Last year at this time, Los Angeles had Super Bowl fever. The Rams were two-point underdogs against the New England Patriots in what was projected to be a shootout featuring an Over/Under of 55.5.
Little went as expected for local fans. The Rams mustered only three points in a desultory 10-point defeat. Bettors lost a lot of money. It was an awful result, with the team and its players failing to even approach most prop-bet targets in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.
Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV, matching the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, lacks local flavor. Neither team has a single player from USC or UCLA. But it still shapes up as an entertaining betting attraction for fans wanting to travel to Las Vegas to experience the greatest spectacle in sports wagering.
Here’s VSiN’s market report:
— It’s very clear that Kansas City draws strong interest at -1 or less. San Francisco shows support at +1.5 and would get even more if +2 becomes available before kickoff. Recreational bettors generally prefer favorites, which could lift the line. No key numbers are creating meaningful line value in the relative dead zone near pick-’em. Super Bowls can’t end in a tie. No favorite has ever won by exactly one point. No team has ever won by exactly two points. Barring a weekend injury or illness to a key player, the market window looks tight.
— Over/Under betting has settled down after strong early interest on the Over. Books that went up at 52 or 53 were flooded with Over bets. Unders didn’t show until a few sportsbooks tested 55. Sunday’s projected shootout is likely to close between 54 and 55 unless a bandwagon effect develops from recreational bettors wanting to root for points.
— Proposition options are way too numerous to list. Remember that value on props has typically been gobbled up already. Sharps (professional bettors) “fix mistakes” on openers with their money, as the nickname sharp comes from their tendency to sharpen the line. Be picky. Focus on your strongest opinions.
— A Los Angeles football team will be on the field next weekend when the Wildcats debut in XFL action on the road against the Houston Roughnecks (2 p.m. Feb. 8, Fox).
Sportsbooks’ perceptions are a bit muddled with so little information available for analysis. Caesars in Las Vegas shows the Wildcats, coached by Winston Moss, as five-point underdogs to the Roughnecks, coached by June Jones. That would suggest the Wildcats are the inferior team, unless home-field advantage in the league is expected to be worth at least six points.
But futures prices posted this week by DraftKings show Los Angeles as fourth best in the league and Houston tied for fifth. Current moneylines: Dallas +300, Tampa Bay +400, New York +450, Los Angeles +500, D.C. +750, Houston +750, St. Louis +1000, Seattle +1100.
A $100 bet on the Wildcats at +500 to win the XFL championship would earn a $500 profit. That ratio applies to any bet, such as $10 to win $50, and $1,000 to win $5,000.
Sportsbooks are unlikely to post Over/Unders until oddsmakers see what pace and offensive production are going to look like among myriad rule differences from traditional football.