Both conference championship games cleared the posted total, which combined with the favorites winning, made for a long day for sportsbooks across the country last Sunday.
There were 59 points in the Chiefs win over the Titans. The 49ers and Packers followed with 57 more. Both contests went ‘over’ comfortably despite the AFC Championship featuring a scoreless third quarter and the NFC Championship starting slowly.
Seeing one touchdown after another apparently influenced the majority of the betting public to blindly bet the ‘over’ in the final game of the season.
Super Bowl LIV is expected to be tightly contested and we’ll go into that more in a comprehensive breakdown of Kansas City-San Francisco next week. But one thing has stood out about betting patterns that can be addressed immediately. Bettors are getting in on the high side in the hopes that the value of getting in at the right number proves more advantageous than erring on the side of caution.
The Chiefs-49ers total opened at 51. It climbed to 54 and was moving even further north as of Tuesday morning.
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews reported on his Twitter feed that he’d taken nothing but bets on the ‘over’ from the moment the line was released on Sunday until he finally got a bite on the low side 24 hours later.
As a friendly reminder, last year’s matchup between the Patriots and Rams closed at 56. New England’s defense dominated Jared Goff and won 13-3 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.
That game was also played indoors at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This one won’t be. This one will be played outdoors, where Mother Nature can rain on the ‘over’ parade.
Patrick Mahomes’ elite ball handling and crisp passing, keys to consecutive Chiefs’ comeback wins, would be strengths mitigated by inclement weather. Kansas City proved in the AFC Championship that it can run it effectively and control the clock too, but that led to a lower-scoring second half than expected.
A 49ers offense that wants to run as often as possible would likely welcome a little rain, which might mean that the wrong side is favored if the skies open.
With early birds hoping for a Super Bowl shootout, it should be pointed out that there have only been four of these that have closed with a number higher than 54. The Pats’ comeback win over the Falcons in 2017 topped 57 points thanks to overtime. That total equaled the Super Bowl XLIV number as the largest ever put on one of these bad boys.
That game, played Feb. 7, 2010, was also held at Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock stadium (then known as Sun Life) and featured the Drew Brees-led Saints rallying for a 31-17 win over Peyton Manning and the Colts. ‘Under’ 57 gave the low side a fifth win in six years, but it’s a game that was part of that run and also played in South Florida just three years prior that should serve as a warning to give you pause if you haven’t already gotten in on the ‘over’ craze.
Manning got his only title with the Colts over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI back in ‘07 in a game where rain ruled the day. ‘Under’ 47 narrowly survived in Indianapolis 29-17 win that was played in a torrential downpour at then Dolphin Stadium as the building was in between naming rights. Prince, may he rest in peace, performed “Purple Rain” in the pouring rain at halftime.
Chicago lost because it committed five of the game’s eight turnovers. There were six combined fumbles, five of which were recovered by the defense. Field conditions were soggy and the game was sloppy.
A quick look at the AccuWeather forecast for Feb. 2 in Miami Gardens mentions a passing shower in the afternoon before the skies are supposed to clear in order to give the world the great show it wants to see. As someone who lived just north of that area for nearly a decade, I should inform you that taking the weather forecast in that area as gospel even a day in advance requires wishful thinking.
Nearly two weeks away? The forecast may as well call for multiple rainbows to follow one of those ominous-looking water spouts. I’ve sat on a beach watching said weather phenomenon unfold because it was still clear where I was and terrifyingly dark just miles away. In South Florida, you can see a torrential downpour flood the streets in one neighborhood and other nearby areas go unaffected.
Passing showers in the afternoon can turn into a steady downpour. Although it’s true that the less predictable weather surfaces mostly in the summer and hurricane season, believing there will be clear skies to help facilitate a high-scoring game requires a leap of faith that many have already taken.
Super Bowl XLI remains the only one affected by rain, but 13 years later, there’s a chance it may have company. Bad weather held off in East Rutherford back in 2014 as a blizzard didn’t strike until after the Seahawks were done trouncing the Broncos 43-8, but the storm did cause major delays for those trying to get home.
Only one other game has been held outdoors since prior to this one and following next year’s game in Tampa, there isn’t another Super Bowl currently scheduled in a structure lacking a roof that can be closed.
If you got in on ‘over’ 51 points, kudos. You’re in at the right number. However, that’s proof that a lot of people never considered weather being a factor. If you did and pulled the trigger anyway, hopefully you’re not proven foolish.
Last week: No selections