Super Bowl 53 Betting Tip: Should Bettors Follow Line Movement?

Super Bowl 53 Betting Tip: Should Bettors Follow Line Movement? article feature image
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87)

  • The Super Bowl 53 point spread and over/under are on the move.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze whether bettors should follow Super Bowl line movement.

Oddsmakers opened the Super Bowl 53 betting line as a pick’em between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. The over/under opened at 58.5. It didn’t take long for both lines to start moving.

The Patriots are receiving an overwhelming amount of support from public and sharp bettors. With more than 80% of tickets and dollars on New England, bookmakers have moved the Pats to 2.5-point favorites with line hitting the key number of -3 for 17 minutes.

Bettors didn’t just move the spread, the over/under has shifted as well since the conference championship games ended. Super Bowl 53 opened with the highest total (58.5) in Super Bowl history.

A majority of tickets and dollars are on the under, causing the line to drop to 57, which is now tied with Super Bowl 51 for highest over/under.

Oddsmakers move lines based on sharp action. If the pros are on the Patriots and the under, would it be profitable to follow line movement in the Super Bowl?

To find out, we used the Bet Labs database to analyze against-the-spread (ATS) and over/under line movement in Super Bowl history.

Super Bowl Spreads

There are 15 Super Bowls in our database and the line has moved in 13 of them. The team that has seen the line move in its direction, meaning it became a bigger favorite (-1 to -3) or smaller underdog (+6 to +4), has gone 8-5 ATS.

That is a small sample but it fits the larger trend we see when analyzing line movement in the other rounds of the playoffs. Since 2003, in all playoff games the team that has seen the line move in its direction has gone 70-52-4 (57.4%) ATS.

This doesn’t mean the Patriots will cover, but history is on New England’s side.

Super Bowl Over/Unders

Since 2004, when the over/under decreases in the Super Bowl the under has gone 4-6. If the total increases, the over has gone 2-2. Combined, following the line movement, whether the total increases or decreases, has gone 6-8 (there was no line movement in Super Bowl 40).

These results would not encourage you to follow the over/under line movement. However, if we look at the rest of the playoffs in the same time frame to get a larger sample size the results change.

Since 2004 in all playoff games, following the over/under line movement has gone 81-67-4 (54.7%). That looks promising but all of the value came from betting the under when the line decreased in the Wild Card Round (21-7).

If you remove those games, following the over/under line movement has gone 40-40-4 (50.0%).

A majority of bettors are on the under but the data doesn’t recommend blindly following the crowd.

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