MIAMI — It’s early, but MGM might be rooting hard for the San Francisco 49ers on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs opened as 1-point favorites in Super Bowl LIV, and bettors are happily taking the Chiefs.
About 80 percent of the money that has been bet on the point spread for this Super Bowl has come in on the Chiefs, says Jeff Stoneback, the director of trading operations for MGM Resorts International.
Stoneback said MGM has taken two six-figure bets already and both were on the Chiefs. One bet was $200,000 and the other was $150,000.
Even with the large early volume on the Chiefs, the line has not moved. Kansas City still sits as a 1-point favorite at MGM.
Super Bowl point spread has not moved
For most games, when bettors are overwhelmingly taking one team oddsmakers will move the line. Usually if a 1-point favorite got 80 percent of the bets, they’d be a 2-point favorite or more pretty quickly. But the Super Bowl is not a normal game.
Although the line has been up at MGM since shortly after the NFC championship game ended on Jan. 19, the majority of the betting won’t happen until the weekend as fans arrive in Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. And there will be a lot of money wagered. Last year’s Super Bowl generated $145.9 million in bets, the second-highest ever according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. MGM doesn’t want to move off of the 1-point spread too early.
“If this was a regular-season game, we’d have moved it,” Stoneback said. “But it’s too early to panic.”
Also, since only a fraction of the bets have come in — Stoneback estimated only about 5 percent of the Super Bowl LIV bets have been made already — the two large Chiefs bets have skewed the 80 percent figure.
Stoneback figures by Sunday, it’ll be closer to even. Mostly, sportsbooks want close to a 50-50 split on games.
“Usually you get two-way action on the Super Bowl,” Stoneback said. “The San Francisco people just haven’t weighed in yet.”
Over/under has moved
One number that has moved is the total, or over/under. The line opened at 53.5 points and has moved to 54. Stoneback said 88 percent of the money and 84 percent of the tickets have come in on the over.
While the over/under is a popular bet — it’s the combined points scored by both teams — it’s not as monstrous as the action that will come in on the point spread (which is also referred to as “the side”). So MGM moved the line based on the heavy action for the over.
“The public doesn’t play the total as much as the side so we’re more apt to move it,” Stoneback said.
Stoneback said professional bettors will likely see value in the under and will bet it closer to kickoff, hoping for another line move toward the over.
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