Value in Backing the Patriots With Your Super Bowl Picks?

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 1:20 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 1:20 PM UTC

Super Bowl XLIX betting markets are in full flux, but with NFL odds cast tighter than an accountant’s purse in the early days and the public almost evenly split on both sides of the coin, value is going to be hard to come by.

Super Bowl XLIX
It’s as the bookies scripted, the two best teams reach the Super Bowl XLIX: the defending champions Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Question is though: will Super Bowl XLIX also go to script.

As it stands, the defending champions are the slight favourites, nudging ahead of the Patriots by 10 cents on the NFL betting line. Seahawks are matched as the -115 favourites while the Patriots are the notional underdogs at -105. Initially, online sportsbooke rolled out a pick ’em for the spread, but that has since been adjusted to a 1-point spread with the Seahawks to the good. Finally, total odds are trading at 48.5 or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice. Cast tighter than an accountant’s purse, there’s really no way of knowing which team will come up trumps. One thing it does forecast is a close game.

It remains to be seen where this line will end up in the days that lead up to the Super Bowl XLIX. It’s worth noting that the NFL betting lines have never closed on a pick ‘em in the history of Super Bowl betting. The smallest line recorded was a point, which occurred twice: San Francisco in Super Bowl XVI and Miami in Super Bowl VII both closed as 1-point faves.

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Seahawks -115, -1.0 (-105) vs. Patriots -105, +1.0 (-115)
The defending champions’ edge in NFL betting markets is a moot point. Ten cents to the good in straight up Super Bowl odds is hardly a ringing endorsement. Last year, the Seahawks opened as the faves but at closing doors they were matched as the 2.5-point underdogs.

As Championship Sunday was winding down, early money coming down the wire favoured the Patriots wholeheartedly. The impetus for this NFL betting trend was twofold a) the Seahawks were headed out of the playoffs, on the brink of defeat in the NFC title game after 57 minutes (approx) of some uncharacteristically atrocious football before luck struck and 3 minutes plus an overtime of inspired football ensued; and b) the Patriots were supremely convincing in a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts. Discerning betting (betting what you see) is common; hence, the NFL betting trend gravitating towards the Patriots, who were simply the better team on Sunday by a country mile.

Seahawks Attempt To Repeat As Champions
Seattle Seahawks are attempting to repeat as Super Bowl champions; ironically, something the Patriots were the last to accomplish over a decade ago. Going into Championship Sunday, the Seahawks were the firm favourites to lift the Lombardi Trophy at +115 while the Patriots were matched as the second faves at +188. At the start of the season, the Seahawks were trading at +500 while the Patriots were trading at +1000 (or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice).

Those NFL bettors that piled onto the Patriots in futures betting markets at some point this season must fancy the chances of their Super Bowl picks coming through. If the Seahawks come out as flat as they did against the Packers, the Patriots could runaway with the scoreboard like no other team can in the NFL (the AFC title game is case-and-point). No amount of luck then would see the Seattle Seahawks close the gap, surely.

Underdog Patriots Are Value
If there’s any value in the Super Bowl XLIX betting markets, a team’s status could be the key towards determining the value NFL pick. In six of the last seven Super Bowls, the underdogs have covered the spread. In four of those, the underdogs won outright. The Patriots reach their sixth Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They are 3-2 SU in five previous appearances, albeit they lost their last two appearances: 2008 and 2012. Specifically, they were matched as the favourites in both of those showdowns. That they go into their sixth Super Bowl clash as the underdogs could actually be a spot of fortune.

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