Super Bowl: The Complete Betting History of Spreads, Totals, Upsets, More

Super Bowl: The Complete Betting History of Spreads, Totals, Upsets, More article feature image

Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images. Pictured: Lombardi Trophy

The complete betting history of the Super Bowl! All in one neat file — from Vince Lombardi and the Packers covering the lofty 14-point spread in Super Bowl I to Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts in 2023.

I bring you everything you need to know about the history of the big game through the prism of betting, such as …

  • What was the largest point spread upset?
  • How old was the youngest quarterback to cover?
  • What about the biggest line move?

Did we miss any records? Have a record you are curious about or want to be included? Drop me (@EvanHAbrams) or @ActionNetworkHQ a note and we will dig into our database to help find you the answer!

Let's get started.

Big Picture: Faves vs. Dogs; Overs vs. Unders

Favorites: 36-20 straight up (SU) and 27-27-2 against the spread (ATS)
Over: 26-28-1 (there was no O/U in Super Bowl 1)

Favorites have accumulated a 36-20 (64.3%) SU record in the Super Bowl, but that number dips to exactly 50% when we pay attention to the number that matters — the spread. Totals in Super Bowl history have been almost a complete wash, with the under having a minor edge.

Biggest Line Move (Opening to Closing Line)

Super Bowl 49: Patriots vs. Seahawks
3.5 points

We can start this one off by saying the Chiefs officially opened as 2-point favorites and are now 1.5-point underdogs to the Eagles … officially a 3.5-point move on the spread.

The point spread in Patriots/Seahawks opened with Seattle laying 2.5 points, but eventually closed with the Patriots as 1-point favorites. New England won, 28-24, after Russell Wilson was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler.

Lowest Over/Under

Super Bowl: 7, 8, 9 and 35

Imagine the amazing newspaper headlines in 1975 after the third consecutive Super Bowl had a total of exactly 33. In all three games, the total stayed under, with the underdog and losing team not scoring more than a single touchdown.

The total of 33 was duplicated again in Super Bowl 35 between the Ravens and Giants, when Baltimore covered the over by themselves in a 34-7 victory.

Largest Point Spread Differential

Super Bowl 48: Seahawks vs. Broncos
36.5 points

Seattle opened as the favorite, but then people remembered Peyton Manning was the quarterback of the other team. Denver ended up closing as 1.5-point favorites, but lost the game by the score of 43-8. In Super Bowl history, there have been five games with a spread differential of 30 or more and three were against the Broncos.

Largest Point Spread Upset

Super Bowl 3: Jets vs. Colts
18 points

Pretty fitting. The first game to actually be called the “Super Bowl” produces the biggest upset in the game’s history.

Three days before kickoff, Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed victory as an 18-point underdog. The Jets won, 16-7, to complete the biggest upset in history.

Largest Over/Under Differential

Super Bowl 53: Patriots vs. Rams
39.5 points

Tom Brady won his sixth ring was a low-scoring affair. Patriots vs. Rams closed at 55.5, the third-highest over/under in Super Bowl history.

Six total points were scored through the first three quarters and the Patriots ended up winning the game 13-3 — the lowest scoring Super Bowl in the history of the game.

Point Spread Push

Super Bowl 31 and 34: Patriots vs. Packers; Rams vs. Titans

In Super Bowl 31, the Packers were 14-point favorites against the Patriots. They defeated New England 35-21, becoming the first Super Bowl in history to push the closing point spread. Green Bay backers had a chance late, but Chris Jacke missed a 47-yard field goal with about four minutes left.

Three years later, it happened again. The Rams were seven-point favorites against the Titans, when Tennessee got to the goal line before Steve McNair to Kevin Dyson fell just short. The Rams won 23-16, pushing the spread for the second time in history.

Over/Under Push

Super Bowl 33: Broncos vs. Falcons

Broncos-Falcons in Super Bowl 33 was the only game in history to push the total. Denver beat Atlanta 34-19, scoring 53 total points without either team scoring a single point in the third quarter.

Both teams erupted for 30 points in the fourth quarter, including 17 points from John Elway and Co., burning the souls of under bettors everywhere.

Largest Point Spread

Super Bowl 3 and 29: Jets vs. Colts; 49ers vs. Chargers
18 points

The two quarterbacks on both favorites who induced these high point spreads — Johnny Unitas (Colts) and Steve Young (49ers) — were probably more interesting than the teams themselves.

In Super Bowl 3, the Colts ended up on the wrong end of the biggest upset in history. In Super Bowl 29, Young threw for six touchdowns, including four in the first half en route to a trouncing of the Chargers.

Smallest Point Spread

Super Bowl 16 and 49: 49ers vs. Bengals; Patriots vs. Seahawks
1 point

Only twice in Super Bowl history has a point spread closed at just a single point. In Super Bowl 16, the Bengals were 1-point favorites over the 49ers. San Francisco dominated the majority of the game despite the close final score (26-21). Eight years ago, the Pats closed as 1-point favorites after opening as 2.5-point underdogs (see, Malcolm Butler).

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Most Wins Against The Spread

Dallas Cowboys (5): Super Bowl 6, 10, 12, 27, 28
Pittsburgh Steelers (5): Super Bowl 9, 13, 14, 30, 40

Both the Cowboys and Steelers had very different journeys on the way to five ATS Super Bowl wins.

Pittsburgh covered its five Super Bowls by a total of 19.5 points, while Dallas stomped on opponents, covering the spread by 63.5 points in five covers (12.7 PPG).

To answer something I know everyone is wondering: The Patriots have four Super Bowl covers; they are 4-6-1 ATS in eleven appearances.

Most Against The Spread Losses 

New England Patriots (6): Super Bowl 20, 38, 39, 42, 46, 52

Runner-up … Denver Broncos (5): Super Bowl 12, 21, 22, 24, 48

When you've made 11 Super Bowl appearances, there is a chance you are going to end up on this list. The Patriots are 4-6-1 against the spread in the Super Bowl, the most ATS losses of any team.

When the question, "Who has the worst ATS Super Bowl history?" is asked, the answer is pretty simple — the Broncos.

Denver has been on the wrong side of the three worst ATS losses (Super Bowls 22, 24 and 48), which also happens to be their last three losses in the game. The Broncos have failed to cover the spread by a whopping 125.5 points in five Super Bowl losses (25.1 PPG), none coming by a touchdown or less.

Against The Spread Margin Within One Score

22 games with fewer than 7-point ATS differential

In 22 of 56 Super Bowls, the final ATS margin has been fewer than seven points (39.3%), meaning the team who covered could have theoretically lost near the end of the game.

The Rams-Bengals Super Bowl broke a streak of four games which had an ATS differential higher than seven points.

Crossing Through a "Key Number"

The Chiefs officially opened as 2-point favorites and are now 1.5-point underdogs … a 3.5-point move on the spread, crossing through zero.

Two games have crossed through a key number (3, 7, 10, 14 and 17) and two have crossed through zero entering this year, where both teams closed as favorites.

Key number represents the most common margins of defeat, and is used frequently in football where many games end with one team winning by a multiple of three or seven.

Super Bowl 13: Steelers vs. Cowboys
Line move:
opened Steelers -2.5 | closed Steelers -3.5

Super Bowl 28: Cowboys vs. Bills
Line move:
opened Cowboys -9 | closed Cowboys -10.5

Super Bowl 48: Seahawks vs. Broncos
Line move:
opened Seahawks -1 | closed Broncos -1.5

Super Bowl 49: Patriots vs. Seahawks
Line move:
opened Seahawks -2.5 | closed Patriots -1

Four times in Super Bowl history has the spread crossed over the key numbers of 3, 7, 10, 14 or 17 between the opening and closing point spreads, or crossed through zero.

Three of the four times the line movement has predicted the SU and ATS winner, with the exception being Super Bowl 48, when the Broncos closed as favorites and lost 43-8.

(Note: this does not include line movement, just the opening and closing spreads themselves.)

Youngest QB to Cover the Spread

Super Bowl 40: Ben Roethlisberger
Age: 23 years old

In his second year in the league, 23-year-old Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory and a cover, despite a lackluster performance with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Roethlisberger went on to win the Super Bowl again at the age of 26, despite not covering the spread against the Cardinals in that game.

Oldest QB to Cover the Spread

Super Bowl 55: Tom Brady
Age: 43 years old

The oldest quarterback to cover a Super Bowl was Tom Brady in Super Bowl 55 against the Chiefs. Three quarterbacks have started a Super Bowl at the age of 38 or older; they are a combined 5-1 SU and ATS.

Brady in Super Bowl 51, 53 and 55, Manning in Super Bowl 50 and John Elway in Super Bowl 33 got the wins, while Brady in Super Bowl 52 was the first to lose in this spot.

Teams to Win Super Bowl, But Not Cover the Spread

Steelers: Super Bowl 10, 43
49ers: Super Bowl 23
Cowboys: Super Bowl 30
Patriots: Super Bowl 38, 39
Rams: Super Bowl 56

Seven times in Super Bowl history has a team won the game straight up, but failed to cover the point spread. It first occurred in Super Bowl 10, when Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers beat the Cowboys 21-17, but failed to cover the 6.5-point spread.

Bradshaw hit Lynn Swann for a touchdown with just under four minutes left in the game to put Pittsburgh up 21-10. But in just over a minute, Dallas drove down the field in five plays and four pass completions to cut the lead to 21-17.

It happened last year when Matthew Stafford and the Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 as 4.5-point favorites.

In the 29 Super Bowls that featured a short point spread (six points or fewer), the line has actually only come into play once at the end of the game — last year.

In those 29 Super Bowls (six points or fewer), 14 underdogs won outright and 15 favorites won, with 14 covering the spread.

(Note: In Super Bowls 31 and 34, the winning teams pushed the spread.)

Most Games Covered By a QB

Tom Brady (5): Super Bowl 36, 49, 51, 53, 55
Joe Montana (3):
Super Bowl 16, 19, 24
Roger Staubach (3): Super Bowl 6, 10, 12
Terry Bradshaw (3): Super Bowl 9, 13, 14

Yet another record for Tom. In his career, Brady finished 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl MVP Whose Team Did Not Cover Spread

Cooper Kupp: Super Bowl 56
Santonio Holmes:
Super Bowl 43
Deion Branch: Super Bowl 39
Tom Brady: Super Bowl 38
Larry Brown: Super Bowl 30
Jerry Rice: Super Bowl 23
Lynn Swann: Super Bowl 10
Chuck Howley: Super Bowl 5

The Super Bowl MVP has not been on the team that covered the spread eight times in the history of the game. The last one to be a part of this unfortunate group was Cooper Kupp. The Rams won 23-20, but didn't cover as 4.5-point favorites.

The one before that? Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl 43, when the Steelers wideout made this catch against Arizona:

(Note: In Super Bowls 31 and 34, Desmond Howard and Kurt Warner’s teams pushed the spread.)

Lowest Seed to Cover the Spread

Super Bowl 40 and 45: Packers and Steelers
Record: 6 seed

Seeding as we know it today began in 1975 with Super Bowl 10 between the Steelers and Cowboys. Since then two 6-seeds have covered in the big game.

The Steelers were the first to do it in Super Bowl 40, beating the No. 1 Seahawks and Matt Hasselbeck. Five years later, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers repeated the feat against the Steelers.

Most Consecutive Super Bowl Games Covered (Team and QB):

Broncos, John Elway: Super Bowls 32 and 33
Cowboys, Troy Aikman: Super Bowls 27 and 28
Steelers, Terry Bradshaw: Super Bowls 13 and 14
Dolphins, Bob Griese: Super Bowls 7 and 8
Packers, Bart Starr: Super Bowls 1 and 2

The last QB to cover the spread in consecutive Super Bowls? John Elway back in 1999.

Tom Brady may have seven wins, but one thing he's never done is cover the point spread in consecutive Super Bowls.

Brady had the opportunity to pull off the feat five times, with his closest chance coming in 2018 vs. the Eagles after covering vs. the Falcons the year prior.

(All spreads are the closing numbers unless specifically listed)

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