Sportsbooks Desperate For Public Money To Stop Pouring On Panthers

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 6:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 6:28 PM UTC

A week of trades in the books, how do Super Bowl 50 odds stack up now? That’s the overriding question as we weigh in on the markets and analyse NFL betting trends.

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Public Bets Up Panthers In Early Betting Markets
Almost immediately after odds makers went to press with Super Bowl 50 odds, early money poured in and it was utterly one-sided. The spread lines opened with the Panthers favored at -3.5 or -4 points, depending on your sportsbook of choice. A market outlook that clearly the public felt didn’t do the Panthers any justice at all, and so they pounded those odds exclusively.

Less than 24 hours after opening doors, we weighed in on early NFL betting trends only to discover the Panthers were sitting pretty with 65% of spread tickets for a whopping 89% of the money. (Chart 1). The money was piling on top of the Panthers in unprecedented numbers with both public and sharp bettors joining the foray.

Chart 1: Super Bowl 50 Spread and Money Betting Trends on Monday, January 25, 2016

Clearly, the Panthers pass the eye-test, so to speak. There’s no doubt that they’ve looked good all season long. Ripping through the opposition en route to a 15-1 SU regular season finish and then carrying that momentum into the post season too, all while decimating the Seattle Seahawks 31-0 in a totally one-sided first half and riding roughshod over the Arizona Cardinals in a 49-15 win in the NFC Conference game.

That the Panthers went MIA in the second half of the game with Seattle though, or that a lot of their success against the Cardinals was, arguably, down to Carson Palmers’ awful play appears to be conveniently dismissed by the public. They are buying what the Panthers are selling, no ifs or buts about it.

Obviously, with the market facing such an overwhelming public reaction to the Panthers adjustments to the Super Bowl 50 lines had to be made in order to balance the action. Those were made with Super Bowl 50 betting merely two days old, and as per we weighed in on those. 

By Wednesday, three days after opening trading on the highly anticipated football finale between the Panthers and Broncos, bookies were hanging the Panthers on a -5.5 line almost across the board. Some books went as high as 6-points even.

Despite the massive swelling of the line, SBR Consensus Betting Polls still revealed a conspicuous tip towards the Panthers (Chart 2).

Chart 2: Super Bowl 50 Spread and Money Betting Trends On Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Then, as evinced by the above chart, the Panthers still had 65% of spread tickets but that did amount to slightly less money (down from 89% to 73.45%). From the money percentages, we can safely infer that the Broncos plus that many points did start to appeal. After all, the Denver defense is nothing to sniff at.

There are indicators that both public and sharp bettors did move towards the Broncos at +5.5 –offering that many points to such a vaulted defense on neutral territory is quite a ballsy move by the market. Then again, they didn’t have much choice being so exposed on the opposite side of the coin.

At the time of writing (the Monday ahead of Super Bowl 50 Sunday), the Panthers are still hanging on a -5.5 line at most sports betting shops with only William Hill hanging the Panthers at -6. Consensus Betting Polls at SBR, however, point to a slight shift in the balance of spread tickets coming down the wire. Most notably, the proportion of spread tickets appears to be evening out, even if the money is still riding mainly on the Panthers (Chart 3).

Chart 3: Super Bowl 50 Spread and Money Betting Trends On Monday, February 1, 2016


Comparing the last two charts, which reflect NFL betting trends on Super Bowl 50 while nestled on a 5.5-point spread, several things are worth noting. Spread tickets on the Broncos have increased from 35% to 41.38% but, at the same time, the money percentages have decreased on the Broncos by 5%.

It’s common knowledge that the bulk of Super Bowl 50 betting – a staggering 90% according to market insiders – comes down the wire very late, mere days ahead of the blessed event. That means we haven’t yet seen the full impact of betting on this game and it’s thought that many savvy NFL bettors are waiting to pound the Broncos later in the week when it’s anticipated they might swell higher on the NFL odds boards to potentially -6.5 or -7.

If the market does go that high, then it would be a one of the biggest signs of disrespect ever witnessed in Super Bowl betting to a so-called league’s best defense in a season. How can one not take that many points on their Super Bowl picks? It’s also worth noting, that favorites are 5-14-1 in the last 20 Super Bowls against the spread. Take from that what you will.

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