Sharps vs. Bookies: Who To Trust When Placing Super Bowl Picks?

Jim Makos

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 7:54 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 7:54 PM UTC

As more tipsters are backing Panthers with their Super Bowl picks, bettors are following through, pushing the moneyline further below. Are Broncos’ chances that slim?


At the peak of the NFL season, Super Bowl is the most popular market in the online football betting world. With so much cash pouring into the sportsbooks for the NFL final game, any odds action should be considered reliable, despite we are still five days before the Super Bowl 50. And with bettors already submitting their bets for a whole week, there might be some trend we can spot at the charts.
And boy, what a trend there is.


As a huge number of tipsters are favoring Panthers’ chances in the upcoming Super Bowl, it’s no surprise that their odds are already declining. Having started off 1.55 (-180), Panthers’ moneyline have moved down to 1.40 (-250)! Should that have been a regular season’s matchup, that drop would still be noticeable but not that crucial. Now that we are talking of the Super Bowl, things are totally different.
Imagine that kind of price action at Champions League final’s betting odds. We rarely witness such a big moneyline movement in very important games, thus Panthers’ falling NFL Super Bowl odds is a rare sight.

The same betting trend is obvious in other betting markets as expected. Panthers’ odds to cover the spread (5.5) are quickly descending at Bet365 from 2.10 (+110) to 1.90 (-110), making the favorite in that bet as well!


Bettors are not tempted to wager on Broncos, as the drifting odds imply. They were the least interested to bet on them when the moneyline was at 2.50 (+150), hence sportsbooks such as William Hill swiftly responded by increasing their odds to 2.75 (+175) a day later. By the end of the month, almost all sportsbooks offered Broncos’ win for no less than 3.00 (+200), which apparently seems to have sealed the deal for the time being. That means one third of bettors are backing Broncos. Should more than two thirds direct their bets towards Panthers, you should expect a further drift for Broncos’ odds.

The cover spread (5.5) betting chart shows a similar picture. Broncos started off as a favorite to lose by no more than 5.5 points, yet they are close to becoming the underdog on Tuesday. The uptrend may well continue for the next five days, as I suppose more tips on Panthers make their way online.

The question lies though, whether sportsbooks were right from the beginning or handicappers are moving the moneyline to a fairer price. That question can only be answered by proving that the market is efficient. Should market efficiency exist, the last reported price should be the fairest. So, in case Broncos’ moneyline drifts more, Panthers’ current odds have still value in fact! Should the odds remain calm though, the value that offered sportsbooks on Panthers’ opening lines is non-existent any more.

On the other hand, if NFL Super Bowl betting market isn’t efficient, bettors are moving the odds away from their fair price. That fair price might have been sportsbooks’ initial offering. Should that be the case, we must all back Broncos at this point, no matter how much they’ll continue to drift. 

If you decide to follow the trend, initiated by tipsters publishing their Super Bowl picks, and back Panthers at this point, it means you believe the market is efficient. If you bet on Broncos, you trust sportsbooks were right all along. What’s it going to be? Personally speaking, trend is my friend.

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

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