And if you think people weren’t raking in the side bets when Diocles thundered by, you cray-cray.
People love watching sports. And people especially love watching sports (as in, getting all fanatic about it) when they have a wager on the game.
And what is Super Bowl Sunday for if it’s not to get a little overheated about all the on-screen action?
You want a lively party, right?
Here are some betting games to play at your Super Bowl party.
Super Bowl Squares
Creating a football pool using squares is the easiest way to create a fun and friendly betting system for one game that rewards lucky winners at the end of each quarter. You may already play this with friends or at work. If not, it’s quick to learn.
You create a 10 x 10 grid on a piece of paper, giving you 100 squares. Make sure the squares are big enough to write a person’s initials. Here’s an example of one for Super Bowl 2020.
Write the name of one team across the top, above the squares, and the name of the other team down the left side. The template has space for you to do so.
You can then fill the squares in one of two ways. The first way requires that anyone who wants to play “purchase” a square. Let’s say that you have 12 guests, and 10 want to participate in this football pool bet.
Each participant can pay $1 to write his or her initials in a square (or $5 or $10…it’s up to you how expensive you want the game to be and how big the potential winnings).
If you have ten players, each has the option to write their initials in up to 10 squares (since 10 players using 10 squares apiece will use up all 100 squares).
There may be squares left empty, and that’s okay.
After the players have filled in the squares of their choice, write the digits 0-9 across the top squares and down the left-hand side. Do not enter them in order. Put them in at random, such as 7, 4, 9, 0, 3, etc. An online random number generator is a good option to use here.
At the end of each quarter, use the final digit of the score for each team to find out who is in the square at the intersection of those two teams’ numbers. That winner gets ¼ of the total money in the pot.
This keeps your guests focused on each quarter of the game and keeps the mood up because someone is winning at each quarter.
If the winning square is empty, simply roll that amount of money to the next quarter’s winner.
If you prefer, you can play this Super Bowl party game another way by simply dividing 100 by the number of players, filling in their initials randomly throughout the grid, and asking everyone to give a $5 or $10 buy in. Then play works the same way as above.
Note: the bigger the buy-in, the more extreme the reactions will be at the end of each quarter. You can run more than one game…one for a moderate buy-in and one for “high limit” players.
The nice thing about Super Bowl squares is that it’s a game of pure luck. The players don’t know what scores they will be assigned, and everyone—football veteran and newbie alike—has equal chances of winning.
Super Bowl Party Prop Bets
Do you have a green visor and a Davidoff Corona sticking out of your pocket? Good, because we are going to tell you how to be a Super Bowl bookie.
Prop bets means “proposition bets,” which are just bets other than the standard, obvious “Who will win the game?” and “Will the winner beat the spread?”
Another great Super Bowl party prop bet is “Who will be the first team to score?” This one has everyone glued to the screen in the first few minutes of the game, which sets the tone for an electric viewing experience (which is kind of the point, right?).
Your Super Bowl squares football pool will keep guests focused on the game at the end of each quarter, so you don’t need to focus on prop bets for quarter scores.
But “Which team will be ahead at halftime?” is a popular bet.
Guests who are familiar with the top players of each team can bet on who is likeliest to score the first touchdown in the game, as well as who is likeliest to score the first touchdown for each team.
You can get learn more about the types of prop bets the online sportsbooks are running by checking out our Super Bowl props guide.
Best Super Bowl Drinking Games for the First Half
The key to keeping the good vibe up throughout the Super Bowl is to pace things in the first half. The Super Bowl is a long event, made longer by halftime, the pre-game show, and after-game commentary.
Here are some games that will keep spirits up (pardon the pun) and the action lively.
If guests look like they are already sailing two sheets to the wind and looking to hoist a third, you can cut each drink in half as you play the games.
The Replay Go-Play
When either team’s coach requests a replay review, participants have to quickly create a cocktail they’ve never had before. Have a variety of mixers and liquors on hand for Pepsi-and-gin, vodka limeades, and other quick concoctions.
Beer drinkers have to put down the same label they’ve been drinking for years and try a new beer…an apricot hefeweizen, perhaps?
Teetotalers also have to try something new, like pina colada mixer and Coke (a surprisingly good combination).
Whenever the ball is fumbled, everyone passes his or her drink to the left. So now you have a new drink to finish.
If this feels too edgy, everyone has to go and get the same drink the person to the right is drinking and finish at least half of it.
The Beer Cooler Challenge
Whenever a beer commercial comes on, everyone has to pound half a beer. It doesn’t need to be the brand in the commercial, but it does have to be at least half.
Appoint a referee. Give him or her a whistle. Cheaters have to do a shot.
The Penalty Shot
When a team gets a penalty, whether five yards or more, everyone is handed a Jell-O shot.
This will require pre-game preparation. Someone might volunteer to bring these; ask around.
Best Super Bowl Party Food Games
Your guests are going to eat and drink like victorious Romans. Diets go out the window on this day. Portions are big.
Make it fun with some Super Bowl party games involving food!
The Win-Win Food Competition
This is a potluck competition. Each guest brings his or her best dish, and everyone votes by making a tick mark on a notepad.
This game works especially well if you host the party year after year. Your guests start to get a feel for what the others will bring, and rivalries will develop. This is when people get creative.
If you host the Super Bowl once and ask people to bring their fave dishes, you’ll get a tater tot casserole, maybe some finger sandwiches, and almost certainly a pizza.
If you host repeatedly, you’ll begin to see dishes like Hatch Green Chile Chili and Jamaican Jerk Salmon bites. This makes the game more exciting with each passing year. The fact that the food becomes better, too, is a solid win.
The best part of holding a tasting contest, of course, is the fact that your guests provide the food!
All you have to do is come up with a bottle of wine or a Starbucks card to award the winner of the popular vote (no electoral vote winners on food competitions, sorry. Food is too important for us to bypass the democratic process).
The Make-a-Plate Game
This works well for any gathering, especially one in which you need to break the ice a little.
Count the number of diners. Take that number of disposable plates, and with a Sharpie in the other room, put the same symbol on every two plates. You will end up with a stack of plates that have matching symbol pairs written underneath.
Some good symbols to use are easy ones…stars, dollar signs, question marks, letters, numbers, etc.
Shuffle the plates and hand them out.
Everyone prepares a plate of food and then has to carefully lift the plate and look at the symbol underneath. People with the same symbols will exchange plates.
Everyone eats a plate of food someone else prepared.
This game always leads to laughter, conversation, and some moaning about “I didn’t get shrimp!” or “Why would someone put so much guacamole on three chips?”
If you are hosting small groups of people who don’t know each other, this can be a way to get the party started before the game without having to wait until halftime, when most people eat their main meal.
Just use small appetizer plates and restrict the game to finger food appetizer foods instead of using larger meal plates.
Drinking Games for the Second Half of the Super Bowl
Now you can let loose with the drinking games for your Super Bowl party. You don’t have to worry about anyone going whole hog with tequila shots in the first 15 minutes and then ruining the party with maudlin confessions for the next several hours (can you say, “college?”).
Everyone takes a shot when a touchdown is made and chugs a beer for successful field goals and safeties.
Fun and easy and enlivens the game.
The Time Out Cocktail Hour
Everyone makes a cocktail when a time-out is called by a team. Vodka cranberry is an easy cocktail that is popular with most. Whiskey lemonade is also a great choice for people set to dither after the time out is over.
When one team makes a score, whether a field goal, a safety, or touchdown, the fans of the other team have to do a shot. Fence-sitters have to do half a shot.
The Get Sacked
Whenever a quarterback from either team is sacked, guests have to choose a slip of paper you’ve placed into a paper bag. Whatever drink is listed on their slip is what they have to consume next.
When making the slips (you can do this during halftime if you want, but much better to do this before the game and set it aside for the second half), vary them between shots, fancy cocktails, and even fun non-alcoholic drinks like Shirley Temples, Roy Rogers, and even water or milk.
This game always gets the audience cracking up.
The I’m the Hostess, Dang It, and I Want Everyone to Try This New Cocktail!
Okay, so it’s not a game, but if you invested in that expensive bottle of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur to make your favorite champagne cocktails, then you are going to want to force them on people at some point during the gathering.
The time is now, in the second half, when people have reached an “anything goes” point in their moods.
If you can time it hot on the heels of a touchdown and the resultant “Score and Shoot liquor shot,” so much the better (or, at least, the more potent).
Guests are sure to be delighted with your concoction after a shot of straight vodka, gin, tequila, etc.
To Sum It Up
Go have fun with your Super Bowl party games. Remember that you already have friends and family and food around you, so it’s pretty much a guaranteed great time.
Games and friendly bets keep the gathering lively, which actually makes things easier on you since people are entertained and enjoying themselves.
If you set things up ahead of time, you can sit back and relax as if you were a guest, and who doesn’t love that feeling?
Just…make sure someone reliable holds onto the bet money.
Drunk Uncle Donald has already been hitting people up for a twenty; he may not be the best bet for house banker.
Asking one friend to run the football squares betting game and another friend to announce your Super Bowl drinking games is a good way to make people feel involved while making your hosting of the day even easier.
On a final note, come fourth quarter, it might be a good idea to start a pot of coffee and hand out doughnuts. The doughnuts help soak up the alcohol, and the coffee can revive the guests who may be starting to nod off from something similar to Thanksgiving Day syndrome. (Also, just…coffee + donuts!).