Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, February 1, 2019 at 4:00 PM
Actually, the big story through the two-week build to Super Bowl 53 is that the sharps WEREN’T betting the Super Bowl! Almost all pro bettors wanted the Los Angeles Rams +3 against the New England Patriots. Sports book operators have been deciding whether or not they were going to give sharps the most important number in football.
Media coverage of sports betting has grown tremendously over the past couple of seasons. That means you already know that the game opened near pick-em, with early public money (and some sharps) hitting the Patriots at pick-em, -1, and -2 (sharps preferring the Pats usually stopped at -1, with the public taking the game all the way to -2.5, and -3 in some select spots).
You also know that a few stores have tested the three because they had to try to balance their books. If EVERYBODY is betting the Patriots, then sports books basically have a huge bet themselves on the Rams. Sure, they’re doing that at +110 odds because of the vigorish. But, many businessmen aren’t comfortable with such one-sided exposure in the biggest game of the year. Those stores temporarily testing the three were flooded with Rams money and typically dropped back.
I guess I should just explain it this way…
*A small number of sharps like the Patriots at -1 or better.
*The vast majority of sharps would love the Rams at +3, but might have to decide if they want to settle for +2.5 of +2 this weekend.
*The vast majority of “early” square money from the public has been on the Patriots.
*There’s a huge amount of “local” square money waiting to come in on the Rams. You regulars know that Las Vegas is a virtual suburb of Los Angeles when it comes to sports betting. Just like the sharps, Rams fans have been waiting to see a three. There’s no reason to “bet early” at +2 when a three could happen. I can’t remember ever seeing THIS much money waiting on the sideline so late in the Super Bowl process.
*Sports book operators are comfortable rooting for the Rams +2 or more with reasonable risk. Market power ratings typically had the game around pick-em. If you’re a sports book, it’s okay to take a dog +2 with that +110 return (from their perspective). They just don’t want it to be all-or-nothing. They’re hoping a bunch of Rams money “accepts” that +2 or +2.5 is going to be as high as it gets and finally hits the counter.
What about the Over/Under? An opener of 57.5 was bet up quickly to 58. But, quants have been getting gradings in the mid 50’s because many “game simulations” show both teams using ball-control methods that run some clock. Sharp betting brought the total down to 56.5…where it’s been painted for days.
The expectation here in Nevada is that the public will bet the Over this weekend (squares love rooting for things to happen rather than rooting for things not to happen). Over bettors cleaned up last year in the 41-33 win for Philadelphia. And, Patriots bettors won Overs in the playoffs vs. the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs (with games landing on 69 and 68). Patriots money is going to bet Over this weekend. Quants will buy more of the Under at 57 or more if available.
We might have an odd situation where the team side stays “frozen” on Patriots -2, but the Over/Under sees a tug-of-war between sharps and squares somewhere in the range of 56.5 to 58.
My take as of early afternoon Las Vegas time Friday is that sports books are hoping that Rams money will run out of patience and come in on +2.5 and +2, taking the key number of three out of play. That’s their dream scenario…relatively split action around the “dead” number of two (few games land right on that victory margin)…or reasonable exposure “rooting” for the Rams against public Pats money.
The worst-case scenario for sports books would be going to the three out of necessity…then having a ton of money on the Patriots -2.5 or below, and a ton of money on the Rams at +3…followed by the game landing right on the three (Patriots 27-24, 30-27, or whatever), then all the Rams money would push and get refunded, while sportsbooks would lose a small fortune to Patriots bettors.
There’s no way I could even touch the surface of prop betting this year. There are literally THOUSANDS of options across the state of Nevada. Each individual sports book likes coming up with its own wrinkles to attract bettors. It’s a great way to drive foot traffic, offering props that nobody else has. The “sharp” way to bet props is to jump on soft openers right when the numbers go up…then wait until the last second to bet contrarian against public moves that have gone too far. You’ve already missed the openers. Maybe, Sunday morning, you can think about fading the biggest public moves.
I’ve already made up my mind about how I’m going to play this game. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Sign up for the rest of basketball and my Super Bowl selections will be included.
You regulars know that college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. With football ending Sunday, it’s time for YOU to focus on my favorite sport! I don’t offer “locks” or “games of the year.” That’s not my style. You’ll get my best shot every night. I’m not one to blow my own horn…but I can tell you that a lot of people in Las Vegas have always respected my best shot in this sport.
Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you in the Super Bowl. I’ll see you again soon.