SBXLVII - Betting Update
January 29, 2013
By Micah Roberts
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The darling of the prop season this year is San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. People can’t get enough of the running quarterback who can throw equally as deadly, and the sports books have met the demand by offering a prop on just about everything he could possibly do in the Super Bowl. Total passing yards: 235.5. Total rushing yards: 48.5. William Hill sports books lead the way with 23 different Kaepernick props.
William Hill books also did a nice little contest for the public to get involved with asking bettors to send in their own prop. The winner was 49ers fan Mike Smyth who wanted to see a prop asking whether or not 49ers backup QB Alex Smith would take a snap. William Hill posted No -700, YES +500. For his efforts, he was awarded a $100 bet on the Super Bowl. Way to go, Mike!
Where’s The Line Going to Go?
It’s hard to gauge how the final wave of action will come in because we should see 90 percent of the overall Super Bowl action begin playing over the weekend. The first wave saw lots of Ravens action, likely because everyone was so impressed by their win against at New England. That was last Sunday night when the line first came out where all the +5’s and 4.5’s were gobbled up.
But then things started to simmer down with equal action, and then to some degree, a shade towards the 49ers. Most sports books -- other than Wynn and William Hill -- went to 49ers -3.5, but on Friday, Coast Resorts went back to -4. On Sunday, Caesars also made the leap back to -4.
However, the most surprising move Sunday came up north at the Peppermill where they dropped the 49ers to -4. They started at -6.5 with intentions of staying high because of all the 49ers money expected in 49ers country, but obviously they couldn’t wait it out and made the decision to move.
"Our initial goal was to try and stay about a half-point above what Las Vegas was doing,” said Terry Cox, sports book director at the Peppermill. “That strategy worked very well for us in the NFC Championship where we had mostly 49ers money laying 4.5-points, instead of 4 like most had (49ers won 28-24). But we got to the point where the money dictated a move here and it was time to go.”
My first thought was that underdog money would come in the normal tradition of the Super Bowl. In the regular season, you can’t get bettors to take an underdog, but all of a sudden when the Super Bowl rolls around, they’re all over the ‘dog. And for the most part, they’ve been correct -- covering four of the last five Super Bowls and eight of the last 11.
If I had to guess, I think that final wave of action will still be weighted with Ravens money, making it probable that we might see some 3’s pop up by kickoff.
Who will the star of the game be?
This depends on who you think will win the game. I haven’t wavered from my initial thoughts of the Ravens winning in a high- scoring game, and if that happens, the main culprit for success would be Ravens QB Joe Flacco. In three playoff games thus far, Flacco has tossed eight touchdown passes and hasn’t thrown an interception. He’s averaged 284 yards passing over those three games and you could argue that he’s been in his best groove of the season.
That groove could be in jeopardy with the week off. We’ve seen over the years how flat some of the No. 1 and 2 seeds fare with the week off when they have to play a wild card winner, but I think Flacco will be okay. The only concern may be playing indoors. The Ravens lost their only indoor game this season, 43-13, at Houston in October, and they come off of frigid wins at Denver and New England. Maybe the temperature will be too nice for Flacco.
Besides the run Flacco’s on, one of the other main reasons to like him is the 49ers defense. Once held in high regards as one of the NFL’s best defenses, the tempo created by Kaepernick has put more pressure on the defense and they haven’t been as good. Consider that the 49ers defense gave up more than 340 yards in four of their last five games. The only team they held under 300 yards over that span was the pitiful Cardinals offense. In Week 15 they gave up 388 yards to the Patriots, 346 to Seattle in Week 17, 352 to the Packers in the divisional playoff, and 477 to the Falcons in the NFC championship game.
Teams are finding ways to beat the 49ers defense and it’s usually been downfield which has helped produce games going OVER the total in nine of their last 10 games. One thing Flacco does very well is throw the deep ball.
So needless to say, I find several of the props regarding yardage and TD passes with Flacco attractive. At the same time, if Flacco has success, that means the recipients of his passes should do well. That means Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta could be good plays OVER on some of their props. The LVH has a prop that pays +340 (Bet $100 to win $340) if Smith scores a TD in the first half. If you like the game high scoring like I do, then that becomes a distinct possibility.
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