Final Super Bowl Betting Market Analysis

by James Murphy in NFL  / February 1, 2020

There are precisely 7 and a half hours until kickoff for Super Bowl LIV in Miami at the time of this writing. As I’ll be on a plane to Denver tomorrow afternoon I figured I’d provide a final market analysis on Super Bowl betting. Earlier this week, we looked at ‘sharp’ action on the ‘Under’ as well as some outlier lines at sportsbooks in Oregon, New Mexico and Northern Nevada. The closer we get to game time the more the market is coming into equilibrium but there have been a few interesting betting patterns over the past 24 hours:

PUBLIC STILL BETTING THE ‘OVER’ BUT SHARP MONEY COMING ON THE ‘UNDER’

This has been the dynamic we’ve seen for the past several days but it has continued throughout the day on Saturday. The total for Super Bowl LIV crested at 55 or 55.5 around midweek. In the early going, over 80% of all bets were on the ‘Over’. The percentage of total wagers on the ‘Over’ are still strong–somewhere from 65% to 70% of all bets–but the ‘sharp’ money action has kept the total at 54 or 54.5. No surprise that ‘wise guys’ were biding their time as they watched the total move from an open of 51.5 or 52 all the way up to 55. Based on what we’ve seen at some ‘outlier’ books outside the Nevada/Offshore sports betting nexus they could have possibly waited for the total to go higher but clearly they’re happy with 55. This type of situation is one that all bettors should keep an eye open for at all times–when you see a lopsided betting percentage on one side of a game but the line is heading in the other direction that usually indicates some big money moves against the public by guys who live in big houses on golf courses in Las Vegas.

THE TOTAL COULD DROP A BIT MORE BEFORE GAME TIME

I was about to write that the total had settled in at 54 all over Southern Nevada and at the major offshore books but that has changed in the past hour. After spending most of the day on Saturday at 54 the total has dropped to 53.5 at a good number of influential offshore sportsbooks. This trend has spread to Nevada where the Circa Sportsbook downtown has moved to 53.5 in the past twenty minutes or so. There have been similar moves elsewhere in the US including the Churchill Downs owned BetAmerica and FanDuel. For now, every other sportsbook in Southern Nevada is still at 54 as are most other US books.

What this means is that if you want to bet the ‘Over’ it wouldn’t hurt to wait and see what happens. If the market takes their cue from the ‘sharps’ and pushes the total lower you could get a better price. With the total opening as low as 51.5 or 52 once it hit 55 or 55.5 there was just no value betting the ‘Over’. That could change if the total goes to 53. The ‘smart money’ could conclude that the value on the ‘Under’ was gone at that price and stay on the sidelines. Pay attention to the next moves–if the total drops to 53 at a number of influential books the sharp money is likely still showing for the ‘Under’. If it bounces back to 54 or higher it likely means that they might be on the sidelines at these lower prices with the public’s volume of action on the ‘Over’ driving the move.

STILL NOT MUCH MOVEMENT ON THE SIDE

Still not much movement on the side with just about every book on the screen at -1 or -1.5. In Nevada, the South Point briefly moved to KC -2 mid evening on Saturday but within 90 minutes were back at -1.5. The only places in the market at -2 are some of the ‘outlier’ books we looked at earlier this week including Oregon’s Chinook Winds Casino, New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star and the Buffalo Thunder property in nearby Santa Fe. Even the ‘outliers’ are starting to fall in line though the Chinook Winds and Buffalo Thunder are still showing 55.5 totals. New Mexico’s Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque along with the Sana Ana Star are at 55.

Early on, the public was disproportionately backing Kansas City but that has changed dramatically and the split is getting closer to even with 55% to 57% of all bets on the Chiefs. Based on my information, there are more big bets on the Niners and given that dynamic the pointspread should remain in equilibrium up until kickoff. My thinking is that KC -1.5 will be the closing line with the closing total at 54.5.

James Murphy

James Murphy is a preeminent authority on the international gambling industry and has made frequent appearances in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, CNBC and NPR. He has previously worked as a radio and podcasting host where he broadcast to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice. Murphy also serves as an odds making consultant for sports and ‘non-sport novelty bets’ covering the entertainment industry, politics, technology, financial markets and just about everything else.

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