Money In The Middle? The Value In Line Shopping And Middling Early Super Bowl Lines

Posted By Juan Carlos Blanco on January 25, 2020

The Super Bowl is universally known as the single most lucrative day of the sports betting calendar. With the spread of legalized sports betting across the United States, there are more ways than ever for those wishing to have some skin in the Big Game to do so.

The fact 13 states will afford would-be Super Bowl LIV bettors multiple sportsbook options to place their wagers in means those bettors have a chance to “shop around” for the best possible odds.

One might initially assume that for a one-game event the magnitude of the Super Bowl, the sportsbooks would mostly be in concert with respect to the lines each one sets. And to an extent, that usually holds true when it comes to some of the most popular bet types — point spreads, totals, and moneylines.

Shopping around pays off

However, there are some surprising discrepancies in other wagering opportunities – Super Bowl player props in particular — that a bettor willing to do some legwork can uncover.

We’ll delve into some specific examples of such as it pertains to the upcoming Chiefs-49ers showdown momentarily. Prior to that, however, a bit of background on the benefits of taking some time to compare competing odds from multiple sportsbooks is in order.

To begin with, basic “price comparisons” on lines is always advisable due to the fact a bettor could find more favorable odds in one sportsbook compared to another.

We’ll use a 2019 regular-season example with some hypothetical odds:

  • Sportsbook A sets the Miami Dolphins’ moneyline at +600 (win $600 for every $100 wagered if bet cashes) for their Week 17 road matchup against the New England Patriots.
  • Sportsbook B considers the Dolphins an even longer shot to pull the upset and sets Miami’s moneyline at +700 (win $700 for every $100 wagered).

Bettors willing to roll the proverbial dice on what appeared to be a highly improbable Dolphins upset would have been well served to take the time to compare their options. By doing so, they would have had an opportunity to maximize their profit with Sportsbook B’s price, as opposed to just jumping on what Sportsbook A was offering without checking elsewhere.

Pricing varies widely for Super Bowl player props

We just utilized a team-level bet to further illustrate the benefit of identifying discrepancies at different sportsbooks. However, in the case of Super Bowl LIV, the opportunities primarily lie in individual player prop bets. Prop bets involve wagers graded on whether a player will fall short of or exceed a certain pre-set statistical milestone.

The following are just some examples of individual player prop Super Bowl LIV wagering opportunities that offered bettors a chance to secure an appreciably better price at one sportsbook as compared to at least one other (odds subject to change):

Player Scoring a TD at Any Point in Game:

  • Tyreek Hill: DraftKings (-112), FanDuel (+110)
  • Travis Kelce: DraftKings (-106), FanDuel (+110)

Player to Score 2+ Touchdowns:

  • Raheem Mostert: DraftKings: (+250), FanDuel (+500)
  • Matt Breida: DraftKings: (+2200), FanDuel (+1300)

Player to Score 3+ Touchdowns:

  • Raheem Mostert: DraftKings (+1000), FanDuel (+2900), PointsBet (+700)
  • Damien Williams: DraftKings (+1400), FanDuel (+2300), PointsBet (+800)
  • Tyreek Hill: DraftKings (+1800), FanDuel (+3800), PointsBet (+1300)

Over/Under Total Receiving Yards:

  • Emmanuel Sanders: DraftKings (40.5 yards), PointsBet (48.5 yards)

View updated player props here

Playing both sides

Another two betting strategies tied into surveying the landscape before placing a wager are arbitrage betting and middling. Each is designed to significantly enhance the odds of a bettor making a profit on a wager by essentially betting both sides of the same event.

With arbitrage betting, a bettor can actually guarantee a small profit at minimum. With middling, a bettor doesn’t exactly lock in a win, but they open an opportunity to win both sides of a single bet.

A quick overview of each:

Arbitrage betting: In arbitrage betting, a bettor first identifies lines for both sides of a game at different sportsbooks. To use a Super Bowl LIV example, say Sportsbook A lists the Chiefs’ moneyline at +120 ($120 won for every $100 bet) while Sportsbook B lists the 49ers’ moneyline at +110 ($110 won for every $100 bet).

The bettor proceeds to place a $100 wager on each of those two lines. By doing so, he/she has guaranteed they’ll be on the winning side regardless of which team prevails. The only question is how much profit the bettor will realize. If the Chiefs win, the bettor finishes with a $20 profit (expended $200 in bets, won $220). If the 49ers come out on top, the profit is halved to $10 (expended $200 in bets, won $210).

Middling: Middling also involves placing a bet on both sides of an event. However, in this case, the multiple wagers are usually placed over time as opposed to simultaneously, and they can often be placed at the same sportsbook. That’s because middling is a process that typically capitalizes on line movement over time.

To once again deploy a Super Bowl LIV example, say the Chiefs go from two-point favorites to five as the game draws nearer. A bettor who jumped on KC to cover the two points could then see the five-point spread as much less manageable. As such, they opt to also bet the 49ers +5.

In this scenario, there’s a possibility for the bettor to either win both bets, win one, or simply push.

  • Both wagers are winners: The Chiefs win by three or four points.
  • Only one wager is a winner: The 49ers lose by two points or less or win outright OR the Chiefs win by three or more points.
  • Push: The Chiefs win by exactly two or five points.

The previously cited Emmanuel Sanders receiving yardage prop (which has now been adjusted by PointsBet) also serves as an example of a good middling opportunity on a player-level wager. If a bettor bet the Over on the 40.5 yards set as Sanders’ prop on DraftKings Sportsbook but also wagered the Under on 48.5 yards on PointsBet – thereby playing the middle of the two disparate totals — they could win both bets if Sanders’ final receiving yardage total is somewhere between 41 and 48 yards.

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Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has served as a freelance writer for a wide variety of online publications and websites, with an intensive focus on fantasy sports. Juan has provided analysis and comprehensive coverage of the MLB, NBA, NFL, CFL, AAF and AFL while also reporting on news and developments in the daily fantasy sports and online gaming industries.

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