Betting the Super Bowl point spread is the most common football odds option, especially for new bettors looking to wager on Super Sunday.

When betting the point spread, odds makers set a number based on the point difference they expect between the favorite and the underdog. If you’re betting the favorite, your team has to win, and win by the number of points (or more) in the spread. If you bet the underdog, they must either win, or lose by less than the number of points in the spread.

Who is the Super Bowl point spread favorite this year?

When the game was announced, odds makers listed the game quickly as a PK or even odds. But very quickly, New England Patriots bettors jumped on that point spread and started betting. That forced the sportsbooks to move the spread and it was -2.5 or -3 at some sportsbooks with a few days to go until Super Bowl 53.

Super Bowl point spread betting explained

To put point spread betting into context, let’s take a look back at the point spread for Super Bowl 50:

Denver Broncos   +6 (-110)
Carolina Panthers  -6 (-110)

Based on the 6-point spread, a wager on the Panthers would have been made if you believed they would have won the game by seven points or more. If the Panthers had won 17-10, then the team not only wins by seven points, but also covers the 6-point spread as the favorite.

However, if the Panthers had won 13-10, then they won by three points and did not cover the 6-point spread, but the Broncos would have because they stayed within the spread. If you are still not sure how this works, take the final score and subtract the favorite’s value from their total or add the underdog total to their score to see who has more points.

In actuality, the Broncos won 24-10, which meant that anyone who bet on the Broncos would have profited from Super Bowl 50.

Something you might want to keep in mind heading into the next Super Bowl – underdogs have been very tough, winning many games outright, not just against the spread.  So keep an eye on the line moves, and make sure you do your research instead of blindly betting the favorites.