The purpose of this article is, through market analysis, to identify which NFL sides the professional or “sharp” bettors are betting on this week. I’ll do this by looking at the Consensus betting percentages, line moves, Pinnacle lines, etc. and discussing below which games the pros appear to be betting. I include Pinnacle lines because this is well known to be the “sharpest” of sportsbooks being that they often offer reduced juice on games, thus, making it more attractive for professional bettors who are wagering large sums of money. Consensus lines and betting percentages are from Sportsinsights.com as a real-time consensus of data from 7 online sportsbooks including: Sportsbook.ag, BetDSI, BetUs, 5Dimes, GTBets, SIA, and Carib.
New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcons
Consensus Opener: NE -3 -110
Consensus Current Line: NE -3 -105
Consensus Betting Percentages: 66 % of spread bets on NE
Total Opener: 57.5
Total Current: 58.5
Total Betting Percentage: 62% on Over
NE -3 +106
Atl +3 -117
Over 58.5 -101
Under 58.5 -109
Sportsbooks around the world began opening their lines for Super Bowl LI as early as during the second half of the AFC Championship game, and were met by a flurry of action mostly backing the now familiar face of the big game, the New England Patriots. The books knew then, however, as they know now, that such a large percentage of the handle on this game will come in the week leading up to the game and even in the last 48 hours before it, and that any line adjustments are highly unlikely at that point. Now, just 3 days out from the big event, the key of 3 has held completely steady, and other than the Treasure Island in Las Vegas, all we have seen is movement in the price of the Vigorish. Opening off-shore at a consensus New England -3 -110, we now see the Patriots at -3 -105 in spite of the overwhelming number of spread bets coming in on New England. At this point, all but the most publicly bet sportsbooks in the world have New England with reduced juice, with some even offering better than even money on the Pats. Pinnacle is offering the cheapest price on the Patriots at this time, while Bovada sits at New England -3 -120. What we can gather from all this is that the Atlanta Falcons most certainly appear to be the sharp side, and the fact that all of this money is pouring in on the Patriots, and yet most Sportsbooks are quite content to offer a great price on that bet shows that they are either getting sizable wagers from highly respected bettors on Atlanta, or they feel they have a big edge and are comfortable being lop-sided with Patriots money. Seeing a 3.5 pop-up seems to be unlikely at this point, but it should be noted that most of the money will be wagered over the weekend and it’s quite possible that a late avalanche of New England money could force the markets to react.
Opening at a consensus 57.5 off-shore, over bets coming at a rate of 62% have driven the highest posted total in Super Bowl history even higher to 58.5. Bovada sits all the way up at 59.5 +100, while Pinnacle anchors the bottom of the totals market at 58.5 -109. Even in posting a total at the lower end of the spectrum, Pinnacle is still charging a slightly higher price on the under at 58.5. Though this number has ticked up a notch, in the grand scheme of things it does appear that the under is the sharp side thus far, while assuredly most of the under action hasn’t even made its way into the market as of yet. Most professionals will wait as close to kick-off as possible in expectation of the public perhaps even driving this number higher.