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Super Bowl gambling guide: Point spread, prop bets, ATS trends

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According to, the Nevada sportsbooks have lost money on the Super Bowl exactly twice since 1991: When the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII (2008, New York was a 12-point underdog) and when the 49ers beat the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX (1995, San Francisco covered as a massive 18.5-point favorite).

This year — at least as of Thursday afternoon, before most of the wiseguys have headed to the window — the books would really like the Denver Broncos to keep it close against the Carolina Panthers.

Thanks to the Panthers’ dominant playoff performance and the fact that the Broncos seem like a one-sided team, money continues to pour in on Carolina. With 71 percent of the total bets placed on the Panthers, according to, the spread has grown from Carolina -4 to Carolina -5.5 (and it’s gotten to Carolina -6 before quickly getting bet back down). According to Sports Insights’ David Solar, that 71 percent represents the most lopsided betting in Super Bowl history.

Neil Greenberg, The Post's resident stats guru, looks at some of the most compelling stats in Super Bowl history. (Video: Thomas Johnson, Osman Malik/The Washington Post)

So the books want Denver to win, right? Eh, maybe not, because the bulk of the moneyline money seems to be coming in on the Broncos, who stood at +190 as of Thursday afternoon (wager $100 to win $190). “Although the Broncos … are receiving just 54% of moneyline bets, they have received 72% of total dollars wagered. That means sportsbooks could have a lot of liability if Denver is able to win the game straight up,” Solar writes.

The Super Bowl total sits at 45 (again, as of Thursday afternoon).


You can bet on anything Sunday: The list of prop bets offered by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas runs 33 pages. Here are a few of the more well-known ones, along with some that run toward the silly.

Coin Toss

Heads -102

Tails -102

Will there be a safety?

Yes +550

No -800

Will there be a successful two-point conversion?

Yes +330

No -400

Will there be a missed extra point?

Yes +300

No -360

Who will have more?

Stephen Curry three-point field goals made: pick ’em +110

Greg Olsen receptions: pick ’em -130

Who will have more?

Rory McIlroy fourth-round score: +0.5 -110

Emmanuel Sanders receiving yards: -0.5 -110


Carolina -5.5 Denver

— The last time a Super Bowl favorite of at least three points both won and covered was Super Bowl XLI in 2007, when the Colts beat the Bears, 29-17, as seven-point favorites.

— The last 10 teams to score 40 or more points in a playoff game — as the Panthers did against the Cardinals in the NFC championship game — went 1-8-1 ATS in their next game.

— Take that back to 1996, and teams that scored 40-plus points in a playoff game are 4-22 ATS in their next game. Wow.