If your mind isn’t on Sunday, do you even have a pulse? It’s the single most significant unofficial holiday of the year: The Super Bowl! And while this year’s rendition won’t feature as many parties, square games, or high-priced TVs, a new craze awaits many sports fans – sports betting.
What was once taboo is now an everyday hobby for sports fans, one long overdue. What a wonderful world! Name a combination better than Tom Brady’s Buccaneers versus Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs and our big brains finding stone-cold winners. I’ll wait.
Just kidding. Maybe.
This Sunday will be the single-biggest sports betting day of the year, where an estimated $6.8 billion will be wagered. That’s super exciting for everyone involved, but also par for the course. The Super Bowl is the rare event where professionals and novice bettors alike rush to sportsbooks or fire up their favorite app, the FanDuel Sportsbook app, and place their bets on the game.
If this is your first time betting on the Super Bowl, congratulations! It’s A LOT of fun. But, I’m not going to sugarcoat things for you. The Super Bowl is HARD to win because there isn’t a ton of value in betting it. Still, that shouldn’t dissuade you from betting. Shoot, I’m a seasoned sports bettor, and I still play it every single year. It’s incredibly entertaining, and now and then, you win! What’s not to love?!
The Super Bowl features the sharpest lines of the season because it’s bet very heavily. Because there’s so much action, we must keep an eye on betting trends throughout the week to ensure we get our pick at peak value. This article lays out the market’s current state.
We’ll highlight professional sports bettors’ perspectives, where the public is putting their money, and what position the sportsbooks expect to take this weekend.
Before we get started, much of the data in this article comes from our betting partners at the FanDuel Sportsbook. They’re offering an incredible betting opportunity for new users. Bet up to $5 on either the Chiefs or Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV, and your odds will boost to an incredible 55-to-1 odds, good for a $275 profit. Lock it in by clicking this link.
Early Sharp Action
Not to be confused with “sharp lines” (lines that are hard to get an edge on), this section highlights what “sharp bettors” are betting.
A “sharp” bettor is essentially a professional. The term “sharp” is betting jargon for someone the sportsbooks respects. Sharps usually make hefty investments in games where they think they’ve found an edge. While sharps don’t always win, liking the same pick as them can sometimes be a good indicator of whether you’re on the right side.
Sharps typically bet early, as soon as lines open, rather than right before the game starts, as the public often does. The reason is so they can get the best value on their pick before lines potentially move. Maybe not so coincidentally, early sharp action has predicted 10 of the last 13 Super Bowl winners, including last year’s when sharps hammered the Chiefs early.
According to John Murray of the Westgate SuperBook, sharp bettors have hammered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ spread for the third straight week, resulting in early line movement. It’s caused the Buccaneers line to decrease from +3.5 to +3, indicating the pros are backing the Bucs early. Over at the FanDuel Sportsbook, the line currently sits at Buccaneers +3.
Additionally, sharps are backing under the game’s total, resulting in a move from as high as 57.5 to 56.5.
The public is heavily backing the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. According to FanDuel, the Chiefs currently hold 68% of the bets, with 81% of the money wagered. Bets over six figures are piling in on the Chiefs, making them the clear favorites not just to oddsmakers but also the betting public.
Super Bowl betting action is too large for sportsbooks to have a significant edge against the public. The sportsbook’s angle isn’t necessarily to beat the public as much as mitigating risk.
Ordinarily, having 81% of the money on a single side would signal a liability for sportsbooks, especially in a game like the Super Bowl where billions are wagered. However, there’s reason to believe the books prefer Kansas City.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw an onslaught of futures bets shortly after they signed Tom Brady in the preseason, creating the single most significant liability for sportsbooks on the futures market this season.
“Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl would 100% be the worst-case scenario for us,” Nick Bogdanovich of William Hill said on their website. “We’re in pretty good shape with most of the teams, but the Bucs are a big loser.”
That gives reason to believe it might be in sportsbooks’ best interest to keep the public betting on the Chiefs. Whether Bucs futures or bets on the Chiefs in the Super Bowl is a more significant liability is unknown.
Still, sportsbooks don’t appear to have taken a side yet. If we see some significant line movement come Sunday, there’s a good chance they’ll have taken a position. We can then decide if we’re betting with or fading the public.
We’re in for a good one on Sunday! No matter which side you pick, be disciplined, don’t bet more than you’re willing to lose, and have fun! Keep an eye out for more Super Bowl articles in the coming days. I’ll be releasing my picks for the big game on Wednesday.
If you’re in need of a plan, take a look at the guide I posted over the weekend here. It’s how I stay disciplined with Super Bowl betting each season.