Super Bowl Action Report: Books Waiting On Rams Money
With a week until Super Bowl LIII kicks off in Atlanta, one thing is for certain: Sportsbooks have a lot of exposure on the New England Patriots. Early money has been lopsided on the Patriots but when it comes to the Super Bowl, things can change quickly in the second week leading up to the game.
It’s hard to believe in a game of this magnitude but after the first week of wagering, no one is betting the Los Angeles Rams. Really, almost no one. As of Saturday, the Westgate LV SuperBook had taken 173 bets on the Patriots to just 39 on the Rams. The money was 12 to 1 in favor of New England.
Just because the Patriots are seeing all the money now, it doesn’t mean that trend will continue up until kickoff.
“Sometimes in the first week you see things that don’t last,” said Ed Salmons, sportsbook manager at the SuperBook. “I remember a Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl a couple years ago where we thought we would be going to 3.5. All of a sudden week two came and it was all Falcons money. In the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl the first week was all Seattle money and the second week was all New England money. These things sometimes change in the second week.”
FanDuel happy to have Patriots exposure
In New Jersey, one sportsbook is happy to keep taking Patriots action. FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the only shops holding steady at -2, despite taking mostly New England money in the first week of wagering.
FanDuel opened the number at Rams -1 but that was quickly bet away and the book settled at New England -2. While some places went to -3 on Friday night, FanDuel is happy to draw in Patriots bettors by offering a more attractive number because they believe the line should be closer to pick.
“To be honest, our view is the line is a little bit lopsided because the public is on New England,” said John Sheeran, risk manager for FanDuel Sportsbook. “We’re actually holding at -2 on the Patriots and we’ll likely keep that position right through kickoff because we believe the line should be closer to pick rather than having New England favored.
“Our expert traders think this a really good spot for us to lay New England. Having the number a little bit better than everyone else has seen some good pickup on the Patriots and we’re happy to be in that spot.”
Is Rams money on the way?
Sheeran said he hasn’t seen much action on the Rams, mainly because bettors can get a more attractive line elsewhere. However, if late money comes in on Los Angeles, he believes FanDuel is in good position to move the number to the Rams.
“We feel we’re in a good spot to negate the Rams interest,” said Sheeran. “We are seeing some money on the Rams but if people are betting the Rams, they’re more likely to do it elsewhere seeing they’re getting an extra half point at a majority of books. If there is a late move for the Rams, we’re in the best position to move with it.”
Again though, it’s still early, so the trend could swing as more money comes in on the game. Johnny Avello, DraftKings’ director of sportsbook operations, expects most of his book’s action to come on gameday.
“It all seems to be going on the Patriots right now but I always look at this as the early money and a small percentage of action we’ll take,” Avello said. “Most of the money – I’d say 75 percent – comes in the day of the game. Right now, the trend is to bet the Patriots. I don’t know if the game is going to even out totally but there will be some kind of push on the Rams. I know if the game gets to three, there will certainly be Rams money showing up.”
Biggest bets still to come
Another thing to keep in mind is while a large percentage of the bets and money are on the Patriots, most books have yet to take their largest wagers for the Super Bowl. The biggest bet at the SuperBook as of Saturday was $35,000 on the Patriots -2. While $35,000 is nothing to sneeze at, it will be a drop in the bucket compared to some of the larger bets the SuperBook will take closer to kickoff.
Sheeran said FanDuel has taken a couple of larger wagers but expects the big money to come in next week.
“Our biggest bet so far is $65,000 on the Patriots moneyline,” said Sheeran. “I’d expect that to be a fraction of the biggest bet we get come kickoff though. We have some large bettors in the New Jersey area that have been betting with us through most of the NFL season. I’d be very surprised if we don’t have a bet close to $500,000 by the time kickoff comes.”
Which way will the line move?
As more money comes in, it will be interesting to see where the line goes, especially if bettors start to hit the Rams, like many expect. On Friday night, William Hill and Stations Casino moved the number to Patriots -3. The South Point was the first sportsbook to move the line to -3 on Tuesday. It lasted 17 minutes, as Rams bettors flocked to get down on that number.
“If you’re the first one to three flat it’s like throwing blood in the water,” said Salmons. “You will have all these guys just circling you to bet the Rams. “We’ll wait to the middle to end of next week to get a feel for the game and see if there will be some Rams money showing up. I think there will be but if there isn’t, you’ll definitely see -3.”
If the line does get to -3, expect FanDuel to be the last book to move to that number. Sheeran wants to take in as much Patriots money as possible before moving the line to the Rams.
“We are seeing a heavy bias to New England and we’re fine with it,” he said. “We’re in a position where we are looking to still try and take as much exposure on the Patriots that we can get.”