Super Bowl Odds: Packers Set as Slight Favorites Over Steelers
by Trevor Whenham - 1/24/2011
The matchup is set, and it’s probably the one that the majority of people wanted to see -- at least those people outside of New York and Chicago. Both of these teams, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, are very strongly supported by the public, so betting volume -- which is obviously always huge for the Super Bowl -- will be even higher than normal. That means that the line is going to be under intense pressure, and could easily be on the move throughout the next two weeks.
The Packers were installed as 1.5-point favorites, according to NFL odds, and early indications are that that wasn’t enough for bettors. The line was almost instantly bumped up to two, and has since climbed to 2.5 and even three in some places.
The most interesting factor for this year’s Super Bowl odds is that the favorites -- who are obviously drawing a lot of action -- are not only a sixth seed playing against a two seed, but also playing against a team that has won two of the last five Super Bowls with the same core of players as they have now. Pittsburgh has also won eight of their last nine (6-3 ATS over that time), and have been brilliant defensively. While Green Bay has been red hot, the Steelers have been far from sluggish, either, so there seems to be a good chance that the action will tilt back to the Steelers at some point -- people are going to start to get excited about being able to take the Steelers and points.
The line movement will be particularly interesting to watch because it has already hit three points. That’s the most key number in football, and the one that sportsbooks fear most. Setting up a middle opportunity would be a nightmare for the books, so they are going to be very hesitant to move the line over three. If the game does move to 3.5 then it will be a sign that the books are confident that the action on Green Bay is solid and bettors will stay loyal.
The total opened at either 45 or 46 depending on the book, and has been relatively stable since. There are some conflicting forces here that make the movement on the total less clear. On one hand, the betting public is fiercely loyal to the ‘over,’ and that tendency is especially strong in the Super Bowl. On the other hand, both of these teams are known for their very strong defenses -- defenses full of big name players that the public knows and loves. That could potentially keep the public’s obsession with the ‘over’ in check.
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