Betting Sites In Jeopardy Due To Early Super Bowl Picks

Kevin Stott

Monday, February 1, 2016 1:35 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 1:35 PM UTC

Let’s look at what’s happened to now, what will continue to happen and offer up some requisite picks for Sunday’s big game from the beautiful Bay Area.

Hundreds Of Proposition Wagers Available At SBR's Super Bowl 50 Betting Guide

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NFL Pick: Panthers -230 Money Line 
Props Picks: Player to Score 1st TD—Cam Newton +700 & Will Ted Ginn Jr. Have a Rushing Attempt? Yes +200 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Introduction: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a Number Of Other Places
Sportsbooks usually have the luxury of knowing that the Super Bowl won’t end their NFL seasons with a big ole dent in the Bottom Line, but that could end up being the potential reality in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday when the NFC champion Carolina Panthers face the AFC champion Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara (CBS, 6:30 p.m. PST/3:30 p.m. PST) with so much money having already poured in on the favorite Panthers and in such big ratios Online, Offshore and in Las Vegas. And sportsbooks are really pinched between what has already happened (general Panthers Movement from 4 up to 6) and what could, and will likely continue to happen—more money on the Panthers. Will there be some Broncos buyback at some point? No doubt, but it will likely be insignificant and those who want to take Peyton Manning (7/2 to be Super Bowl MVP,Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and underdog Denver are no doubt waiting to see if and when and where a legitimate 6½ may crop up and this greediest of the greedy and those as miserly as Fagin in the Christmas classic Oliver! may even by doing the long-wait and seeking a potential 7, with so much more Carolina money bound to come in. And remember, the bulk of the (legal) money to be bet on Super Bowl 50 hasn’t even been bet yet and no doubt most illegal bookies probably haven’t even taken in 5%-10% of what they will see by Sunday evening. Sports betting sites will all no doubt be forced to pull hard for the Broncos here with each individual sportsbook having it’s own imbalance and potential liability depending on Futures Bets, parlays, and all that money yet to come in. Last week we were wondering if this could go to 6 and it was there in the blink of an eye in some places.
A look at the NFL Odds screens exactly one week from when the game will be being played reveals 23 sportsbooks hanging a (Carolina minus) 6 on the game, 18 posting a -5½, one with a -5 (Treasure Island), and, one with a 6½ already although the name is unfamiliar (AceSport). So, this should crank to 6—and to 5½ quickly here at Treasure Island (aka TI) where the vigorish taking Carolina and laying 5 right now (and for right now) is at -130.


Will This Super Bowl 50 End Up Breaking the Nevada State Record Handle?
Logic says it will. Last year, the Nevada handle was almost $116 million, about $5 million shy of the Super Bowl record handle set the year before when $119.4 million was wagered on Super Bowl XVIII here in the Silver State when the Seattle Seahawks dismembered these very same Broncos, 43-8 to earn their first (and only) Lombardi Trophy. So $120 million is the target and with the pace that sent this line from 4 to 6 in some places last week and knowing that the bulk of the money has yet to come in, it’s hard not to see between $120 and $130 million being wagered on this particular game. The advent of In-Game wagering and the popularity of Props and the growth and popularity of Sports Betting in general should all combine to get the Nevada handled to a new record, and many Oddsmakers, Sportsbook Directors and Sports Betting media have opined as much. But betting this and getting money from those who wanted the Panthers at -4 and maybe -4½ will now be a challenge although there is a huge percentage of Super-Squares who bet on the Super Bowl as their only bet of the year and you could tell them the Point Spread was Carolina -15½ and a Snickers bar they would still want to back the Panthers and lay the chocolate, caramel and peanuts. It’s human nature to be a lemming, and although the betting on this year’s game has been, and will likely continue to be lopsided, the money will probably still keep pouring in on the favorites and Luke Kuechly (15/1 to be Super Bowl MVP, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). Which brings up the real ultimate question...


Will This Super Bowl 50 Point Spread Ever Hit -7?
This is a tricky rhetorical but the answer is probably yes, in a couple of places at least. And no matter how much money theoretically keeps pouring in on Carolina, sportsbooks will be very, very hesitant to move their number to -7 (even with heavy vigorish on Carolina) for a couple of very big reasons. 1—They open themselves up to a larger Middle possibility—something the sharpest of the Sharps try to exploit—with at least two realities creating a nightmare Middle scenario with Panthers 5- and 6-point victories. And for those Sharps who could get Carolina -4, a number going to 7 anywhere available to them would give two spots (Carolina by 4 or by 7) where they could possibly Push (tie) one of their intended Middle bets on top of those two potential winning numbers (5,6). Not a good situation for the sportsbooks, when players are playing the system, especially with no more games left to try to quickly recoup all this movement from Brinks trucks of Panthers money. And, 2—If some sportsbooks do end up moving their Point Spread to -7, they open themselves up for another nightmare scenario where if Ted Ginn, Jr. (35/1 to be Super Bowl MVP, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and Carolina win by exactly 7 points, they will have lost all that money bet up the level of 7 (points) and then will have to refund all of the Pushes at -7. And with the volume—potentially record-setting—of bets both in number and dollar-value, sportsbooks desperately don’t want the game to fall (Carolina by) on 7 as the amount of Manpower and Time involved in giving millions back from the biggest bet game of year, maybe ever in the NFL, would look like Twenties Food Line. The sportsbooks will do everything possible to keep from having to post a 7 in this game. And who thought we’d be talking about this potential scenario a week ago. Welcome to The Future. It’s really fast.


No Real Sharps vs. Squares Scenario Evolving This Time Around?
Sometimes just a forced narrative by the media, it probably can’t be defined with any clear demarcations, but with this much early movement almost all on one side, it’s obvious the (majority) Sharps and Squares are thinking the same here. And as mentioned, there is no doubt a load of Sharp money waiting on the sidelines for 6½’s and maybe even 7’s for their Super Bowl pick, but there is no way it can amount to anything but a small blip on the radar and it’s hard to imagine any of these sportsbooks closing on lower (Denver) numbers—both Point Spread and Money Line—than they are tonight, exactly one week away from The Big Game. And why? It just has to be the way Broncos QB Peyton Manning (50/1 Player to Score Last,Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) has played and looked this entire season. Old, injured, slow and unable to make a comfortable passing motion with his right (throwing) arm, making downfield passes to WRs like Demaryius Thomas (Total Receptions 5½, Over -110, Under -110, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and Emmanuel Sanders (Total Receptions 5, Over -125, Under +105, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) now just memories of a year ago. Manning is the reason the Broncos Defense have had to become so dominant and why 1st-year Denver Head Coach Gary Kubiak—who won’t care what color Gatorade is poured on his head if he can only find a way to win the game—and his team have some kind of decent Rushing attack (CJ Anderson, Ronnie Hillman) because of the recent developments and decline to a 39-year-old future Hall of Fame QB who may sadly be playing in his last NFL game this coming weekend. If so, he will be sorely missed.


Conclusions (and a Marlon Brando Reference)
The sportsbooks and the players will really be sweating this as it seems so do-or-die and may end up being the most imbalanced bet Super Bowl ever bet with one early report from a sportsbook director upstate in Nevada saying he was writing Panthers tickets at a 10-to-1 ratio. And that was last Monday, when the line was where it was then. And it isn’t there now and isn’t going back. Sort of like Colonel Kurtz deep in in the Jungle in Apocalypse Now. And “The Horror” here for sportsbooks everywhere is that Carolina jumps out to a 31-7 Halftime lead, knowing that their chances of making a profit in the biggest game of the year, every year, will be in the hands of the 39-year-old, rubber-armed Peyton Manning. It seems unfair that sportsbooks and sportsbooks directors are often forced into having to pull strongly for one side. And in this case, it seems unfair of the sheer imbalance we have seen so far, something seldom seen in Super Bowl betting. So the more Parlay Cards, (losing) Futures Bets, Props Bets and ancillary things that sportsbooks can offer to cut into this imbalance, the better. And this reality (incurring or avoiding a big loss) is obviously a bit easier for the bigger Sportsbooks in the marketplace, although for them too, this game may seem like one where they are treading in dangerous waters, unable to stop the sheer masses from all betting on the same damn thing. And we can probably expect more of the same and either the Players or the House are going to end the 2015/16 NFL season on Sunday night with a big Ouch! The horror. The horror. 

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