The Exciting Super Bowl History of our Two Keystone State NFL Franchises

With Neither Pennsylvania NFL team in SB 56, let’s look back at some of the better times involving the Super Bowl History of our PA teams.

The dawn of Super Bowl 56 prompts a flashback of the Keystone State’s rich Super Bowl history. With both PA teams making an early exit in this year’s playoffs, we wanted to cheer ourselves up a bit by looking at some of the better times when it comes to our Pennsylvania NFL teams and the big game.

Super Bowl 56 Betting Lines

Before we jump into the history of the Eagles & Steelers, we have compiled a list of the best betting lines at the top online sportsbooks in PA for those interested in betting on Super Bowl 56 in PA:

Super Bowl History – Keystone State of Champions

While the Pittsburg Steelers and  Philadelphia Eagles rarely play one another by virtue of being in different conferences, many Pennsylvania fans follow both teams.

They were once actually the same team.  The 1943 Steagles combined Philadelphia and Pittsburgh players, because World War II had diminished the pool of available athletes.

In the spirit of Steagles and for the pleasure of all Pennsylvania football fans, here’s a look at each team’s Super Bowl history. Let’s take a look back at the final scores, location, opponents, dates, attendance, and even the actual point spreads of these historic games.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-2 in the Super Bowl, with their last triumph coming in 2009.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-2, with their victory coming in one of the most visually pleasing games ever.

Super Bowl IX – Steelers vs Vikings

  • Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6
  • Tulane Stadium – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • January 12, 1975; Attendance: 80,997
  • Super Bowl 9 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -3

Projected as a low-scoring game because of Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain and the Vikings’ Purple People Eaters defense.

Dwight White scored the first-ever Super Bowl points for Pittsburgh. He notched the first tally of the game, a safety.

Game MVP Franco Harris had a nine-yard touchdown run for the Steelers. This would be the first of four Super Bowl triumphs in the 1970s

Super Bowl X – Steelers vs Cowboys

  • Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
  • Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • January 18, 1976; Attendance: 80,187
  • Super Bowl 10 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -7

The game featured three unbelievable catches by game MVP Lynn Swann, all bombs.

 One was a grab between two defenders as he tight roped to stay in bounds.

The second was the famed Levitating Leap, in which he maintained concentration after the pass was tipped by a defender, and he came down with it.

The third was Pittsburgh’s final touchdown, a 64-yard catch putting Pittsburgh up 21-10,

Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw was knocked unconscious on the play and did not return.

The Steelers had to survive a last-second Hail Mary and end-zone tip to secure their second straight Super Bowl triumph.

A lasting image among Steelers faithful is Jack Lambert throwing Cliff Harris of the Cowboys down in the third quarter. Harris was taunting kicker Roy Gerela, who had just missed a field goal.

Super Bowl XIII – Steelers vs Cowboys

  • Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
  • Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
  • January 21, 1979; Attendance: 79,484
  • Super Bowl 13 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -4

Known in Las Vegas as Black Sunday, when the books got muddled. The game opened at Pittsburgh -3.5 and Steelers bettors jumped on it.  The line expanded to Pittsburgh -4.5 and Dallas gamblers lit it up. The line came back to Pittsburgh -4. Bettors on both sides collected and the books were shellacked.

As for the game, Pittsburgh gained a 35-17 lead on two touchdowns by John Stallworth, one from Lynn Swann and Rocky Bleir, Dallas scored twice late to make the game look closer.

Swann had 124 yards and Stallworth 115. They became the first teammates to have 100 yards of receiving in the same Super Bowl.

Bradshaw threw for four touchdowns and was named MVP.

Super Bowl XIV – Steelers vs Rams

  • Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
  • Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
  • January 20, 1980; Attendance: 103,985
  • Super Bowl 14 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -10.5

Again, showing they were a great fourth-quarter team, the Steelers overcame a 19-13 fourth-quarter deficit with two touchdowns. One was a 73-yard hookup between Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth.

The finale was a one-yard touchdown run by Franco Harris with 1:49 remaining.

Bradshaw won a second straight game MVP award.

This cemented Pittsburgh’s status as the team of the 70’s. Although their subsequent slogan “One for the Thumb in ‘81”, the goal for a fifth Super Bowl ring, they had a remarkable decade.

Super Bowl XXX – Steelers vs Cowboys

  • Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
  • Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ. 
  • January 28, 1996 Attendance 76,347
  • Betting Line: Dallas -13.5

The Steelers covered +13.5 and did come back from a 20-7 deficit to crawl within 20-17 on a Bam Morris touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

But a late pick-by-game MVP Larry Brown set up Dallas for a putaway score.

It was the first Super Bowl loss for the Steelers.

Super Bowl XL – Steelers vs Seahawks

  • Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10
  • Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
  • February 5, 2006; Attendance: 68,206
  • Super Bowl 40 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -4

Two Super Bowl milestones for Pittsburgh.

Running back Willie Parker exploded for a 75-yard scoring run, the longest in Super Bowl history.

Antwaan Randel El, who played quarterback while in college, later became the first wide receiver to throw a touchdown pass. After Willie Parker took a pitch from Ben Roethlisberger and handed it off, Randle El hit game MVP, Hines Ward, for the 43-yard putaway score.

Super Bowl XLIII – Steelers vs Cardinals

  • Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23
  • Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
  • February 1, 2009; Attendance: 70,774
  • Super Bowl 43 Betting Line: Pittsburgh -7

Take your pick of phenomenal plays.

Was it game MVP Santonio Holmes’ six-yard catch in the corner of the end zone for the eventual winning score?

Or was it the incredible 100-yard interception return by James Harrison on the final play of the first half? That boosted Pittsburgh’s lead from 10-7 to 17-7.

Steelers fans won’t mind the debate. What a choice.

Super Bowl XLV – Steelers vs Packers

  • Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25
  • Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Tx
  • Feb. 6, 2011. Attendance 103, 219
  • Super Bowl 45 Betting Line: Green Bay -3

The Steelers clawed back from a 21-3 deficit, pulling withing 28-25 on a Mike Wallace fourth-quarter touchdown.

Mason Crosby added a late field goal for Green Bay.

In a matchup of future Hall of Famers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not intercepted but Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger was, twice. One went for a touchdown.


While their SB history may not be as impressive as the Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles have an impressive NFL history or their own. You be the judge.

Super Bowl XV – Eagles vs Raiders

  • Oakland Raiders 27, Eagles 10
  • Superdome, New Orleans, La.
  • Jan. 26, 1981. Attendance 76,135
  • Super Bowl 15 Betting Line: Eagles -3

Known for big plays and missed opportunities.

An interception by eventual game  Rod Martin set Oakland up for the first score.

Later, Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rodney Parker but the score was nullified by an illegal motion penalty on wide receiver Harold Carmichael and the Eagles ended up being forced to punt.

Rather than being tied 7-7, the Eagles remained behind.

With the Eagles trailing 24-3 in the second half, Martin picked Jaworski again in Oakland territory.

Super Bowl XXXIX – Eagles vs Patriots

New England Patriots 24, EAGLES 21

Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

Feb. 6, 2005. Attendance 78,125

Super Bowl 39 Betting Line: New England -7

One of the few Super Bowls tied at halftime, 14-14.

Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Terrell Owens kept the Birds in it, but they came up just short.

The game is noted for the deliberate nature of an Eagles drive that chewed up much of the fourth-quarter clock when they trailed 24-14. They got the score but failed with the ensuing onside kick.

Irony: the Patriots got a touchdown from Mike Vrabel, now the coach of the Tennessee Titans.

The Patriots became the last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

And they almost did it again the following year until…

Super Bowl LII – Eagles vs Patriots – You Want Philly Philly?

  • EAGLES 41, New England Patriots 33
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Feb. 4, 2018. Attendance 67,612
  • Betting Line: New England -4

The Eagles’ first Super Bowl title will be forever immortalized by the Philly Special.

Game MVP Nick Foles became the first quarterback to ever catch a Super Bowl touchdown. Cory Clement to Trey Burton to Foles slipping out of the backfield is one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history.

But there’s more.

The Eagles and Patriots set a Super Bowl record for combined yardage, 1,151, fewest punts (one), the most yards gained by a team (613) for New England) and most points scored by a losing team.

By standards of Philadelphia Eagles fans, it is about as perfect as a game can get.

Featured image credit: Rich Schultz – AP

When Is The Best Time To Place a Sports Bet? Well, It Depends…

The best time to place a sports bet? The earlier the better? That last-minute gut feeling? In-game odds shark? Here’s our advice…

It’s the most simple, complex, and yet most significant word in the lexicon of legalized sports betting.

“When” – As in “when is the best time to place a bet?”

It’s become an intriguing question in an age for which the answer has changed. Timing a bet is no longer simple.

Is There A Best Time To Place A Bet?

The initial answer:

  • Whenever one feels the price is fair, the outcome is realistic, or, best yet, whenever one perceives an edge.

The deeper answer:

  • It’s important for a bettor’s research to reveal a feel for a game now that PA sportsbooks have substantially enlarged the board.
  • When all of one’s hunches line up, that’s the “when” it’s probably the best time to place a bet.

There is no longer one sports betting line for a game. There are close to 500 possibilities for just one NFL contest. Multiply that by 16 games and one can peruse up to 8,000 choices in any NFL week.

This allows more sports betting options but requires a gambler to narrow the choices. This is a big part of determining when to play.

Drilling Down to The Sweet Spot

The new array of choices, born from competition among books, requires due diligence to determine the moment of a bet launch.

Let’s start with the NFL…

See The Game First

It’s best to first have an opinion on the game first and then seek the line.

Examine the teams straight up, as if everyone would play, and incorporate a slight home-field advantage for the host team.

Come up with the score you think is possible if both teams played to the level you think they should.

Then see the line. If there is a considerable disparity, there is your edge. If there’s a Grand Canyon-like disparity, say a touchdown or more, there’s a good chance you missed something like an injury or suspension. Recalculate.

This is no different than reading a Racing Form and watching a post-parade to determine one’s opinions in a horse race. Or, for that matter, interviewing job candidates in the business world.

The Early Bird

A good time to unload some of the bankroll is Sunday night for the following week’s games.  Books have just posted them based on power ratings and data. 

These lines have likely not been addressed yet by big-money “sharp” players, a historical dynamic. They are waiting to make one big pop.

For decades prior to PASPA repeal, serious Las Vegas gamblers paid for the privilege of standing in line on Sunday night to get the first shot at newly-posted odds for the following week.

 They immediately started wagering, giving the books a guide to how “sharp” bettors viewed the game. Operators adjusted the line and it often stayed near that new spot the entire week. The betting odds throughout the week were referred to as “The Line”.

There’s no more “The”. Lines are numerous and volatile. That’s why it’s important to hone in on one you like.

Shop The Sportsbooks

BetMGM and FanDuel are usually one-half a point difference on the early NFL lines than DraftKings. This is perfect for a bettor. One book has the underdog +3. Another has the same at +2.5 and you like the favorite. Go where you have the edge.

Here are some examples featuring a variety of NFL divisional round betting odds:

The Mid-Week Move

When spreads fluctuate throughout the week, injuries are often involved. 

Quarterbacks are usually worth three points to the line. Exceptions like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers can be eight or nine points. Has the line moved too much either way according to your expectations? This can be a time to buy-in. 

A general guide on injuries: a player listed as doubtful will rarely suit up, a player listed as questionable usually will, but at reduced capacity. Hamstring and high-ankle sprain injuries are punitive. Rib injuries are bad too. Players may perform through these, but their output may be a bit low.

The Late Move

This is where data intersects with instinct. The absence of Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens moved the line in the neighborhood of four points when it was announced on game day in a couple of games this year.

But here’s what savvy bettors realized: Tyrone Huntley is nearly as good as Jackson. He runs nearly as well as Jackson and throws a better deep ball. With Jackson out, the Ravens covered the spread in one-point losses to the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers. The Jackson injury news had helped keep the lineup, making the Ravens attractive.

Weather belongs in this category too.  December games involve rain, wind, and snow. Wind changes totals (over/under bets) the most.

The “when” question for the New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game a few weeks back was prominent. 

Three days before the event, the over-under was roughly seven points higher than at kickoff. Wind gusts of 40mph reduced the effectiveness of both offenses. It was in the forecast three days earlier but didn’t hit the lines until one day before the game.

Sharp bettors rode the under into a payday.


This is “when” on steroids for many gamblers. American bettors are catching up to the European phenomenon, in which perhaps 75% of all wagers occur in-game.

Here’s the in-game betting reality: you can’t get ahead of the books. The key to finding value is to make a leap of faith.

Here are two examples:

When the Kansas City Chiefs faced the Los Angeles Chargers a couple of weeks back, they trailed 14-13 in the fourth quarter. The favored Chiefs were at +240. That made no sense until you realized the Chargers were at the Chiefs 1-yard line, about to punch it in.

One play later, the Chargers fumbled. The Chiefs recovered. Great time to jump on the Chiefs now, right? But the books denied it. That game came off the board almost faster than the fumble came out.

 One moment later, the Chiefs were -135.

Result: that bet had to be made when the Chargers had the ball, and that would have been a tough bet to make. Anybody who made the wager prospered, however. The Chiefs did win in overtime.

Last year, the New York Mets were playing the Boston Red Sox. New York was +340 at DraftKings in a tie game and the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning. The pitcher threw a double-play ball, the Mets get out of the inning and their odds plummeted to -120. Two outs, 220 basis points. That’s living on the edge.

The reward was playing the Mets when the bases were loaded. The risk was that an extra-base hit would have broken the game open against them. They later won.

These are tough decisions for players. The books anticipate faster than the gamblers can.

How to contest it: think longer. Some oddsmakers advise watching one complete series in a football game. See which team looks like it showed up and then make a moneyline or spread bet.

What’s In Your Database? Patterns.

This may be one’s best ally in determining “when” to bet. Patterns reveal insight that only you have and should be trusted regarding how you bet.

Watch enough games, interpret enough past performances and you will see a pattern that says “I have seen this game before.”

It can be anything.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ slow first halves, followed by strong second halves, became betting opportunities in recent weeks. Take opposite teams to win each half. It worked three weeks in a row.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are just average, but they went 6-0-1 in their last seven home games, all low scoring. They were suddenly playing a Cleveland Browns team that was eliminated from the playoffs this past week.  It was Ben Roethlisberger’s last game at Heinz Field.

Where was the value? Pittsburgh won the race to 10, 15, and 20 points. Their 26-14 triumph provided separate winning bets at all three junctures, ranging from +125 to +175 across the books. It was a good bet to make, along with the moneyline.

Some Hunches Are Hidden Gold

New England quarterback Mac Jones looked as poised as the Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott when the New England Patriots lost an overtime game to become 2-4.

But the Patriots had found something. And so did bettors who sensed this team was ready to break out. They went on to win, and cover, for seven subsequent weeks. What kept the line down was that the Patriots were perceived as a mediocre team based on record. But they were really a strong team and betting lines eventually reflected that. But for seven weeks, Pats bettors had some ride.

That’s the advantage of instinct over data. Data is no match for momentum.

The Information Base for Other Sports

Think patterns.

NHL – When the TIME is just right

The NHL is all about props. For several games, Conor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers tallied at home. With that hook, a bettor can time other wagers around it.

  • McDavid to score first was roughly +800 across the books. 
  • To score last (empty-net goals?) was bout the same.
  • Or to score anytime was +100 or +105.
  • For him to score and the Oilers to win in 60 minutes often paid in the +300 range.

That worked much of last season and early this year. And then suddenly, he grew cold. That’s what happens.

NBA – Who is playing? Who is sitting?

The best time to place a bet on NBA games is usually right before tip-off. There is a tangible “when” bet here.

Check the injury reports in the final hour before the game. Players coast through the season and just decide not to play some nights. This affects over-under, moneylines, and totals.

There’s an element of “catch up” here too. Personal example: I rode the over on many NBA games in the 205-212 range for the early part of the season. It did well. Many games have since been pushed up into the 225-235 range.

I can’t get a feel for it now. That’s no-bet territory until I match up more patterns.

MLB – Use Futures to Help Isolated Bets

When it comes to baseball, the best time to place a bet usually depends on isolation. Make some season-long win-total props at the books and watch the patterns of the teams. Patterns do emerge.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance, have a scheduling quirk. They play many four-game series.  Their season-long pattern was often to split the first two games of a series and win the final two. If you watch it long enough and feel confident, that can be wagered into.

The Colorado Rockies were a bad road team and an awesome home team last season. One profitable angle was to take them to win each individual home series. The “when” in this case, was before the first game.

Best Time To Place A Bet? – SIZE MATTERS

Across the books, the question of when to bet has never been important, and never more individualized. But the bigger one’s database, the better the chance to find an opportunity.

One can peruse numerous websites to get someone else’s pick. One can subscribe to handicappers who charge for their five-star selections and if that helps, fine.

But the real edge, the inside track, is the one individual bettors create for themselves. That guides the “when”.

Good luck with yours.

Featured image credit: Steven Senne – AP

Box Pools Are Still A Huge Hit At Most Super Bowl Parties – But Why?

Super Bowl squares, Super Bowl boxes or block pools, whatever you may call them, are still a favorite activity for anyone hosting the big game

Whether you refer to them as Super Bowl squares or boxes… block pools are still a very popular Super Bowl party betting activity.

This long-standing tradition among Super Bowl parties across the country can be a great way to get everyone excited to watch the game, even those who don’t care much for football.  There’s no skill involved, it’s just the luck of the draw. That’s why it’s so popular among seasoned gamblers and non-bettors alike.

It’s usually all in good fun and some organizations even use such pools as a fundraiser.

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Are Super Bowl Squares Legal in PA?

Although Super Bowl squares or block pools are a fun and exciting addition to any Super Bowl party, they could be considered illegal. Super Bowl squares are legal in most states, as they fall into the category of social gambling. But, it all depends on location, how many people are involved, the ages of the party-goers, and a whole list of other considerations.

But if you’re not sure about the legality of it all and don’t want to risk it, or none of your friends are throwing a Super Bowl bash this year anyway, we have you covered. Fortunately, DraftKings features a very legal Super Bowl Squares option of their own…

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

If you’re interested, go sign up at DraftKings Sportsbook and select your FREE square for the Super Bowl 55 contest.

super bowl betting

How to Play a Traditional Super Bowl Squares Pool:

  • Super Bowl squares require participants to place their name or initials in one or more of 100 squares on a 10-by-10 grid.
  • After every block is purchased, the numbers 0-9 are randomly assigned along with the vertical and horizontal squares.
  • The last digit in each team’s score for the quarter is the winning combination. And it can’t be handicapped.
  • The player ends up with a number like Kansas City Chiefs 7, Philadelphia Eagles 3. They are the player’s numbers for the entire game.

If the score in any quarter ends in a Kansas City 7 (like 7, 17, 27) along with any Eagles number of 3 (3, 13, 33 etc.) the player collects the pot for that period. They are great numbers to have, but others are real longshots, like anything with 2 or 5.

This is why participants are often allowed to buy more than one b, as insurance for drawing bad numbers.

Super Bowl Square Numbers with the Best Odds to Win

Throughout the years, these numbers have paid most often:

  • 1st Quarter – 0,0
  • 2nd Quarter – 0,7 – 0,3 and 3,7
  • 3rd Quarter – 3,7
  • 4th Quarter – 4,7

This is going to change in the era of two-point conversions.

More Chances To Win

There is a new winner in every quarter and each score changes both the lead and the contenders. Whoever has the number for the next looming score change suddenly takes a new interest.

Payouts occur after each quarter. The fourth quarter and final game total are often combined, creating a terrific payout.

Edge-of-Your-Seat Scenarios

You have the right number with one play left in the quarter. A pass goes into the end zone. You root for an incompletion. The person with the winning ticket that reflects a touchdown, roots for the score.  The two of you might even be in the same room.

Game Variations

Super Bowl Minutes. This happens in the big-dollar pools.   Money is paid for every minute you have the right numbers. This can only happen with a rich pool, but some have this feature.

Pass the Cup. More randomness, keeps everyone involved.

  • It starts with everyone putting a certain dollar amount in a cup.
  • Order is created to determine how the cup will be passed.
  • Then, names are drawn to determine who starts with the cup.

With each change of possession, the cup passes. The last one holding the cup wins the pot.

Some pools feature a football rather than a cup. And it keeps everyone connected. Possession can change in the last couple of seconds.

Strategy? None. just choose the right seat.

Personal Box Pool Flashbacks

These cover small, medium and large Super Bowl betting pools. All the money taken in was paid out to the winners.

Super Bowl 7, Garo’s Gaffe.

Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7

Four projected scenarios in the last couple of minutes.

The Miami Dolphins led the then Washington Redskins 14-0 late in the game.  They went for a field goal.  The player with Miami 7, Washington 0 prayed for the kick to be good to forge a 17-0 final. The player holding the Miami 4, Washington 0 wanted it to miss.

The participants in each outcome braced for the big play.

The kick was blocked, but it led to Garo Yepremian’s infamous attempted pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

One player rooting for the kick to miss screamed in delight when it was blocked and then unfurled a string of expletives as the unlikely touchdown changed the outcome.

Now the pool came down to Miami 4, Washington 6. If the extra point was missed, that combo would come out. If it was good, Miami 4, Washington 7 would win.

The player with Miami 4, Washington 6 prayed for the missed extra point that never came and the gambler who had Miami 4, Washington 7 said he had it all the way.

But he couldn’t keep a straight face.

Super Bowl 21 – It Paid Not to Watch

New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20

My buddy, a big Eagles fan, rode Big Blue to Big Green.

Snow had started to blanket Southern New Jersey when the Giants and Denver Broncos met in this Super Bowl.

By halftime, it was a big night for this player. He pocketed $500 in the second quarter with the numbers 9 for the Giants, 0 for the Broncos. He got the breaks. First, the Giants recorded an unlikely safety. Second, Big Blue kept the Broncos out of the end zone when Denver had first-and-goal from the 1. The Broncos settled for a 23-yard field goal. And missed it.

Twenty-three yards!

The Broncos led at halftime 10-9 and he had a winner.

Early in the fourth quarter, with more snow coming, he decided to visit the bar running the pool to collect.

He drove over without listening to the game and took his time because of road conditions. That forced him to arrive after the game ended.

But he didn’t get $500. He was handed $1,500.

Unbeknownst to him, the Giants had scored a late touchdown and kindly missed the extra point, prevailing 39-20. He won the second quarter, fourth quarter, and the game total with a string of unlikely events.

The Giants hooked him up twice, once on the losing end and once on the winning end of the score.

Who says Eagles fans can’t root for the Giants?

Super Bowl 30 – The Pain of the Game

Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

This was a $100 box and a $10,000 top prize. It was in the hands of a gambler well into the fourth quarter. He had Pittsburgh 7, Dallas 0. The Cowboys led 20-17 with four minutes left.

Pittsburgh had the ball. This guy needed a stop, but he got too much. It was an interception deep in Pittsburgh territory.


Dallas worked the ball down the field as he paced the floor in torment. He knew what was coming, but hoped against hope. Nobody made any comments in deference to his pain.

We suffered with him and the dagger was driven in about a minute later.

The player took it like a pro, better than most of us would have.

How Did Football Fans Bet on the Super Bowl Before Sports Betting Was Legalized?

One aspect of the Super Bowl that causes excitement is the ability to bet. But what did fans do before sports betting was legal online in PA?

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

Everybody Loves A Holiday Scratch-Off Ticket From The PA Lottery, Don’t They?

Gus the Groundhog approves of these holiday-themed scratch-offs and online instant win games from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

No wonder Gus says Keep on Scratchin.

The lovable groundhog associated with the Pennsylvania Lottery touts a bundle of holiday-themed scratch-off cards in his new commercial.

The special holiday menu includes themed cards of anywhere from $1 to $20, with payouts of up to $1 million on the $20 card.

The Pennsylvania Lottery produced a lineup that fits desired budgets, tastes and purpose. Give them as gifts. Use them as a stocking stuffer. Treat yourself to some. Go for a buck or a bundle.

And for those who prefer to do their scratchin’ online, there are also plenty of holiday-themed PA online lottery instant games to choose from.

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Everyone loves a mystery gift. Especially a gift that wins.

The scratch-offs also act as a complement to the regular, televised state lottery. It’s action for those who don’t want to wait for results of the nightly draw.

The price range of scratch- offs reflects the laddered steps for risk and reward.

PA Lottery holiday scratch-off games and prizes

The Light Entry

Gnome for the Holidays is a $1 game that offers 10 top prizes of $5,000. Reveal a “GNOME” (GNOME) symbol, win prize shown under that symbol. Reveal a “HOME” (WINALL) symbol, win all 4 prizes shown!

Gingerbread Dough is a $2 game that offers 10 top prizes of $20,000. Reveal a “GINGERBREAD COOKIE” (COOKIE) symbol, win prize shown under that symbol. Reveal a “HOT COCOA” (WIN20) symbol, win $20 instantly. Reveal a “MONEY” (WINALL) symbol, win all 10 prizes shown!

Naughty or Nice is a $3 game that offers 10 top prizes of $50,000. Scratch the WINNING NUMBERS area to reveal 20 numbers. Only scratch the numbers in LINE 1 through LINE 8 that match any of the WINNING NUMBERS. When each matched number is scratched, the square will turn white. When you match NONE of the numbers in any horizontal LINE, win the NAUGHTY prize shown to the left of that LINE. When you match ALL the numbers in any horizontal LINE, win the NICE prize shown to the right of that LINE.

BONUS: Reveal a cash prize amount, win that amount instantly! BONUS is played separately.

Moving Up Slightly

Ho Ho Whole Lotta $500s is a $5 game that offers 10 top prizes of $250,000. When any of YOUR NUMBERS match any WINNING NUMBER, win prize shown under the matching number. Reveal a “GIFT TAG” (WIN500) symbol, win $500 instantly. Reveal a “SLEIGH” (WINALL) symbol, win all 12 prizes shown!

BONUS: Reveal a “$500 SNOWFLAKE” (500SNFLK) symbol, win $500 instantly! BONUS is played separately.

Snow Much Fun is a $10 game that offers 10 top prizes of $500,000. When any of YOUR NUMBERS match any WINNING NUMBER, win PRIZE shown under the matching number. Reveal a “FLURRIES” (FLURRIES) symbol, win PRIZE shown under that symbol automatically. Reveal a “5X” (5TIMES) symbol, win 5 TIMES the PRIZE shown under that symbol. Reveal a “PEPPERMINT” (WINALL) symbol, win ALL 15 PRIZES shown!

Thinking Big

1,000,000 Merry and Bright is a $20 game that offers 5 top prizes of $1,000,000. When any of YOUR NUMBERS match any WINNING NUMBER, win prize shown under the matching number. Reveal an “ORNAMENT” (ORNAMENT) symbol, win prize shown under that symbol automatically. Reveal a “10X” (10TIMES) symbol, win 10 TIMES the prize shown under that symbol. Reveal a “GIFT BAG” (WINALL) symbol, win all 20 prizes shown!

BRIGHT BONUS: Reveal a “$200 SNOWFLAKE” (WIN200) symbol, win $200 instantly! BRIGHT BONUS is played separately.

LIMITED TIME: VIP Players Club members can submit non-winning Holiday-themed Scratch-Offs into the PA Lottery’s North Pole Payout Second-Chance Drawing for a chance to win up to $100,000!

Enter by 11:59:59 p.m. (ET) on 1/14/2022. Find prize details, rules, and enter at or via the PA Lottery Official App. Games may remain for sale after second-chance drawing ends.

The Parallel Gambling Experience

Many gamblers played lotteries prior to legalized sports betting and can relate to its parameters.

The lottery was once the only game in town for people seeking action. Most only involved $1. But the states, forerunners of bookmakers enticing bettors with props, made the lottery attractive, enticing and sophisticated.

Color codes. Symbols. Visual excitement with the dollar signs.

Yes, gamblers know that the highest-denomination games carry remote collection odds, and that the Pennsylvania lottery website outlines the odds of winning.

It’s a long shot, but somebody has to win. Why not you?

Casino slot players experience the same phenomenon. First, it was nickel slots. Then 25 cents. A dollar was big. And then came $5 and up.

One life-changing pull.

Sports bettors may view lotteries in the context ranging from a small prop to an expensive same-game parlay. Many “graduated” from the lottery ranks and still play them.

A lottery is an in-game bet in a different form.

PA online lottery holiday instant games

For those who opt to try their lottery luck at home, Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states offering online lottery games. And the PA iLottery is getting into the holiday spirit. Here are some holiday-themed instant games currently available:

  • Snow Bank
  • Flurry of Cash
  • Gifts Galore
  • Polar Bear Bucks
  • Matching Through the Show
  • Frosty Fun
  • Home for the Holly-Days
  • Cash Avalanche
  • Bake it Til You Make It
  • Winning Tree
  • Snow Me the Money
  • Frosty Fun
  • Chimney Stacks of Cash
  • Unwrap the Cash
  • Merry/Merrier Multiplier

Responsible Use of Tickets

Kids will be given enough presents for Christmas. Lottery tickets should not be among them, as they would constitute an encouragement of under-age gambling.

Responsible gaming efforts are an excellent part of the gambling business and extend to this.

For those who are adults….If someone buys you a winning ticket that hits big, should you share it?

Why not?

That way, it is better to give AND receive at Christmas.

In popular culture, Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda starred in the 1994 film “It Can Happen to You”, regarding a policeman who shares his winning $4 million lottery ticket with a waitress.

Good luck scratching out a gift that keeps on giving.

What Conor McGregor Wants, Conor McGregor Gets… Well, Most of the Time

Conor McGregor demands title shot ASAP. He expects to fight UFC LW champ in his octagon return, July 2022. Fair? Eh… life’s not fair.

The Human Cash Register has made a sound. It is faint, yet definitive, and is financial music to the ears of the UFC industry. Conor McGregor demands UFC title shot ASAP!

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If we want to see a Conor McGregor return to the octagon anytime soon, the UFC will have to give him a shot at the lightweight title for his very first fight back. Fair? Maybe not, but life’s not fair.

Conor McGregor Demands Title Shot On His UFC ReturnConor McGregor return ufc

Conor McGregor, the biggest box-office draw in UFC history, recently tweeted his intention to return in the third quarter of 2022. 

“I’m facing whoever the **** has that LW title next. Deal with it.” McGregor stated in one of his most recent Tweets.

And Charles Olivieria is most likely the man McGregor is now eyeing up, especially after he defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 to retain the UFC lightweight championship title.

Who knows if Olivera will still be champ by July 2022. That’s about how long it will take to repair the fractured tibia and fibula on his left leg, sustained during the July 10 loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, and resume training.

If all goes well, McGregor will be sparring by April and then simply return whenever the UFC gladly schedules him next summer.

McGregor Brings The CHA-CHING Wherever He Goesufc 270 draftkings

For some people, the world waits. And McGregor, from a marketing standpoint, is one of them.

McGregor has spearheaded five out of the six highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events. His headline bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 drew 2.4 million PPV buys, the most ever for an MMA event.

His 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather attracted 4.3 million PPV buys in North America, the second-most in combat sports history.

McGregor is ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete according to Forbes in 2021, earning a reported $180 million.

The Irish superstar has leveraged his notoriety in the past decade, branching into lucrative side pursuits. He launched Proper Twelve Whiskey a few years back and sold it in 2021 for $600 million. He’s a major business partner in every event, towering above his peers.

It hardly matters HOW he fights, just THAT he fights.

Whenever he competes, there’s a ripple effect. Arenas make money. Sportsbooks do banner business. The casino site of a McGregor event does astronomical numbers. Adjacent casinos have overflow crowds if they show his fights on their sportsbook screens.

McGregor is an economic engine.

It’s probably time to change his nickname to reflect finance. Perhaps he should not be “Notorious” but “Ching” McGregor to, to be figurative, “God Zillion.” McGregor can’t walk anywhere without stepping on money.

But Conor. McGregor demands title shot as early as July 22. Will the UFC give it to him based purely on his draw, because it will definitely not be performances based?

Fight Stock Dropping

But how many more McGregor fights will we see? He’s in career twilight, having lost four of his last five appearances. That includes two in a row this year to Poirier, whom he had defeated in 2014. Those fights, which were not even for a belt, generated more than 3 million pay-per-view buys combined. They underscore McGregor’s power as a draw.

That doesn’t match his stature as a fighter.

McGregor is not one of the UFC’s top 15 pound-for-pound athletes. Charles Oliveira, who holds the belt in McGregor’s division, is 7th overall. 

McGregor is ranked 9th in their division. Under normal circumstances, McGregor would have to wait his turn and proceed up the division rankings before earning another title shot.

But nobody will make “God-zillion” do that. If his terms for return are a title bout, it will likely be arranged.

Conor McGregor Demands Title Shot: WHAT IS LEFT?Conor McGregor return ufc

The hunger to pay the required price to return from injury varies by fighter. 

McGregor certainly doesn’t need the money.  He’s a brand even more than he’s a fighter, commanding the megabucks that accompany the revenue generated by the big events.  McGregor maximizes his marketing power to obtain top money and opponents want to latch onto him for career-making paydays.

Now with the popularity of sports betting in UFC only growing, his name is worth even MORE.

What can’t be determined is how much the recent losses eat at him. Does he simply enjoy the challenge? Does this multi-millionaire need another dose of combat validation? Does he need to go out on his terms? 

The answer to the last question, probably, is yes.

That’s why he’s given the promise of one more push, knowing fans may never stop backing him unless at least another couple of decisive losses ensues.

The MMA community is willing to acknowledge the freakish injury ending his last fight with Poirier. McGregor stepped back on his own ankle moments before the end of round 1 of the third fight.  It occurred as both fighters loaded up for an exchange.

The community will overlook Poirier’s control of the third fight prior to the injury. When McGregor returns next year, there will be bells, whistles and mega-money. There will also be a layer of pressure.

McGregor, right now, is a good, not a great fighter.  To protect his stratospheric market value, he needs a dramatic win.

Yes, the MMA world will wait for him to heal. And yes, it will support him in the next endeavor.

But the next one, for him, is a big one.

Who Lines Up Against Him?

If McGregor gets a title shot on his first fight back after his injury, Charles Oliveira would be the likely candidate since he is the current LW UFC champion of the world. 

Or will they let him try to avenge two losses to Poirier?

Poirier beat McGregor, TWICE, and still doesn’t have the UFC lightweight belt after losing to Oliveira to a rear-naked choke in the second round.

There is momentum and then there’s the BIG M. No other fighter on the planet boasts two victories over the sport’s top cash cow in one year. Poirier accomplished the unlikely feat as a significant underdog in the first bout and as a relative pick-em in the second. 

Will it be Oliveira for the LW title?

Oliveira has been on a massive roll, winning 10 in a row since a 2017 loss to Paul Felder.

He has been a submission machine and bettors will look at that as a potential payoff once methods of victory are posted across the books.

The last three fights for Oliveira have been his biggest. In December of 2020, he obtained a strong decision victory over Tony Ferguson.  He parlayed that triumph in May, 2021, stopping Michael Chandler in the second round, and of course his most recent title defense victory of Poirier at UFC 269.

When you pull the kind of number Conor pulls, you get to make demands like this. Even if he is coming off two losses in his last two fights to Dustin.