Regular season handicapping and Super Bowl handicapping are not two peas in the same pod. The Super Bowl is the main event on the betting calendar. With that comes it’s own exclusive set of betting guidelines.  What makes the Super Bowl so different?

Fatigue

Both teams are playing coming off a two-week break.  Teams on a bye week during the regular season have an advantage, but that’s normally because they are playing a team on less rest.  Here both teams are evenly matched, meaning fatigue won’t be an issue.

Longer halftimes also reduce fatigue from the first half to the second.  If a defense was on the field for long periods of time in the first half, normally that would give them a disadvantage in the second.  With the longer break they won’t be as tired.

There is no giving up or players saving themselves in this game.  This is it for the season so don’t expect either squad to leave anything on the table.

Neutral Site

NFL games are rarely played on neutral fields, the games in London are an exception.  Plus these games are almost always played in perfect conditions, either in domes or in warm weather cities.

Both Teams Are Hot

To get to the Super Bowl you have to win at least two straight games against quality teams, sometimes three.  That means both teams are somewhat hot coming into this game and playing good enough football to beat above average teams.

Non-Conference

Divisional games are the easiest to handicap.  They are the best games for teasing since they are normally close to the point spread and hard fought.  Non-conference games are the opposite.  These teams don’t face each other as often and they don’t have a lot of common opponents.  This creates a lot more unknowns.

Referees

One thing I do like about these games is they get reffed by the best in the business.  These eliminates a variable from the equation as you will have less mistakes on penalties called.

So with those factors considered how do we go about handicapping the big game?  Here are a few tips to remember:

Know the Odds

First of all, one must know how Super Bowl lines are set. Oddsmakers tend to set their regular season lines with wiseguys in mind. They set their Super Bowl odds in terms of the public perspective. This is because so many people who take action on the Super Bowl aren’t betting every week of the regular season.
 
They set the line for the Super Bowl favoring the team that the public would favor if it were setting lines. Research also shows that the public is a sucker for taking the ‘over’ on Super Bowl Sunday. Oddsmakers know that the public worships the chalk and the ‘over’. They will inflate the line on what they feel is the public side along with the popular side of the total.

Beware of the Hook

A large percentage of NFL games are won by 3, 4, and 7 points. A standardized scoring system works for standardized loss margins most of the time. Because of this, be careful about laying the points on numbers like -3.5 or taking the points when the line is +6.5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that these numbers show less value that -3 or +7. So if you like a side with one of the halves, you may want to think about buying it up or down (also known as “buying the hook”).

Remember the Spread

Novices typically pick their point spread winner based on who they think will win the game. While this has worked well in the Super Bowl, you have to be careful with big favorites.
 
You also need to consider betting the game early or late depending on what side you like. You usually want to be the favorite early. That’s because there’s a better chance the line increases on the favorite than drops. At the same time, you are usually better off waiting to bet if you like the underdog. Public action on the favorite will almost always move the line in your favor.

Money Management

Some squares like to really load up on the Super Bowl. Many will even make it their biggest bet of the entire season. This isn’t something we recommend. While it’s the final game of the season, it doesn’t mean you should load up on it.

I recommend sticking to the same money management system you have been using all year. Because the Super Bowl is the only game on board and oddsmakers have had plenty of time to look at it, the lines set for it are often very tight.

The best advice is not to lay it all on the line when betting the Super Bowl. It shouldn’t be a chance to win big or lose big. If you’re up on the season, try to win a little more, and if you’re down, try to stop the bleeding, but don’t risk it all.

Props

One way you can really cash in on Super Bowl Sunday is to get involved in the various propositional bets. Because there are so many of these, oddsmakers aren’t able to set lines as tightly. Don’t get caught by the ones that are basically coined flips, try to wager on props where you see an actual edge.