The Evolution of Super Bowl Betting

In this weekend's Hot Clicks: How Super Bowl betting has changed over the years, José Canseco gets trampled and more.
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Super Bowl Betting

More than 23 million Americans are expected to bet on Super Bowl LV this year, of which 7.6 million will bet with legal online sportsbooks, up more than 60% from Super LIV last year, the American Gaming Association reported last week.

The uptick is largely due to increased legalized gambling across the country. Since last year’s game, more than 36 million American adults have gained access to legal online gambling. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., have legalized sports betting, with 21 legal markets operational ahead of the Chiefs-Bucs on Sunday. And Americans in those 21 markets are betting on a shrinking Super Bowl spread, which follows historical trends.

The first four Super Bowls averaged a 14.3-point spread, the largest over any four-year period in Super Bowl history, and one of only two stretches with four straight double-digit spreads. Even with low numbers throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s, the average Super Bowl spread from 1967 (Super Bowl I) through 1997 (XXXII) was 7.8 points. Average line since 1998 (including the Super Bowl LV): 5.1 points. Of the eight games with a spread of 2 points or fewer, five have come in the last 10 years, including the third-ever 1-point line, the Seattle Seahawks over the New England Patriots six years ago.

The line hasn’t exceeded 4.5 points since the Indianapolis Colts were 5-point favorites over the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. The average over those 10 years—2.95 points—is the lowest ever over any 10-year period. While we saw a dramatic increase in spreads 25 years ago when Super Bowl XX (10 points) ended a 15-year run with an average of 4.2 points, that occurred long before online sports betting exploded in popularity and has kept spreads within one score.

After clinching a repeat Super Bowl appearance two weeks ago, the Chiefs opened as 3.5-point favorites over the Bucs. The line, at various sportsbooks, has ebbed and flowed between 3 and 3.5 points. And as of Saturday morning, as most books have been flooded with Bucs’ spread bets over the last 10 days, the line is back to Chiefs -3.

The spread is one of literally thousands of available bets for Sunday. Here’s your Super Bowl prop betting guide, which includes “Vegas Whispers” from sharps. Also: Most popular prop bets … How the public is betting Super Bowl MVP … And we talked about a wild Patrick Mahomes prop bet stat on this week’s podcast.

José Canseco

For more than a decade, José Canseco has dabbled in professional fighting. On Friday night, he dabbled in … something. In the first round of … something … he was trampled in 15 seconds by a podcast intern:

Waiting Game

The Washington Senators averaged 67 wins over 11 seasons before departing for Texas after the 1971 season. They posted one above-.500 season in the nation’s capital and didn’t sniff a World Series. Five decades later, the franchise is still seeking its first World Series.

One of six active MLB teams without a World Series, the Rangers didn’t even reach the postseason until 1996 and had one postseason win in their first 39 seasons. They won 17 combined postseason games in 2010 and 2011—and came within one pitch of a championship in 2011—but entering their 51st season in Texas (and 61st season as a franchise), they have zero championships.

How far away are the Rangers? SI’s Nick Selbe breaks down the potential World Series timeline for each of MLB’s six title-less teams.

Odds & Ends

A GameStop film is already in development at HBO … Jim Leonard rejected the Packers’ offer … The Bulls are hooking up that fan from the Magic game … Updated NBA MVP Rankings … Jay Gruden isn’t impressed with Tony Romo’s broadcasting predictions … Kevin Durant and the Nets are pissed about Friday night … Is Trevor Bauer really worth $40 million/year? … LSU is under federal investigation.

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