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10 Super Bowl Betting Mistakes to Avoid (2021)

by January 26, 2021

Except for the NCAA Tournament, the Super Bowl is the most heavily bet sporting event of the year. The American Gaming Association estimated that $6.8 billion was wagered on Super Bowl 54 between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. COVID-19 has changed a lot of how sports have looked in the last calendar year. However, one thing that will remain consistent is that bettors will come out in droves to wager on the Super Bowl. $6.8 billion is a lot of money, and a good portion of that money will be wagered recklessly by bettors who are just looking to keep the game interesting.

Whether you are a recreational bettor or the sharpest of gamblers, here are 10 mistakes to avoid when wagering on the Super Bowl.

Be Selective When Wagering on Props

Recreational bettors are likely to be the biggest culprit of wagering on anything and everything when it comes to the Super Bowl. Name a bet, and you can likely find odds on it at a sportsbook for the big game. Bettors can wager on anything from the coin toss to the national anthem’s length and even what color Gatorade the winning coach will be doused with.

Too often, bettors make bets for the “thrill” or “action,” feeling the need to be more invested. These aforementioned bets take no skill, and no logical argument can be made for what is the right side. Eschew these bets for more of the standard props like over/under the number of passing yards or the first half spread or total.

Chasing Losing Bets with Live Betting

There will be thousands of Super Bowl bettors who will be down money ever before the game kicks off. Between coin toss bets, length of the national anthem, or several other pre-game props, there will be many who will feel the need to chase losses on these bets through in-game wagering. While live betting can certainly be profitable, do not make any in-game wagers on pure emotion or frustration. Stay within your means of how much you can afford to lose, and wager appropriately if you feel you have a lean on a certain side based on how the game is playing out.

Avoid Huge Parlays

How many times have you seen something posted like this tweet below on social media? We have all seen or heard the success stories like this bettor who turned a measly $10 bet into a massive payday. However, these crazy six-leg parlays or more should only be viewed as lottery tickets and not bets that win consistently. A two or three-leg parlay is not egregious, but it is hard to win at sports betting. Thus, the more legs you add to your parlay, the more likely you will lose money.

Know What the Sucker Bets Are

Sportsbooks will offer many situational prop bets that are not likely to happen, but they will entice bettors because of their huge payout potential. One such example is “will the game go into overtime?” Of the 54 Super Bowls ever played, just one has gone to overtime or 1.85% of all Super Bowls. Implied probability on something with a 1.85% chance of happening correlates to implied betting odds of +5305. However, sportsbooks are only like to offer anywhere in the range of +1000 to +1500 odds for a bet of this type. This is what we call a “sucker bet” that is not worth making based on the odds bettors are being given.

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Super Bowl MVP Voting

One of the most popular player props for the Super Bowl is who will win the MVP award. In many ways, these bets can be classified as “sucker bets,” given how each position often wins the award. Since 2000, the Super Bowl MVP has been won by the following positions: 13 quarterbacks, four wide receivers, three linebackers, and one safety. Though a defensive player has won the award 20% of the time since 2000, good luck trying to figure out which player would win it in a given year. Also, while quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl MVP 65% of the time in the past decade, the implied odds you would get on either quarterback are likely not worth the payout. Lastly, note that no running back has won the award in the last 20 years. While that does not mean there is no chance of it happening, the infrequency with which it does happen likely does not justify a wager on a running back to win it.

Not Factoring in Coaching or Players’ Experience

Unlike the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, or World Series, which are decided over a seven-game series, NFL players get one game to decide their champion. That is a lot of pressure on the biggest of stages, and players cannot afford an “off game” as they can in other sports. Thus, what players and coaches can calm their emotions enough to handle the pressure of the situation can go a long way in determining the game’s outcome. Thus, if there is a big difference between the Super Bowl experience of one side or another, it would likely be wiser to back the team with more experience.

Getting Caught Up in Trends

Betting trends are a big part of many sports bettors’ analysis when deciding who to wager on. However, bettors also need to realize what bets are relevant and what is irrelevant with regards to this year’s Super Bowl. One is likely to hear trends like “the AFC representative has won six of the last eight Super Bowls” in many experts’ analyses. However, this year’s teams are completely different from the 16 teams that played in the last eight Super Bowls, so that trend has no bearing on how this year’s game will play out. Instead, bettors should focus more on each team’s trends during the regular-season or even how they have been playing just for the last month or so.

Locking Your Bets too Early

Locking a bet early can often lead to one beating the closing line and getting more value for their wager. However, unlike regular-season NFL games, there are two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. For my money, I would rather wait until closer to kickoff to make sure I have a clearer picture of the injury report and who is playing and who is not. Also, the longer bettors wait to place their wagers, the more information they will have about where the money has landed up to that point and can make a decision if they want to be contrarian in their picks or follow the money on the more heavily-bet side.

Lack of Bankroll Management

One of the biggest keys to success in sports betting is having good discipline in terms of money management. One will always be tempted to “up the ante” or “go all-in” when they see a bet they particularly like. However, this will get you into trouble in the long run and will be a losing proposition.

Good money management begins with the idea that you should be betting at most 5% of your bankroll with each bet. Bettors often break from this habit if they enter a cold stretch and try to recoup their losses quickly. Bettors can grow frustrated with this slow-and-steady approach as it does not provide opportunities to hit big. However, the end goal should simply be making money. Being more cautious with your money will help to do just that.

Not Comparing Sportsbooks for the Best Odds

Many sports bettors will likely be uncomfortable making accounts at many different sportsbooks. While there is certainly no need to have accounts at every single sportsbook, it would be wise to have accounts open at a minimum of two or three. That is the only way that bettors can shop for different lines and financially benefit from any disparity between them.

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

NFL, Strategy