Kansas City Chiefs
Betting on the Super Bowl is way more art than science for professional sports bettors these days.
With legalized sports betting up and running in 33 markets, the appetite for wagering on major events has never been higher across America. And most bettors have specific patterns.
They love “Overs” and betting “Yes” on things to happen.
Point spread: Eagles -1.5 (Eagles favored to win by more than 1.5 points, otherwise Chiefs cover)
Moneyline: Eagles -133 favorites to win (bet $10 to win $17.52 total); Chiefs +110 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $21 total)
Total scoring over/under: 50.5 points scored by both teams combined
For years, professional bettors have lined up in Las Vegas sportsbooks a week before the Super Bowl to fire proposition wagers. The Westgate SuperBook has famously released its prop sheet the Thursday night after Championship Sunday ever since top bookmaker Jay Kornegay migrated over from the Imperial Palace.
“Wise guys” literally wait in line with backpacks of cash to whack their favorite props before the SuperBook releases everything on the mobile app. You’re allowed to make three bets [at $2,000 limits], then it’s off to the back of the line if you want to bet again.
It’s quite the scene.
Other Las Vegas shops have joined the prop betting craze since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down in May 2018. That’s because they see the amount of money Americans routinely wager on props. People love betting on Travis Kelce to score a touchdown. They also love firing “Overs” on star quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.
“The first bet I made was that a punt will not be caught or downed inside the five-yard line,” one professional bettor told FOX Sports. “It was -200, and my math said that price was way off. It moved to -270 after one pop.”
Not what you were expecting, was it?
“My three biggest positions are ‘Under’ 7.5 punts, ‘Over’ 2.5 players to throw a pass and that a roughing the passer penalty will be called at least once,” the bettor continued. “If those all come through, it should be a great day at the office.
“I also bet some Mahomes ‘Overs’ because you have to fire those immediately. One shop opened his passing yardage prop at [O/U] 288.5. That felt low on the surface, but it’s the same story every year with the marquee quarterbacks. Everybody bets ‘Over.’ But most people aren’t price sensitive. I’m seeing [O/U] 295.5 and 296.5 right now in the market.
“People will bet worse numbers all the way up until kickoff. Honestly, I’m waiting for that number to hit 300 or higher, and I’ll shoot the middle.”
If Mahomes throws for 297 yards, the bettor will cash “Over” 288.5 and “Under” 300.5. And that’s the nuts, as the wise guys say.
“Patience is much more important these days,” the bettor explained. “It used to be a rush to be first and get all your bets in right away. But I can literally wait until Super Bowl Sunday and bet “Under” numbers that are 10 and 15 yards higher than what they opened.”
FOX Sports Betting Analyst Sammy P breaks down Super Bowl LVII.
The logic certainly makes sense, but the occasional Super Bowl shootout tends to be extremely costly for professionals and a bankroll boon for Joe Public.
Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots was a betting feast for the public and a disaster for the sportsbooks. The Eagles emerged with a 41-33 victory, and bookmakers basically cried poor for an entire calendar year.
“I was scared to check the figures,” Andrews joked.
Super Bowl LIII was exponentially better for the house. The Patriots stonewalled the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a glorified rock fight.
“I got destroyed in Eagles-Pats,” the bettor recalled. “It was a f—— bloodbath. Everything happened. All the ‘Overs’ hit. Tom Brady threw for 500 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Foles threw three and caught one! [Rob] Gronkowskiscored twice. There were 74 points. I think I won four bets that Super Bowl out of about 17.”
“But I cleaned up on Pats-Rams. It’s funny how this racket works.”
Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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