Two-hundred sixty-six games down, one to go.
The Super Bowl (or “NFL Championship” or “Big Game” or “SF vs KC,” depending on which sportsbook’s approach to avoiding copyright lawsuits you prefer) is the biggest game of the NFL season. It’s the most watched game, by far. It’s the most bet-on game, by many millions.
And it’s the most depressing game, too. When the clock is winding down on the Super Bowl, you know there’s no more professional football (sorry, XFL doesn’t really count, even if you can legally bet on it in New Jersey) for another seven months.
But that’s enough of the Gatorade-bucket-half-empty talk. There’s still 60 minutes of NFL action to wager on, and in New Jersey, a state with 19 legal online/mobile sports gambling operators and another 10 books at casinos and racetracks, the options for how and where to risk a little cash are plentiful.
Chiefs by 1½ … with some variation
Before we get into the fun stuff — prop betting and the absurd quantity of Super Bowl odds boosts, bonuses, and promotions that sites are throwing at New Jerseyans to acquire and/or retain their business — we should probably cover the basic betting options.
If you shop around, you’ll find some slight variations in the line and the vig. There are no dramatic inconsistencies, but if you believe every dollar counts, well, comparison shopping might save you a couple of dollars. For example, here are the point spread and vig, as of Friday morning, at a half-dozen major NJ sportsbooks:
|FanDuel||-1.5, -115||+1.5, -105|
|PointsBet||-1.5, +100||+1.5, +100|
|888sport||-1.5, -110||+1.5, -110|
|DraftKings||-1.5, -110||+1.5, -110|
|William Hill||-1, -110||+1, -110|
|FOX Bet||-2, -110||+2, -110|
As you can see, PointsBet is trying to capture customers with its no-juice special, as it does from time to time. (This one expires after midnight on Saturday night.) But you can also move the line a half-point to suit your needs thanks to FOX Bet and William Hill.
The moneyline — picking one team over the other outright — reveals some variation as well, with FanDuel Sportsbook offering the best value on San Francisco (+112) and Will Hill’s -120 saving you a few cents on Kansas City.
And then there’s the point total. It’s 54 at some books, 54.5 at others. That might not seem like a big difference … until the game ends 30-24 and you feel like an idiot for not surveying all your options.
Don’t give yourself promo FOMO
While picking a side on those standard bets is just fine, and the same goes for taking a shot on some creative props, there is a house edge baked into all of those bets. You might have a profitable Super Bowl betting them, but the collective “you,” the public as a whole, almost certainly will not.
What makes this modern era of legal betting in New Jersey so unique is that, in an effort to attract and retain bettors, nearly all of the books are offering situations where the edge lies with the customer. Especially on the eve of the Super Bowl, the opportunities are abundant.
Here’s a sampling of some of the offers, promos, and odds boosts that might give you the advantage:
New customer offer: FanDuel’s longstanding offer of a risk-free first bet up to $500 is still intact for the Super Bowl. If your first bet wins, you collect your winnings as normal. If your first bet loses, you get the amount you wagered — capped at $500 — back in site credit. (You’ll have to bet your way through your site credit, though, before you can withdraw it.)
Promotions: FD has its usual $25 “Same Game Parlay” insurance, where if you make a three-leg (or more) parlay and you miss victory by a single leg, you’ll get your bet back (up to $25) in site credit. Check the fine print, though: No leg can be more of a “lock” than -200 and the final parlay odds have to be at least +300.
The sportsbook is also offering a new promotion just for the Super Bowl, called the “Big Game TD Bonus.” If you bet at least $25 on a single player to score a touchdown, whether you win or lose that, you get $1 in site credit for every point that player’s team scores (capped at $25).
Odds boosts: FanDuel isn’t offering any of its too-good-to-be-true “Super Boosts” (at least not yet, maybe one will roll out over the weekend), but there are a couple of modest boosts. Patrick Mahomes passing for 350+ yards and the Chiefs winning is jacked up from +370 to +450, and the highly skill-based parlay of the Chiefs winning and the opening coin flip landing on tails is boosted from +252 to +300.
New customer offer: PB goes a step beyond FanDuel’s $500 risk-free first bet by giving new bettors two $500 risk-free bets: one using standard fixed-bet odds, and one using “PointsBetting,” whereby the amount you win or lose can vary depending on how many points you win or lose by.
Promotions: PointsBet is famous for its early payouts, and here the offer is that if you make a pre-game moneyline bet, it’s graded as a win (up to $50) if your team scores the first touchdown. Maybe it would be a winner anyway, but the early payout prevents an extended sweat.
PB is also offering a refund in site credit on losing coin toss bets. Land on the wrong side of the coin and you’ll get up to $25 in your account that must be spent on in-game Super Bowl bets.
Odds boosts: There are more than 20 boosts available, including Mahomes going for 3+ TDs (boosted from -110 to +125), Jimmy Garoppolo producing 2+ TDs (boosted from -150 to -105), and Mahomes passing for 275+ yards (boosted from -250 to -185).
New customer offer: Tell us if you’re sensing a pattern here: 888 is offering a risk-free first bet, up to $500. Also, when you make your first in-game bet of at least $10, you’ll get a $10 free bet in your account.
Promotions: 888 has a “Double Your Winnings” promo that has been available all season long and continues with the Super Bowl. You’ll want to check the fine print to make sure you’re making a “qualifying bet,” but if your first qualifying bet of the game wins, you’ll get a doubled payout, up to $25.
Odds boosts: This is another site with more than 20 boosts on the game, including several pairing big stats with winning the Super Bowl MVP award. For example, if Deebo Samuel has 100+ receiving yards, scores a touchdown, and is named MVP, the payout is +3600. Is that better than taking Samuel at +3300 just to win MVP? Is there a scenario where Samuel wins MVP without crossing 100 yards and scoring? (Actually, yes; if he racks up 200 yards with no TDs, or 99 yards and three TDs, he could win the award. But, hey, that’s why they call it gambling.)
New customer offer: Get started at DK and you’ll begin with a risk-free bet up to $500. It’s not unique, but it is, ya know, 500 free dollars.
Promotions: DraftKings has a special “Big Game Props” feature going, where every $10 in Super Bowl prop bets earns you an entry into a $200,000 prize drawing and every $50 in prop bets gets you a $10 free bet. (You must opt-in to the promo, though, for your bets to count.)
Odds boosts: The boosts at DK are modest, but some of them are quite creative and fun. Tight ends George Kittle and Travis Kelce to both score touchdowns has been inflated from +340 to +400. Mahomes to throw at least two interceptions gets a boost from +650 to +700 (fair warning: he hasn’t had a multi-pick game since the famous 54-51 shootout with the Rams in November of 2018). And Garoppolo throwing for 100 or fewer yards is upped from +1400 to +1500 (that would have cashed in the NFC Championship, but not in any other game of his this season).
Photo by Jason Vinlove / USA Today Sports
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