Super Bowl Value Betting - Taking the Odds on the Super Bowl
Super Bowl value betting is about finding the best pointspread before plopping down your money on the eventual outcome. People call the odds posted in the papers the "newspaper line" and the Las Vegas sportsbook odds the "official line", but the official line is actually the one you choose to bet on. Like any other form of cash transaction, you'll save money and do better if you shop around before finding your official betting source for the Super Bowl.
That's what this article is going to discuss: where to find the best bets. I'll also discuss some of the trends in football gambling that happen on a big event like the Super Bowl, trends which might help you find the best wagers. Part of this page is going to be about becoming an amateur handicapper. Before I tackle that subject, let me give you a general warning you should always heed: the oddsmakers always know more than you. Also, because the sportsbook takes a fee (vigorish, juice) to accept your bet, it's not recommended you try to learn more than the bookies and turn this into your profession. The vig means 95% of sports gamblers lose money in the long run.
Official Betting Lines on Super Bowl Week
It's pretty standard for a person who never makes a bet in the year to look into their local metropolitan newspaper's sports page and see what the point spread is on the upcoming Super Bowl. As a kid, I read the sports page religiously and I always marvelled over the point spreads. I figured out what the notations meant, because I wanted to know who the experts thought was going to win. What I didn't know was the lines in your newspaper are often several points off one direction or another.
You might think being off a point or two wouldn't matter much. In fact, on many bets, it doesn't. But once you start tracking the sports betting throughout the course of an NFL season, you'll realize how many bets come down to those 1-2 points. The oddsmakers are every bit as good at what they do as the NFL players on the field are at their profession. The final outcome of a bet is often left to the final 2:00 of a ballgame. Those points matter, especially if you plan on betting over a long period.
That means you need multiple sources of where you might place a bet.
Caesar's Palace Race and Sportsbook - Caesars Palace has been named the #1 sports book by more sources than I can count, but I'll cite the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Wynn Race and Sports Book - I tend to think of Wynn Las Vegas when horse racing futures are discussed, but there's no reason you don't bet football at the Wynn.
MGM Grand's Race and Sports Book - Few do sports betting better than the MGM Grand, which covers sports bets from events around the globe. You can get your football--or any world sport--from the MGM Grand.
Golden Nugget Race and Sportsbook - The Golden Nugget specializes in proposition bets, gameday match-ups, and futures. The Golden Nugget is one of my favorite places for a sports bet.
Las Vegas Hilton Superbook - The Superbook is a leader among the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. I sometimes think they're a little too good at setting their lines, but it's worth a look.
Orleans Race and Sports Book - Orleans may have the best weekly package throughout the NFL season, including special Monday Night Football events and a "Pick the Pros" set of bets. Don't forget them on Super Bowl Sunday.
Mirage Race and Sports Book - Has some of the best betting limits on straight bets, money lines, and teasers. Check out the "Money Line Card".
Mandalay Bay Race and Sports Book - Offers high-limit gambling for the high rollers. Planet Hollywood Race and Sports Book - Planet Hollywood is a great place to watch the big events if you happen to be in Vegas for the Super Bowl. I watched March Madness Day 1 there one year and it was a life moment.
Red Rock's Race and Sports Book - If you happen to be in Las Vegas, Red Rock's is the best sportbooks experience off the strip. Operated by the Station Casinos group, which owns over a dozen sports books. Don't forget these casinos off the Las Vegas Strip.
Don't forget some of the lesser known sportsbooks and the off-the-strip books. Some of the best gambling deals in Las Vegas have always been found off the strip, whether it's playing the slots, taking a shot at the table games, or betting on sporting events.
When betting on a football game, the point isn't to frequent the casino sportsbook you like the best. The point is to find the betting line which gives you the most points, so whether you use the establishments above, or the Palazzo, the Bellagio, Sante Fe Station, or Leroy's, shop around and find the best deals.
Taking the Odds on the Super Bowl
Many of the best gamblers find the best lines as soon as they're released, before the super bowl betting lines begin to move. Others wait until the public starts to put their considerable money on the Super Bowl, then bet against the public. The idea in the first case is to value shop when an bookmaker makes a mistake by finding the lines that are out of line with the other books. The idea in the second case is the public is ignorant and they only go with what the sports media is saying at the moment, so the lines move do to bad money. I'll let you decide which is the better strategy, but I do want to explore that second thought.
So many times, the public tends to bet on the favorite. Whether a handicapper sets the line at 7 or 8 or 10, it's natural for the general public to have seen a team hammer all the lousy opponents all year and assume they will roll over their Super Bowl competition. That means the line often moves in the favor of the favorite (though not the last two years). When this happens, a natural disparity begins to appear and you get points the sports book didn't assign you. Some view any bet against a moving line to be a good one, assume the vast majority doesn't know as much as the experts back in Las Vegas.
Betting on the Underdog
As you might have figured by now, gamblers have all kinds of strategies. Those who bet on college games often get tripped up betting on the NFL, because they tend to over-inflate the skills of the favorites. In NCAA football, blowouts and mismatches happen all along the line, because big universities schedule games with smaller colleges. Also, betting on the emotional swings of a group of teenagers and 20 year old athletes is a bit of a slippery slope, anyway.
In the NFL, the underdog is made up of players who were huge stars at the college level. When you're dealing with Super Bowl betting, every team has major talents sprinkled throughout the lineup. They've earned their way there. Injuries happen and emotions run rampant in a championship game, but taking the points, especially when the points rise above a touchdown, is a way to get value on your picks. Some expert gamblers always take an NFL underdog when they're getting 10 points or more, no matter what. Others only bet the home underdogs. That doesn't apply to Super Bowl value betting, but taking the odds a little later in the week is often a way to get a little extra value for your free picks. Whatever the case, see how far the lines have move (and in what direction) before you make a Super Bowl wager.