Super Bowl 54 is now just two days away. Over the past 24 hours, we've seen some sharp 49ers money hit the market, dropping the line from + 1.5 to + 1 at several shops. With such a short spread, 49ers bettors may want to entertain a moneyline bet instead of a spread bet with the goal of saving juice and increasing their payout. For example, instead of taking San Francisco + 1 at -110 juice, you could instead take the 49ers at + 105 or even money.
We've also seen more under 55 sharp money pour in. Almost every book is down to 54.5. Our very own Jimmy Vaccaro reported two big bets at the South Point yesterday. The first was for $50,000 on the 49ers moneyline (+ 107) and the second was a $44,000 bet on the Under 55 (-110). It will interesting to see how both lines move as we inch closer to kickoff.
In Thursday's newsletter we discussed several tips for betting props. One more to add to the list: be wary of one-sided prop bets. For example, if you see a prop that only lists "yes" for + 500 or + 1000 and doesn't offer a "no" option, a good idea is to lay off. There is a reason books are only offering one option. They are enticing you with a big plus money payout for a reason. Don't fall for the trap.
On Thursday we also saw the American Gaming Association release its annual betting survey results. More than 26 million Americans are expected to wager on the Super Bowl, approximately three million more than last year. Roughly 4 million Americans will wager at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, up 25% from last year. Nearly 5 million will bet online or mobile, up 19% from last year. There are currently 14 live, legal states offering sports betting. A total of $6.8 billion is expected to be wagered overall, a 13% increase from last year when $6 billion was wagered.
Among the AGA survey participants, 52% are picking the Chiefs to win compared to 48% backing the 49ers.
Unfortunately the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum will be off today. I will be traveling from Boston to the Borgata in Atlantic City for our special Lombardi Line Super Bowl shows. I hope to see everyone at the Moneyline Bar and Book on Saturday and Sunday!
Now let's shift our attention to the NBA where we have seven Friday games on tap. Here are a few receiving early sharp action.
7 p.m. ET: Toronto Raptors (34-14) at Detroit Pistons (17-32)
On paper, this looks like the layup of the century with Toronto. The Raptors have a far bettor record and have won nine in a row while the Pistons have lost four straight. Toronto is + 6.1 in point differential while Detroit is -2.2. The Pistons also have one of the worst home records in the NBA (9-16) while the Raptors have one of the best road records (17-7). So why on Earth did the oddsmakers open this line so low with Toronto just a 4.5-point road favorite? The public is hammering Toronto (more than three-out-of-four bets), yet the line has stayed at 4.5. The juice is trending toward Detroit and some books have ever dipped to 4. This signals some sharp liability on the Pistons in the ultimate buy low, sell high spot. One big edge to the Pistons: the Raptors are on the second night of a back-to-back. Last night Toronto beat the Cavs 115-109 but failed to cover as 10-point favorites. Detroit has been off since Wednesday.
8 p.m. ET: Memphis Grizzlies (24-24) at New Orleans Pelicans (19-29)
Memphis currently holds down the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. New Orleans sits five games back on the Grizzlies and looks to pick up a game at home. This line opened with the Pelicans listed as 4.5-point favorites. The public is split and doesn't know which way to go. They love getting points with the team with the better record but are also wary of the Pelicans at home with Zion starting to hit his stride. Despite the tickets being even, this line has moved to Pelicans -5.5, signaling pro money laying the points. New Orleans has won two straight and enjoys an extra day of rest having last played on Tuesday while the Grizzlies played on Wednesday. The total is 241.5. When the total is 240 or higher the under is 8-4 this season and 62.2% since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports. Divisional unders are 55% this season.
10:30 p.m. ET: Portland Trail Blazers (21-27) at Los Angeles Lakers (36-10)
The final game on Friday's slate will be the most heavily bet game of the night. The Lakers are playing their first game since Kobe Bryant's tragic death and will honor the legend at the Staples Center. This line opened with the Lakers listed as 12.5-point favorites. Pros and Joes have both come down on Los Angeles, pushing the line up to 13. The Blazers have value as a contrarian double-digit dog. Conference dogs + 10 or more are 43-30 ATS (59%) this season. However, the Lakers enjoy a big rest advantage having last played Saturday the 25th. The Blazers last played on Wednesday the 29th. The Lakers are also coming off a 17-point loss to the 76ers. Favorites off a 10-point loss are 72-54 ATS (57%) this season. Smart money has come down on the over. It opened at 229.5 and has risen to 230 or 230.5 depending on the sportsbook. These two teams have met twice this year with the Lakers winning 136-113 and 128-120.
Remember: Betting markets are fluid and lines can change as more action comes in. Be sure to check our free NBA Live Odds page
for the latest line moves.