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New to NFL betting? That’s fine. This is a no-judgment zone.

Betting on the Super Bowl is actually one of the best places to begin wagering on football. There are many different types of wagers available, making it a great opportunity to get the lay of the full betting landscape with a single event.

We won’t let you wander into the football betting wilderness alone, of course. We’ve developed this handy Super Bowl betting guide to help you get acquainted with NFL betting, generally, and lay some simple wagers on Super Bowl 53. Now that the match-up is set (the Patriots and Rams will be squaring off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 3), we can use some concrete examples to make things clearer.

But first things first. Let’s start with some classification.

Types of Bets

Every football bet can be classified in one of three categories: moneyline, against the spread, and over/under.

1. Moneyline Betting

Betting on the moneyline is the easiest and most straight forward bet you can make. Quite simply, you bet on which team will win the game “straight up.” You don’t have to worry about margin of victory. If the team you bet on wins, you win your bet!

Super Bowl 53 Moneyline Odds (Feb. 3)

New England Patriots Los Angeles Rams Sportsbook Link
-145 +125 Bovada
-137 +117 BetOnline
-132 +112 GTBets

You might be saying to yourself: “That’s very simple. Why doesn’t everyone bet on the moneyline?”

Because the payout is lower if you bet on the favorite, and you don’t get the advantage of the spread if you bet on the underdog. Sportsbooks aren’t going to reward you the same way for picking a massive favorite to win. They will, however, reward you handsomely if you correctly pick an underdog.

Let’s use this year’s Super Bowl as an example again.

The Patriots’ moneyline is -145 at the moment. (Hey, that style of number looks familiar!) That -145 number indicates that, if you bet New England to win, you have to wager $145 to win $100 for a total payout of $245. The Rams’ moneyline, on the other hand, is +125.

The plus-sign changes everything! When preceded by a plus-sign, the moneyline indicates how much you’ll get back if you bet $100.

So, if you wager $100 on Los Angeles  +125 and they upset the Patriots (by whatever score), you’ll walk away with $225 — your original $100 bet plus $125. (For all intents and purposes, the favorite is always listed at a negative number and the underdog at a positive number.)

You don’t have to wager $100, of course. You can wager any amount (though sportsbooks do have upper and lower limits). If you cut your bet in half and put $50 on the Rams +125, you’d go home with $112.50 if they win — your original $50 bet plus $62.50 (i.e. half of $125).

2. Against the Spread

Against the spread betting (commonly abbreviated as ATS) is probably the most common type of football betting. In Super Bowl 53, the Patriots are three-point favorites over the Rams. On paper, this is written out as “Patriots (-3)” or “Rams (+3)”. The three-point spread means that, if you bet on the Patriots (-3), you only win your bet if the Patriots win by more than three points. If the Patriots win 32-30, for example, you’re outta luck (and money).

The flip side is that if you bet on the Rams (+3), you’ll still win your bet even if they lose the game by two points or fewer.

If the Patriots win by exactly three points (say, 33-30), it’s called a “push,” and both sides get their money back.

Simple enough, right?

You might get confused a couple of days after you make your bet when you see the spread change. If a lot of money is being wagered on one team compared to the other, sportsbooks will shift the spread to encourage equal betting on both sides. (This reduces their potential for loss.) This actually already happened with Super Bowl 53. When the betting lines were first opened, the Rams were actually a small favorite. But so much money was immediately bet on the Patriots that the spread shifted all the way to Patriots (-3).

These changes do not impact any bets that have already been placed. For your purposes, the spread will remain what it was at the time you placed your bet.

The payout on spread betting is about $1 for every $1.10 you wager. You’ll often see the payout listed as “-110,” which indicates that you must bet $110 to win $100. You’ll see similar-looking numbers in our next type of betting. (Ooh, nice transition.)

3. Over/Under Betting

Over/under betting (O/U) is considerably different than ATS betting or moneyline betting in that it doesn’t involve picking the winner. The most common over/under bet is the game total, which involves predicting the total number of points that will be scored in the game.

When you’re on/at a sportsbook, you may see a line for the Super Bowl that looks like this: Patriots vs Rams (+3, 57.5 O/U).

You already know what that +3 means. But what about 57.5 O/U? That’s the game total. You can either bet that the game will feature more than 57.5 points (in which case you’re betting the over) or fewer than 57.5 points (in which case you’re betting the under).

If you bet the over and the Patriots win 30-29, you win your bet since the teams combined for 59 points. (That’s more than 57.5.) If the Patriots win 30-26, you lose everything, even though the combined score was super close to 57.5.

Like with ATS betting, the game total can and will shift over time, depending on which side is receiving the majority of the money wagered. Also like ATS betting, you can get “pushes” with the game total. Obviously, a push can only arise when if the O/U is not a half number. I haven’t done all the research, but I’m pretty sure no NFL game has ever ended 30-27.5.

Totals betting isn’t just limited to game totals. Sportsbooks offer all sorts of O/Us for various sports. In the NFL, it’s common to see win-total O/Us at the start of every season. This year, the Rams’ win-total O/U was 9.5 or 10 (depending on the sportsbook). Since they finished 13-3 on the season, those who bet the over won their season-long wager and those who bet the under lost.

To complicate matters, O/Us have moneylines attached to them (just like the spread), meaning the payout isn’t always equal between the over and the under. It all depends on the outcome the sportsbook thinks is more likely.

As long as sportsbooks consider the two outcomes equally likely, you’ll roughly double your bet if you win, minus the “house” keeping their cut.

Those Props You Keep Hearing About

So far, most of the wagers we’ve been discussing focus on the outcome of the game, itself. The Super Bowl, however, is just as famous for its litany of prop bets, some of which can be downright bizarre,  as it is for actual football. What’s a prop bet? It can be anything. “Prop” is just short for proposition.

To encourage as much betting as possible, sportsbooks offer prop bets on almost every aspect of the Super Bowl, from which team will win the opening coin toss to which player will score the first touchdown. A lot of the props are about on-field performance. For example, who will have the most receiving yards? And how many interceptions will Tom Brady throw?

But the really fun ones have almost nothing to do with football. Here are a few favorites from this year’s props:

  •  What color hoodie will Bill Belichick wear during the game?
  • What color Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach?
  • Who will join Maroon 5 on stage at halftime?

Props aren’t a separate type of bet per se; they’ll either be moneyline or over under-style bets. Let’s look at a couple of examples to clarify.

“Who will score the first touchdown?” is a moneyline-style prop bet. Sony Michel is currently the favorite at around +500. (Remember what that plus-sign means? If you bet $100 on Michel and he does score the first TD in the game, you’ll win $500.)

“How many interceptions will Tom Brady throw” is an over/under style prop. The O/U is at 0.5. If Brady throws zero interceptions, the under wins. If he throws one or more, the over wins. Right now, the over for Brady interceptions is at +120, while the under is at -150, meaning sportsbooks think it’s more likely that Brady won’t throw any picks.

Where Can I Bet on the Super Bowl?

Go look at your finances and see if you have some disposable income. If things are looking good, it’s time to explore this list of our favorite NFL betting sites, and get in on the action!