The 2020-2021 NFL season has provided plenty of highlights and exciting finishes through two weeks, and betting markets are shifting to account for those results.
In this betting guide, we’re analyzing the top favorites to win Super Bowl LV and comparing odds at sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM to find value throughout the season.
These odds can shift dramatically throughout the season. Just look at the 49ers last year – they opened the season with +4400 odds to win the Super Bowl and wound up just a few plays short of winning it all. So, check back each week for updates.
Super Bowl odds
Super Bowl odds: Futures report (Updated Sept. 22)
Kansas City Chiefs (+500): Perhaps the Chiefs’ narrow OT win over the Chargers will serve as a wake-up call as they look to defend their Super Bowl title. Patrick Mahomes and company have looked sharp in the early going, but not nearly as dominant or hungry as the Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens (+500): Both the Chiefs and Ravens are +500 at DraftKings while the 49ers (+2000) took a tumble due to key injuries. Baltimore has been the best team in the NFL thus far with Lamar Jackson playing mistake-free football and with a defense that has dominated two good offensive teams.
New Orleans Saints (+1000): The Saints defense imploded on MNF and Drew Brees couldn’t respond with Michael Thomas (ankle) out. A loss to the Raiders only barely changes the Saints Super Bowl odds given the wealth of talent on Sean Payton’s roster.
Seattle Seahawks (+1200): The road to an NFC West crown may become a bit easier if the 49ers aren’t able to get healthy. With Russell Wilson finally free to cook, the Seahawks offense has been able to overcome their limited defense thus far.
San Francisco 49ers (+2000): Hit with a slew of injuries in Week 2, the Niners are now a bargain option to win it all. Nick Bosa suffered a season-ending ACL tear in a win at the Jets, so the Niners’ defensive depth will be put to the test.
Green Bay Packers (+1600): Aaron Rodgers is looking sharper in his second year under Matt LaFleur and the Packers are on pace for a franchise-record 8,000 scrimmage yards through two games. Yet those wins came against two backsliding NFC North foes, the Lions and Vikings.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+1800): The Steelers’ Super Bowl odds moved from +2500 to +1800 at DK after a 2-0 start. They can go far with a veteran QB surrounded by dangerous receivers and a top three defense to complement their offense.
Dallas Cowboys (+1800): While Sunday’s miraculous comeback against the Falcons may not inspire confidence in the Cowboys, it could serve as an early turning point as Mike McCarthy looks to change the culture in Dallas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1800): The Bucs continue to play “funnel defense” and are allowing a league-best 2.9 YPC through two games against talented backs. Tampa’s offense is a work in progress under Tom Brady, but could hit its stride during the second half of the season.
Buffalo Bills (+2000): Josh Allen has a 125.6 passer rating through two games and his NFL MVP odds have jumped from +5000 to +2000 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Stefon Diggs has added a new dimension to Buffalo’s offense and their defense has always been reliable.
New England Patriots (+2200): The Patriots have re-fashioned their offense to fit Cam Newton’s skill set and their defense is playing well despite losing a number of key contributors to free agency and opt outs. While their red zone offense is a bit predictable, we should trust Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels to figure out other ways to convert short-yardage situations.
Los Angeles Rams (+2200): Sean McVay has shored up some issues with his offensive line and is making the game easy for Jared Goff once again. Even with Cam Akers (ribs) and Malcolm Brown (finger) departing with injuries, the Rams hung 450 yards on the struggling Eagles.
Tennessee Titans (+2500): The Titans sit at +2500 at DK to win it all after they nearly blew a double-digit lead to the Jaguars. The Colts are a capable rival in the AFC South and the Texans shouldn’t be discounted after starting 0-2 against Super Bowl favorites KC and Baltimore.
Arizona Cardinals (+2500): The Cardinals are 2-0, as are their division rivals the Rams and Seahawks. Kyler Murray has arrived and Arizona’s defense looks much improved in 2020.
ALSO READ: NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 3
How to bet Super Bowl futures
Futures bets are a great way for diehard sports fans to get themselves a little more involved in the upcoming success of their favorite teams and/or players. They can also be a good way for the maligned hometown fan to shift focus a little bit and worry more about the success (or failure) of rival teams.
Fans can put their prediction skills to the test by placing wagers on things such as the Super Bowl LV champion, division and conference winners, win totals for each team, and individual player awards such as MVP and Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year.
Additionally, many books offer over/under lines on certain yardage or touchdown numbers for specific players or head-to-head options between two stars of a shared position. These are often referred to as “specials.”
Odds on certain futures will often be updated throughout the offseason as players change teams or suffer injuries. Once the season starts, odds can change wildly based on injuries, and fast or slow starts with bettors having to know the difference between pretenders and contenders.
There’s nothing like placing a wager on a longshot early in the offseason and watching the year play out in their, and your, favor. It can be ill-advised to bet on a favorite in the offseason with so much time for things to go against them.
All online sportsbooks come in slightly different layouts, but futures sections are typically in the same general area.
Simply click the “NFL” or “Pro Football” tab on your book of choice. The default screen is generally the Week 1 schedule with all 16 games listed, but in a dropdown menu or separate menu bar, there should be several other options, including futures and specials.
Peruse these sections at your whim, looking for the teams, players, or odds which matter most to you. A wager such as Super Bowl Champions or MVP will have money options listed, whether it be all 32 teams or 30-50 of the league’s biggest stars. Each option will have odds listed next to it.
Betting the Kansas City Chiefs to repeat as Super Bowl champions at +550 means a $100 wager returns $550. A safer bet such as the Chiefs to win the AFC West comes with diminished -500 odds.
Win totals and player specials typically come in the form of over/unders on a number set by the sportsbook. Each side of the bet will have odds for any result coming in above or below the line.
Other ways to bet on the Super Bowl
The point spread will be one of the most popular methods of placing a wager on Super Bowl LV. The point spread is the projected margin of victory set by oddsmakers for the favored team. If a bettor wagers on the favorite to “cover” the point spread, the favorite must not only emerge victorious, but must do so by more than the point spread for the bet to be a winner. If the favorite wins the game but does so by less than the spread – or if it loses the game altogether – the bettor will have lost his/her money wagered.
A moneyline wager is a bet on which team will win the game outright, regardless of margin. A moneyline wager is essentially the same type of bet that has been placed among family and friends for decades. When placed with a sportsbook, a moneyline wager pays winning bets based on the odds attached to the wager.
For example, a moneyline wager on the favorite may carry odds of “-110”, meaning a bettor wins $100 for every $110 wagered. Conversely, a moneyline wager on the underdog may carry odds of “+112”, meaning a bettor wins $112 for every $100 bet.
A totals wager is one that hinges on whether the bettor correctly bet the game’s combined final score would finish over or under the number projected by the sportsbook at the time of the wager. For example, say Super Bowl LIV carries a projected total of 49 points. If one wagers the “under” on that figure and the game finishes with a 30-21 final score, the bet is a losing one, since the combined total of that score is 51 points. However, if the game instead finishes 24-21 – a combined score of 45 – then that bet would be a winner.
Player Prop bets are wagers that are based on whether the individual player that’s the subject of the bet falls short of or exceeds certain statistical benchmarks. Sportsbooks typically offer an extensive array of such bets for an event of the magnitude of the Super Bowl. Player prop bets are based on the statistics usually accrued by players at different positions.
For example, a prop bet for a quarterback would be whether the player throws for less or more than 250 yards in the game. For a running back, an example would be whether the player receivers less or more than 20 carries. For a receiver, an available prop wager could be based on whether the player falls below or exceeds a certain number of receptions during the game.
Even non-skill position players such as kickers or even an entire defensive unit can be the subject of prop bets. A standard prop bet for a kicker could be based on whether the player will successfully hit more or less than a certain number of field goals, or whether they will miss an extra point. For a defense, prop bets could be based on whether that unit will give up a certain amount of points, or whether it will score a touchdown on an interception or fumble return.
Player prop bets are most often graded on full-game statistics, but there are also prop bets that are based on statistics accrued during a specific quarter or specific half of a game.
Prop bets for major events such as a Super Bowl can also center on outcomes that aren’t based on traditional in-game statistics. For example, a prop bet can be placed on whether the game-opening coin toss comes up as heads or tails or which team will win the toss; the color of the Gatorade that is dumped on the winning team’s coach; and what the jersey number of one of the players who scores during the game might be.
There are even prop wagers based on the two flagship non-sports events associated with the game – the National Anthem and the halftime show. Bettors can place wagers on contingencies such as the length of time of the National Anthem, whether the performer will omit a word, whether a certain celebrity will make an unexpected appearance during the halftime festivities or how many songs will be performed by the halftime act.
The most prestigious individual Super Bowl-related award is that of Most Valuable Player. While any player is technically eligible for the distinction, the best odds by and far lie with the quarterback position, which has taken home 29 of the 54 MVP awards in Super Bowl history. That outpaces the next closest positions – wide receiver and running back – by 22. Five quarterbacks have won the MVP award on multiple occasions. The Patriots’ Tom Brady leads the way with four. The 49ers’ Joe Montana follows with three. Meanwhile, the Packers’ Bart Starr, the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw and the Giants’ Eli Manning each garnered two apiece.
Even when a future Hall of Famer like Brady is on the winning side, it’s important to remember there is no such thing as a surefire bet. In the Patriots’ win over the Rams in February of 2019, receiver Julian Edelman earned MVP honors with a 10-reception, 141-yard tally.
Alternate lines are those offered by sportsbooks as secondary options to the official point spread that has been set. These lines feature an extensive array of different point spreads for both the favorite and underdog side of the game. These lines typically begin at points well above the number associated with each team in the official game line and range well into the other side of the bet, i.e. allowing for a heavy favorite to be bet as a heavy underdog and vice versa.
To cite an example from this past season’s Chiefs – 49ers Super Bowl matchup, Kansas City entered the game as 1.5-point favorites at many sportsbooks. Alternate lines offered could have included a wagering opportunity on the Chiefs as seven-point favorites instead. Moreover, that bet would have included a very favorable “price” – the preset ratio at which the bet would pay out – due to the much lower probability of the Chiefs not only winning, but winning by more than a touchdown.
Live betting offers bettors the opportunity to place wagers on the point spread, moneyline or projected total of a game as odds on each fluctuate depending on the flow of a game. With a live betting option, a bettor doesn’t have to be locked into just the wagers they placed prior to the start of the game or at halftime. Rather, if, for example, the favored team unexpectedly falls behind by a two-touchdown margin in the first half, the bettor can hedge his original wager by investing in a new line with odds that reflect how the game is unfolding.
A teaser bet is based on multiple games and enables the bettor to adjust the official point spread anywhere between four and 10 points, depending on sport. For football, the allowable range if six, 6.5 or seven points. For a teaser bet to pay out, each leg of the wager must be a winner.
An example of a teaser bet would be as follows:
- The Chiefs are teased from 7.5-point favorites over the Titans down to 1.5-favorites (six-point tease)
- The 49ers are also teased from 7.5-point favorites over the Packers to 1.5-point favorites
If both Kansas City and San Francisco win their games by at least two points, respectively, the teaser bet is a winner. The appeal of teaser bets is the ability to manipulate the spread, and in the process, significantly increase the odds of the wager being successful.
Where to bet Super Bowl 2021
Super Bowl 55 details
Super Bowl LV will officially kick off Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET in Tampa, Florida.
The game will be televised through broadcast television on CBS.
Best Super Bowl betting sites and bonuses
Legal sports betting is progressively expanding across the United States.
Bettors should particularly be aware of these sportsbooks:
All three sportsbooks will have a wide selection of special offers and promotions for Super Bowl LV aimed at both first-time and existing customers.
Super Bowl betting tips and strategies
Line shopping and getting the best number
With any purchase, shopping for the best price is advisable. Sports betting is no different. The “prices” associated with sports betting are the odds attached to each wager that determine the payout if the bet is a winner. Other sportsbook-to-sportsbook variables that are important for a better to also be conscious of include possible differences in the point spread and projected total posted for a particular game.
The original lines set by oddsmakers when a game is first posted can often be the “sharpest”, i.e. most difficult to consistently beat over time. Therefore, the biggest edge can often come from waiting things out and seeing what way the betting public’s wagers move a point spread as a game draws closer. Factors such as faulty “groupthink” can sometimes alter a team’s projected advantage to the extent it creates a tangible edge for a sharp bettor.
One caveat about the Super Bowl is that no one NFL game sees its line affected more by “sharp money.” Therefore, line movement for this particular game is often the byproduct of bets placed based on an effective process more than any other during the season.
Fading the public
The strategy of betting against the most popular side of a bet can pay off on occasion. However, it’s not a strategy that’s necessarily advisable to be utilized with great frequency. But, as discussed in the prior section, there are certain instances when the general public’s infatuation with a certain team’s reputation (or in some cases, even certain superstar players such as Brady) can lead to a notable amount of money being wagered on that team. In turn, the line could move to a point where a team is favored by an increasingly unrealistic amount of points.
By “fading the public” in such an instance, a bettor could exploit the situation and place a winning bet on the underdog to slide in under the spread. The same could hold true for a projected total that gets bet up to a certain level due to the offensive reputations of one or both of the teams.
Using advanced metrics
While many bettors likely put only a modest amount of what could accurately be termed “research” before placing a wager, there’s certainly no shortage of metrics available to be evaluated for those who wish to avail themselves. For team-based wagers such as moneylines, point spreads and projected totals, bettors can review the history of each team’s performance in each category.
However, where advanced metrics can be particularly helpful is when making individual- or team-based prop wagers. Statistical trends can certainly help a bettor make an informed decision on whether a certain receiver is likely to exceed a certain amount of catches versus a certain opponent’s defense, for example. The same could apply to countless other such prop wagers, such as a quarterback reaching the 300-yard threshold and a running back eclipsing the 100-yard mark, to cite just two other examples.
A good example for the Super Bowl LIV matchup between the Chiefs and 49ers would involve San Francisco star tight end George Kittle. Say a sportsbook offers a prop wager on Kittle making over/under five catches. A bettor evaluating this wager may go with the Over when considering Kansas City faced the second-most tight end targets (141) in the league this past season and tied for the third-most catches (96) allowed to the position.
“Middling” a game is defined as a bettor placing wagers on both sides of the contest. Football is considered the most popular sport to utilize this strategy. Because it involves placing more than one wager on a game, middling can be a strategy that’s rarely used by novice bettors. However, it ironically helps mitigate the risk involved by significantly upping the chances of one of the two bets being a winner.
Middling is typically made possible when there is notable line movement on a game within a week. Using an example from the Super LIV Chiefs-49ers matchup, hypothetically, say Kansas City opened up as a three-point favorite. A bettor initially places a wager on this line, but over the course of the two weeks, the line is bet up even further to a seven-point projected advantage for KC. That same bettor then places a bet on the 49ers +7, i.e. San Francisco to lose by six points or less or win outright.
In this example, the bettor is a winner if either:
- The Chiefs win by four points or more.
- The 49ers lose by six points or less or win outright.
Taking advantage of free bets and promotions
Legal, regulated sportsbooks typically offer a variety of enticing promotions, for both first-time and existing customers. Those offers are even more prominent for an event the magnitude of the Super Bowl. Bettors should therefore be on the lookout for such offers as soon as the participants for Super Bowl LIV are decided in this coming weekend’s conference championship games.
Examples of special offers and promotions include:
- Risk-free bets up to a certain amount. This year, DraftKings Sportsbook offering first-time depositors up to $500 worth of risk-free bets on the game by matching a first bet up to $500. New accounts will also get $25 in free bets just for signing up — no deposit necessary!
- Special odds boosts on certain wagers.
- A variety of potential special offers involving prop bets, parlays, teasers and other bet types.
Where can I bet on the Super Bowl legally?
Those physically located within a total of 18 states will have the option of placing wagers on Super Bowl LV at a legal, regulated sportsbook. Of those jurisdictions, eight of them offer bettors the option of placing a bet through either a sportsbook’s website/mobile wagering app or its physical retail location. Another five currently only allow wagering at physical sportsbooks.
By Super Bowl LV in February 2021, several more states should have legal sports betting options available. That number is expected to increase based on a certain amount of sports betting bills across the country gaining passage during 2020.
The following states already offer both online and retail sports betting options:
The following states currently only offer retail sports betting options:
How much money is wagered on the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is annually the most lucrative single-event sports betting opportunity. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated bets on last year’s Chiefs-49ers game would reach approximately $6.8 billion worldwide in both legal and illegal wagers.
At many sportsbooks, proposition bets constitute more than half of the wagers and amount placed for the Super Bowl. With the ongoing expansion of legalized, regulated sports wagering across the United States, the total “handle” – the cumulative amount wagered on the game – should continue to edge upward for several years based solely on the increase in legal betting opportunities for sports fans. For this year’s Super Bowl LV, those physically located within 13 states will have access to either online and/or retail sports betting (a physical sportsbook) for the big game.
Who is favored to win the 2021 Super Bowl?
The Kansas City Chiefs opened as the betting favorites in the 2020-21 season at +700 odds, followed by the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens at +800.