Super Bowl Opening Point Spread and Totals Line
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 1/20/2014
Well before Richard Sherman tipped a Colin Kaepernick pass into the hands of Malcolm Smith on Sunday night to clinch Seattle’s trip to the New Jersey to play Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks were already favored against the Broncos.
In futures markets last week, oddsmakers stated Seattle or San Francisco would be 1.5- to two-point favorites against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. By the time Russel Wilson kneeled for the final time and Seattle’s 23-17 win was official, sportsbooks opened with Seattle -1 against Denver, while others listed the game as a pick.
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Quicker than Sherman could get cut off by Erin Andrews during his postgame rampage, money came pouring in on Denver, and books quickly adjusted, moving the Broncos to favorites on Sunday night, and by Monday morning the consensus line at most sportsbooks was Denver -2, with Denver -3 also widely available.
The Peyton Manning effect is a strong one, enticing both sharp and square bettors alike, most of whom were burned by the Broncos Sunday afternoon against the heavily-backed Patriots. While it is tough to guess where the line will ultimately settle, it would be hard to imagine Denver becoming anything more than a three-point favorite or anything worse than a “pick”.
Locking in Seattle at +3 at a price of -110 if available could be a way to secure the best possible line and even set up a potential middle in case the line begins to correct and head back to a pick as Super Bowl week approaches.
If prior Super Bowls are any indication, oddsmakers will not be afraid to get on or off the key number of three. In 2011 Green Bay moved from -2.5 to -3 throughout the week, and in 2012 New England fell from -3 to -2.5 as the game approached.
Despite the steady movement of the point spread, not even 24 hours after the matchup had been set, the early-bird wagers that have already been placed will represent a drop in the proverbial bucket in the grand scheme of the total Las Vegas and offshore handle.
As far as the Super Bowl total, oddsmakers find themselves in a unique situation with an outdoor game in New York where weather could very easily play a factor. The total opened in the tight range of 47.5-48. There was no major movement on the total, with most books maintaining either 47.5 or 48 from Sunday night into Monday.
With the No. 1 defense in Seattle playing the No. 1 offense in Denver, moves on the side could very well have a correlation to moves on the total as much as it has to do with the weather, with positive Denver perception moving the total closer to 50 and vice versa. As the Super Bowl gets closer and there is more clarity on a forecast, expect to see the total be more liquid than the side, which will have a hard time moving.The Super Bowl is the most widely gambled on NFL game of the year, and even though the public historically backs the “over,” recent history shows that the total can slip down as the week goes on. Over the last three Super Bowls, the opening total fell by kickoff, and two of those games were played in domes.
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