The Super Bowl attracts an unmatched level of betting interest every year. It’s a unique event with a disproportionate level of public betting interest compared to most markets. But, we know sharp money moves betting lines. Does that change for the Super Bowl line?
As it turns out, that may depend on which market.
How Much Does The Public Bet On The Super Bowl?
Last year, a collective 23.2 million people bet $4.3 billion on the Super Bowl, according to the American Gaming Association.
With legal sports betting more widespread than ever before, giving more of the populace easy access to a bet, the AGA projects a marked increase for 2022. This year, they project 31.4 million Americans will wager $7.6 billion.
That’s obviously a hefty chunk of money. But is it enough to outweigh sharp money and move the market?
Remember, markets generally move based on information. Some of the most pertinent information comes in the form of bets from respected accounts. A respected account betting Bengals +4.5, for example, may have been enough to move the line at a given sportsbook down to Bengals +4.
The Super Bowl, conventional wisdom goes, is one of the few times per year where enough $100 bets and such from the average bettor pile up and move the line. That flood of small bets replicates the effect of a big bet from a sharp account.
‘It Typically Just Falls Where The Money Takes Us’
TheLines reached out to BetMGM to see whether the conventional wisdom about the public moving the Super Bowl line holds true.
According to sports trader Christian Cipollini, that’s not necessarily the case. He acknowledged the Super Bowl is “a little bit different” than most weeks and said the public may have been behind the initial move from Rams -3.5 to Rams -4.5 but answered in the negative when asked if the public typically moves the lines in the biggest game of the year.
“Across the market, there’s just so much money being bet into these at so many different books that the price just kind of becomes baked into what it is,” he said. “So, no, it typically just falls where the money takes us.”
He said balancing the books with such a massive handle remains top priority. And getting the line to the market consensus gives the book the best chance to do so.
Interestingly enough, there has been some variation throughout the market basically all week, contrary to what Cipollini said he usually sees. Bettors have been able to hunt down lines shaded a half point toward either the Rams or the Bengals.
In fact, the first Rams -3.5 in some time popped up on Thursday at Caesars Sportsbook.
“We want to see what Rams money is out there,” a rep told ESPN’s David Purdum.
Super Bowl Prop Lines A Different Story?
Cipollini hinted at one under-discussed reason the public may be perceived to have more market influence on the Super Bowl line. Sharp projection systems have probably come to something close to a consensus on the two remaining teams.
Remember, betting markets are based on information. At the beginning of the season, the information the market has is largely conjecture. Nobody has seen the current versions of the teams play a single game. That creates a void of information, which in turn creates market uncertainty.
Even a team like Tampa Bay that experienced almost zero turnover from the prior season has seen everyone get a year older. Some players improved in that time and others degraded due to aging curves and accumulated injuries. True talent levels changed.
As the season rolls on, evidence piles up about the strength levels of each team. Each week provides another data point.
By the time the final game of the season arrives, everyone’s models are probably roughly in line on the Super Bowl. It’s probably hard to find a quantitative-based bettor who has a very strong opinion on the main markets like moneyline, spread and over/under.
Luckily for sharp bettors, they can shift their focus to props.
Hundreds Of Options For Finding Value
A recent presser from FanDuel Sportsbook touted its “industry-leading 550 betting markets for the Super Bowl.” Caesars promoted “over 2,000 ways” to bet with its Super Bowl Prop Menu.
Offering that many markets is a sure ticket to offering potential value to customers. It’s simply not going to be possible to produce that many sharp lines. And prop markets in the best of times for the sportsbook often offer more value than bigger markets.
The tradeoff, of course, and what gives these markets value, is lower limits. Still, sharp bettors can and do hunt down and take the value they’re offered. And according to at least one well-known bettor, you can count on the public to influence these smaller markets.
“There’s so many people that don’t bet except for this one game,” said Rufus Peabody of Unabated on a recent YouTube show discussing props. “On game day, the public is going to be influencing a lot of these prop numbers. You can get, oftentimes, a very, very attractive price on game day.”
Since the majority of bettors are known to favor overs and the “yes” side of props like safeties, sacks and touchdowns, it often pays to wait as long as possible before betting unders and nos.
So, track the markets you’re eyeing for unders. If you are worried about a move the other way, perhaps try to split your wager. But if you want to be aggressive and get a better number, it might pay to see if the public moves these Super Bowl lines, at least.