Last Updated: 2018-02-02
What was a hard-fought regular season for sharp bettors as far as NFL sides are concerned, turned around somewhat in the Playoffs, as underdogs have been covering, the public has been struggling, and our identified sharp sides have been hitting at a high rate. All four underdogs covered the Wildcard round, and after a great Divisional Round week where every indicated sharp side covered, our sharp plays swept the board in the Conference Championship games. The Eagles and the Jaguars were the clear sharp sides last week, and neither was ever really in much doubt, covering comfortably, and setting us up for the Super Bowl matchup we have between the Nick Foles led Philadelphia Eagles and the modern-day dynasty that has become the New England Patriots.
Being that it is the final and only game available within the betting market, I will focus on not only the side this week, but the total and money-line as well, to give a full market analysis for the biggest game of the year. Obviously, with lines that has been up for weeks now, and high enough limits available for books in Las Vegas to already have taken in multi-million dollar bets, mispricing in the Super Bowl betting market isn’t easily found. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t bets to be made and that the sharp bettors have or will completely sit things out. Because if there is one thing that separates the Super Bowl from all other NFL games throughout the year in the betting market, it’s that the public money will come in at a high enough volume to outweigh the influence of the professionals, who are more likely to be focusing on obscure props and hidden advantage they can find in that market. This means, therefore, that the Super Bowl, more than any other NFL game, has the potential for public bias built into the line, and considering consensus becomes even more important. You also have to consider that massive bets are being made by people who aren’t often the sharpest of the sharp, which add to the public influence over the line. Therefore, with a deep dive into the off-shore market for this 52nd Super Bowl, we will keep these factors in mind, while seeing if the sharps have left any hint of opinion on the side, total, or money line for this year’s final edition of Market Watch.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Off-shore opening lines: NE – 6 -110
Consensus current lines: NE – 4.5
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 53% PHI
Opening officially as a 6-point favorite off-shore, the New England Patriots are in a remarkably rare situation; as a team that usually receives at least 60 percent of the spread bets, they are receiving a minority at 47%. With as high as a 58/42 split earlier in the week, the line has responded accordingly, leaving the Patriots as a consensus 4.5-point favorite, with 5Dimes being one of the only major off-shore books at 4, posting it with -109 to -101 juice. A few of the sharper books such as BetCris and The Greek, have the Eagles side juiced to -118 and -115 respectively, while Pinnacle is juicing the 4.5 only slightly to Philly at -108, while charging a reduced -102 on the Pats. Bovada and BetOnline, on the other hand, are charging a higher tax on the Patriots side, at -115 and -113 respectively, an indication of a minor sharp/public split at 4.5, with the Eagles apparently the slightly sharper side at 4.5. All things considered, if wanting to place a standard spread bet on the Superbowl, laying the 4 at 5Dimes is certainly tempting, as the only major off-shore at that number, with reduced juice to boot, its hard not to like getting that key number while every other book is at 4.5. You do have to keep in mind however, that a very, very large percentage of the action is yet to come, and though Philadelphia might appear to be the slightly sharper side on the spread so far, there are many other factors to consider as far as Superbowl spread bet handle is concerned. Recreational money has had and will have a major influence over this line, and in taking Philadelphia on the spread, professionals may be positioning themselves for opportunities as the game approaches which I will get into later.
Off-shore opening total: 47.5 -110
Consensus current total: 48.5 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 60% Over
It should come as no surprise that the over is receiving a majority of the handle here, as this is commonplace, especially in a game with so much recreational appeal. Opening just north of the key of 47 at Bookmaker, we are now seeing a mixture of 48’s and 48.5’s in the off-shore market, with those 48’s remaining out there, juiced heavily to the over. With both ends of the sharp/public dichotomy at 48.5, Pinnacle and Bovada, the market isn’t revealing much of a sharp lean either way on the total thus far. The move from 47.5 to 48 or 48.5 isn’t a very significant move, and with the 60/40 split we have seen, a minor move is expected and warranted. Therefore, it’s difficult to ascertain any sharp involvement on the total so far, and I would be surprised if the full game total received significant sharp action between now and kickoff. Professionals are familiar with Superbowl history, and specifically in the case, Patriots Super Bowl history; and in considering both of those, one would expect that if the sharp action were to come in on the total, it would assuredly be on the first half under 24.
Off-shore opening money line: NE – 224 PHI + 200
Consensus current money line: NE – 190 PHI + 175
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 65% PHI
As has been the case every year since 2002, when the Brady/Bellichick era officially began, and New England pulled off the miraculous to upset the Greatest Show on Turf in Super Bowl XXXVI, the money and spread aren’t quite as correlative as they tend to be in a normal NFL game. This is because the Super Bowl is the one game a year that the recreational bettor, year after year, hammers the underdog money line, looking to either make a lot to make a little, or simply to bet on their team to win the game outright as fan. The consistent result of this is a bargain on the money line favorite, as we can already see this year, for if you were to bet a 4.5-point favorite on the money line in a regular NFL game you would have to lay around -210, but because the recreational money has come in on Philly at such a high rate, you can now get New England at as low as -175 at Bovada. Professional money will be, without question, on the New England money line, and as referenced earlier, a lot of the Philadelphia spread love can be attributed to the anticipation of this. Savy bettors, knowing that the 6 probably wouldn’t last, grabbed it and will wait until the public drives the New England money line down, and play it as they normally would. Now with the 6 in their back pocket, they have a great shot at middling the game with a close New England victory, as all of their Super Bowl victories have been. Being that the remaining 4.5’s offer much less value on Philly than 6 and less chance of a potential middle, I’m not sure I would advise trying to middle with 4.5, but I can say without hesitation that betting the New England money line will be a high priority for professional bettors in this 52nd Super Bowl.
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