Super Bowl Online Betting: Underdogs and the Under

Once upon a time, the Super Bowl was a bit of a joke. The favorites, usually from the NFC, would put a serious beating on the underdogs almost every year. Think Super Bowl XXIV, when the 1989 San Francisco 49ers crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10. Or Super Bowl XXVII, when the 1992 Dallas Cowboys embarrassed the Buffalo Bills 52-17. They might as well have played Tecmo Bowl instead.
It wasn’t much of a showcase game for the NFL, but it was a tremendous opportunity to crush the Super Bowl betting odds. Betting the favorite every year, all the way up to Super Bowl XXIX (when the ’94 Niners thumped the San Diego Chargers 49-26), would have generated a 20-8 record against the Super Bowl point spread. And auto-betting the over between 1985 and 2004 would have cashed in at a 14-6 clip.

Time for a Change

That Niners-Chargers fiasco was the last straw. San Francisco was favored by 18.5 points in that game, the biggest SuperBowl odds we’d ever seen up to that point. But there was too much chalk in the system. With the AFC steadily improving since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and with teams like the Broncos adopting San Francisco’s West Coast offense, the underdogs started having their day. They’re 11-5-2 ATS since Super Bowl XXX. Dogs of more than seven points are now scarcer than hen’s teeth.
We’ve also seen the under become a profitable way to bet on the SuperBowl. Totals were getting too high in response to all those blowouts, and once the games became more competitive, the final scores started shrinking. The increased punishment NFL teams are dishing out these days also seems to be taking the starch out of tired offenses by the time February rolls around. The under is 6-3 since 2005 as a result.


Sharp NFL handicappers will point out the natural correlation between the underdogs and the under. The larger the point spread grows, the more points the favorites have to score if they’re going to cover. That makes it worth considering a 2-team parlay in any football game, pairing the favorite and the over, or the underdog and the under.
Given all the developments over the past couple of decades, it’s the latter parlay that turns out to be one of your best Superbowl betting tips. The underdog-under parlay was successful in five of the last 12 title games. That’s just enough to rake in a profit against the Super Bowl lines. Let’s say you bet $100 on your 2-team parlay. When both sides come through, your payout is about 2.6/1 at most online sportsbooks. That’s $160 profit for each of the five winning parlays, or $800 total, which covers the $700 in losses from the other seven Super Bowls.

Best Defense

That’s if you bet the underdog-under parlay blindly. If you take a contrarian Super Bowl betting strategy instead, and focus on fading high-scoring public favorites like the New England Patriots, you’ll have more success with those parlays. Each of New England’s last three trips to the Big Game saw the underdog-under parlay cash in.
Knowing this in advance, we can look at the Super Bowl futures market and be a little more selective about which teams to pick. We’ve already pointed out how poorly preseason Super Bowl favorites like New England have done in recent years; taking the under trends into account as well, we should try to follow a lower-tier contender that also happens to be solid defensively. Like the New York Giants, who beat the Patriots at Super Bowl XLII (30/1 preseason odds) and Super Bowl XLVI (20/1). As they say, defense wins championships.