With the big game approaching, let’s dig back into the betting history books to find the double-digit Super Bowl underdogs against the spread. In all, there have been 11 of them.
The Super Bowl 56 spread is nowhere close to these past longshots, with this year’s game projected to be much closer than some of these other pregame predictions. Yet, not all of these double-digit dogs rolled over and played dead.
IV (1969): Chiefs +10 vs. Vikings
This game represented the final AFL-NFL championship in professional football, as Kansas City ended up covering the first of these double-digit lines while notching a 23-7 outright win as well.
The Chiefs held the Vikings to just 67 yards rushing, and Len Dawson become the fourth-straight quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP. Overall, the 19-year signal caller went 17-of-22 passing for 142 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
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XXVIII (1993): Bills +10.5 vs. Cowboys
Emmitt Smith, #22, celebrates a fourth-quarter touchdown in Super Bowl XXVIII.
After failing to emerge victorious in their previous three Super Bowl appearances, the Bills lost again and failed to cover for a fourth consecutive Super Bowl as well.
Emmitt Smith won the game’s MVP for the only time in his illustrious career, pounding away for 130 rushing yards (via 30 carries) and two scores. Dallas came away with a 30-13 outright win in the process.
XIV (1979): Rams +11 vs. Steelers
Despite covering — and leading — through the first three quarters, Los Angeles failed to hang on in the final 15 minutes.
Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris capped off the comeback with a one-yard touchdown plunge to hand the Rams a 12-point loss. Any Steelers live bettors out there? Bueller?
XX (1985): Patriots +11 vs. Bears
New England ran into one of the premier defenses in NFL history and didn’t stand a chance from the opening kickoff, losing 46-10. The Bears more than tripled the Patriots in total yards, as Steve Grogan completed just 17-of-30 passes for 177 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
In fact, the first-ever long-shot NFL prop bet was born from this very game, as Chicago defensive lineman William Perry plunged in for a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
XLII (2007): Giants +12 vs. Patriots
David Tyree, #85, hangs onto a catch on his helmet in Super Bowl XLII.
In one of the most memorable Super Bowl betting moments of all-time, New York quarterback Eli Manning evaded a third-down sack and found Tyree for an incredible 32-yard snag in the final two minutes.
Plaxico Burress followed the helmet catch with a game-winning touchdown grab, ending New England’s bid of becoming the first 19-0 team in league history. Giants moneyline bettors (+425) were even happier with the 17-14 win.
XXIV (1989): Broncos +12 vs. 49ers
Similar to the ’85 Patriots, Broncos backers were never able to have any sort of hope — even with John Elway under center.
The Hall of Famer went just 10 of 26 for 108 passing yards and two interceptions, and San Francisco blitzed the scoreboard behind a trio of Jerry Rice touchdowns. Final score: 55-10.
II (1967): Raiders +13 vs. Packers
Bart Starr (left) and Vince Lombardi (right) became one of the most iconic quarterback/coaching duos in NFL history.
In the second of Green Bay’s consecutive Super Bowl trips, QB Bart Starr took home another MVP, as Oakland was done in by their three costly turnovers.
John Rauch’s team covered for about 45 minutes before the unraveling truly began, leading to a 33-14 beatdown.
XXX (1995): Steelers +13.5 vs. Cowboys
Any bettors with pregame tickets on Pittsburgh cashed their wagers after facing a bit of a sweat to begin the fourth quarter.
Bill Cowher’s unit trailed 20-7 before the final 15 minutes, but a Norm Johnson field goal and Bam Morris one-yard touchdown run put their worries to bed. Nevertheless, the 27-17 loss was the Steelers’ first Super Bowl defeat in franchise history.
I (1966): Chiefs +17 vs. Packers
The first of the two biggest Super Bowl underdogs that were more than two-touchdown longshots. Green Bay was an an even bigger favorite in the first Super Bowl, and Kansas City bettors quickly burned their tickets after a competitive first half.
The aforementioned Dawson wasn’t as efficient as he was in his second go-around, completing just 16-of-27 passes for 211 yards, a touchdown and an interception, with his lone turnover changing the whole dynamic of the third quarter. Lombardi & Co. went onto win 35-10.
III (1968): Jets +17 vs. Colts
Tied with the ’66 Chiefs for biggest Super Bowl underdogs but certainly the one with a bite as large as its bark. If only social media was around for Joe Namath’s guarantee that his Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts. The Super Bowl MVP-turned-Hall of Famer posted 208 passing yards, out-dueling Johnny Unitas in the process. New York won the defensive battle outright, 16-7.
XXIX (1994): Chargers +18.5 vs. 49ers
Our guess is the Vegas books took a beating on the big public favorite in this one, as Steve Young, Jerry Rice and the 49ers walloped San Diego 49-26. The proverbial monkey off the back game for Young to capture his first Super Bowl, he tossed a Super Bowl record six touchdown passes, targeting the legendary Rice for three of them.