Join Teddy Covers as he looks back on past Super Bowl games to learn from what has happened before. Don't miss this valuable approach and learn how to place better NFL picks.
Looking Back For Value
If you’ve been reading my articles here at SBR in recent months, you probably already know where I’m going to go here. No game happens in a vacuum. Bettors who are well versed in historical results have an edge over bettors who don’t. Any look forward at Super Bowl 50 must begin with a history lesson, looking back at recent results.
Last year’s Super Bowl was the first and only big game in history priced as a true pick ‘em. Prior to that, the underdog had covered six of the previous seven Super Bowls, winning five of those in outright fashion. Green Bay over Pittsburgh is the only Super Bowl favorite to win and cover since the Colts beat the Bears following the 2006 campaign. In fact, since the Ravens Super Bowl win over the Giants following the 2000 campaign, underdogs are 10-3 in the Super Bowl ATS (not counting last year’s pick ‘em priced contest).
And when it comes to the pointspread for the Super Bowl, it’s the same story, year after year. Bettors remember what they last saw and react accordingly. The ‘lookahead’ lines for the potential Super Bowl matchups after Denver knocked off New England in the first game on Sunday had the Broncos in the +2.5 or +3 range as an underdog – no higher and no lower – in a matchup against either Carolina or Arizona in the Super Bowl. These were ‘global marketplace’ lines, not unique to any one or two sportsbooks.
Super Bowl 50 Opening Odds
Then Carolina blew out Arizona and all hell broke loose on Sunday Night. The Panthers -2.5’s were snapped up in an instant. So were the -3’s. Pinnacle opened offshore with a Carolina -3.5 and many books copied that number for their Super Bowl odds boards. But that wasn’t a ‘keeper’ pointspread either as the Sunday Night flow of Carolina a money continued.
The Westgate Superbook then posted an ‘off market’ number, hanging the Panthers as -5.5 point favorites. At the time, no other major book was higher than -4, and the prevailing market number was still -3.5. It was a rather prescient move, as the markets continued to slide towards the Carolina side. While that -5.5 at the Westgate was bet down to -4 almost immediately, the market as a whole was shifting to -4. By Monday morning, most of those -4’s had become -4.5’s.
So, we essentially saw a 1.5 or 2 point line move off the key number of +/-3 as the NFC Championship Game was turning into a rout and the Super Bowl matchup was certain. For all the talk about ‘season long stats’ and ‘advanced defensive metrics’, the end result is that big money bettors have initially fallen in love with Carolina -- finally – after disrespecting the Panthers for extended stretches this season.
From a totals perspective, the betting market openers ranged from a low of 44 to a high of 46, with the offshore markets settling in at 45 in early trading on Monday, while many Las Vegas books held at 45.5. Each of the last three Super Bowls has flown Over the total, finishing with 52, 51 and 65 combined points.
That being said, prior to these three consecutive Overs (matching the longest streak of Super Bowl Overs since a 4-0 Over run in the 1980’s), the previous eight Super Bowls went 6-2 to the Under. And it’s surely worth noting that in Super Bowls totaled at 46 or lower this century, the Over has gone 5-0: Giants – Ravens, Bucs -- Raiders, Patriots – Panthers, Steelers – Cardinals and Packers – Steelers