The history of Super Bowl betting, from a William Perry prop to bad beats and Joe Namath’s guarantee

By NFL writer

The Super Bowl has a huge audience and fans tune in for different reasons: the halftime show, the commercials, camaraderie at parties or the game itself.

And for many, it means betting on the big game.

There have been 57 Super Bowls and plenty of betting stories to come from them. In honor of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers coming to Las Vegas, here’s a history of Super Bowl betting:

Super Bowl III: It can be argued the first big moment in sports betting history — other than the controversies with the 1919 Black Sox or the college basketball point-shaving scandal including City College of New York in the 1950s — was the New York Jets‘ win in Super Bowl III. It was clearly the first big moment for Super Bowl betting, which has become the biggest day on the sports betting calendar.

Famed oddsmaker Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder proclaimed that the Baltimore Colts were 17-point favorites for the game. According to Mark Kriegel’s biography “Namath,” Namath knew the spread and told at least one friend he didn’t need the points, but to take the moneyline at 7-to-1 odds because the Jets would win straight up (“Bet it,” Namath said, according to the book. “Bet the ranch”). Namath eventually issued his famous guarantee, the Jets won 16-7 and the massive spread, which reached 18 points and higher in some places, became a part of the game’s lore.

Super Bowl XIII: Ask an old-school oddsmaker and they’ll remember the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ win over the Dallas Cowboys as “Black Sunday.”

The game ended up being a debacle for sports books, not that anyone felt sorry for them. The Steelers opened as a 2.5-point favorite. That was bet up to Steelers -5. That led to bettors taking the underdog Cowboys and the line came back to settle at Steelers -3.5. There were a lot of Steelers -2.5 tickets and Cowboys +5 tickets when the game ended up as a 35-31 Steelers win, meaning all of those bets won.

Even worse for the Stardust, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal (the inspiration for Robert DeNiro’s character in “Casino”) posted a promotion allowing bettors to take Cowboys +4.5 and Steelers -3.5, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That was a big loser for the Stardust. As the legend goes, casinos lost well more than $1 million on that Super Bowl, the rare loss for Vegas.

Read the complete story in Yahoo Sports.