The Super Bowl LV matchup is set and the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off on Feb. 7, 2021.
PlayUSA, a website that covers legalized gambling, estimates that over $500 million will be legally wagered in the U.S. at this year’s Super Bowl, compared with just $300 million wagered in 2020.
There are two likely reasons for this surge. The first is that sports betting has never been more popular in the U.S. as states set monthly records in total bets with regularity. The second is more states are legalizing online betting — seven states accepted their first online bets in 2020, bringing the total number of states with online gambling up to 15.
States with high populations like Illinois, Virginia and Michigan were among the states that legalized online sports betting.
For first-time bettors or those unfamiliar with the intricacies of oddsmaking, here’s how to legally bet on this year’s Super Bowl:
Verify sports betting is legal in your state:
When the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Ameteur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, it gave individual states legislative power to legalize sports betting.
Each state has its own set of rules. Some allow only in-person betting, while others also accept online and mobile wagers.
For example, sports betting is legal in New York, but only at four retail casinos in upstate New York. In Virginia, there is a bill that restricts bets on hometown college teams, and in Mississippi you can bet online, but only when inside a casino.
Interested bettors can verify if sports betting is legal in their state here.
Find a legal provider in your state
If sports betting is legal in your state, bettors can then travel to an in-person retail casino where bets are permitted, or simply find an online casino.
In states where both in-person and online betting is available, online betting typically makes up a massive portion of all money wagered.
In New Jersey, which frequently has the most money wagered on sports of any state in the U.S., about 90% of all bets are made online, according to public data.
Additionally, living in the state is not a requirement. You just have to be at least 21 years old and be within the state when placing an online bet. Location is determined by GPS on the betting device.
Understand the odds
The current odds for who will win Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Super Bowl is as follows:
Patrick Mahomes -106
Tom Brady +210
Tyreek Hill +1200
Travis Kelce +1300
Leonard Fournette +2500
A “-” symbol indicates a favorite and a “+” symbol indicates an underdog. For example, a $100 bet placed on a +1300 choice would net a $1,300 profit, in addition to getting back the original $100. For favorites, it would take a $106 bet to win $100 on something with the odds of -106.
Another popular wager is betting on the spread of the game. As of Monday, the spread, also referred to as the line of the Super Bowl, is as follows:
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5)
The Chiefs are 3.5 point favorites over the Bucs, and if a bettor wanted to bet on the Chiefs, he/she would win the bet if the Chiefs won the game by more than 3.5 points, which would cover the spread. Conversely, a winning bet on Tampa Bay would mean the Bucs could win the game or lose by less than 3.5 points.
There are dozens of other kinds of bets that can be viewed here.
There are a few things you can do to enhance your Super Bowl betting experience.
The first is to do some research. Read about the game and see if you can spot a trend that nobody else can to give yourself an edge.
Second, bettors should monitor odds at several sportsbooks at once. If you did research and believe Patrick Mahomes is going to win the MVP and are willing to bet money on it, check a few different sportsbooks for Mahomes’s odds. If DraftKings has more favorable odds for Mahomes to win MVP than FanDuel, bet there instead.
Third, and perhaps most important: only bet what you are willing to lose.