An avalanche of money poured in on the New England Patriots, and the line quickly moved to Patriots -1, and eventually settled for the past week around -2.5.
Despite approximately 80% of all money at some Vegas books pumping the Patriots, the line hasn’t budged for a week. Only William Hill has planted its Patriots -3 flag into the ground.
— Todd Dewey (@tdewey33) January 28, 2019
It’s not like Vegas isn’t willing to adjust this Super Bowl, either. The initial record-setting Patriots-Rams over/under of 58.5 witnessed 69% of total tickets and 74% dollars wagered on the under. The number has since dropped to 56.5.
How the books are approaching the numbers
Analytics expect this game to be close. FiveThirtyEight has it as a virtual coin-flip, slightly favoring the Patriots as a 53% winner. numberFire has the Pats as 1.5-2.5 points better. Other models (and Madden 19) have the Rams as slightly better.
Regardless of the data, the public and perhaps the sharps all like the Patriots.
The Westgate SuperBook has realized 80% of all straight bets on New England and “moneyline wagers are on the Patriots by a 10-1 margin.” This isn’t just because the Patriots are a beloved public team like the Packers, Steelers, Bills, or Cowboys. Last year, Vegas took a bath as the majority of money was on the Eagles.
The Westgate, though, has held at Patriots -2.5. Boyd and Stations sportsbooks went to -3 before quickly readjusting to -2.5. William Hill has rested at -3, but with some price adjusting.
On Friday, William Hill moved the line 3-flat (-110). This means you could wager $110 on either side to win $100. Bettors hammered the Rams 3-flat, so William Hill adjusted to Patriots -3 (even) and Rams +3 (-120) and have since settled there.
Nick Bogdanovich, sportsbook director at William Hill, explains it:
“Once we went to 3 flat, Rams money just kept coming in. I don’t know if it was sharp. Everyone in the world plays the Super Bowl and we were the only 3 flat in town. At 2.5, it was all Patriots money. At 3 flat, it was all Rams. The Rams at plus 3 (minus) 120 is much more even.”
On the other side of the country, New Jersey sportsbook Super Bowl odds have reached a consensus of Patriots -2 or -2.5 across the board. FanDuel Sportsbook was the only operator offering -2 as of Tuesday morning.
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Another record-setting Super Bowl?
As far as handle goes, it doesn’t matter if the line goes to Patriots -3 or not. This is shaping up to be another record-setting Super Bowl in Nevada, and in the U.S. (obviously) as well.
It’ll be record-setting for Nevada despite legal domestic competition for the first time. If nothing else, legalized sports betting is providing the old online poker corollary once again. Many in the casino industry once thought online poker would kill card room business. The opposite happened, as access to the game fed public acceptance and activity into brick-and-mortar card rooms. Even with other states allowing sports betting, Nevada is still expected to post record betting totals.
But will it be a Super Bowl of record losses again?
As they say, there wouldn’t be giant casinos in the desert if the public was always right.
However, they were right last year with the Eagles. There’s certainly consensus around the Patriots this year.
Westgate SuperBook manager John Murray told Forbes.com, “We’re going to need the Rams really big on this…”
How this game plays out, and how line movement on this game impacts earnings, will be an interesting case study on Super Bowls for years to come.