Almost immediately after Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen rifled a fourth-quarter interception into the hands of Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton during the AFC Championship Game, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas hung the first odds for Super Bowl LV.
They opened Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs as a 3.5-point favorite over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The total was set at 57.5 points.
The first wave of cash poured in on the Buccaneers +3.5, with many taking Under 57.5 and 57. It prompted most books to move to Kansas City -3 and 56 by late Sunday night. Those numbers haven’t really budged since.
And now we wait.
“When you open up the Super Bowl, there’s always this huge rush of betting immediately,” SuperBook sportsbook director John Murray told NESN. “Then by Monday or Tuesday, things usually settle down. We probably won’t see much betting activity until next Thursday or Friday when the public starts to arrive in Vegas.”
Murray stopped dead in his tracks and corrected himself.
“That’s how it would generally be, although this year might be a little different,” Murray continued. “We don’t know how many people are actually coming to Vegas. But usually there’s not a whole lot of activity on the side, total or moneyline until we get much closer to the game. The focus will be more on the props in the next 48 to 72 hours.”
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly has slowed the amount of travelers to Las Vegas over the last 10 months. The state of Nevada could very well see an all-time low for a Super Bowl handle (amount wagered) when you factor in the virus, legalization of sports betting in 19 other states and the emergence of mobile betting apps.
“Don’t you worry, bettors will find ways to get down,” one industry expert told me. “Handle may slow in Vegas, but all those people that are cancelling trips with their buddies will find a way. They always do.”
My initial lean in the game is to the Chiefs and Under 56.5 points. Brady has taken my lunch money in two straight weeks, though, so tread lightly. I still don’t think he’s played all that great, but I’m definitely salty.
And most bettors will flock to the Over. That’s just the way it works.
“I don’t know how you bet an Under in the NFL anymore,” Murray said. “Every game just seems to be this huge shootout. We lost a pretty substantial amount of money on the NFC Championship Game going Over the total. And we know the public is looking to bet the Over in the Super Bowl. It looked like Kansas City’s offense was back in gear on Sunday. Buffalo is a good team defensively and Kansas City moved the ball pretty much at will.”