Most people have the Carolina Panthers in their NFL picks for Super Bowl 50, but sharp bettors prefer the Denver Broncos, and they're making their voices heard.
Thank goodness for the Super Bowl. If it weren't for the Big Game, I wouldn't have learned about all those cultural touchstones I've otherwise avoided. Take dabbin' for example. Thanks to the Super Bowl props market, not only can I name Cam Newton's victory dance, I also know the difference between dabbin' and dabbing. Two very different things, as it turns out.
Let's get back to the game itself. We've already made our NFL picks here at the home office, grabbing the Denver Broncos at +6 on the point spread and +210 on the moneyline. Looks like our timing was right; as we go to press, the Broncos have clawed their way back to +5.5 at most of the books on our NFL odds board. The horses are on the track.
Six Different Ways
No need to panic if you're a Broncos supporter and you haven't placed your bets just yet. As we go to press, Bovada still has Denver getting six points. Recreational bettors will be overspending on the Panthers this weekend, so it makes good business sense for Bovada to charge them a small premium.
Meanwhile, other books with a sharper clientele have seen enough recent money come in on Denver to keep the spread at 5.5 points. When we looked at the consensus numbers last week, 63 percent of bettors were dumping 83 percent of the action on Carolina. At press time, we're down to 56 percent support for the Panthers and 74 percent of the action.
Of course, the pendulum could swing in the other direction this weekend. By now, we've seen maybe 10 percent of the action that's going to come in on the Big Game, and most of the remaining money will be plunked down on the Panthers. But there's a difference of opinion among the wiseguys as far as where the closing line will end up. Some think Carolina –4.5, some think –6.5 is within reach. There might even be a middle opportunity for bettors who grabbed the Cats early at –3.5.
Santa Clara Winternight
Before we put down our tools and head to the grocery store to load up on chips and dip, let's take a look at Sunday's forecast: clear skies and temperatures around 70 degrees. Darn. That makes the UNDER less tempting on the total of 44.5 points, which is already down from 45.5 at the open. We were kind of looking forward to a slippery train wreck of a Super Bowl on that horrible turf they've got in Santa Clara.
It's still a sharp pick, though. Our consensus reports show 57 percent of bettors on the OVER, down a shade from 62 percent in early betting. That means the bigger money has come from the UNDER contingent, and bigger money is usually sharper money. Enjoy the game, folks, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.