10 Biggest Super Bowl Spreads in NFL History, Ranked
The Super Bowl is the sporting event that people bet on the most. In 2024, an estimated 68 million American adults (roughly 25 percent of the population) are said to place bets on the Super Bowl, setting a record of $23 billion being wagered, according to the gambling industry's national trade association. In this creme de la creme moment of sports betting, several wagers are often placed on the spread, aka the number of points by which the winning team is expected to triumph.
The favored team is listed with a minus (-) sign before the number of points they're projected to win by, while the underdog team has a plus (+) sign before the number of points by which they're expected to lose. So, if the 49ers are favored by 2.5 points to win, then they would need to win by at least 3 points for those betting on them to be winners. Of course, the larger the spread, the less competitive the game is expected to be.
In recent years, the Super Bowl spreads have been much smaller, with most just being a few points. But over the years, several Super Bowls had spreads in the teens — even more interesting, a lot of these were also the games with the biggest upsets. Intrigued? Let's check out the biggest Super Bowl spreads in NFL history.
8. Super Bowl IV: Vikings (-12 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
The fourth Super Bowl was the last one played before the American Football League (AFL) merged with the National Football League (NFL). The NFL's Vikings faced the AFL's Chiefs in New Orleans, Louisiana. Minnesota was favored by 12 points, as the Vikings came into the game with a 12-2 regular season record, leading the NFL in total points scored (379) and fewest points allowed (133). The Chiefs, however, had a tough season, with star quarterback Len Dawson out for six games with a knee injury.
Three field goals in the first and second quarters — including an impressive-for-the-times, 48-yard kick — had the Chiefs leading 9-0 before they scored another touchdown heading into halftime. While the Vikings gained some momentum in the third quarter with another touchdown, the Chiefs responded quickly. And the Chiefs' defense kept the Vikings from recovering in the fourth quarter. Needless to say, anyone betting on this game either won big or lost big.
* Super Bowl spread stats sourced from BetFirm.
8. Super Bowl XXIV: 49ers (-12 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers
Another Super Bowl played in New Orleans, this one was far from being an upset. In fact, the 49ers beat the Broncos by a whopping 45 points — the largest margin of victory at the Super Bowl ever — and became the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls with two different head coaches. San Francisco is also the only team to ever score at least eight touchdowns in Super Bowl history.
Of course, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana won his third Super Bowl MVP for his astounding performance, which was so good that Steve Young came in to relieve him in the fourth quarter. Jerry Rice's record three receiving touchdowns were equally impressive.
8. Super Bowl XLII: Patriots (-12 Points) (Tie)
Match up: New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
It's funny to think back to a time when critics were doubting the potential of one of the Manning brothers, but Eli was having trouble finding his groove in his first three seasons. And by the 2007 season, people were still having doubts, especially when he was set to play against Tom Brady in his prime for the Patriots, which was already being called the greatest team in NFL history. Not only was it the Patriots' fourth Super Bowl since 2001, but they also managed to have a perfect 16-0 record in the regular season.
To the surprise of just about everyone, though, Manning gained momentum in the playoffs, and the two teams played neck and neck throughout the big game until David Tyree's memorable "Helmet Catch" play in the fourth quarter that sealed the Giants' fate.
6. Super Bowl II: Packers (-13.5 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders
The second Super Bowl was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Packers had an advantage as the defending champion after winning Super Bowl I, and they happened to dominate the field for the majority of the game.
Winning by almost six more points than what was predicted in the spread, the Packers especially impressed viewers with the 60-yard interception return touchdown that still stands out to this day.
6. Super Bowl XXX: Cowboys (-13.5 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Dallas Cowboys were unstoppable in the 1990s, with Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders and Emmitt Smith all being household names. This game became the Cowboys' third Super Bowl win in four years, but it was especially exciting since the two teams had met in two previous Super Bowls, with the Steelers winning both times.
Plus, this Super Bowl, played in Tempe, Arizona, became the most-watched sporting event ever on American television, with 94.08 million viewers.
3. Super Bowl I: Packers (-14 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The first Super Bowl ever was hosted in Los Angeles, California, and the pressure was on since there was animosity between the two rival leagues. While the first half was quite competitive, the third quarter started off with Green Bay's Willie Wood intercepting and returning a pass for 50 yards to the 5-yard line. This led to a serious momentum gain for the Packers, who managed to score 21 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters.
Needless to say, the spread for this game was actually 11 points lower than it should have been.
3. Super Bowl XXXI: Packers (-14 Points) (Tie)
Match up: Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots
It's difficult to believe that there was a point in time when the New England Patriots would have such a large spread against them, but here's one that happened to be right on the nose, with the Packers winning by exactly 14 points.
The first quarter started with the teams combining for 24 points, but then the Packers took the lead by the end of the second quarter.
3. Super Bowl XXXVI: Rams (-14 Points) (Tie)
Match up: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams
Here's another 14-point spread against the Patriots, but this time, the underdogs came out on top in a Super Bowl that set the stage for a truly amazing NFL dynasty. After all, this was Tom Brady's first year as a starter since Drew Bledsoe was out with an injury.
While the Patriots' offense will always be remembered, their defense was equally unstoppable in this game, with Ty Law intercepting a pass and Terrell Buckley recovering a fumble in the second quarter that helped give the team its 14-3 lead heading into the second half.
2. Super Bowl III: Colts (-18 Points)
Match up: Baltimore Colts vs. New York Jets
Played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the third Super Bowl was the first one to officially be called the "Super Bowl." It's also considered one of the greatest upsets not just in American football history but the entire history of professional sports.
Most sports critics believed that the NFL was the superior league, but the AFL's Jets managed to prove them wrong, even with a second-highest-in-history 18-point spread against them. Of course, Jets quarterback Joe Namath put the critics in their place and became the first player to be named MVP without personally scoring or throwing for a touchdown.
1. Super Bowl XXIX: 49ers (-18.5 Points)
Match up: San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Believe it or not, the largest spread in Super Bowl history should actually have been larger since the 49ers ended up winning by 23 points, becoming the first team to win five Super Bowl championships. The 49ers came into the game with a 13-3 record, while the Chargers had an 11-5 record.
What's worth noting about this game is that it brought Steve Young out into the spotlight, following the impressive run that the team had with Joe Montana.