This is part 5 in our week-long deep dive on the betting aspects of Super Bowl 53. For those of you in New Jersey, check out our list of all the best sportsbook signup bonuses. In PA and can’t bet online yet? That’s cool, find out when you can here, or just read the piece for an insightful, numbers-based preview of the game. Also, be sure to check out our other informative pieces on the big game:
The Super Bowl is without rival America’s most heavily bet sporting event, and, if we’re being honest, many of us are going to take in this year’s contest because there will be financial implications. Whether it is block pools, prop bets, or good old-fashioned straight wagers, the game’s intrigue significantly escalates thanks to a little bit of action. With two weeks of time to immerse ourselves in the narratives, analyze the matchups, and, ultimately, consider how to approach wagers on this game, there’s no excuse to ignore any facet of it. That includes the shift of the betting market. As we close in on the weekend of the big game, now is a good time to examine where the money is going in the final days leading up to kickoff.
Money Continues to Back Patriots
This game essentially opened as a pick‘em at most sportsbooks, but with money aggressively pouring in on the Patriots in the early going, oddsmakers quickly adapted and made New England at most shops either a 2 or 2.5-point favorite. That’s a sizable move. For much of the almost two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, at least 80% of the total bets and handle backed New England. Some bettors have spotted potential value in this shift, but approximately 75% of both the bet volume and money still backs New England. If those numbers hold true, the Patriots will become the most heavily bet team by both standards dating back to at least the turn of the century. In that sense, they’re a historic favorite. Frankly, I never suspected the Patriots would get to the key -3 threshold in this matchup, but if bettors continue to overwhelmingly one side over the weekend, it’s possible that happens.
So what does this mean?
While I don’t like being with the overwhelming and perhaps historic public favorite in such a heavily bet game (I actually hate it), Super Bowl teams that have had the line move in their favor are 8-5 ATS the previous 13 times this has occurred. Meanwhile, over the previous 15 seasons, the teams receiving the four highest percentages of bets are 2-2 ATS. Denver (68% in Super Bowl 48) and Carolina (61% in Super Bowl 50 ) each failed to cover, while New England (64% in Super Bowl 49 and 62% in Super Bowl 51 ) covered twice.
For a larger sample, playoff teams that have seen the line shift anywhere between 0.5 and 3 points in their direction are 67-49-4 ATS. It’s worth noting, however, that when lines specifically shift between 2 and 2.5 points in the postseason, teams are only 12-13-2 ATS. Furthermore, Tom Brady is only 4-6 ATS in the postseason when the line shifts in his favor.
Bettors have strongly favored the under since the opening total was posted at 58.5 after the championship round. Oddsmakers installed a number that initially made it seem like Super Bowl 53 could potentially close with the highest betting total of all-time, but the money hasn’t followed those initial expectations. The over/under has since plunged to 56 at both DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook as of Friday evening, and even with this notable downward surge, nearly 60% of the reported money remains on the under.
So how should bettors react?
Kyle likes the value:
It’s worth noting that in Super Bowls with the 10 highest closing totals, the over is only 3-6-1. There have only been three Super Bowls with a closing total of at least 54.5, and the under is 2-1 in those games. The only Super Bowl that surged over the total with a number that high was Super Bowl 51– and overtime was needed to get there. The under has also been the better play in Brady quarterbacked games with a similar total. In contests with a closing total between 55-59.5, the under is 10-5. Meanwhile, the under has hit in seven of the eight contests in which the spread opened between 52.5-59 with Sean McVay coaching the Rams.
As always, if you plan to play, I strongly advise that prospective bettors take advantage of the different promotions and free bet offers at the various legal New Jersey sportsbooks. Always compare the different offerings before locking in your plays. Lines and prices often vary across the board, and just like with any purchase, it’s important to get the best deal possible.
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