by Trevor Whenham – 1/23/2013
When it comes to betting on the Super Bowl, the biggest secret to success is simple — avoid common Super Bowl betting mistakes. Here are six mistakes that bettors make far too often surrounding the big game:
Buying into the hype – There will be about 5,000 accredited media members in New Orleans, and many times more people sitting at home sharing their opinions. Those people need things to talk about, and there just aren’t a whole lot of meaningful angles — it’s just one game, after all. That means that any storyline that is important — or that sounds important — will get beaten into submission and will be made to sound like much more than it really is. With two weeks to await the game, it can be easy to get sucked into all that coverage and to start to believe that what is getting talked about endlessly is actually what is important to the outcome of the game, It rarely is. The best thing you could do when getting ready for the Super Bowl is just to tune out and ignore all the coverage and treat it like what it ultimately is — just another football game.
Overvaluing the emotional angles – This year there are going to be two angles to this game that are going to get the full treatment from the media. This is the last game of a long, storied career for Ray Lewis, and the first time ever that two brothers have coached against each other in a game of this magnitude. Both storylines are compelling. There is one crucial thing to remember, though — neither is going to decide the winner of the game. In fact, neither will have a major impact on the outcome. Don’t get sucked in.
Worrying about style points – The Ravens dominated the Patriots, and New England was the team most people thought were going to win the Super Bowl. The Niners looked terrible in the first half against an Atlanta team that few truly respected, and they were lucky to steal a win after giving up mountains of passing yards and failing to establish their potent running game to the extent they often do. Given how the Ravens won and who they beat, it could be easy to give them more credit than San Francisco. The important thing to remember, though, is that the only thing that matters from previous games is that the teams won. Beyond that, the layoff before the game means that momentum isn’t likely to carry over. Focus on what the teams are likely to do next instead of what they just did.
Getting sucked in by the props – There are more and more prop bets offered on the Super Bowl every year, and they are a big part of what makes the Super Bowl such a spectacle. Some of them can provide excellent value as well — perhaps even much more than the spread or the moneyline. For every prop that makes sense, though, there are many that don’t. Betting on the props that make no sense is for suckers. The classic example is betting on the coin flip. It’s a 50-50 proposition, yet you pay -110 or even -120 to pick a side. In other words, over the long term you are absolutely guaranteed to lose money. Before you make any prop bet be sure to think about what the prop is actually about and whether it actually represents value.
Rushing your action – The line typically moves quickly after it has been set, but by early in the first week it has settled down and started to stabilize. Because of the large amount of action on the game, it is relatively rare for the line to move dramatically in a short period of time close to the game — unless something dramatic happens like an injury. Unless you have a strong opinion and are able to get in on it early before the line moves, there is no real reason to rush your bet on the Super Bowl. By waiting until close to the game you can keep an eye on the health and mental makeup of the teams and be sure the team you thought you liked is still poised to succeed. You can also see how the public decides to spend their money and how that impacts potential value. With the Super Bowl more than any other game all year, unless you have a good reason to bet early patience is usually best.
Betting too much – This is the biggest football game of the year. It’s also pretty much the worst one to bet on. The players are under more scrutiny and pressure than ever before. They have had far too much time to think about the game. They are playing in a neutral building in front of an unpredictable crowd. There is also insane amounts of public money on the game, so the lines are less predictable than ever before. We should bet on this game because it’s challenging, or exciting, or entertaining. We shouldn’t bet on it because it’s a great bet or because we want to make up for previous losses. If you are planning to make your biggest bet of the year on this game, then you really need to ask yourself what you want out of it and if that makes sense.