The Super Bowl would not be one of the biggest betting events of the year if it did not involve a fair amount of risk, hype and unpredictability. Still, you can’t blame the pundits for trying to make super bowl predictions. If they are right, they get some glory and those who listened to them could get a few extra bucks in their pocket on betting day.

While there is no sure fire formula that is going to tell you who will make it into the Super Bowl or who will win, there are indicators based on football season and team performances in each of the conferences that will help you make an educated guess. Why does your educated guess matter? Listening to the experts only takes you so far if you can’t be sure whether they are on point with their predictions.

Here is a quick rundown of how a team makes it into the super bowl in the first place. You have two conferences. The NFC and the AFC that make up the NFL (National Football League). The teams in each conference play each other all season long to get into the conference playoffs. The most successful two teams are automatically in the playoffs, but there are wild card teams that make it in too. These are teams outside of the top two that still had a good season. Once the playoffs in each conference are finished, there is one team named champion. That champion hits the field on Super Bowl Sunday to play the other conference champion. Easy, right?

It is obvious that you are going to have to take a look at which football teams in both conferences won the most games; football game predictions start there. From that point you have got to look a little bit deeper into those teams’ season performances. For example, are there any injuries that could come back to bite key players during the playoffs or the Super Bowl game itself? How many points did the teams average per winning game? And perhaps, most tellingly, how many yards did their defence give up on average during their games? How many field goals did the team average during the season? And how many times were they in the red zone without following through with a touchdown? Think first, “who wins the most?” Think second, “How do they win?”

Let us say you have got two football teams in one of the playoffs matching up with each other, but you know that one of those teams tends to start strong and then peter out toward the fourth quarter, plus they have had their fare-share of field goal kicks at the end of the game. The other team scores touchdowns, their field goals are at a minimum and their defense has been strong all season. Who do you think will win that game?

At the end of the day it is all speculation based on historical performance, by the end of the season there are usually two or three favorites to make it into the super bowl that everyone is touting all over ESPN. Only your analysis can tell you whether they are likely right or wrong. If you are a novice at super bowl betting, it is best to place your bet on the bowl game itself rather than who will make it on the field. That way you only have two teams to analyze rather than several.