No Clear Favorite Emerges as Super Bowl Odds Continue to Flip

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 8:43 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 8:43 PM UTC

New England Patriots trot out on to the Super Bowl XLIX trading floor as the notional underdogs. Do the bookies have it right? We examine the Early Super Bowl XLIX betting markets and the reactions to the NFL odds by both bookies and the public.

New England Patriots The Underdogs
Although odds makers across various sports betting platforms trot out the Patriots as the Super Bowl XLIX betting underdogs, it’s mainly in the metaphorical sense. To begin with, they traded the Patriots on the short side of EVEN money at -105 to win outright and, secondly, only a smidgen behind the Seahawks at -115. Such marginal difference is nothing more than semantics. Fact is: neither side has this game cornered in any meaningful sense, making this one of the closest battles in Super Bowl betting history.

NFL Lines Hopping
Since rolling out the NFL betting lines on Sunday, they’ve been going back and forth between the Patriots and Seahawks on these NFL odds, alternating between the pair in favor. That’s largely down to an influx of Patriots money at early doors following their convincing win over the Colts. By contrast, the Seahawks, deemed the luckiest team (possibly ever) to reach the Super Bowl behind their last gasp rally to beat the Packers, left much to be desired.

Last season, similar trends emerged after the Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game and the Seahawks barely eked out the victory over the Niners in the NFC Championship game. Then, the Championship round left such an indelible impression on NFL bettors that they flocked in excess towards the Broncos on the NFL betting lines, convinced the Broncos were THE team to beat. Bookies opening with the Seahawks as the favorites closed with the Broncos as the faves and  the Seahawks the underdogs. Tale told, the Seahawks romped to victory, beating the Broncos 43-8 in a one-sided showdown few could have predicted.

Super Bowl XLIX trends are following in a similar vein at early doors with sportsbooks recording top consensus bets on the Patriots. That NFL betting trend has prompted bookies to call it an overreaction by the public sector, not unlike last year’s BIG Game. Indeed, the reaction has been so overwhelming that, at the time of writing, the Patriots already nudge ahead of the Seahawks as the -115 faves.

Does The Public Have It Right?
Betting down the Pats to more favorable territory may be an overreaction to the Championship round, the performance by each team and the outcome of the games on the scoreboard. That doesn’t mean, however, the public has it wrong.

Put another way: there’s an argument to be had about the bookies overreacting (or reacting maybe is a better word) as well to the Championship round, particularly to Seattle’s rather dubious win over the Packers. Why else are they being extremely conservative and cautious for this Super Bowl XLIX, mostly rolling out a pick ‘em, at best a 1-point spread? Hadn’t Seattle led the Super Bowl betting race for most of the season? Haven’t we been reminded consistently of their favoritism to repeat as champions across sportsbooks? In fact, immediately after their consummate win over the Broncos in the last Super Bowl, Seahawks opened as the team to beat for Super Bowl XLIX in February. It’s been the message we’ve heard all season long, until now. So what changed?

The Championship round, of course. The very same round bookies say the public is overeating too, they are reacting to as well. This is a conspicuous mood swing across sportsbook platforms that’s hard to ignore. Clearly, the bookies saw what we saw on Sunday: a suddenly beatable Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. A pedestrian effort by Russell Wilson for almost the entire game (give or take the last few minutes of regular time and then the overtime). On the heels of that lucky escape by Seattle, they witnessed the renaissance of Brady and Belichick en route to the AFC title; a full 60 minutes of dominating football that was a belated throwback to their Super Bowl winning seasons. All of a sudden, Brady wasn’t the washed out 37-year-old-has-been many were eager to peg him as but rather a rejuvenated elite quarterback schooling the greenhorn Andrew Luck. (Yikes. Not the plot twist they’d expected.)

What was essentially a 12-month running narrative of Seattle is the “best team in the NFL” was turned on its head in less than a day, in the matter of 120-ish minutes of Championship football. Now that that notion went out of the window, it’s interesting to note the unwillingness to give the New England Patriots that same recognition. Certainly, on the strength of the Championship round, they earned it. They were the better team, hands down.

It’s two weeks to Super Bowl XLIX, lots of time for public opinion to settle down as they decide on their NFL picks. Bookies expect equilibrium to eventually emerge as the betting levels out on the two teams that have led the Super Bowl betting race for the most part this season, never more so than down the stretch. Once the Championship round takes on a sepia tone, Seattle support should grow and the money pour in, so they say. Still, how much that will improve Seattle’s stock in NFL betting markets remains to be seen. What’s sure though, it won’t make a Seattle win a certainty. If anything, it's anybody's game to win now.

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