2019 Super Bowl Handicapping by Expert NFL Handicapper
Here is the irony of being a professional football handicapper: the one game that absolutely everyone in the country is focused on and wants to wager on is usually the game I have absolutely the least interest in.
The Super Bowl is the biggest betting moment of the entire sports year. There is truly nothing like it in the world. There are literally billions of dollars wagered on this single game, with the American Gaming Association projecting that roughly $4.8 billion was bet on last year's game between Philadelphia and New England.
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Of course, that's just the legal and recorded betting. Any decent Super Bowl party has some way to lay action, usually in the form of squares or some other $5 or $20 indulgence. That's to say nothing of drunken side bets made between friends as they watch the final game of the season.
For me, the Super Bowl truly is just another game. Yes, there are more options to make money and I've posted a profit for my clients 10 of the last 12 Super Bowls. Yet I have always said that the idea of "betting big on the Super Bowl" or "going big on The Big Game" is for tourists. This game generally holds no more value than any other betting situation throughout the year. And I'm certain I can find more value on some random college basketball game on a Tuesday in November or in a baseball matchup on some odd Wednesday in June.
However, I know you are going to bet on the Super Bowl. You know you are going to bet on the Super Bowl. So the least I can do is give you some Super Bowl handicapping expert advice.
1) Look At A Super Bowl Bet As An Expense, Not An Investment
This runs counter to everything that I preach to my clients, which is that gambling has to be seen as a long-term investment with incremental gains stacking up over a long period of time. The Super Bowl is different because the majority of people betting may not bet more than a half-dozen other times during the year.
Every square with a hint of cash and an ounce of self-respect will be wagering on the Super Bowl. It is easy to get swept up in the moment and to get caught up in the hype of The Big Game. For most people, they want to bet on the Super Bowl because they want to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. They want to feel more emotionally invested in something monumental.
For me it's all about the money. And for you it should be to.
Wager every dollar on the Super Bowl with the intention of not getting it back. First, that will keep you from betting what you can't afford. Second, it will actually loosen you up and help you make some bolder, more aggressive bets. That can be a good thing. If you are looking at a Super Bowl bet as an expense rather than an investment then all the pressure if off. And when all the pressure is off, you are more likely to bet things with a clearer head.
2) Keep It Simple When Picking The Winner
For two full weeks the entire Hot Take/Sports Media Industrial Complex spends its time pouring over this one game. Every aspect of this game - the coaches, the matchups, the injuries, the strategy, etc. - gets overanalyzed to death. Don't get sucked into that vortex.
You should be able to pick which side you like in this game in about 45 seconds. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that. If you follow football even a little bit, you've seen or heard about or read about these teams for months. You know who is who and what is what. So don't overthink it.
The last nine years, the team that has won the Super Bowl has covered the spread. Over the last 13 years, the winner of the game is 12-1 against the spread. That means ignore the spread entirely. Figure out whom you think is going to win the game outright and then bet the game accordingly.
3) Props Are Your Friend….
The most value on betting the Super Bowl is clearly in the prop wagers. Sportsbooks offer thousands of opportunities to bet on the game. They have everything from how long the national anthem is and who will win the coin toss to betting on the number of field goals in the Super Bowl compared to hockey goals in a game the night before.
It can be dizzying to look through all the different prop bets. But time invested pays off. You have to know that the sportsbooks are going to inflate the numbers on all of the star players, so there's little value betting on someone like Tom Brady to have a big day. Instead, you can find tremendous value by digging deep and finding some weak lines on obscure matchups.
Once you've picked the team you think is going to win, you should have a rough outline of how you think the game is going to go. For instance, if you like the Rams over the Patriots it might be because you think that they can run the ball and control the clock. If that's the case, then bet your props accordingly. Look at the over/under on rushing yards for the Rams. Or maybe a time of possession prop.
Also, try clustering your bets. If you think that Rex Burkhead is going to play a big role for the Patriots offense, then maybe bet two or three props involving that one player. You're either going to be very, very right and get paid or be very, very wrong and lose your money. That's gambling.
4) ….But Don't Go Crazy With Prop Bets
The sheer number of available wagers can be overwhelming to the common bettor. And if you take my advice about cluster betting, it can be easy to find yourself locking in on three or four situations and all of a sudden you end up placing 12 or 15 prop bets. The Super Bowl is an orgy of excess and gambling, and it's easy to get caught up in.
You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you have more money spread over random props than you would throw down on a big play during the season. Pick your spots and attack. Remember, the game is going to be enjoyable no matter what. Though it could get a lot less fun in a hurry if you're stuck watching your money burn away because of too many prop bets.
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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