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Super Bowl LVI: Early Odds Update and Betting Splits

Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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The final game of the NFL season is just over a week away with the Super Bowl matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium rapidly approaching. I spoke to PointsBet Sportsbook analyst Michael Korn to find out how early bettors played a role in the line movement and what other factors influence the Super Bowl betting markets.

Team Open Current Bet Count % Handle %
Cincinnati Bengals 59 53
Los Angeles Rams -4 -4.5

The Rams opened as four point favorites and moved up to the current line of -4.5 for Super Bowl LVI. The majority of the early moneyline support went to the underdogs, with 57% of moneyline bets and 59% of the handle coming in on the Bengals. Cincinnati’s win over Kansas City has many bettors sold on the team’s chances in Los Angeles.

“The Joe Burrow hype is huge,” Korn said. “People didn’t think anyone would beat the Chiefs and then the Bengals did it so they’re all aboard the Burrow train.”

The Cincinnati Bengals took in 59% of the spread bets and over half of the total handle wagered at PointsBet Sportsbook, but the spread still shifted towards the Rams. The move was likely due to a need to keep up with the global market, as most books currently list the spread as Rams -4.5, in addition to some early sharp action on L.A.

“There’s definitely some sharp money coming in on the Rams pushing it out towards that direction but there is going to be a point where the money starts to come back towards the Bengals,” Korn said. “I don’t think this will touch the -6.5 to -7 area, I see it coming back towards -4.”

A major line move becomes less likely as the big game approaches, with a massive amount of money wagered and plenty of data to inform the line for sportsbooks.

“Once we get deeper into next week, the line becomes more stable since this is the most-bet game of the year,” Korn said. “With so much money we’re able to create the perfect line for the Super Bowl.”

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With heavily-targeted markets like the spread, the value can be sapped up quickly as books adjust to any inefficiencies. There’s often more utility in targeting lesser-analyzed prop markets, where inaccurate lines can be picked off by proactive sharp bettors.

“People should look into props rather than being forced into betting the spread, moneyline or total,” Korn said. “There’s thousands of different markets you can bet on and with so many markets, it’s hard for bookmakers to keep track of everything.”

The extensive menu of available props opens up value in many markets, but not all prop markets are the same. Korn suggested that two-way markets are more advantageous for Super Bowl bettors compared to multi-way markets, especially before the books adjust.

“I’d say to look for the props where you’re getting two sides so it’s harder to disguise the juice,” Korn said. “There’s more value in props early in the week before there’s as much money being bet and we figure out what the line should be.”

One of the most common prop markets is the Anytime Touchdown Scorer prop. Since the Super Bowl attracts so many public bettors, sportsbooks typically shade up the odds of star players to manage risk.

“This is the ultimate game for the casual bettor, the Super Bowl is going to be the game where you’ll throw a couple bucks,” Korn said. “That’s us being proactive and knowing that those are going to be the markets people will bet on the most and they’ll obviously bet on the stars they know the most.”

The top two receivers for each team, Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase lead the way in bet count for this market despite massive prices, with fan favorite Odell Beckham Jr. taking in the third-most Anytime TD Scorer bets at PointsBet Sportsbook.

“Look for value on some of the longer shots and lesser known names,” Korn said. “Even if you find the best price on Odell Anytime Touchdown Scorer, it probably will be priced shorter than it usually would be to prevent getting hammered in liability on the stars.”

For bettors determined to bet on a side in the game, some recent Super Bowl trends favor the Bengals. Underdogs have been extremely profitable in the last 15 Super Bowls, with records of 9-6 ATS and 8-7 SU.

Super Bowl Underdogs

Super Bowl Underdogs

Cincinnati covered the spread in all three playoff games so far, and Super Bowl teams on an ATS win streak of at least three playoff games went 5-2 ATS and 5-2 straight up over the last 15 years.

Super Bowl teams coming off an ATS win streak of 3+ games

Super Bowl teams coming off an ATS win streak of 3+ games

The Rams won the NFC Championship but failed to cover as -3.5 favorites against the 49ers, and will be the fourth team in the last 15 Super Bowls to be listed as favorites while coming off an ATS loss in the previous game. Each of the other three teams lost outright as Super Bowl favorites. It’s important to consider more than just trends when handicapping a game, especially in such a saturated market, but I’m one of many bettors riding the Joe Burrow hype train into Super Bowl Sunday with the surging Cincinnati Bengals.