- The National Football League (NFL) preseason begins on Thursday, August 5 with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
- The regular season gets underway on Thursday, September 9 as the Dallas Cowboys play on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- In addition to futures odds some sportsbooks have already posted a (very) early Super Bowl line.
It’s no secret that NFL football is the biggest betting sport for North American fans. That’s why sportsbooks always like to get a head start on the season and begin posting futures, props and even individual game odds long before the Major League Baseball All-Star Break. This year is no exception–NFL Super Bowl futures odds along with AFC and NFC Championship futures have been up for awhile now. More recently, some sportsbooks have even posted an extremely early pointspread, total and moneyline for Super Bowl LVI.
We’ll start by looking at the most recent odds to win Super Bowl LVI which is scheduled to be played on February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. SoFi Stadium is the home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers and is built on the former Hollywood Park racetrack site.
Here’s the rundown of the Super Bowl LVI 2022 futures odds from BetOnline.ag:
TO WIN SUPER BOWL LVI 2022 (UPDATED JULY 24, 2021)
Kansas City Chiefs +500 Tampa Bay Buccaneers +600 Buffalo Bills +1200 Los Angeles Rams +1400 San Francisco 49ers +1400 Baltimore Ravens +1600 Cleveland Browns +1600 Seattle Seahawks +2000 Green Bay Packers +2200 Dallas Cowboys +2500 Indianapolis Colts +2500 Minnesota Vikings +2500 New England Patriots +2500 Denver Broncos +2800 New Orleans Saints +2800 Tennessee Titans +2800 Los Angeles Chargers +3300 Miami Dolphins +3300 Arizona Cardinals +4000 Pittsburgh Steelers +4000 Washington Football Team +4000 Chicago Bears +5000 Las Vegas Raiders +5000 Atlanta Falcons +6600 Carolina Panthers +6600 New York Giants +6600 Philadelphia Eagles +6600 Cincinnati Bengals +10000 Jacksonville Jaguars +10000 New York Jets +10000 Detroit Lions +12500 Houston Texans +20000
The biggest downward move is the Green Bay Packers dropping from +1600 to +2200 but that’s due entirely to the status of QB Aaron Rodgers (we’ll have more about that in a subsequent article). As far as upward moves go, the Minnesota Vikings–a team we suggested that you bet at +4000–is now at +2500.
BetOnline.ag has posted some early numbers on the Super Bowl including the moneyline, pointspread and total:
EARLY SUPER BOWL MONEYLINE
AFC -130 NFC +110
EARLY SUPER BOWL POINTSPREAD
AFC -2.5 -110 NFC +2.5 -110
EARLY SUPER BOWL TOTAL
OVER 53.5 -110 UNDER 53.5 +110
So is there any wisdom in betting the Super Bowl approximately 7.5 months before kickoff? In theory, there can be. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were a -3 favorite in Super Bowl LV meaning that you’d be getting a much better price with AFC -2.5 since you’d be covering the key number of 3. Of course, that means you’d have to be very confident that Kansas City would be in the Super Bowl.
Note that the early Super Bowl line changes throughout the season as the potential matchups start to gain clarity. Here’s the week by week movement in the early Super Bowl line from the Westgate Las Vegas as archived at the excellent SportsOddsHistory website:
As it worked out, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC) 31-9 meaning that the result would be the same no matter which pointspread and total you had bet. Hindsight is 20/20 but there is significant intrinsic value in getting the best price on a game. You’ll often hear ‘sharps’ say that they ‘beat the number’ which means that they got the best price available during a betting cycle. Do this enough and over the long haul you’ll make money. That means you’d have ‘beat the number’ on the Chiefs had you bet in Week 1 or Week 2 since either price is more advantageous than the closing line of KC -3. Conversely, you’d be getting the best of it on a Tampa Bay bet in Week 4 and beyond with the best price on the board a +5 available before Week 5.
Same deal with the total–the Super Bowl LV total closed at 56 meaning that a player who liked the ‘Over’ could have ‘beat the number’ by playing the game during the first four weeks of the season–and particularly during the first three weeks when totals of 53.5, 54.5 and 54 were available. If I had to take a swing now at the BetOnline.ag early numbers for Super Bowl LVI you could do worse than taking the game OV 53.5. That would have given you the best price available during the last three Super Bowls (totals of 56, 54.5 and 57.5) and four of the last five (Pats/Falcons had a total of 57 in 2017). Since the Super Bowl has gone UN in three straight and four of six you could also wait and see what happens during the season. In the data above, you could have gone UN 58 before Weeks 8, 9, 10.
The problem is that the line movement doesn’t always follow the same pattern. In 2019, for example, the Westgate had these early numbers throughout the season (once again, from SportsOddsHistory):
SportsOddsHistory has this week by week early Super Bowl line data going back to the 2012 season if you want to dig deeper. The moral of the story? You can never assume that line movement follows a particular pattern. The caveat to this–once you have enough experience staring at the Don Best screen watching lines move you start to develop an intuition or ‘sixth sense’. You’d be amazed at how much information you can get just by watching the screen but that is another conversation for another time.