The NFL may have its fair share of warts. But say this for the nearly 100-year league: It knows how to keep itself relevant year-round.
And legalized sports betting, which the NFL ironically railed against for many years, should lend a significant helping hand moving forward.
As much was evident on April 17 when the release of the league’s official 2019 schedule was piggybacked by another relevant set of numbers — Week 1 NFL lines at New Jersey sportsbooks.
NFL Week 1 Lines 2019
(This article will be updated as more betting options become available)
Release of Week 1 lines becoming rite of spring
Sure, each team’s slate of games for the upcoming season represent information of significant interest for its fans. But for sports bettors, the first point spreads, moneylines and over/unders of a new regular season are akin to the crack of the bat or smell of freshly cut grass baseball purists have waxed poetic about for years.
FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook led the way for New Jersey sportsbooks in releasing those Week 1 lines Wednesday. We previously covered the unveiling of Opening Night lines for the Bears-Packers divisional showdown. That number was interesting in that it projected the 2018 NFC Central champs from the Windy City as only narrow favorites on their home field.
That said, here are four other Week 1 matchups that catch the eye in terms of their line:
Ravens -3.5 at Dolphins (DK and FD)
Baltimore generated an impressive 10-6 record in 2018, while Miami’s 7-9 mark last season might look like stellar in comparison to what this year’s rebuilding squad may generate in their first season under Brian Flores. Then, the Ravens added big names Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas in free agency and will see Lamar Jackson enter training camp as the clear-cut starter after the trade of Joe Flacco to the Broncos.
In turn, the Dolphins have replaced one average signal-caller (Ryan Tannehill) with another (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and were unable to add any notable names thus far this offseason. Thus, a modest 3.5-point advantage on the part of Baltimore may very well be exploitable, considering Miami could certainly be hard-pressed to even sniff the red zone against a Ravens defense that could be even better than its already impressive 2018 version.
Seahawks -7.5 vs. Bengals (DK and FD)
The Seahawks recently commemorated locking down Russell Wilson for another four seasons and seemingly shored up his offensive line with a couple of key free-agent signings in D.J. Fluker and Mike Iupati. But, the fact they’re initially projected to be over a touchdown better than the Bengals may partly be a reflection of Cincinnati’s forgettable finish to 2018.
Yes, the Bengals posted an unsightly 6-10 mark last season. However, keep in mind it was Jeff Driskel under center for Cincy over the last six weeks of the season after Andy Dalton suffered a season-ending thumb injury in Week 12. His early exit was preceded by those of A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, who last saw the field in Week 8 and Week 4, respectively. The Bengals were an impressive 5-2 (71.4 percent) against the number as road underdogs in 2018, and they could be a sneaky play against the ‘Hawks in the opener at the current spread.
Chiefs -4.5 (FD) and -5 (DK) at Jaguars
The Chiefs took the eventual Super Bowl champs to the limit in last January’s AFC Championship Game before succumbing in overtime, and they finished the regular season with a 12-4 mark. They arguably boast the most exciting young player in the league at quarterback, dynamic playmakers at receiver and tight end, and a running back tandem in Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde that could surprise. That makes the fact they’re anything less than a touchdown favorite against the Jaguars worthy of a double-take.
Sure, Jacksonville will be at home and scored Nick Foles in free agency. But, they have plenty of question marks elsewhere on offense, even when it comes to talented but mercurial running back Leonard Fournette. And, there’s the small matter of Foles not quite looking like himself when he’s not wearing Eagles green. Thus, the present disparity in talent between the teams makes this a spot to potentially jump on.
Saints -7.5 vs. Texans (DK and FD)
There was rightfully no shortage of outrage in the Big Easy about one of the most notorious non-calls in NFL postseason history during last January’s NFC Championship showdown against the Rams. New Orleans will presumably enter training camp with a sizable chip on its shoulder. The offseason signings of Jared Cook and Latavius Murray should help keep the high-octane offensive machine humming. Meanwhile, the defense returns its crucial components from last season, many which could be further improved.
However, at first blush, Houston appears to be at least slightly slighted by the oddsmakers. No slouches themselves with an 11-5 record and AFC South crown in 2018, the Texans return all of their major offensive pieces and will sport a highly potent wide receiver trio if Will Fuller and Keke Coutee can stay healthy. Then, on defense, an intimidating front seven will be supported by what should be an improved secondary following the offseason signings of Tashaun Gipson and Bradley Roby at safety and cornerback, respectively. Considering the Saints were just 3-6 (33.0 percent) against the spread as home favorites last season, this number is interesting to say the least.
DK goes one step further with local teams
In an attempt to give its New Jersey and Pennsylvania customers even more betting incentive, DK Sportsbook has done one better than just releasing opening week lines. It’s additionally rolled out spreads for Week 2-16 games involving the Jets, Giants and Eagles. The bravado stops short of setting a line for Week 17, when there’s no telling who’ll take the field for each squad.
A glance at those long-term numbers reveal a number of interesting projections:
- Jets: The addition of Le’Veon Bell and the expected leap forward by Sam Darnold seem to have oddsmakers bullish on New York. The Jets are only narrow underdogs to the Browns (+3), the Cowboys (+1.5) and the Patriots (+4.5) at home. Then, they’re actually 3.5-point Week 12 favorites against the trendy Raiders at MetLife Stadium.
- Giants: The G-Men’s overall 2019 outlook is bleak as it stands now. However, they’re reasonable underdogs to the Vikings (+4) and Cowboys (+3) at home, as well as to the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers (+3.5). Clearly, the mere presence of Saquon Barkley counts for plenty.
- Eagles: Philly is a bit of a wild card to prognosticate at this point in the offseason. Carson Wentz’s health has a lot to do with that. The uncertain impact of offseason additions Jordan Howard and DeSean Jackson also factors in. But, DK oddsmakers are showing some faith in a resurgence. They currently have the Birds pegged as road favorites against the Falcons in Week 2 (-2.5) and against what’s expected to be an improved Bills squad in the tough environment of New Era Stadium in Week 8 (-3.5). Then, the Eagles are more than a touchdown favorite in three other contests against the weaker trio of the Lions, Giants and Redskins.
Lines (heavily) subject to change
Naturally, these early lines are fully subject to a “knowing only what we know now” disclaimer.
The first notable shift in some could come in just about a week’s time, once the first round of the NFL Draft unfolds. The premium additions each team figures to make will shift the outlook for a good number of them to a certain degree. Looking further ahead to training camp and preseason, the inevitable handful of key injuries that will unfortunately occur will further alter expectations for the squads that fall victim to them.
We’re now starting to get an idea about what teams the sportsbooks like for the 2019 NFL season. DraftKingsSportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook have joined CG Technology in releasing their projected win totals for the upcoming year.
So, between the three oddsmakers, we now have some confidence about how each team’s season will go.
2019 NFL win totals
Odds updated 4/14/19
Last year’s elite retain respect
A look at each company’s list reveals a mix of a couple of surprises interspersed with a good number of expected projections.
The defending champion Patriots lead the way with a projected 11-win total after hitting that mark last season. Notably, the last time New England managed less than 11 wins was way back in 2009. That season, they sported a 10-6 record in Tom Brady’s comeback from an ACL tear. The Pats ultimately bowed out with a 33-14 loss to the Ravens in the Wild Card round.
There’s a three-way logjam at second with the remaining members of last season’s final four — the Chiefs, Rams and Saints. All three teams have their projection set at 10.5 wins. Notably, each squad comfortably surpassed that number in 2018. The Chiefs co-led the AFC with 12 victories, while the Rams and Saints were atop the NFC with 13 victories apiece.
Then, the team Kansas City shared top billing with, the Chargers, are bumped down to around 9.5 or 10 projected wins as wagering opens.
Offseason moves have varying degree of impact
Other projected totals of note upon first glance include:
- The Browns jump from a projected six wins in 2018 to a projection of 9.5 for the upcoming season. Not only did Cleveland and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield exceed expectations last season by forging a 7-8-1 record, they did anything but rest on their laurels this offseason. The additions of Odell Beckham, Jr., Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson figure to take both sides of the ball to the next level.
- The Steelers check in at a relatively modest (by their standards) nine wins after trading away Antonio Brown and officially losing Le’Veon Bell. Pittsburgh has a pair of considerably talented pieces in JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner to help cushion those losses. However, the loss of the combined talent level of the two departed players, the roster’s depleted depth and last season’s 9-6-1 mark all play into current expectations.
- The Raiders rivaled the Browns for offseason headlines by snagging the best available receiver this side of Beckham in Brown via trade. Prior to that, they added personnel guru Mike Mayock ahead of a draft where they’ll have three first-round draft picks at their disposal. Oakland also continued its offensive makeover with the addition of productive second-tier pieces Isaiah Crowell and Tyrell Williams. Yet, all that maneuvering only nets two additional wins in the eyes of the oddsmakers. After finishing 4-12 in the first season of Jon Gruden 2.0, Oakland opens with a projected six-win total.
- Dark days appear to be on the horizon in South Florida. The Dolphins netted a 7-9 record under Adam Gase’s final season in 2018. New skipper Brian Flores arrives with plenty of endorsement from both coaches and players on the defending champion Patriots, where he spent 15 seasons honing his craft. However, with questions up and down the roster — including at the all-important quarterback position following a divorce from Ryan Tannehill — Miami brings up the rear with a meager projection of 4.5 wins.
There are no months off in the NFL betting cycle. Shortly after the Patriots clinched their sixth title in Super Bowl 53, bettors were already looking ahead at futures prices for next season.
The opportunity to wager on the winner of the 2020 Super Bowl was available in mid-January for bettors in Nevada at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. New Jersey operators like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook followed two weeks later with their own early odds for the Super Bowl 54 champ.
The Westgate opened the Los Angeles Rams (6/1) as the early favorite to capture next year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy on Jan. 15. However, the Kansas City Chiefs shifted into the favorite spot as of Feb. 4.
In New Jersey, the Patriots (+800) opened as the favorite to win at FanDuel Sportsbook a week before the big game. That didn’t change after they won their sixth Super Bowl. New England has opened at 10/1 odds or less every season this decade.
At DraftKings, the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams and Saints were all listed with the shortest odds at +750 (15/2). That means the four teams who advanced to the conference championships in 2019 are the early favorites in the 2020 Super Bowl futures market.
2019-20 Super Bowl 54 Futures Odds
Odds Updated 4/18
A shot of optimism
The biggest longshot to win the 2020 Super Bowl heading into next season is the Miami Dolphins (150/1 at Westgate). But 100-1 longshots and fans from Washington, Detroit, New York (Jets), Buffalo, Cincinnati, Oakland and Arizona can hold out hope that their team can be the next 1998 St. Louis Rams, who went 13-3 and won Super Bowl XXXIV after opening at 300-1 odds following a 4-12 season in 1997.
Those teams can look at this year’s Chicago Bears as another example of optimism going into next season. The Bears were 100-1 odds to win the 2019 Super Bowl prior to the regular season. Chicago went from five wins the previous season to a 12-4 record and division title before losing in the playoffs on a last-second, “double doink” missed field goal — a bad beat for moneyline bettors but not for those who bet at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Bears (+1,700 at DraftKings Sportsbook) and LA Chargers (+1,400) are expected to be Super Bowl contenders next season after both made the playoffs this year with 12-4 records. The Indianapolis Colts (+1,400) are among the top 10 favorites to win Super Bowl LIV next year after catching fire late in the year. And even the Cleveland Browns (+2,000) are picking up a lot of steam following a 7-8-1 season.
The Showtime cable network announced a new docu-series set to debut March 24. It chronicles the lives and betting of several sports bettors, bookies, and oddsmakers throughout the 2018-19 NFL season.
The show, titled “Action,” has made some news this week not just as a spotlight on the industry, but for a controversial figure highlighted in the series.
The show follows players through the ups and downs of the season, culminating with Super Bowl Sunday. The network says the “character-driven narrative delivers intimate access to a diverse cross-section of authentic and sometimes garrulous subjects within the sports gaming community, documenting the effects of legalization through their prisms.”
“Action” plays out in four parts and explores the changing face of the industry since last May’s Supreme Court ruling.
“The world of sports gambling has fascinated Hollywood for decades, but never before has a documentary captured the essence of the industry at such a pivotal period,” Showtime Sports and Event Programming President Stephen Espinoza said. “Through the lens of industry professionals and real-life gamblers within every virtual layer of the business – both legal and illegal – ‘Action’ delivers a one-of-a-kind look as sports gambling enters a brave new world.”
Controversial figures and criticism
Almost immediately after plans for the new show were released, many in the sports betting industry reacted negatively to some of the figures involved.
One of those is David “Vegas Dave” Oancea, who pled guilty in federal court in January for charges involving using phony Social Security numbers at Las Vegas casinos in transactions of more than $1.2 million. Oancea initially faced 19 felonies, but ultimately pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge by admitting to causing violations of record keeping and procedures.
The fake Social Security numbers used by properties such as Wynn and Westgate, caused casinos to file false federal currency transaction reports. As part of his plea deal, Oancea also agreed to forfeit $550,000.
Oancea claims to have won millions of dollars and runs a tout service offering his picks with several packages available beginning at $199. On his Twitter feed, Oancea describes himself as the “No. 1 sports information consultant as seen on ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, USA Today and Forbes.”
Others in the industry quickly accused the series of hyping bettors and handicappers involved with suspect tout services.
Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. Touts galore. Including the biggest con job of all: Plea Deal Vegas Dave. https://t.co/IecTmlR3t3
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) February 13, 2019
Chronicling an industry
Producers are hoping viewers give the show a shot and note that there are other interesting characters featured in the show. Those include professional gambler Bill Krackomberger and sports handicapper Kelly Stewart. Krackomberger, a longtime Vegas handicapper, seems ready to distance himself a bit from the inclusion of “Vegas Dave” in the show.
“I can tell you I did not film a single scene with VD [Vegas Dave] nor was I even told who was even in the show (besides Kelly) until last week,” he noted Tuesday via Twitter. “Kelly and I had zero clue he was in this show until last week.”
“Action” becomes the latest in a growing number of media offerings and content related to sports betting as the industry grows at a rapid pace. An estimated $400-$500 billion is wagered annually on sports gambling in the U.S., and that is expected to grow. Beyond legal wagering, the show also delves into illegal wagering.
Along with professional gamblers, the show also features Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, sports broadcasting icon Brent Musburger, and comedian Cousin Sal. While some bettors and handicappers may not be pleased with publicizing some of the negative sides to sports wagering, producers are hoping viewers give the series a chance as they try to show a season from all angles.
“The chorus of human stories we present in ‘Action’ will resonate far beyond the world of sports and gambling,” director Luke Korem says. “This is a subculture that reflects to an extreme the risk, reward, and uncertainty we find in our everyday lives. I’m thrilled that Showtime is allowing us to capture these stories at such a unique moment in history.”
Super Bowl betting in 2019 told different stories for sportsbooks in New Jersey and Nevada. The sportsbooks on the east coast saw heavy sports betting action on the winning New England Patriots. The west coast sportsbook operators saw more balanced action with more Los Angeles Rams bets than their east coast brethren.
New Jersey Super Bowl revenue
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) announced preliminary wagering revenue for the 2019 Super Bowl on Monday. The NJDGE will have official wagering information when they release the usual monthly reports later in February. The first Super Bowl for New Jersey sportsbook operators was a losing proposition.
Brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City and Horse Tracks around the state along with mobile sportsbooks took $34,894,900 in wagers. They paid out a total of $39,469,147 from those wagers. In total New Jersey sportsbook operators lost $4,574,247 or 13 percent from wagers on the Super Bowl.
FanDuel Sportsbook estimates that it had a net loss of around $5 million on Super Bowl bets. That number included free bets, which accounted for a “significant” percentage of the losses, according to Legal Sports Report.
DraftKings Sportsbook paid out about $11 million to customers after the Big Game and lost more than $1 million.
Both sportsbooks had a similar amount of money wagered on the Patriots. A little more than 68 percent of money wagered on both the point spread and moneyline at DraftKings was on the Patriots. FanDuel saw even more action on the Patriots with approximately 75 percent of the action on the Super Bowl winner.
East coast sports bettors bet on the east coast team to win the Super Bowl. This isn’t too much of a surprise given the anecdotal evidence of regional sports bettors favor local teams. Next year already seems to be lining up to have a similar result for DraftKings in New Jersey. The most popular NFL futures to win the 2020 Super Bowl are:
- New York Giants
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New England Patriots
If the Giants somehow win the Super Bowl next year, DraftKings will already be behind the eightball paying out futures wagers that are currently at 33-1.
Nevada Super Bowl revenue
Nevada sportsbook operators had a much better result after the Super Bowl even though total handle was down from last year. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sportsbooks around the state took in $145,939,025 in wagers. Sportsbooks won $10,780,319 for a hold of 7.4 percent.
The handle on the 2019 Super Bowl was lower than the record $158,586,934 wagered on the Big Game last year. This is the first year in at least 11 years that the amount wagered on the Super Bowl hasn’t increased in Nevada.
Even with the lower handle on the Super Bowl, most sportsbooks came out a winner. According to ESPN’s David Purdum, Caesars Entertainment (NV only), CG Technology, MGM Resorts International, South Point, Station Casinos, Westgate and William Hill (NV only) had a winning Super Bowl.
One thing to remember is that futures bets are included in Super Bowl revenue reports. Since the Patriots were among the favorites all season the sportsbooks didn’t have a big payout for futures. This helped fuel the bottom line win for Nevada sportsbooks. New Jersey sportsbooks didn’t have as much time to collect futures so they didn’t have as much potentially profitable revenue to offset their losses.
While the overall results seem positive, the lack of another record-breaking handle is surely a disappointment. As soon as the Super Bowl matchup was made sportsbook operators told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they expected another record handle this year.
Lead image via FanDuel
Super Bowl LIII was a letdown by most accounts, including a reported 5 percent drop in viewership from last year’s game, making it the lowest-rated Super Bowl over the past decade.
Many are calling it the worst Super Bowl in history as the New England Patriots won their sixth championship since 2001 with a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. But that’s the beauty of the Super Bowl — as boring as the game was, there were hundreds of other ways to keep your interest with prop bets.
Popular Super Bowl props that won
Sony Michel over 17.5 rush attempts/ 76.5 rush yards (-110, Westgate SuperBook)
The Patriots running back was a popular target for bettors, and he delivered very late in the Super Bowl for ‘over’ bettors. Michel rushed three times for 21 yards in the first four plays of the game and was on his way. But the over bets did not look good midway through the fourth quarter even as the Patriots got the ball back off the interception leading 10-3 with just over four minutes remaining.
Then Michel carried the ball on the first four plays of the Patriots game-clinching drive, including a 26-yard burst from the Patriots 5-yard line to get them out of the shadow of their end zone. He carried the ball seven times for 41 yards on the drive that concluded with a field goal to put New England ahead 13-3. Michel finished the game with 18 carries for 94 yards and one touchdown.
Julian Edelman MVP
Michel was runner-up for Super Bowl MVP behind WR Julian Edelman, who won and cashed in for many on MVP odds of 40-1 at BetStars NJ and 35-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Edelman rewarded his ‘over’ bettors by catching 10 passes for 141 yards.
Rob Gronkowski over 3.5 receptions/ 53.5 receiving yards (-110)
The yardage number was bet up, but Gronk still delivered with six receptions for 87 yards.
Brandin Cooks over 5.5 receptions and over 75.5 yards (-110)
Cooks was the only Rams player to go over his yardage and attempts finishing with 8 receptions for 120 yards.
Longest field goal in game – over/under 48.5 yards (-110)
In the last 17 Super Bowls, only twice has there been a field goal longer than 48.5 yards. But Rams kicker Greg “the leg” Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter to reward over bettors.
Will the team to score last win the game? Yes or No.
The -190 moneyline on YES came through on this one. In the last 17 Super Bowls, the team to score last won 15 times. This bet came down to a Rams missed 48-yard field goal by Zuerlein with five seconds remaining in the game. The Patriots thus scored last with their late field goal and also won the game.
The opening coin toss
Tails was the winner, giving the Rams the win (the Patriots always call heads). In 53 Super Bowls, the coin toss has now come up tails 28 times and heads 25 times. The Rams are now 4-0 all-time on the Super Bowl coin toss.
The Gatorade shower
While Nevada gaming regulations do not allow Nevada sportsbooks to offer many novelty props unrelated to the actual game, there were plenty of other props that were popular in New Jersey. When Super Bowl LIII ended with a 13-3 Patriots win, the props and betting results were still being decided. The Gatorade dump on the winning coach was anxiously awaited by many bettors, and the color blue won at +375 odds.
This prop was far from popular, but one bettor scored big at the South Point in Las Vegas with a $250 bet at 400-1 odds on the LA Rams to score exactly 3 points in the Super Bowl. He cashed in $100,000. The South Point opened the prop at 500-1 odds and dropped to 400-1 odds, the MGM had it at 250-1 and the Westgate Super Book had the same prop at 80-1.
Popular Super Bowl props that lost
Tom Brady props
Brady finished under his passing yards, attempts and touchdown totals, and failed to win the MVP as the prohibitive favorite (+110). Brady finished 21-of-35 for 262 yards and no touchdowns.
James White props
Patriots running back James While failed many bettors on his rushing and receiving attempts and yards. White rushing just 2 times for 4 yards and caught 1 pass for 5 yards.
Rams OVERs fall short
Rams QB Jared Goff also came up short on passing yards, attempts and touchdowns, as he finished 19-of-38 for 229 yards and no TDs. Running backs Todd Gurley (10 rush 35 yards, 1 catch), CJ Anderson (7 rush 22 yards) and wide receiver Robert Woods (5 receptions, 70 yards) all came up short of their yardage for over bettors.
Total field goals made by both teams – over/under 3.5 (-110)
When Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked the third field goal of the Super Bowl with 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, it looked like ‘under’ bettors would still cash easily with the score 13-3. But the Rams drove down the field and with five seconds remaining, Los Angeles tried a 48-yard field goal hoping to cut the margin to 7 points and try an onside kick and recovery hoping for one more miracle play. But reliable Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed, allowing under bettors to cash-in on one final Super Bowl prop bet sweat.
The bets are coming in fast as Super Bowl 53 kickoff nears between the favored New England Patriots (-2.5) and Los Angeles Rams. Historically, more than 70% of the bets on Super Bowl are made in the 24 hours leading up to kickoff. And like a poker tournament nearing its conclusion, the stakes have risen and “all-in” bets are being made with both the Patriots and Rams taking seven-figure wagers to win Super Bowl LIII.
MGM takes a $2 million bet on the Rams
An anonymous bettor that made multiple million dollar bets and won on last year’s Super Bowl and World Series is at it again. Known as “Bettor X”, he’s placed three moneyline bets on the LA Rams totaling $3.8 million. One of those was made at the MGM in Las Vegas, as reported by ESPN gambling reporter David Purdum.
The $2 million Super Bowl bet placed Thursday @MGMRaceSports was on the Rams moneyline at +120. There have been two reported million-dollar-plus bets on the Super Bowl at this point; both on the Rams moneyline. MGM bet was first-reported by @beatingthebook.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) February 2, 2019
That $2 million moneyline bet on the Rams (+120) would net that bettor $2.4 million with a Rams victory. Along with that $2 million bet and the additional $1 million plus on the Rams, William Hill US also took a $1.5 million moneyline bet on the Rams (+120).
Other noted bets on the Los Angeles Rams include:
- CG Technology: $300,000 on Rams moneyline
- South Point: $300,000 on Rams moneyline
- William Hill: $132,000 on Rams +3. Same bettor bet $132,000 on the total OVER 56.5 and $132,000 6-point teaser Rams and OVER
Despite more sharp money betting under the total, most sportsbooks will need UNDER the total as many public parlays/straight bets are tied to the OVER.
New England Patriots taking most bets
The initial flood of betting on the Patriots more than 10 days ago moved the opening line from pick ‘em at most sportsbooks to Patriots -2.5. That’s where the line is holding steady this weekend and game day at a majority of sportsbooks including FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey. The Patriots are taking more than 70% of the spread bets at many sportsbooks leading into Super Bowl LIII.
FanDuel says 83% of the moneyline bets are on New England, and 75% of spread action is also on Patriots. FanDuel also has most prop action on Patriots players to win MVP, score first and most touchdowns.
Not to bet outdone, New England has taken its share of big bets, including a $1 million wager at MGM.
Other noted bets on New England Patriots include:
- South Point: $220,000 on Patriots -2.5
- Westgate SuperBook: $120,000 on Patriots -2 (bought ½ point).
- MGM: $220,000 on Patriots -2.5
Westgate notes they have not taken as many six-figure bets on this year’s Super Bowl, but “a lot of $20,000 and $30,000 bets.”
“A Patriots victory by 1 or 2 points could produce “our best Super Bowl ever,” says MGM representative Scott Shelton. MGM took three different customer bets for a combined $1.9 million on the Patriots money line.
Seton Hall University released a head-scratching sports poll (sponsored by The Sharkey Institute) this week covering topics from who America wants to see win the Super Bowl to opinions on sports betting.
The poll was conducted on 985 adults across the country, using both landlines (people still have landlines?) and cellphones.
Americans say they’re tired of greatness
According to the poll, among serious NFL enthusiasts, 62% are “tired of seeing” New England in the Super Bowl. Only 27% believe their appearance is a good thing.
This will be proven wrong when the Super Bowl TV ratings are through the roof on Sunday. Would you rather watch two high-octane offenses like New England, who are closing out their dynasty against an emerging powerhouse in the Rams, or would you prefer tuning into the Jaguars vs. the Buccaneers?
This is about as good a Super Bowl matchup you could hope for, if not the absolute best.
Americans love dynasties, the ratings always reflect it, and they will again this Sunday.
Oh and did we mention you can bet on this game in legal New Jersey sportsbooks?
Americans also say they don’t love GOATS
For a country that prides itself on being the best, it sure doesn’t always appreciate GOATs. Tom Brady, inarguably the greatest QB of all-time, has a favorable rating of only 29% (to be fair, he was 61% before Deflategate). Bill Belichick, inarguably the greatest NFL coach and possibly the greatest coach in any sport, only has a favorable rating of 20%.
To put this into perspective, Donald Trump has a 39% approval rating.
Americans also have face-palming views on sports betting
If this Seton Hall poll isn’t maddening enough, it asked if Americans believe “legal betting can lead to cheating or fixing of games by players.” The result? 81% of respondents said “yes.” Never mind the close monitoring of games by casinos and leagues, integrity fees, and the like. Despite athletes getting paid significantly more than refs or umpires (and having that much more to lose), Americans believe it is less likely that officials fix games, coming in at 79% “yes.”
Is there anything positive?
The one takeaway to smile about: 71% of respondents said they’re more likely to watch a game that they’ve bet on.
Maybe there is hope for America after all.
A great deal of mainstream media coverage of betting action on the Super Bowl will focus on popular bet types such as the point spread and moneyline. However, as seasoned bettors well know, there are infinitely more wagers can be placed on The Big Game.
The most common are naturally proposition bets, commonly known as “props”. For the uninitiated, props are simply wagers that can be placed on a specific in-game occurrence that has a binary outcome. Props are typically available at sportsbooks at an individual player, team, or game level.
Prop bets give those placing them significantly more vested interest in a game as it unfolds. Unlike end-of-game wagers based on a point spread, moneyline or projected total, prop bets are settled before the final gun goes off. The higher degree of potential accelerated gratification (or disappointment) they offer and their straightforward nature make them significantly popular as “side bets.”
As with other wagers, payouts depend on the odds assigned. With some props encompassing rather improbable events or players, favorable odds that leave the sportsbook with plenty of exposure can be common.
For example, a wager on whether the first score of the game will be a safety, whether there will be a blocked punt by either team in the game, or whether Tom Brady will score a rushing touchdown all qualify as unlikely occurrences to a varying degree. Given their low probability, these prop bets will fetch you some very favorable odds.
Examples of common football-based prop bets
In football, some of the more common props include:
- What team will be the first to score
- What the winning margin of victory for either team might be
- What type of scoring play will lead to the game’s first points
- What teams will be in the lead at the end of any of the first three quarters
- What the total amount of points in the first or second half will be
- What player will be the first to score any points in the game
- What player will be the first to score a touchdown
- Whether a quarterback will throw for under or over a certain amount of yards
- Whether a running back will rush for under or over a certain amount of yards
- Whether a receiver will accumulate over or under a certain amount of receiving yards
- What player will be named the game’s MVP
Naturally, that list is far from comprehensive, especially when it comes to an event such as the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl props breakdown
Brett Collson, Matt Brown and Matt Perrault look at the various offerings at the sportsbooks in New Jersey and offer some of their favorite wagers ahead of Sunday’s game.
A prop smorgasbord on Super Bowl Sunday
As pointed out in the video, New Jersey sportsbooks have hundreds of Super Bowl LIII props available for bettors. The following is a look at the 10 most popular props at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday afternoon, along with some of the favorite options on FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars and BetStars.
- Heads (-103)
- Tails (-103)
Super Bowl MVP
- Tom Brady (+110)
- Jared Goff (+200)
- Todd Gurley (+1200)
- Aaron Donald (+1400)
- Sonty Michel (+1600)
- C.J. Anderson (+2200)
- Julian Edelman (+2800)
- James White (+2800)
- See full odds here
First TD Scored
- Sony Michel +600
- Todd Gurley +700
- Julian Edelman +750
- Robert Woods +850
- C.J. Anderson +900
- Brandin Cooks +1000
- James White +1000
- Rob Gronkowski +1110
Highest Scoring Half
- 2nd Half (-120)
- 1st Half (+100)
- Tie (+2200)
Player To Score First TD
- Sony Michel (+600)
- Todd Gurley (+700)
- Julian Edelman (+750)
- Robert Woods (+850)
- Brandin Cooks (+1000)
- Rob Gronkoswki (+1000)
- James White (+1000)
- Rex Burkhead (+1000)
- C.J. Anderson (+1100)
James White Receptions
- Over 5.5 (-148)
- Under 5.5 (+112)
James White Receiving Yards
- Over 51.5 (-115)
- Under 51.5 (-115)
Either Team To Score 2-Point Conversion
- Yes (+210)
- No (-278)
Game Goes To Overtime
- Yes (+900)
- No (-2000)
Total Rushing Yards in Game
- Over 213.5 (-115)
- Under 213.5 (-115)
Halftime Leader/Game Winner (not incl. overtime)
- Patriots-Patriots (+140)
- Patriots-Rams (+800)
- Patriots – Tie (+2700)
- Patriots 1-6 points (+350)
- Patriots 7-12 points (+500)
- Patriots 13-18 points (+850)
- Rams 1-6 points (+360)
- Rams 7-12 points (+600)
- Rams 13-18 points (+1000)
First Quarter Total
- Under 27.5 (-110)
- Over 27.5 (-110)
Both to Score TD
- Sony Michel + Todd Gurley (+225)
- Todd Gurley + C.J. Anderson (+250)
- Sony Michel + Brandin Cooks (+275)
Player Prop Parlays
- Tom Brady to throw for 300+ yards/ Patriots to win (+225)
- Tom Brady to complete 28 + passes/ Patriots to win (+260)
- Tom Brady to throw 3+ touchdowns/Patriots to win (+280)
- Jared Goff to throw for 300+ yards/ Rams to win (+330)
- Todd Gurley to rush for 75+ yards/ Rams to win (+340)
- C.J. Anderson to rush for 50+ yards/Rams to win (+290)
Total INTs thrown
- Over 1.5 (+120)
- Under 1.5 (-140)
First Team to Score
- Rams (-105)
- Patriots (-115)
- Interception (-140)
- Fumble (+120)
Team to Make First Field Goal
- Patriots (-110)
- Rams (-110)
First Scoring Play
- Patriots Field Goal +400
- Patriots Touchdown Pass +250
- Patriots Touchdown Run +500
- Patriots Other Touchdown +2500
- Patriots Safety +5000
- Rams Field Goal +400
- Rams Touchdown Pass +300
- Rams Touchdown Run +500
- Rams Other Touchdown +2500
- Rams Safety +5000
Last Scoring Play
- Patriots Field Goal +400
- Patriots Touchdown Pass +250
- Patriots Touchdown Run +500
- Patriots Other Touchdown +2500
- Rams Field Goal +400
- Rams Touchdown Pass +300
- Rams Touchdown Run +500
- Rams Other Touchdown +2500
- Rams Safety +5000
First TD Scorer for Rams
- Todd Gurley +300
- CJ Anderson +350
- Brandin Cooks +400
- Robert Woods +500
- Josh Reynolds +700
- Tyler Higbee +1000
- Gerald Everett +1200
- Jared Goff +2500
First TD Scorer for Patriots
- Sony Michel +300
- Julian Edelman +400
- Rob Gronkowski +450
- James White +550
- Rex Burkhead +800
- Chris Hogan +600
- Phillip Dorsett +1500
- Cordarrelle Patterson +2000
- Tom Brady +2500
- Over 5.5- 2/5
- Over 6.5- 17/20
- Over 7.5- 7/4
- Under 5.5- 2/5
- Under 6.5- 17/20
- Under 7.5- 7/4
Total Successful Field Goals
- Over 2.5- 1/3
- Over 3.5- 19/20
- Over 4.5- 11/5
- Under 2.5- 21/10
- Under 3.5- 3/4
- Under 4.5- 4/11
Team to Make Longest Field Goal
- Rams- 5/6
- Patriots- 10/11
- Under 1.5 yards- 7/10
- Over 1.5 yards- 21/20
Team to Score Last
- Patriots- 8/11
- Rams- 1/1
Team to Score In Every Quarter
- Rams No- 1/3
- Rams Yes- 19/10
- Patriots No- 11/20
- Patriots Yes- 27/20
Two or More Touchdowns
- Sony Michel- 12/5
- Todd Gurley- 10/3
- C.J. Anderson- 17/4
- Robert Woods- 11/2
- Julian Edelman- 6/1
- Brandin Cooks- 6/1
- Rob Gronkowski- 17/1
- James White- 15/2
- Tom Brady- Under 25.5 (17/20)
- Tom Brady- Over 25.5 (17/20)
- Jared Goff- Under 25.5 (17/20)
- Jared Goff- Over 25.5 (17/20)
- Julian Edelman- Under 87.5 yards- 3/4
- Brandin Cooks- Under 72.5 yards- 17/20
- Robert Woods- Over 71.5 yards- 17/20
- Rob Gronkowski- Over 47.5 yards- 17/20
It’s been a long wait for many bettors who were able to drop a fiver on the BetStars Super Bowl promo earlier in the season. Early in the season, BetStars (the sports betting arm of PokerStars) offered gamblers an early season $5 Super Bowl future wager with minimum odds of 100/1.
The promotion, which ran from Sept. 14-30, offered the massive odds on any team in the NFL, but only one $5 wager. The site even raised the odds on the local New York Jets to 300/1. That was a nice value for a team that was really going at 80/1 at other books, but obviously, the Jets missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
Bettors cashing in
Those who placed those wagers on the Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots are now in the driver’s seat and many may be looking to now hedge those bets to ensure some easy money. The Patriots began the season as the betting favorite to win the title at 6/1. The Rams were a heavy favorite as well at 10/1 – the same odds as the Super Bowl champion Eagles as well as the Vikings and Patriots.
BetStars told us this week that 46 percent of the 100/1 promotion bets were placed on the Rams, and 18 percent on the Patriots.
No doubt many viewed the Rams as a well-coached and talented up-and-coming team with a shot at some success. Five bucks must have seemed like it might be worth a shot at some decent money. Those bettors certainly are licking their chops for Super Bowl Sunday, and a non-call of pass interference in the NFC Championship game proved lucrative.
Amazingly, the two teams accounted for about 66 percent of all our Super Bowl betting through the promotion. The Patriots are a 2.5-point favorite heading into Sunday’s big game with the over/under hovering around 57. The game looks to a matchup of two potent offenses with a young coach and quarterback squaring off against a dynasty looking to bring home a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
And when all the hoopla, pregame show analysis, and celebrity appearances are over, plenty of bettors placed wagers in New Jersey early in the season will be eagerly watching and hoping to cash a nice ticket.