It’s not easy to win the Super Bowl. There are 32 teams in the NFL, some better than others, and they’re all swimming upstream trying to grab that Vince Lombardi Trophy. Only one will make it. That’s why the Super Bowl betting odds are always against the favorites cashing in.
But that’s not why you should avoid the favorites if you’re going to bet on the Superbowl. For that, you can thank the NFL betting public. Casual football fans are overly biased toward the teams that performed the best during the previous season – especially the teams with superstar quarterbacks. That bias moves the Super Bowl lines too far toward the favorites. When they do cash in, the odds are too short to cover the losses from the times they miss.
Decade of Destruction
A quick look back at the last 10 NFL seasons will show you why steering clear of the favorites is one of the more important Superbowl betting tips you’ll ever receive. Only once did the top team on the NFL futures market beat the Superbowl odds; the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, led by beloved QB Petyon Manning, dusted off the Chicago Bears 29-17 to cash in at 6/1. The mighty Colts even beat the Super Bowl point spread while laying 6.5 points.
That 6/1 payout wasn’t worth the mouthful of chalk you would have eaten the other nine seasons. Eight of the past 10 Super Bowl champions faced double-digit odds at the start of the regular season. Besides the 2006 Colts, the 2004 New England Patriots (also 6/1) were the only other “public” team to win the title. The rest were second-tier or even third-tier candidates.
Speaking of 6/1, those are the Super Bowl XLVIII odds for Manning and his new team, the Denver Broncos. They’re still the co-favorites with the San Francisco 49ers as we go to press. Nobody’s denying how talented those two teams are, but sharp handicappers know better than to get swept up in the hype. That also goes for Tom Brady and the Patriots (10/1), as well as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (12/1). Popularity comes at a price.
Super Bowl Preseason Favorites and Winners, 2003-2012
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8/1)
Super Bowl winners: New England Patriots (15/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Philadelphia Eagles (5/1)
Super Bowl winners: New England Patriots (6/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Indianapolis Colts (5/1)
Super Bowl winners: Pittsburgh Steelers (12/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Indianapolis Colts (6/1)
Super Bowl winners: Indianapolis Colts
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: New England Patriots (5/2)
Super Bowl winners: New York Giants (30/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: New England Patriots (4/1)
Super Bowl winners: Pittsburgh Steelers (20/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: New England Patriots (6/1)
Super Bowl winners: New Orleans Saints (21/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Indianapolis Colts (7/1)
Super Bowl winners: Green Bay Packers (16/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: New England Patriots/Green Bay Packers (7/1)
Super Bowl winners: New York Giants (20/1)
Preseason Super Bowl favorites: Green Bay Packers (7/1)
Super Bowl winners: Baltimore Ravens (14/1)