Do you remember what bets you made for Super Bowl LIV? If you were on Kansas City at the open, you may have been able to get them at +1, but if you waited until closer to kick-off, you had to take them as 1.5-point favorites at most online sportsbooks.
It didn’t matter in the end – Kansas City mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback to win 31-20. But what if the final score had been 21-20? The result would have been the same SU, but your ATS wager would have been a loser if you had K.C. laying 1.5 points.
That result could have been avoided with a little savvy. It was all too predictable that the NFL lines would move towards Kansas City; they were the “public” team at Super Bowl LIV, the one that relatively uninformed casual fans would be hammering with their bets. That action helped drive the eventual champs all the way from +1 to –1.5 on the Super Bowl odds board.
Does that prediction still hold up four years later? That’s what we’re about to find out. Kansas City opened as 2-point underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review) for Super Bowl LVIII, with San Francisco still supplying the opposition. If we can chart where the money’s coming from, we can get the best price at the right time on whichever team we want to bet on.
Are The Sharps On San Francisco?
That appears to be the case at first blush. The consensus reports at OddsTrader show 76% of early bettors on San Fran at press time; as a general rule, early money is sharp money, with experienced investors getting the jump on the market.
It’s all too easy to peg the 49ers as the sharp team in this matchup. They don’t have the same recent history of success as the defending champions from Kansas City; their public expectations have only gotten higher since Taylor Swift started dating TE Travis Kelce.
While all that attention has been poured on K.C., the Niners have been busy toiling in the relative obscurity of the Pacific Time Zone. That old East Coast media bias angle isn’t quite as noticeable as it used to be, now that so many people have moved out west – but it’s still there, as you might expect in a league with just nine of its 32 teams to the left of Kansas City, including Houston and Dallas.
Are the Squares on Kansas City?
We try not to use the term “square” anymore when we talk about recreational bettors, but yes, yes they are. Even if you ignore Taylor Swift, which is increasingly difficult to do, the defending champs were featured on Netflix during last year’s inaugural series of Quarterback; we saw Patrick Mahomes work his magic, outshining Kirk Cousins in Minnesota and Marcus Mariota in Atlanta. It was the No. 1 show on Netflix last summer.
Granted, more people ended up tuning into Suits over the course of 2023, which just goes to show. But there’s no debating that Mahomes is the featured attraction for Super Bowl Sunday, at least when it comes to the game itself. Throwing Swift onto the pile only makes it more likely people will bet on the defending champs this week.
Why Haven’t The Super Bowl Odds Changed?
These things take time. As with East Coast bias, it’s not quite as cut-and-dried these days, but casual fans still tend to put their money down over the weekend, after the work bell has rung on Friday at 5:00 p.m. That’s when the sportsbooks will respond by moving their NFL odds, trying to get more action on the sharp side so they can balance the books.
In theory. Not everyone ascribes to this theory, either – not with so many sportsbooks moving to the “European” model of oddsmaking, where the books are less concerned about minimizing exposure and more concerned about minimizing the profits of sharp bettors. The more those books cap the amount of money smart people get to wager, the less important the “sharps vs. squares” dynamic becomes.
Be that as it may, we’ve already noticed Kansas City moving from +2 to +1.5 on some of the overseas markets, even touching +1 at some locations. We’ll soon see if that familiar pattern washes up on North American shores; in the meantime, get ready for what should be an amazing Super Bowl LVIII matchup this Sunday.