Did you know the last six NFL passing leaders lost the Super Bowl they played in? Or that the AFC is 12-8 outright in Super Bowls played in February? Teams wearing white are 36-20 all-time in Super Bowls, too. So, Patrick Mahomes is the passing leader, but plays for the AFC team, but is wearing white… I’m gonna stop you there. These Super Bowl trends are dumb.
While fun coincidences to dissect, the overwhelming majority of Super Bowl trends have no correlation with betting odds and should be ignored. At least in handicapping. Below, we’ll go over 10 dumb trends that you should throw out this Sunday.
7 Dumb Super Bowl Trends To Ignore
1. NFL Passing Leaders Lost The Last 6 Super Bowls
The way this one’s phrased almost puts blame on the QB themselves. The last time an NFL passing leader played in the Big Game was Tom Brady after the 2017 season and his Super Bowl-record 505 passing yards were far from the losing factor for the Patriots. Before then, it was Peyton Manning after the 2013 season. It’s pretty evident why this trend sucks: You cannot isolate regular season passing production and correlate it to expected Super Bowl outcome.
Is it interesting that the last six passing leaders lost the Super Bowl? Yeah, definitely. Is it predictive? Absolutely not.
2. The Last 8 NFL MVPs Lost The Super Bowl
Patrick Mahomes took home his second NFL MVP at the NFL Honors on Thursday Night. By the letter of the dumb trends law, he’s doomed to lose the Super Bowl. The last eight MVPs to lose the Super Bowl is an interesting run, but hardly holds predictive power.
Why did those MVPs lose the Super Bowl? Because their trophy comes in and blocks a game-winning kick? Not enough room in the cabinet, so they forfeit the Lombardi?
If you go back further than the last eight MVPs, you’ll find that they win the Super Bowl more often than not all-time. 10 NFL MVPs also won the Super Bowl, going 8-0-2 ATS. So which trend is real? Which should you factor in?
How about neither.
3. The AFC Is 12-8 In Super Bowls Played In February
Months and timing hold absolutely no predictive value so as long as Super Bowls are played indoors or in moderate climates. Even then, the difference in temperature between January 28 and February 6, on average, is zero. The next time the NFL hosts their championship game outdoors in a northern climate, we can talk weather and timing. But in every instance, the exact month doesn’t matter in the slightest.
4. Teams Wearing White Hold An Advantage
I took this wording straight from a headline. Usually, Super Bowl uniform color trends boil down to one thing: the same team won seven Super Bowls in the last two decades. In this case, teams wearing white holding an advantage is entirely random.
Uniforms are chosen by the “home” team, which alternates year to year between the AFC and NFC. It’s a coincidence.
5. The Last X Coin Tosses Have Been Tails
This one is the most frustrating because this is a basic math concept from elementary school. You know the exercise: the more times you flip a coin, the closer to a 50/50 split you get. Doesn’t matter if the coin has landed tails-up the last 100 years running (“tails never fails”), the mathematic probability of a coin toss is 50/50. Every time. End of discussion.
6. The Last X Teams That Called Tails Won The Super Bowl
7. The NFC Is 2-1 In Super Bowls In Arizona
Unless one of the teams is playing in their home stadium– which we’ve seen the last two seasons– location does not matter. Both teams got there 10 days before kickoff, it’s indoors, the state is inconsequential. The worst part is, 2-1 is such a small sample size that you can’t reasonably draw conclusions from it anyway.
Never, ever, ever bet on a team because their conference has a good record in a certain state.
Tempting, But Not Actionable Super Bowl Trends
The Last X Super Bowls Have Gone Under The Total
The biggest takeaway from trends that deal with “the last X Super Bowls” is that those have no effect on this current one. Even if it’s the same two teams, last year’s outcome has no influence on this year’s. It’s a difficult thing to sort out, but an important one.
Going back too far, these trends become even more convoluted. What does the 2019 Super Bowl have to do with today? Neither of the starting quarterbacks are even on those teams. Be cautious with trends that deal with past Super Bowls.
The NFC Is 8-5 In Super Bowls Between Top Seeds
Could this mean the NFC is the stronger conference? Unlikely. Three of those wins came in the Joe Montana 49ers days. In games without him, the NFC and AFC top seeds are split evenly 5-5 all-time and the NFC is 3-2 since the turn of the millennium.
A general rule of thumb in sports stats: If Team X is 8-3 in their last 11, then they’re usually also 8-4 in their last 12 and 8-5 in their last 13. Framing matters.
AFC Teams Have Covered Six Of The Last Eight Super Bowls
You know who was involved in three of those six AFC covers? Tom Brady. What conference was Tom Brady in this past season? The NFC. Scrap this one.
To reiterate the past advice of every trend above here on this list: Take every matchup in its own yearly vacuum. Analyze each matchup and the team’s capabilities without the outside influences of years beyond this one.
Actionable Super Bowl Trends
Trends are tricky, but some do hold a little bit of informational value. They never mean go out and blindly bet a team.
For example, favorites are 25-27-3 ATS but 35-20 outright. This implies favorites are typically overvalued in the Super Bowl. However, with such a slim line this year (Eagles ) and one that’s flipped entirely, favorite/underdog splits are difficult to apply.
The only trends I’m applying to this year’s Super Bowl are statistical performances throughout the playoffs and the back end of the season. While these aren’t “trends” in the traditional sense, team trends do matter. For example, the Chiefs are 16th in EPA against the pass on the season as a whole, but from Week 12 through the Championship Round, they’re eighth.
These statistical trends can be attributed to a few things:
- Major personnel change
- Bye week adjustment
- Players returning or exiting to injury
- Strength of schedule
Be sure to frame how the Chiefs and Eagles are playing now as opposed to Week 4.