The march to Super Bowl 54 continues as we are just four days away from kickoff. We've reached a bit of a dead-zone with the spread. Two-thirds of bets continue to support Kansas City and the line remains at Chiefs -1 or -1.5 after opening at a pick'em. However, we did see a big move on the total over the past 24 hours.
Unless you've been glued to your live odds page, you may have missed it. For over a week now we've been detailing how the public is absolutely pummeling the over. Who can blame them? You have two teams averaging roughly 30 points per game going head-to-head. After opening at 51.5, the books adjusted the total all the way up to 55 due to more than eight-out-of-10 tickets taking the over. All value on the over is long gone due to the huge adjustment. We knew pros would swoop in and get down on a super-inflated under at some point. It looks like 55 was the magic number. Yesterday, several books that reached 55 were adjusted back down to 54.5. This was a result of smart money finally making its move on the under 55.
The under is super-contrarian in the most heavily bet game of the season. Also, a high-scoring games looks too good to be true. Anytime anything looks too good to be true, it usually is. It may be a small sample, but since 2003 when the total is 50 or higher in the Super Bowl the under is 4-1. Last year's Patriots-Rams total was 55.5 and New England won 13-3.
Also, this year's Super Bowl is outdoors at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Outdoor playoff unders are 77-60 (56%) since 2003 according to Bet Labs Sports. The forecast calls for mid-60s with 7-10 MPH winds. The referee, Bill Vinovich, is 58% to the under historically. It will interesting to see if the total continues to tick down as we get closer to kickoff.
Wednesday's action features 6 NBA games, 53 college basketball games and 6 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's shift gears to Super Bowl prop bets.
The dust has settled on Propapalooza, but there is still plenty of time to get down on a prop bet or two. With this in mind, it's important to reiterate a few key tips to keep in the back of your mind as we inch closer to gameday.
1. Don't go crazy and bet too many props: The sheer volume of Super Bowl prop bets available to bet on can be overwhelming. There are literally hundreds to choose from. If you can think of one, chances are there is a sportsbook out there offering it. On the one hand this is a gift because you have so many options. But it can also be a curse and lead you to betting way too many. Don't feel like you have to bet every single one. Pick out a few that you feel you have a strong edge on. You would hate to spend two weeks handicapping the game and cash your spread or over/under play but then go 5-10 with your prop bets and forfeit your hard-earning winnings on the actual game line.
2. Shop for the best line: If you are looking to buy a new car are you going to head down the street to your nearest car dealership and take whatever price they're offering? Of course not. You are going to do your homework, compare prices at several different dealerships and buy the car at the place that offers the best price. Bettors should approach prop betting the same way. Once you identify a prop you feel has value, shop around and make sure you get the best line. If you like Damien Williams under rushing yards, look for the prop at a handful of different books. One might have the over/under at 55, the next at 53.5 or another at 51. Having multiple outs can be the difference between a win, a loss and a push.
3. Lean on No's and Unders: Pros and Joes both love betting prop bets but they typically approach them from different mindsets. Average Joes gravitate toward Yes's and Overs. They want to get rich quick and are mesmerized by the big payouts because they want to turn their $10 into $100. They want to bet overs because they are psychologically biased toward wanting to see a high scoring, fun, action-packed game. It's no fun to root for an under. However, the sportsbooks know this and will shade numbers toward public sides, which creates added value to go the other way. If pros saw value on overs, they hit them immediately when the props opened. By now, all the "over" value is gone because most numbers have been bet. As a result, waiting late to take unders isn't a bad idea.
4. Don't bet the coin flip: One of the most popular prop bets is the coin flip. On the surface, it seems like a fun bet to take a shot on. After all, it's either heads or tails. You have a 50/50 chance and if you win, you get paid out immediately before the game even starts. However, it's not exactly a 50/50 shot because sportsbooks juice both sides to -103 or -105 or -110. This is why books love the coin flip prop. No matter what the outcome, they rake in the juice and are guaranteed a profit. Unless you see a book offering even money on a coin flip, you should lay off. The juice isn't worth the squeeze.
5. Follow prop line movement:
Unfortunately there is no prop live odds page that keeps an up-to-date record of every prop line. However, you can still look for sharp line movement the old fashion way-- with a notebook or an excel sheet. Write down the current prices on the props you are interested in. Then check in on them every 12 or 24 hours. See which way they've moved. By monitoring the movement, you can get a good idea on which ones are receiving heavy betting. If you see Patrick Mahomes rushing yards start to dip from 31.5 to 29.5, it's safe to assume that the under is getting hit hard. You could then shop for the best line and took for a book still hanging a 31.5 before it moves.