The biggest spread in sports is sitting on the fence, with oddsmakers setting Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks as a pick’em - the first pick’em spread in Super Bowl betting history.
However, that dead-even spread may not be there for long with online sportsbooks reporting early action on Denver.
Sportsbook.ag is reporting that 93 percent of the early money was on Denver in the first 15 minutes of betting. That forced a move to Denver -1, which took 89 percent of the action on the Broncos and pushed the spread to a field goal.
The drastic move and the potential for early-bird bettors to middle the biggest game of the season isn’t bothering oddsmakers, who know there is much, much, much more to come from the betting public before February 2.
“The amount of action in such a short time doesn’t worry us,” Mike Perry, of Sportsbook.ag said when asked about the potential for bettors to middle the Super Bowl with bets on Denver (Pick) and Seattle (+3).
The Broncos looked dominant in their win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, winning 26-16 as a 5.5-point home favorite. Denver veteran quarterback Peyton Manning was precise as ever, going 32 for 43 for 400 yards and two touchdowns.
In Seattle, the Seahawks flexed their muscles defensively, making a game-saving interception in the end zone to seal a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship, covering as 3.5-point home chalk.
“Though I preferred to favor Seattle ultimately, with the other guys’ opinions, I settled with the original pick,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club tells Covers.
Korner and his stable of oddsmakers released early Super Bowl spreads for the four possible matchups last week, and are sticking to their original number of a pick’em between Seattle and Denver.
While Korner may be leaning a little toward the Seahawks, he doesn’t discount the edge the Broncos have under center with Manning playing in his third Super Bowl and Seattle QB Russell Wilson making his Big Game debut in just his second year in the league.
“I think (experience) is a big edge but Seattle is the slightly better team right now,” he says. “If the line was made after half the season was done, Denver would have been a big favorite. Not now though.”
Perhaps the big question on everyone’s mind heading into Super Bowl XLVIII is whether the cold New Jersey weather will have an impact or not, with this being the first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl. Both teams are used to playing in the elements.
“We saw real crappy weather earlier in the year and the offenses exploded,” says Korner. “All I can say is if it's really windy, the better rushing team will be better off.”
As for the total, Korner’s group sent out a suggested number of 49 points while online books posted an opening total of 48.
“We sent out 49. Two factors will play on the closing line. The weather and the fact everyone will bet the Over no matter what we put up if the weather is OK,” says Korner. “Just like they bet both championship games Over. Didn't turn out so well there for them.”