Super Bowl sports betting euphoria, measured in billions of dollars for each game, pre-dates the legal wagering age.

That’s why it has staying power. Even now with the ability to legally bet on sports online in PA.

The estimated $4.5 betting totals of recent years – much of it illegal – does not even include the action people improvise amongst themselves. That’s the “recreational” wagering in office pools and through competition with each other.

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If 100 people wager on a Super Bowl squares pool, for example, and funds are divided among winners, there is no book and no official revenue. But there is enormous volume.

Here’s a retrospective, coupled with some personal experience, to offer a glimpse of the historic Super Bowl betting feast.

When it Comes to Super Bowl Betting, Everybody Has “A Guy”

That’s what Eagles great Ron Jaworski told me when asked how former NFL players felt about the age before legalized betting. People could always find a bet. A large chunk of Super Bowl wagering involved an illegal book or bookmaker.

Everybody had a source for their bets.  It usually meant finding a bookie or placing a wager with a friend in Las Vegas, who put it down for you at the sportsbooks.

This type of action still contributes to the projected totals of illegal Super Bowl betting.

Super Bowl Betting – SB Squares

The public made its own entertainment and still does, primarily through Super Bowl squares, blocks, boxes, or whatever else you may call it. Variations of this format and numerous creative pools underscore the sentiment of action on the big game.

This popular pool bonanza, constructed on low, medium, and large entry-fee formats, creates multi-level gambling interests.

Super Bowl blocks, or squares, offer no strategy, thus enabling beginners to have the same chance as savvy veterans.

DraftKings Sportsbook PA has even put its own unique spin on the traditional Super Bowl favorite. Squares is free to play with a prize pool of $55,000.

super bowl betting

MVP Draw

Put names in a hat of possible MVPs before the game. Each person draws a name. Whoever has the winner collects.

And there may be a gazillion others.

Super Bowl Betting Social Scene – Props

This is one of many scenarios involving Super Bowl parties.

I took 30 of the Vegas Super Bowl props and devised a props competition. Everything from the coin toss to the first play from scrimmage to, first and last team to score. One point was awarded for each correct prediction and the highest number of points prevailed.

It kept everyone involved until the final whistle, because outcomes changed dramatically in the final two minutes, regardless of the score.

Many of the participants knew little or nothing about football. But they all had a stake in the game some barely watched.

We always tossed in a couple of gimmes like “would so and so cheat” or would “so and so” cash a ticket.

We paid down to five places. Nobody was ever out of it.

That’s the beauty of the social Super Bowl fabric. There’s a pool for everybody.

Although patrons enjoy 500 different props, halftime shows, Gatorade side wagers, and bets on top commercials today, they fended well for themselves beforehand.

This created the Super Bowl’s iconic impact. Most viewers want to get involved, even for a few bucks.


Image credit: Elaine Thompson – AP