Super Bowl 49: Betting tips for the big game


Jan 30, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (right) during a joint press conference for Super Bowl XLIX at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl 49: 

New England Patriots (-1) vs Seattle Seahawks, Over/Under 47.5

As Sunday approaches, the story lines for the 49th edition of the Super Bowl continue to develop. There has been the phenomenon commonly referred to as “Deflate-Gate” and of course Marshawn Lynch’s infamous “I’m here so I won’t get fined” press conference. I want to look at a different aspect of this weekend’s Super Bowl though; the betting aspect.

According to the American Gaming Association‘s official website, it’s estimated that Americans will make $3.8 billion worth of illegal bets on Sunday’s Super Bowl. That comes out to roughly $11.87 per person in the United States. I’m not here to debate the ethical-unethical discussion that surrounds sports betting, but what I will do is provide some key statistics that have influences Super Bowls in the past. 

Football fans remember the big upsets like the 1969 New York Jets, led by “Broadway” Joe Namath. That year’s Jets team was an 18-point underdog against the Baltimore Colts, but New York prevailed by nine in the end. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 1995 Super Bowl between San Francisco and San Diego resulted in a 23-point 49ers win. Steve Young’s 49ers were 18-point favorites on that occasion.

There have been 48 Super Bowls played to date, with the number 49 coming on Sunday, when the New England Patriots (1-point favorites) meet the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Below are the outcomes of every Super Bowl based on the final betting line set.

Favorite Won: 26 Underdog Won: 20 Push: 2

*Over: 24 Under: 23

*Over/Under was established in following Super Bowl I in 1967, therefore bettors have only been able to place a bet on this category in 47 of the 48 Super Bowls.

These numbers are distributed evenly when it comes to betting on the favorite and underdog, especially given the fact that betting lines have drawn significantly lower numbers in recent years. Over/Under is even more of a toss-up though. Vegas Insider‘s archives show that since 2000’s matchup between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans, there have only been two games where the line has been set above -7. On those two occasions, the 2002 Rams were two touchdown favorites against the Patriots and the 2008 Patriots were 12-point favorites against the New York Giants. Both underdogs (Patriots in 2002 and Giants in 2008) were victorious in their respective games.

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Underdogs have won each of the past three Super Bowls (New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks), while the latter two posted recorded Over in the point total. So what exactly does that mean for this year’s game? Seattle has appeared in two Super Bowls (2006 and 2014), while counterparts New England have had the opportunity to win seven Lombardi trophies. An interesting factor in this game will be the fact the Patriots are on a two game losing streak in the Super Bowl, including a 2008 loss in Glendale, Arizona, where the 2015 edition will take place.

Seattle-New England Key Statistics

Although they have never met in the postseason, the Patriots and Seahawks are 8-8 against one another in their histories. The two teams have only played three times since 2004, with New England coming out victorious twice. Six of the Patriots’ seven Super Bowl appearances have resulted in an outcome decided by four points or less.

This season, the Patriots ranked 11th overall in total offense and 13th in total defense. The Seahawks checked in at ninth in total offense, while boasting the best defense in the league. While those were regular season statistics, they still play a large role in the identities of these two squads. Obviously Seattle is predicated on its defense, while New England has historically had a high-powered offense since the arrival of Tom Brady.

One key area that both teams are very good in is the turnover battle. The Patriots were +12 in turnover differential this season, while Seattle held a +10 turnover differential. Another key factor could be penalties. The Seahawks were called for the most penalties in 2014 (130), and the Patriots weren’t far behind (120), ranking fourth in the NFL.

My Pick: Patriots and Over 

Next: Super Bowl 2015: NFL Spin Zone Staff Predictions