Early Super Bowl Line 2019
Super Bowl LIII is still two rounds of playoffs and a bye week away as I write this. But it is never too early to look ahead at the biggest of North American sporting events. We only know that one of four AFC teams will play one of four NFC teams - 16 possible combinations. And with both conferences, especially the AFC, feeling very wide open, several of those combinations feel at least possible. It's far too early to know with any certainty which teams will play in the Super Bowl, so we can't do any meaningful analysis. But several of our books have posted an early Super Bowl line, and that is certainly worth some analysis.
As it sits now, there is generally consensus on the early Super Bowl line, with the NFC solidly favored at -150, and the AFC well behind at +130. Right now, two of the three favorites to win the Super Bowl - first choice New Orleans at +250 at Bovada , and co-second choice the Rams at +400 - are from the NFC, so it makes sense that the conference is solidly favored. If you are a fan of the Chiefs, also at +400, then betting the AFC number might be a reasonably attractive way to bet on your team while hedging it with three others. With the Patriots at +550, the Chargers at +800 and the Colts at +1200 as the fourth, fifth and sixth choices, respectively, of the eight remaining teams, it would be tough to construct your own viable hedge that would involve those teams and wind up being much more attractive than the +130 price on the early line. If you like the NFC, though, then you could probably do a little better - especially if, like me, you were happy to mostly write off the two NFC East teams which are the longest shots on the board and, notwithstanding Nick Foles' alleged immortality, don't seem to quite measure up with the rest.
If you want to get a bit more sophisticated than just a conference line, and look for better potential payoffs as a result, now would be a good time to be looking at the potential matchup props. For example, the favored potential matchup at Bovada is the Chiefs and the Saints, currently at +375. And you can go even further if you feel bold - you can get +700 if you feel the Saints will beat the Chiefs, and +950 if you like the reverse result.
The last couple of days I have been spending a lot of time trying to convince myself that I shouldn't be as enamored by the Colts as I suddenly am. I like their matchup against a truly inept run defense in Kansas City after the Colts dominated the Texans by running very well. And I just like the attitude of this team - fearless and determined. I could get +1200 for them to match up with the Saints, and +1600 against the Rams. And if I really wanted to go crazy and pick them to win it all, I could get +2600 and +3300, respectively, too.
The longest shots on the board for the matchups, not surprisingly, are the Cowboys against the Chargers and the Colts. Both matchups are at +4500 and are a long way from attractive at that price. In fact, the seven highest matchup prices all include one of those two NFC East teams. And if you are in search of a big payoff in the exact result props, then you want to bet on the Cowboys beating the Colts in the big game - $100 bet would make you a whopping $11,000 profit if you won. The problem, of course, is that you have almost no chance of winning. At the very least, I feel very confident saying that that result would happen less than one in every 110 times you recreated these playoffs, so there is no value here.
How about a couple of interesting storylines? The Patriots and the Eagles would represent the last two champions fighting it out and a rematch of last year's game. Oddsmakers aren't optimistic - the matchup pays +2000, with a Philadelphia win paying +4000 compared to a New England win at +4500. How about a rematch of one of the best football games I can remember in the NFL? The Rams and the Chiefs are at +500 as a matchup, which is tied with the Saints and Patriots as the second choice. The Rams would pay +1000 to win again, while the Chiefs would pay +1200 to get revenge when it would matter most. And how about a battle of L.A.? The city of frontrunners would fully embrace the NFL if that happened - even the Chargers. The odds don't suggest that it is impossible, but it's not hugely likely - it pays +1400 as a matchup, with both teams deemed equally likely to win at +2600. Given that the Rams are +400 to win the Super Bowl compared to +850 for the Chargers, you could argue that there is at least relative value in betting on the Rams in the exact matchup prop.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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