Super Bowl weekend is finally here and all I can say is we made it! It seemed unimaginable just a few months ago, but the NFL season pushed forward, and now we get two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time facing off in the Super Bowl.
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. We get Tom Brady against Patrick Mahomes in what could be a passing of the torch game. Brady is aiming for his record seventh ring vs. Mahomes, who is trying to go back to back. It doesn’t get much better than this for a football fan or a gambler.
With the big game around the corner, we wanted to keep you informed on where the action is at from an oddsmaker’s point of view. To learn more about the betting markets for this weekend, we talked to two oddsmakers for their insights: Johnny Avello (sportsbook director for DraftKings) and Andrew Mannino (Sr. Trading team member of PointsBet Sportsbook).
Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 56) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The point spread still has the Chiefs as 3-point favorites versus the Buccaneers, although the juice (-120) on KC could be trending toward a line move back to -3.5 at most books. That is the number it originally opened at many shops. The Over/Under total for the game is sitting at 56 points.
“Action wise, it’s been back and forth between 3 and 3.5,” Avello explained. “When we are at 3, the Chiefs are getting hit, and when it’s 3.5, Tampa Bay is the choice.”
PointsBet, on the other hand, is seeing all Kansas City bets.
“It’s all Chiefs money so far, and the line is stubbornly sticking at 3 with some juice backing KC,” Mannino said. “We have been consistently taking Chiefs money and it is one-sided, but it seems like it’s like that everywhere.”
Mannino told me they are pulling for the Bucs. Both Avello and Mannino foresee a slew of bets as the weekend progresses.
“We will see more bets come in around 6:20 Sunday because when people see the national anthem they think ‘I should've put action down’ and get in late,” Mannino said. “The Super Bowl is a roller coaster of action, and we’re at the top of the hill right now.”
Avello said he doesn’t think the number will close at Chiefs -2.5 or -4.
“I’d say 3 or 3.5,” he said. “If I had to pick, probably 3.5, because the Chiefs are still -3, around -115/ -120.”
Mannino said he doesn’t envision the line at PointsBet moving unless there is some late injury or COVID-19 news.
Speaking of points, total wise, the number has dropped at both books since it opened.
“We saw some sharp money come in at open, when it was 57.5,” Avello said. “Sharps always bet the under in the Super Bowl, but we’re still heavy on the over on the public side and expect it to tick back up by game time.”
PointsBet is seeing the same results.
“Sharp money bought the total down initially, you see that often in the Super Bowl where the sharps shape the line overnight when it is first released,” Mannino explained. “We’re now holding at 56 and we've been seeing mostly over money from the public.”
For the moneyline, both have it a little different.
“Moneyline wise, it's been Tampa Bay and that isn’t unusual for a Super Bowl,” Avello stated. “Bettors love taking the dog in a game like this to get no juice.
Mannino said it’s balanced for them, with a pretty good split.
When it comes to an ideal outcome, Mannino stated due to the amount of bets now offered, there are so many different balls in the air still waiting to come down. But when pressed, he said the Chiefs by one or in a 13-10 type, low-scoring game works great.
How are the Super Bowl MVP wagers shaping up?
“As of now, the MVP liability is on the QBs that got bet, and there is more on Mahomes while Brady is the second choice,” Avello stated. “The defensive players are nowhere to be found, but if some receiver has 12 catches for 3 touchdowns or a running back goes off, look out.”
“Brady is the standout liability for us,” Mannino said. “But, if Brady wins MVP, it is probably fine for us because it means that the Bucs won.”
Mannino did say there is some non-QB liability at MVP on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Who are people betting on for the First Touchdown prop bet?
“It wasn't a surprise, guys like Travis Kelce, Tom Brady and Gronk are getting hit,” Avello said. “Mike Evans as well, who we moved from +1200 to +900.”
Mannino said props in general are tricky.
“I feel like a lot of people are looking for opportunities all across the board,” Mannino stated. "There is going to be opportunity with so many offerings and sharps are always digging through them.”
PointsBet did get hit on the Tyreek Hill over receiving props, so they have moved the number up a couple of times. The only other props they have some liability on is Tom Brady over .5 rushing yards and Mike Evans to score the first touchdown.
Before parting ways, I asked Avello if the big bet from Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale affected their number at DraftKings.
“We didn't change the number after he bet it, as there is still a lot of action to come through the weekend,” the oddsmaker said. “There are more six figure bets to come with plenty of time to go.”
As for whether Avello will be watching the game, he told me he usually catches bits and pieces of the game.
“This year is a little more exciting because we have two national commercials,” he said. “The second commercial has to do with a fourth quarter pool on our site and we put up a million dollars for it.”
That wraps up our NFL season action reports, but stay tuned for more fun things ahead on our BetQL pages. Cheers to a great game!
Vikas Chokshi covers the gambling industry for BetQL and his written work can be found on the sports betting vertical of Radio.com. He has an extensive network of oddsmakers and appears frequently on podcasts, radio and television shows. His previous work can be found at The Action Network, VSiN, Gaming Today, Front Office Sports, and The Big Lead.
You can find him at @docksquad33 on Twitter.