One of the most irritating things that a knowledgeable gambler will hear is when he watches the talking heads on television say that “Vegas thinks that one team is seven points better than the other team when in reality Vegas doesn’t even set the Super Bowl odds anymore.
Superbowl bets are made for the most part on the favorite and the over. The sportsbooks around the world set the line based on public perception, not the true merits of the teams involved. There is no better example of how the betting line for Superbowl bets is really made than the Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks a few years ago.
The Steelers were the sixth and final seed in the AFC while the Seahawks were the number one seed in the NFC. We know that the Super Bowl is always played on a neutral site field, so the Seahawks should have been the favorite as you made your Superbowl bets. But that is not what happened for those that made Superbowl bets. Pittsburgh was installed as a four-point favorite in Superbowl bets despite having the lower seed and lesser record. The Super Bowl odds were based on several factors starting with the fact that Pittsburgh was a far more popular team than the Seahawks.
Beyond the popularity factor for Superbowl bets, the Steelers were developing a reputation as giant-killers and road warriors as they won all three of their playoff games away from home. Seattle dominated throughout the season and was the far more consistent team of the pair matched up in the Super Bowl, but the combination of Pittsburgh’s national following and playoff run made the Steelers the chalk for Superbowl bets as the sportsbooks had to set a price that would attract Superbowl bets on Seattle to offset the heavy amount of money that would go towards Pittsburgh.
While sportsbooks and oddsmakers have the reputation of wanting even action in Superbowl bets, oftentimes they don’t mind getting overloaded on one side, as long as all of that money is on the losing side of the proposition. Looking at Superbowl bets is much like the stock market as the Super Bowl odds and prices are set based on public perception and consumer demand rather than the actual merits of the teams involved.