The lead up to the big game on Feb. 11 can seem like an eternity. However, there are a lot of key moments you won’t want to miss between now and then. It may appear to be a full two weeks between games, but much of the value can be found at key points along the way. You need to know what to be looking for and when to look for it. In this article, we’ll give you a timeline for your Super Bowl betting as we barrel toward the conclusion of the NFL season.
Early Betting Action: The Initial Super Bowl Betting Line
We’ve had Super Bowl lookahead lines since well before the Conference Championship games were played. But as soon as the clock hits 0:00 in Lions-Niners, the race will be on for the books to put out the official Super Bowl betting line.
Early bird gets the worm, but in the case of this game, the game line will be well less than a touchdown. You can shop around for value as various shops jockey for position. In the case of a potential Niners-Ravens matchup, line moves around the +1/-1 just aren’t that valuable. The more valuable market may be the total. When it comes to totals, there’s more value in odd numbers, but the 50 still holds value as well. If you can catch an extra half point on/off a total of 47, 49, or 50, you’re significantly cutting into the house edge. One half-point of value won’t be enough to give you a positive EV bet, but it’s a good approach if you plan to bet the total anyway.
Late Betting Action: Super Bowl Public Money
The Super Bowl is the one sporting event where public money can actually impact the market. However, that impact doesn’t come until late in the betting cycle. You can’t really count on a public money push until the weekend of the game. These days, sportsbook corporations are big enough that they don’t need to sweat the public money. That doesn’t mean they are OK with lopsided liabilities they need to explain to their corporate overlords. If there is a strong public darling in this matchup, expect movement toward that team to happen between Feb. 8-11.
Remember, public bettors typically want to see things happen. They generally bet the Over. Another phenomenon that occurs uniquely in the Super Bowl is that bettors backing the favorite tend to lay the points. While bettors who like the underdog typically bet the moneyline. Be on the lookout for spreads and moneylines that are slightly out of sync. Using the Unabated Alternate Lines Calculator is a great way to analyze this.
Super Bowl Prop Betting Calendar
A tradition unlike any other — Super Bowl prop bets are king. As few as four years ago, prop bets made up about 50% of the total money wagered on the Super Bowl. Now they account for more than 70% of the handle, especially with the rise in popularity of parlay bets. You will be inundated with prop picks and prognostications over the next two weeks. Knowing where to look and, more importantly, when to look is a big part of beating your fellow bettors to the latest prop releases.
Sunday Jan. 28
You can expect most of the bigger retail brands in the U.S. to release some props to bet along with the game line after the end of the AFC championship. These will mostly be game props that are fairly algorithmic based on the game line. Things like “Will the score be tied after 0-0?” “Will there be a score in the last 2:00 of the game?” “Will there be three unanswered scores?” Oh, and of course the classic, “Will the coin toss be heads or tails?”
These are props that could be offered on any NFL game. They don’t require knowledge of who is playing. If you’re anxious to get your hands on some props, these are fine, but the real meat is served later. Sportsbooks will generally push their higher edge props via social media. Expect some Super Bowl MVP markets to be hyped after the game ends.
Monday Jan. 29th and Tuesday Jan. 30 — Retail First Movers
You can expect to see some NFL player props start to trickle out from books like DraftKings and FanDuel on Monday. Completions, receptions, rushes, as well as yardage props for starting players. The nice thing about Super Bowl props is that they go deep into the roster. You can expect the third string tight end to have a receiving prop up by the end of the week. Monday and Tuesday will mostly be about the starters though.
Here’s where it gets frustrating: the prop selection will continue to expand day by day, but there’s no indication of what’s been posted since your last visit. If you’re serious about betting props, keep a spreadsheet log of what you’ve seen and where you’ve seen it. This can be tedious, but it’ll save you a lot of time a week from now when you’re trying to recall where you saw that receptions prop on the fullback.
Some sharp advice that bears repeating: bet Overs early; bet Unders late. If you’re reading this article you are likely familiar that most sharp bettors look for Unders opportunities. Meanwhile, the public bettors love to see things happen in the Super Bowl and they’re always on the Overs. If you see an Over that you like, it’s never too early to grab it. Similarly, with props based on something to happen or not in the game, take yes early, no late.
Wednesday Jan. 31 — Vegas Enters the Chat
The Super Bowl prop season is also unique in that it is one of the few markets where Vegas sportsbooks still have a big influence on the U.S. and global market. For years, Super Bowl props in Vegas followed a very strict schedule. If you put your lines out before the Hilton Superbook, you better be ready to move them in line with those prop lines when they’re released (more on that shortly). As a result, most Vegas books would wait to see the lines from the Hilton before posting their own.
A lot has changed since then. The Hilton became LVH then became Westgate. The Superbook moniker lives on. A few years ago when Cantor Gaming had their moment in the sun they would often release by Wednesday. In more recent years, William Hill/Caesars has been bold enough to release props before Superbook. You can expect a full array of props (including harder to price cross-sport and novelty props) to come out starting Wednesday Jan. 30.
Be warned though that most of the Vegas books won’t release their full catalog of props on their apps until the weekend. You’ll need to bet in-person or at least at a kiosk if you want to bet these prop lines in the first couple days. Also, don’t expect the nationwide apps, like Caesars, to have these Vegas prop lines to start. There’s a bit of a technology gap between Vegas books and their branded apps elsewhere. It means that things don’t always line up when it come to available markets.
Thursday Feb. 1 — Superbook and Their Superpower
The biggest event in prop betting happens at 7 p.m. PT in Las Vegas on Thursday Feb. 1. This is the famous Superbook Super Bowl prop opener. All at once, Superbook will display their hundreds of props on their gigantic screens and open up the lines for bettors. Each bettor is allowed to make two bets at up to $2,000 each into the opening lines. After their two bets, they must head to the back of the line and inch their way back to the front. This process goes on for as long as there are interested bettors willing to bet.
It’s quite a spectacle and it is a who’s who of famous sports bettors who line up to take their crack at Superbook openers. This also serves to hammer the prices in place for sportsbooks across Nevada as well as the rest of the country. Unfortunately for bettors with access to the Superbook in other states, the prop lines are not made available in the app until at least the weekend.
Friday Feb. 2 and Saturday Feb. 3 — Super Bowl Props Fill Out
By the weekend, other influential Vegas books like Circa, South Point, Stations, and Boyd will make their Super Bowl prop packets available. The prop packet is another longtime tradition of Super Bowl props. These are printed, legal-sized, packets of all the available props offered. You can pick these up in-person, but more efficiently, you can begin to download these online as they become available.
Beyond Vegas, by the first weekend the prop lines at all the major U.S. retail books and offshore will also be available. These include various props such as the National Anthem and Gatorade color, which inexplicably are always a draw to bettors.
Be aware that not all states allow for all novelty props. Many states have regulations which state that wagers are only permitted on events that take place on the field during the game. Offshore sportsbooks are likely going to have more selection of novelty props.
Sunday Feb. 4 to Friday Feb. 9 — Waiting for the Super Bowl
There’s very little movement in lines in the second week of the Super Bowl lead-up. That doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to wager on in relation to the game. Plenty of time to use the Unabated Prop Simulator to price out some alternate prop lines. There are a lot of game props that also can be solved with Unabated tools as well.
We’ll have plenty to keep you busy between now and then, though. Be on the lookout for our America-vs.-Europe prop betting showdown with Rufus Peabody, Peter Jennings and myself taking on a dedicated squad from across the pond in the first-ever prop-off. Plus I’ll be hosting Unabated Premium members for premium livestreams on Monday Feb. 5 and Wednesday Feb. 7. Look for links to these as the dates get closer.
Super Bowl Weekend
The mythical public money typically arrives Friday into Sunday. If you’ve been waiting to bet some Unders, now is your chance. Back in the day, sharps would wait until gameday to find great value on No Safety. Those days are likely behind us, but there’s still a few key props that tend to get bet up by the public and then hammered back down by the sharps.
At Unabated, we’ll be hosting our annual cavalcade of betting stars, Superstream 58, Saturday Feb. 10. You can expect a non-stop parade of pundits, podcasters, industry bookmakers, legends, and influencers. Everyone comes ready with one straight pick on the side or total and one prop play. It’s always an event you don’t want to miss. Look for more information about the broadcast in the weeks ahead.
- Be prepared to know when key markets are opening and where to look for lines.
- Bet Overs early; bet Unders late.
- Vegas has a big influence on prop pricing. Watch for releases from market making Vegas sportsbooks.
- Stay up-to-date with prop market developments at Unabated with the #super-bowl channel in our Discord, which has reopened.
- Tune into Unabated livestreams featuring our team of experts led by Rufus Peabody.