by Mike Hayes - 01/18/2006
Pittsburgh's upset of the heavily favored Colts Sunday sent books scurrying to change their Super Bowl lines as there is no longer a clear-cut favorite to emerge from Detroit with the Vince Lombardi Trophy the first weekend in February.
Before the Indy-Pittsburgh game was in the books a futures bettor could have gotten the NFC plus 8.5 points in Super Bowl XL but at some point during the unlikely upset the early line on Super Bowl XL disappeared from sites leaving bettors and books scratching their heads as to who the Super Bowl favorite will be.
That's what will happen when a favorite such as the Colts, who were an even-money favorite or less to win the Super Bowl, are upset.
In making the AFC an early 8- or 9-point favorite against an unknown opponent it was evident the books assumed the road to Super Bowl XL went directly through Indianapolis and when faced with a surprise detour the books reacted accordingly.
"The Colts still being in the playoffs would have kept the line at 8- or 9-points," said Greg Jorssen, sportsbook manager at Bodog. "The Colts were the clear favorite, as was the AFC."
The Colts ouster and a better than expected showing by the NFC in the playoffs has resulted in a significantly lower early line on the game. "With the Colts out of the picture and New England long gone, as well as Carolina playing as well as they are and the prognosis on Alexander looking like he will be ready come Sunday, the line has shifted down to a more respectable 3.5," Jorssen added.
As a result, if the Seahawks advance to Super Bowl XL it is entirely possible that an early NFC futures better could find themselves getting 8.5 points with the game-day favorite, depending of course on how the AFC title game shakes out.
While Bodog did not immediately post a new early line on the Super Bowl following the Steelers upset they were the only of Doc's recommended books to update their odds on who will win Super Bowl XL.
Initially Bodog made the Seahawks a tepid but healthy 6-1 favorite over the Broncos and Bears at 7.5-1, Carolina at 8-1 and the Steelers 12-1.
By the time the Panthers put away the Bears Super Bowl futures were off the board at Bodog and none of the sites offered Super Bowl action of any kind, though Sportingbet was offering 4-1 on Carolina to advance to the Super Bowl and 5-11 on the Seahawks, but did not have any odds posted for the AFC.
By Monday Sportingbet had made the Broncos the 9-5 choice to win the Super Bowl followed by Seattle at 13-5, the Steelers at 3-1 and Panthers at 4-1. Sportingbet listed the AFC a 4-point favorite over the NFC in early Super Bowl wagering with an over-under of 46. Betcom had the AFC at -3.5 as did Nine Sportsbook.
"There was some debate as to whether Seattle or Denver would be favored," Jorssen said. "Denver has snuck under the radar all season long and only now are people starting to know how good a team this is, especially now that the spotlight is no longer shining bright on the Colts and the Patriots. If Denver makes it to the Super Bowl and faces either Seattle or Carolina, they would be, barring any key injuries, the favorite."
The fact that few predicted the Steelers upset means of course it was a good day for the house. Jorssen said Bodog booked more than $1 million in single bets alone and while wagering was balanced until game day late money resulted in Indy backers accounting for nearly 60 percent of the action.
"Great game and a great day for the house once this game settled," Jorssen said. "We actually could not have hoped for a better result as we capitalized on the money line with the Steeler win and due to the game being much lower scoring than people anticipated, we also profited on the under, as well as knocking out most teaser bets."
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