Over 110 million people watch the Super Bowl in America every year. And if every one of those people bet a dollar on the game, you still wouldn’t equal the amount of money bet on it in the state of Nevada last year ($119 million).
So you might think setting the odds for such a game would be difficult.
“It’s one of their (sportsbooks’) easiest weeks of the year as far as I’m concerned. The Super Bowl looks after itself,” says Randall The Handle, an oddsmaker and handicapper who writes a regular sports betting column for the Toronto Sun.
That’s certainly been the case this year. Oddsmakers opened the New England Patriots as 3-point favorites and the line hasn’t moved. I don’t expect it to, either. The total, meanwhile, opened at 58.5 at most online spots and it’s only moved a half point at most of the books where it’s moved at all.
A popular myth is that other sports have soft lines on Super Bowl Sunday because books are so focused on the big one. It’s just not true. The Super Bowl is a standalone football game and by now oddsmakers and bettors know these teams inside out.
The tough part is handicapping what the audience is going to do.
“I think it (this line) was a little bit short to be honest but I think it’s because Atlanta has become very sexy and books understand the marketplace,” says Randall. “I think a big factor taken into account by oddsmakers is public sentiment. They know what people are thinking and they have to factor that into the line.”
In terms of the total, I think this number may also be set a little high based on public perception. Matt Ryan vs. Tom Brady. The Falcons have the third highest scoring offense in a Super Bowl, which has helped create the highest Super Bowl total ever.
“I’m not a totals guy but I think it’s high. When you watched Atlanta and Green Bay – and Green Bay’s defense is an invisible defense as we saw – we still needed an Aaron Rodgers late touchdown to get to 65. You know, that was life and death to get there,” says Randle. “Now we’ve got a much better defense than Green Bay and New England’s not a blowout team. So I think it’s a high total. If they could line this one up the same way they lined up Atlanta-Green Bay, it doesn’t make much sense to me.”
I agree but as of Thursday the Odds – Shark bettor consensus is siding with the OVER by 58 percent. The number has also moved up to as high as 59.5 this week before settling back down.
I guess we’ll have to wait to see what happens on Sunday.