NFL Picks: Super Bowl Betting Trends & Tips

Jason Lake

Thursday, January 24, 2013 6:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 6:27 PM UTC

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are about to get it on at the Superdome. Which betting trends should we give our time and money when Super Bowl XLVII rolls around?

Jason’s record on his final weekly NFL picks for the 2012 postseason:

5-5 ATS (+0.31 units)

8-2 Totals (+5.91 units)

Profit: +6.21 units

It’s a deadbolt lock: The NFC will win Super Bowl XLVII next week. How do I know? Because the trends say so. The NFC has a 25-21 SU lead over the AFC at the Super Bowl – and three straight wins going into this year’s Big Game. Bet the farm on it! Bet your neighbor’s farm on it!

Review my NFL Picks: Super Bowl Early Picks & Odds article for my early picks on the big game.

Ol’ No. 7

All right, so maybe what happened at the Super Bowl in 1983 (NFC wins~!) doesn’t have all that much bearing on what will happen at the Super Bowl in 2013. But that doesn’t mean we should completely ignore what the Super Bowl betting trends can tell us. We just have to be a bit more judicious about which numbers to allow into our lives, and how to interpret them.

Here’s a glorious example of a painfully useless Super Bowl trend: Quarterbacks wearing No. 7 have won five Super Bowls, while quarterbacks wearing No. 5 haven’t won any. So obviously San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick is going to prevail over Baltimore QB Joe Flacco. Do you really believe this to be true? If so, you should be betting on the Super Bowl for entertainment purposes only.

How are we expecting the opening Super Bowl Betting odds to move?

Underdog Is Here

That’s an extreme example, but we also shouldn’t jump to any conclusions just because the 49ers have been to five Super Bowls and won every single time. The last of those five championships was Super Bowl XXIX after the 1994 NFL season. What has changed with the Niners since then? Only the players, coaches, and even the owners. At least the 2012 Ravens still have Ray Lewis from their 2000 championship team. I wouldn’t even put too much stock in the NFC being on a 5-0 ATS run heading into New Orleans. Okay, maybe just a little.

What I can recommend is to look at the basic splits from the last decade or so of Super Bowls and see what pops up. And what we do see is a very strong trend toward the underdogs. Super Bowl puppies are 4-1 ATS in the last five games, and 8-3 ATS in the last 11. This is something that has a logical basis to continue: Casual fans flood into the NFL betting marketplace for the Super Bowl and bet too heavily on the favorites, inflating their value and opening the door for sharps to add the underdogs to their NFL picks with even better value.

Bring Back the Patriots

Looking at the totals, it’s no surprise to see the UNDER going 6-2 over the past eight Super Bowls. The same football betting logic applies; casual bettors love to hammer the OVER, and they love to bet on the Super Bowl. Things might be more complicated this time around with so many sharps choosing to jump on the OVER as soon as the football lines are released. But our consensus numbers show a fairly even split thus far with the total sitting at 47.5 points.

If the underdogs and the UNDER are both strong Super Bowl trends, then maybe that standard underdog-UNDER parlay is worth a shot. And that was indeed the right call in three of the past five Super Bowls, and five of the past 11. Pure profit, my friends. One problem: The New England Patriots were involved in four of those five winning parlays. Will the 49ers deliver the same rush of square bettors to the pay window? It doesn’t look like it yet with the Ravens getting 60 percent support from the betting public. But there’s a long time between now and kick-off. About a week too long.

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