Calling all Rams money, you’re wanted immediately at any Las Vegas sportsbook during the final week of Super Bowl 53 wagering.
Every bet shop is loaded with Patriots cash waiting for things to balance out when Los Angelinos drive up with their carloads of cash. But as it sits with 85 percent of the overall wagers still to come, places like Caesars Palace have ticket counts siding with the Patriots at an 8-to-1 ratio.
The spread that started with the Rams being -1 or pick ’em around town jumped quickly to -2.5 within 45 minutes of being posted last Sunday. And the Patriots money just kept flowing through the bet windows. South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews was the first to make the leap to -3, the most key number in the NFL, a number the books were all hoping they’d never had to deal with.
“I just wanted to test the waters to see if there was Rams money out there, and there certainly was,” Andrews said. “I’m doing 10 different point spreads props tomorrow (Wednesday) and I wanted to be sure what my base number was and it clearly revealed that Patriots -2.5 is the base number.”
The Rams +3 -110 lasted only 17 minutes and the South Point got enough cash to push them back down to -2.5.
“I just wanted to see,” said Andrews. “Are they going to take 3? How long will it take to move me off? I just wanted to see what they would do, not only for the props but also for reference over the next two weeks.
“I now know there’s lots of Rams money loving +3.”
Three other books also had enough of Patriots at -2.5 and moved. William Hill tried Rams +3 -110 Friday and got enough Rams money to move to +3 -120 on Sunday morning. Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming made the jump to +3 -120 last week to see if there were any takers.
“We had enough risk on the Patriots and I wanted to test the waters early to see if could get some Rams money and it’s a little scary that since we went to -3 even that we haven’t seen anyone take the Rams (+3 -120),” Boyd Gaming sportsbook director Bob Scucci said a couple hours after moving the spread Thursday.
It’s apparent that the large money out there looking to bet the Rams is set on taking +3 flat. Laying the extra 10 cents at +3 -120 isn’t in their game plan yet. But with the majority of the action still to come, it appears those four sportsbooks that tested the waters early gave every other book the answer to what it’ll take to balance out the Patriots risk which is already over six-figures just about everywhere.
It doesn’t matter that most oddsmakers have these two teams rated equally and the proper number is pick ’em. The public says it’s Patriots -3 and they forced it there.
This is the public’s game, not the wiseguys who control the spreads in the regular season. But for those looking for value, the Rams offer lots of it and that goes for all the special point spread props where the base-number is Patriots -2.5.
Scucci made comparisons to past Super Bowls he has booked in regards to large moves off pick ‘’em.
“We had the Ravens get pushed fast from pick ’em up to -3 and the Giants never showed up in that one (2001), but then we had all Denver action against Seattle going from pick ’em to -3 and the Broncos got blown out (2014), so you never know,” he said.
By the way, the Seahawks 43-8 win over the Broncos remains the best Super Bowl win ever for Nevada sports books at $19.3 million (16.5 percent).
Super Bowl handle
Last season’s Super Bowl handle shattered the Nevada state record for the third straight year with more than $158 million wagered. And due to the underdog Eagles (+4) cashing on the money-line against the Patriots, the books held $1.1 in win, or just 0.7 percent, the lowest hold since losing $2.57 million (-2.8 percent) in 2008 when the underdog Giants (+12) beat the Patriots, 17-14.
Since Nevada starting keeping records of Super Bowl handle, the state has experienced only two losses. The other loss came in 1995 when the 49ers covered -18.5 against the Chargers, 49-26, which netted a -$396,674 loss (-0.8 percent).
One loss not entirely known for the state is Black Sunday in 1979 when the Steelers beat the Cowboys, 35-31, when the spread was -3.5, to -4, and up to -4.5. It was a middle-job to the highest degree that we’re all still talking about today. South Point’s Jimmy Vaccaro is the only guy still working in the business that booked that blood bath.
Based on the first week of action, from what I’m hearing, setting a handle record for the fourth consecutive season looks like an underdog.
The underdog is 13-4 ATS in last 17 Super Bowls with seven of the last nine winning outright. There have been only three times in the past 22 Super Bowls when the spread really mattered.
The underdog or favorite usually wins and covers. Just six times the spread has mattered in the 52 previous Super Bowls. The Super Bowl plan is either laying the points or take the underdog to win outright.
And just another underdog note: they’re on an incredible 17-4 ATS in the past two playoffs.
I’m not taking the Rams because underdogs have been the way to go in Super Bowls lately, or because Sean McVay is 8-0 the last two years against AFC teams, or because I saw the Patriots lose five games away from their home field this season. It’s about the value of +3 and my belief the Rams have more big-play playmakers. I’m predicting Rams, 38-28.
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