LAS VEGAS — Betting is a bigger part of this season's Super Bowl story than ever before. That was inevitable after the NFL awarded Las Vegas a Super Bowl.
A year after the Super Bowl was held in a state with legal sports betting for the first time, it will be held in the gambling capital of the United States. For those who followed the NFL's distaste of all things betting and Las Vegas until about five years ago, it's a remarkable moment.
Here is a guide to betting this season's Super Bowl:
What is the point spread?
The 49ers opened as a small favorite. The opening line was 49ers -2, it dropped to 49ers -1.5 briefly and then came back to San Francisco -2. Why is San Francisco favored? Simply, oddsmakers and their power ratings have the 49ers as the stronger team, and they didn't move off of that even though Kansas City has caught fire in the playoffs. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that go into setting the line for any NFL game, and particularly the Super Bowl.
What are other ways to bet the game?
The moneyline is an easier bet for novice bettors, because you're just betting on which team will win. For this Super Bowl, the 49ers are -130 on the moneyline, meaning a bettor who wagers $130 on San Francisco would win $100. The Chiefs are +110 on the moneyline; bettors placing $100 on Kansas City would win $110. In the Super Bowl, many bettors who prefer the underdog usually play the moneyline, regardless of the point spread.
Who are bettors taking?
The early bettors absolutely loved the Chiefs. There were five times as many moneyline bets on the Chiefs as there were on the 49ers. About three-fourths of the early bets on the spread were on the Chiefs. In every state in which BetMGM is located, the Chiefs were getting the most bets for the Super Bowl. Most of the money bet on the Super Bowl comes in over the final 48 to 72 hours before kickoff and the 49ers will have their backers. But the first wave was in overwhelming agreement: take the Chiefs. That started to even out as the game inched closer, with some 49ers money coming in.
What is the over/under for the Super Bowl?
The total for the game, or the combined points scored by both teams, is 47.5. That's lower than last season, when the game between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles had a total of 51.5. The over easily hit in a 38-35 Chiefs win. That broke a streak of the under hitting in four straight Super Bowls. In Super Bowl history the over has hit 28 times and the under has hit 28 times (Super Bowl I didn't have a total, according to Vegas Insider's history). In every state in which BetMGM is located the over is the most popular bet ... except Kansas, which oddly is leaning under.
How did these two teams do this season, betting-wise?
In the regular season, the 49ers were 9-8 against the spread (they were 12-5 straight up). The Chiefs were right behind at 9-7-1 against the spread (11-6 straight up). The two teams diverged in the postseason, however. The Chiefs are 3-0 against the spread in the playoffs, including two straight-up wins as underdogs. The 49ers won both of their playoff games but did not cover the spread in either one. The 49ers were favored in every game this season, including playoffs, and that streak looks like it will continue in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs were underdogs three times this season, and went 3-0 against the spread.
In terms of the total, the 49ers had more overs this season (11 overs, 8 unders) and the Chiefs were a heavy team to the under (6 overs, 14 unders).
How about some popular prop bets?
The most basic prop bets are player yards and player touchdowns. They get a lot of action.
There are 29 players listed for the "anytime touchdown scorer" market, from favorite Christian McCaffrey (-210) to 49ers tight end Brayden Willis (+2800 for a rookie seventh-round pick with zero career catches). You can also bet the Chiefs or 49ers defense/special teams to score (+600 each) or no touchdown at all to be scored at 200-to-1.
Passing yardage totals for quarterbacks is always a popular bet. For this Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes' total is 261.5 and Brock Purdy's is 246.5. During the regular season, Purdy threw for 267.5 yards per game and Mahomes had 261.4 per game. Also, Christian McCaffrey's rushing yardage total is 90.5 and Travis Kelce's receiving yardage total is 70.5.
There are also general game props, like how fast the first score of the game will happen and the exact final score regardless of who wins (the odds favor 27-24).
What's the most popular prop bet?
The player to score the game's first touchdown is generally the most-bet prop for the Super Bowl, and often the quarterbacks are the most popular bets. That was bad for sports books four years ago when the Chiefs and 49ers met in a Super Bowl the first time. Mahomes scored the first touchdown and his odds had opened at 21-to-1. This Super Bowl, Christian McCaffrey is favored to score first at +350 odds and Isiah Pacheco is second at +550. Mahomes is +2200 and 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is +4000.
What is the weirdest prop for the game?
It's either the coin toss or the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach.
The coin toss is a popular novelty prop for the Super Bowl, and heads and tails each have -105 odds. Tails was slightly more popular, with 51% of the bets.
Believe it or not, orange got a lot of action for the Gatorade prop and the odds moved from +550 to +500 at BetMGM. Purple is still the favorite at +225. (Not all props are allowed in all states; the Gatorade prop is offered by BetMGM in only Washington D.C., Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ontario, West Virginia and Wyoming).
BetMGM offers a few entertainment props in Ontario, Canada, including "Will the MVP mention Taylor Swift?" (yes is +650, no is -1200) and which song will be the first played by halftime show artist, Usher. "My Way" and "Yeah" are co-favorites at +225.
Who is the favorite to win Super Bowl MVP?
This won't surprise you: Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to win Super Bowl MVP at +135 odds. Five of the last seven Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks. That's why Brock Purdy is second in the odds at +230. Christian McCaffrey is +450, Travis Kelce is +1300 and every other player is at least 25-to-1 odds.