Super Bowl Betting Anomaly and How to Take Advantage

By: EVBettor


Sportsbooks love to take advantage of the casual sports bettor and nowhere does that show up more than the biggest betting day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday.  Last season, Super Bowl 50’s estimated Nevada Handle was $120 million to $130 million, which represented 1/4 to 1/3 of all football action Nevada took that season (estimated $320-400 million).

A tendency that many people have is known as the availability bias in which we make judgments based on whatever data comes to mind.  So when the public wants to bet a game, they will quickly think of movies and media, which always have the long-shots winning.   From David vs. Goliath to the Mighty Ducks, we are trained as a society to root for the underdog that will overcome.  Huge public betting action and a well-known bias to root for the underdog combine to set up sportsbooks to take advantage by shading their Moneyline numbers.

Theoretically, the prices on the Moneyline and spread bets will be linked by a win probability and predicted score distribution function.  However, during heavily bet games (such as the Super Bowl), you will see a phenomenon in which betting the underdog will cost a Moneyline-bettor a premium, while a favorite Moneyline-bettor will typically receive a discount.  For Example, the 2007 Super Bowl featured the Indianapolis Colts closing as 6.5 point favorites over the Chicago Bears. Typically a 6.5 point favorite would be -280 ML favorite (has historically ranged between -250 to -310) for an inferential win probability of 74%.  That Super Bowl’s Moneyline closed at -245 on the favorites (Colts) for inferential odds of 71%.  A favorite Moneyline-bettor would essentially achieve a vig-free to discounted bet, which makes becoming a profitable long-term bettor much easier to come by.  Conversely and absent other information, this will make Moneylining the underdog a sucker’s bet for big games, as the vig will be shaded to that side, knowing that the action will be coming.

Super Bowl LI
Currently, the Patriots are a -3 (-115) favorite, implying a ~60% win percentage.  The Moneyline at many places is -155 or better, which is the low end of what a -3 (-115) favorite would typically be (-170 with a range from -150 to -200).  If you like the favorite, consider taking the moneyline for a discounted price, while if you like the underdog, grab the points.

2016-2017 NFL Best Bets 100-68 (59.5%) – 66-26 (71.7%) on NFL Sides
NFL Best Bets are now 5-2 in the playoffs

2016-2017  NFL Strong Opinions are 63-52-4 (54.8%) 

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