Super Bowl 2019 Betting Sees Record Total, Early Line Moves

Tyler Durden

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Bookmakers set an unprecedented total of 58.5 for the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. The line has fallen in early action to 57.5 on sportsbooks like 888 and SugarHouse, but its still enough to top the previous consensus record of 57 in Super Bowl LI between New England and Atlanta.

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Both the Rams and Patriots are coming off overtime thrillers. L.A. outlasted the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship and won a long field goal from Greg Zuerlein, 26-23, stunning the favored home team.

The Patriots also needed extra time, likewise pulling off the road upset by winning 37-31 over Kansas City thanks to a Rex Burkhead touchdown run.

Now two of the NFL’s top offenses are set to square off in the biggest game of the year.

Offenses Shine for Patriots, Rams
Los Angeles was second in the NFL in scoring offense in 2018, averaging nearly 33 points per game. New England was fourth, averaging 27.3 points per regular-season competition.

The Patriots defense was also among the better units in the league, allowing 20.3 points per game, good for seventh-lowest total during the 2018 regular season. The Rams ranked 20th, allowing 24 points per game to opponents.

With those eye-popping figures, it’s no surprise that bookmakers set the record over/under total. New England’s recent history may also play a role.

The Patriots are making their third-consecutive appearance in the Big Game after two previous high-scoring affairs that blew by the respective projected totals. New England topped Atlanta 34-28 in Super Bowl LI, then fell 41-33 to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII.

Los Angeles hasn’t been in the Super Bowl since 2002, back when they played as the St. Louis Rams. Ironically their opponent was also the Patriots. The Rams, a 14-point favorite for that game, lost to the underdog Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17.

This year’s matchup is expected to be much closer.

Point Spread Shifts, But Bettors Still Expect Tight Game
As with their prior Super Bowl matchup, the Patriots opened as underdogs against the Rams. That didn’t last long.

ESPN reported that the line quickly jumped at many sportsbooks from offering either a pick ’em or Patriots +1 rapidly shifting all the way to New England -2. Most major U.S. bookmakers have those lines holding steady as of January 21.

Meanwhile moneyline bets see the Rams at +110 in most locals, with the Patriots at -134.

If the point spread holds, it will be the tightest line since Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. The game ended as a pick ‘em in many sportsbooks, which New England pulled out in a memorable 28-24 victory that denied Seattle a second-straight championship.

Prior to that, no game saw a spread of two points or less since Super Bowl XVI between San Francisco and Cincinnati. Depending on where you bet, the 49ers or Bengals closed as one-point favorites before San Francisco ultimately covered in a 26-21 win.

The Patriots have kept games close In eight previous Super Bowl appearances under Head Coach Bill Belichick and with quarterback Tom Brady. New England has kept every game within eight points or less, and in five wins have averaged a 3.8-point margin of victory.

In Super Bowl history, favorites have covered 25 times compared to 23 times for underdogs (pick ‘ems excluded). Under totals have been more frequent, occurring 34 times compared to 27 instances when the total went over.

Underdogs have been big winners in recent history, covering 12 of the last 17 Super Bowls. Totals have been more even, with overs holding a 9-8 lead during that same time.

It’s impossible to know what this year’s Super Bowl will bring, but the high total and one of the narrowest point spreads in recent history indicate this year’s game could be one of the most riveting of all time.
 

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