Finding value is what sports betting is all about. When the potential payoff for a bet is greater than the risk associated with that bet then you have value, and if you keep making your sports picks like that over the long term you will make a very nice profit. Unfortunately, it’s typically much easier to find value in games in which there is little betting attention or media coverage than in a popular, heavily bet game. That means that the Super Bowl – the most popular betting event in the country by far – is pretty much the worst possible place to be looking for value. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find it. It just means that you have to search particularly hard for it. Here are two of the best places for football handicappers to look for value in the big game:
When the public is enthusiastically on one team – Sports books love the Super Bowl, but they also fear it. they have the opportunity to make massive amounts of money, but they can also be exposed to serious losses if they have an unexpectedly bad day. The place where they are most vulnerable is if money piles in on one side and that team covers the spread. Because sportsbooks are so fearful of that possibility they do everything they can to make sure that it doesn’t happen. That means that they are going to do everything they can to balance action from the start. If one team is likely to be much more popular than the other then their goal of balancing action means that the betting spread could start higher than it otherwise might, and it means that the books will move the line aggressively if action continues to be one-sided. That means that it’s quite possible that the football team that is being ignored by the bettors has a line that is more generous than it normally would be. That could mean value for the savvy football handicapper.
It’s important to keep in mind what this means, though. It does not mean that the line is too high for the favorite to possibly cover, or that the underdog should be blindly bet. It’s really quite possible that the favorite can cover – obviously. All this means is that the underdog is more likely to cover than they would be if the line were lower. It’s still possible that the potentially inflated price still isn’t high enough to justify a bet on them. It’s just that there is a dramatically better chance that there is value on the underdog in this situation than that there is favorite value.
Prop bets – There are a huge number of prop bets offered on the Super Bowl – and the number grows every year. A lot of the prop bets are a total waste of time – like betting on the outcome of the coin toss for a chance at a payout at well below even money. There are some that are just good for fun – like the length of the national anthem or which sideline reporter will be featured first during the game. Stuck amongst all of those ridiculous choices, though, are often a few prop bets that are worth a close look by football bettors.
In my mind there are two things that make a Super Bowl prop bet very attractive – they can be easily analyzed, and their outcome is dependent on just a few factors. For example, let’s say you believe that one team is going to have a significant advantage in the running game – that they are going to be able to run at will because the defense can’t handle what they will throw at them. You might not want to bet on the outcome of the game because it can be hard to know for sure what the impact of this running mismatch will be on the game. By looking at props, though, you can isolate that running advantage and find ways to exploit your opinion. You could bet on the rushing yardage the running back gains. Or you could bet the under on the number of passes the quarterbacks will throw – the running game burns the clock so offenses get less time to shine. You could bet that the team that can run will score a lot of points in the fourth quarter because the grind of the running game will tire out the defense. There are many possibilities depending on your opinion and the props that are available. Not every Super Bowl prop will likely be worth betting, but when there are so many that could potentially be bet smart football handicappers stand a good chance of finding one that provides value based on their individual visions of how the game will turn out.