Super Bowl LI has opened with the biggest total ever posted on the NFL odds board. Will the betting public make it even bigger by the time the Patriots and Falcons kick off?
The people are getting what they want. The last couple of months have seen the NFL betting public take the books to the cleaners; everywhere you look, favorites are cashing in, and the OVER is demolishing everything in its path. If you had auto-bet the OVER in every single game this year, you would have made an instant profit at 140-132 (53.2 percent).
And that's against the closing line. Imagine how well you would have done by pounding the OVER as soon as the lines went up on the NFL odds board. Sharps have been doing that fairly consistently for at least three years now. It flies in the face of everything old-school, but you can't argue with the results. And it might be the right play for Super Bowl LI, even with that ginormous total of 58.5 points on the board – the largest total in Super Bowl history.
We've already covered how the betting public is likely to move the point spread for the Big Game, pushing the New England Patriots from –3 to (hopefully) –3.5 or higher, and making the Atlanta Falcons the value pick. The same theory applies to the total; casual fans love putting the OVER in their NFL picks, and in doing so, they inflate the total and add betting value to the UNDER.
The Super Bowl draws more casual fans than any other sporting event in North America, if not the whole world. It's been a pleasure recommending the underdogs and the UNDER just about every season – that was the winning parlay last year, when the Denver Broncos (+5) beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 (UNDER 43.5) at Super Bowl 50. The underdogs are 11-4 ATS across the last 16 seasons – Super Bowl XLIX was a pick ‘em – so at least that end of the bargain is holding up.
The total has been a lot more slippery. With all the changes to the league rules and the general emphasis on offense, the OVER went on a three-game winning streak at the Big Game before Denver's Orange Crush defense (and the awful turf in Santa Clara) put an end to those shenanigans. What will happen at NRG Stadium in Houston? More offense, probably. But if the masses come in and pump the total for Super Bowl LI up to 60 points, or preferably higher, we'll be more than happy to recommend the UNDER again. It's just the right thing to do.