Super Bowl XLVIII action report: Books test bettors with 2.5, admit to inflated total

Jan 21, 2014 |
Books believe in Seattle and are testing the market with a move to Seahawks +2.5.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Books believe in Seattle and are testing the market with a move to Seahawks +2.5.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Odds for Super Bowl XLVIII have been up since Richard Sherman went bananas in Erin Andrews’ postgame interview, and the early betting action has been just as intense as the Seahawks’ shutdown corner.

We talk with Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for, about the early money on the Big Game and how books are adjusting with still nearly two weeks before the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos kickoff at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos – Open: Pick, Move: -3, Move: -2.5

According to Stewart, the opening line of a pick’em lasted all but five minutes at his book. Action flooded in on the Broncos and books quickly went to -1 and -1.5. That didn’t slow down Denver backers, who quickly pushed the spread to -2.5.

Oddsmakers did their best to stay under the key number of the field goal, bouncing the juice on the Broncos before finally giving in to the market swing, and tagging the Seahawks as field-goal underdogs in the Super Bowl. Money on Seattle has started to show at that spread.

“I've been doing this for 15 years, I've never seen a surge of money come in on one side like that before,” Stewart tells Covers. “We went from pick'em and, within 35 minutes, we were dealing -3 on this game. At Seahawks +3 (-115) /Broncos -3 (-105), we started seeing money come in on the dog and again, we were able to shutdown the flood of Bronco money at that number.”

While the early bettors have voiced their opinion on the Broncos, with 75 percent of the total handle on the Broncos, Stewart and his crew aren’t sold on Denver as a field-goal favorite against the top defense in the NFL, possibly playing in some nasty winter weather on February 2.

“We made this game a pick for a reason and my crew and I believe this game is a complete toss up, so giving the Seahawks three points was just too many in our opinions,” he says.

Stewart tested that theory by dropping the spread to Denver -2.5 (-120), and only 62.5 percent of the bets made after that adjustment were on the Broncos. He says they’re comfortable at that spread because his team is high on Seattle and the fact that Broncos bettors have to lay 20 cents on the dollar to bet the favorite.

“I do believe the enthusiasm on these Broncos will dwindle as we get closer to game time,” says Stewart. “Once pundits and experts bring up Manning's sub-par performances in cold weather, I do believe we'll start to see more Seahawks money. If there's severe weather in this game, I wouldn't be surprised if the Seahawks close the favorite. But, we've got two weeks to deal with this game and this line.”

As for the total for Super Bowl XLVIII, it’s been relatively uneventful when compared to the action on the spread. Most books opened around 48 points and early action has leaned toward the Under, trimming some numbers as low as 47.5. However, Stewart says this number will likely move again – more than likely upwards – by kickoff on Feb. 2.

“This is the Super Bowl and like every other Super Bowl, we're going to need it Under because the public is going to bet this game Over as we get closer to game time,” says Stewart. “The public loves betting Over and they love betting the Super Bowl, so every book in the world is going to need this game Under and we're all dealing a bit of an inflated total at this point.”
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