogs have covered the point-spread in five of the last six Super Bowls, winning 4 of 6 outright. The Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, and New York Giants have pulled off straight-up Super Bowl upsets.
Evolution of the Super Bowl
The first Super Bowl in 1967 wasn’t even a sellout at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. However, it didn’t take long for the game to become a signature sporting event. The upset in Super Bowl III and the AFL/NFL merger made the Super Bowl a must-see game entering the seventies. In turn, wagering on the game also progressed. One of the most notable Super Bowls in terms of betting was in Super Bowl XIII. The odds on the game between the favored Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys fluctuated between three and five points. Pittsburgh’s 35-31 victory proved to be a disaster for bookmakers as a dreaded middle. Many bettors were able to win on the Steelers at -3 to -3.5 points while Dallas backers were able to get the Cowboys at +4.5 to +5 points at certain times as well. In 1985, prop bets began to become a big part of Super Bowl betting. A prop bet on whether or not William “the Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown for the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX was a big hit with bettors. It was during this time that another trend was developing that was a problem for bookmakers.
For 13 straight years form 1984-96, the NFC won every Super Bowl. During this stretch, the NFC went 10-2-1 against the spread. Since that run has ended, the Super Bowl has become a mega-event in Las Vegas. There are hundreds of prop bets available on the game for novice and professional bettors to choose from. As a new decade begins, the Super Bowl will continue its growth.
See our expert Super Bowl Picks, along with updated 2015 Super Bowl Odds.