It’s no secret where the early
money has come on the Super Bowl. At the
opening number, San Francisco was as high as a 5.5 point favorite offshore,
with mostly -5’s here in Las Vegas. But
we’ve seen steady Baltimore money pour in since that time, driving the line
down to the -3.5 or -4 range at every sportsbook in town; numbers that are
currently attracting two way action. I
expect the 49ers to be in that same pointspread range (-3.5 or -4) between now
The early sharp money has also
come in support of the Under. One prominent
offshore book opened the total at 52.5, and here in Vegas we saw several books
open with a total of 50. Through the
first week of Super Bowl betting, the Under has been a popular wiseguy choice. The prevailing current offshore number is
47.5; here in Vegas we’re looking at mostly 48’s. I do expect the public to be squarely on the
Over on Sunday – this total could easily get bet up a notch or two.
The Super Bowl is a unique
animal when it comes to moneylines, particularly at the sportsbooks here in
Vegas. We get a boatload of tourists in
town for the big game, and those tourists have a strong tendency to bet the
moneyline when supporting the underdog.
Right now, San Francisco is in the -170 to -180 range on the moneyline,
with the Ravens sitting at +150 to +160 in most locations.
But as we approach the game,
we can expect the books to start adjusting the moneyline downwards to cope with
the influx of Ravens ML bets. Don’t be
shocked if at some point over the weekend, we see the 49ers in the -160 or -165
range, more typical of a three point favorite, not a four point favorite. Bettors who favor the 49ers are likely to
pounce on that marketplace inefficiency in the 24-48 hours before kickoff.
For professional level
bettors, wagering on the Super Bowl is not about side, total or moneyline bets –
it’s about the props! Last year’s
Patriots – Giants big game matchup generated just shy of $94 million in wagers
at Nevada’s sportsbooks; a high percentage of which was on the proposition
wagers. This year, sportsbooks are
anticipating similar action.
The MGM/Mirage books were the
first to open any proposition wagers to the betting public, hanging lines for
all four quarters of the game. The sharps
pounced all over MGM’s numbers, flipping the plus prices on the two sides. For example, San Francisco opened -0.5 (-125)
for the first quarter. Within hours, the
49ers were -0.5 (+115).
Sportsbook manager Jeff
Stoneback, talking about the flurry of sharp money, right from the get-go. “They pounded us. It was amazing. It was just big bets – limit play, limit
play, limit play at every property. Just like sharks.”
But it’s Jay Kornegay and his
staff at the LVH who are the true pioneers; the industry leaders when it
comes to Super Bowl props. I’ll happily
give them the attention they deserve here. The
LVH numbers were posted this past Thursday, and their 24 page prop booklet features
more than 300 additional wagering opportunities.
I was at the Superbook when
the numbers were posted, and frankly, most of the sharp bettors in the book
seemed to be extremely disappointed in what they found. Here are quotes that I overheard from four different
pro bettors who all wished to remain anonymous.
“These are the best prop
numbers I’ve ever seen.” “I have more
respect for the LVH today than I’ve ever had.”
“Jeez, they used to just throw stuff up there; not any more!” “My goal is to bet as little as possible at
the LVH. I want to bet against the
But for all the whining and
complaining about how good the LVH’s prop sheet was this year, those same pro bettors
weren’t shy about laying down limit wagers.
Here are some of the most popular wiseguy bets from the LVH this past
weekend. If you’re looking for one
prevailing theme on these wagers, it’s ‘less offense, more defense’. All props listed are at -110 both ways unless
Bettors were bearish on Ray
Rice. Rice’s rushing yards opened at
66.5, but that was bet down to 63.5.
Rice’s rushing yards opened at +11.5 vs. Frank Gore’s rushing yards, bet
up to +17.5. The Ravens team rushing
total opened at Over/Under 108.5; bet down to 100.5 by Sunday night. Rice’s receiving yardage total was bet down
from 29.5 to 25.5. His longest reception
was bet down from 16.5 yards to 14.5 yards, with a +110 on the Over. His longest rush was bet down from -14.5 to
-13.5. The Under 6.5 yards on Rice’s
first reception now has a -140 pricetag attached. Even Rice’s rushing attempts were bet down
from 17.5 to 17.
But while bettors were fading
Rice, they were supporting his backfield mate Bernard Pierce. Pierce’s rushing yards total got bet up from
29.5 to 32.5. His longest rush (O/U 9.5 yards)
now has a -120 attached to the Over and his total receiving yards went from
Over 1.5 (+140) to over 1.5 (-110).
The LVH wasn’t shy about
moving numbers, not just the juice.
Torrey Smith’s first reception got bet down from Over/Under 14.5 yards
to O/U 13.5 yards, -120 on the Under.
Dennis Pitta’s first reception got bet down from 9.5 to 8.5 yards, and
his total receiving yards were bet down from 47.5 to 45.5. Frank Gore’s receiving yards went from an
opener of 19.5 to the current number of 14.5.
LaMichael James longest rush went from 13.5 to 11.5 with a +110 on the
Over, and his total rushing yards got bet down from 30.5 to 25. Delanie Walker’s receiving yards were bet
down from 26.5 to 24.5; while Vernon Davis’s receiving yards were bet down from
44.5 to 43.5.
Many of these bets were ‘arbitrage’
type wagers, as bettors took advantage of the variance in the posted numbers
both here in town and offshore. And
bettors took their time to read the fine print.
LVH ‘total and assisted tackles’ numbers excluded sacks, but included
special teams tackles; not the case at some other books. Perhaps that’s a big reason why Terrell Suggs
O/U 4.5 tackles went from Over -145 to Over +110 at the LVH, without a
corresponding move elsewhere.
The cross-sports props are
always a thought provoking handicap, and we saw early money come on props
involving hockey, soccer, basketball and golf.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi goals opened at -0.5 (-125) vs. Frank Gore
touchdowns, bet up to -170. The New York
Islanders total points from John Tavares vs. the total number of scores in the
last two minutes of the first half went from pk +100 to pk +150. Dwayne Wade points vs. the Raptors opened -4
(-110) vs. Colin Kaepernick completions.
Kaepernick +4 now has a -140 pricetag attached. Chris Bosh points vs. the largest lead of the
Super Bowl went from -0.5 (-110) to -145.
And Lee Westwood’s final round score at the Dubai Desert Classic vs Ray
Rice rushing yards went from -3 to -5.5.
Let’s not forget special
teams! Bettors didn’t touch 49ers kicker
David Akers total points (O/U 7.5), but Baltimore’s Justin Tucker went from 7.5
(U -120) to Under -160. And money came
on the Over for both Sam Koch’s longest punt (56.5 yards, O -130) and Andy Lee’s
longest punt (57.5, O -140)
Arguably the single biggest
mover from the LVH openers came on the ‘total net yards for both teams’
prop. That number opened at 749.5 and
got bet down again and again, currently sitting at 718.5 yards.
Join Teddy at the LVH Showroom in Las Vegas at 5PM on Saturday, February 2nd for the ‘red carpet’ premiere of the new sportsbetting documentary movie ‘Life on the Line’. It’s free to attend, and the event will last about an hour.