NFL betting report: Large wager placed on Colts to win Super Bowl 55, ‘soft’ win totals posted in Vegas

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Sept. 29, 2019 (AP Photo Lynne Sladky)
Philip Rivers (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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A respected bettor in Las Vegas has taken an early position on the Colts, a move to which oddsmakers have responded.

At 45/1 odds, a customer at Circa Sports played the Colts to win Super Bowl 55. Sportsbook manager Chris Bennett called it “one of the biggest bets we’ve taken in the Super Bowl pool,” and he shortened Indy’s futures number to 20/1 after he booked it.

The wager also influenced Bennett’s decision to post the Colts at 8.5 wins when his shop on Sunday became the first in town to open 2020 NFL win totals, a day before the free agency negotiating period began.

“We factored in a certain rating that was higher than it otherwise would have been because of that big bet we took on the Super Bowl,” Bennett told BetIndiana News on Monday.

The bettor may have been anticipating Indianapolis making a move at the most important position in football.

“Before we approved the bet, I immediately thought there’s something this guy knows about who they’re going to get at quarterback,” Bennett said, “so I immediately assumed, ‘Okay, this is a sharp bet, I’m going to move the number drastically so we don’t get any more Colts money for the foreseeable future. I figured it was (Tom) Brady or (Philip) Rivers, even though I thought Rivers was terrible last year and Brady is deteriorating. If the market thinks the Colts are really good – and I do think they have a good team outside the quarterback position – then we can’t just take an avalanche of liability on them.”

Should Rivers end up in Indy, expect that 8.5 to be bumped up in the win total market.

Early win total movers

Bennett acknowledged Circa’s opening win totals aren’t super sharp – after all, they were hung before anyone knew where key pieces are going to land. Early limits are $2,000, a threshold no early bet has reached, Bennett said. Still, the bookmakers are moving the numbers aggressively.

“Even if they’re not betting the limit, a lot of times it’s worthy of a line move because the numbers are so soft,” said Bennett. “We don’t want to get overloaded on a team, say, UNDER 9.5 when it’s going to end up 8 during the summer. We don’t know where these numbers are going to end up, so we’re going to be really aggressive on this early money and find out where someone is willing to take the other side.”

Here are the early movers on Circa’s board:

Waiting on Brady

Circa opened the Patriots with a modest win total of 9, far below what we’re used to seeing for New England. Bennett let the betting market guide him to post that number, not the rumors around Brady’s future.

“It’s not expressing an opinion on whether he’s going to re-sign with them or not,” Bennett said.

Instead, the number was based on how futures odds inform the theoretical lines on New England’s 16 games, in addition to the Chiefs and Ravens rising to the top of the AFC.

The Pats are around 12/1 on the Super Bowl oddsboard, compared to 6/1 last offseason.

“If he’s not there and (Jarrett) Stidham is lousy, who knows what they are? Maybe they are a below-.500 team,” Bennett added. “Maybe he re-signs with them, and they’re able to coble things together and be the same old Patriots and win 12 or 13 games. I think it’s tough to bet right now with all the uncertainties.”

Tampa Bay, per some NFL observers, are a logical landing spot for Brady. The acquisition could be worth a full game to the Bucs’ win total, which opened 8.5 (UNDER -130).

D-Hop to Arizona

In a trade the betting market believes the Cardinals easily got the better of, Arizona acquired DeAndre Hopkins from Houston in exchange for David Johnson. Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers in the league, a rarity at the position who influences the betting market. Johnson may have been a difference-maker his first few years in the league, but he’s a running back whose best days appear to be over.

Upon the deal, the Cardinals moved up Super Bowl oddsboards (from 80/1 to 40/1 at the Westgate and from 75/1 to 50/1 at Circa), while the Texans were downgraded (from 40/1 to 80/1 at the Westgate and from 35/1 to 50/1 at Circa).

Some bettors wish they hadn’t fired so early on Arizona. Per Patrick Everson at Covers, Circa booked two “close-to-limit bets” on Cardinals UNDER 7 wins, prompting a move to 6.5 (OVER -150). Following the trade for D-Hop, the number moved to 7 (UNDER -130).

The trade also impacts the MVP market, where Cards second-year QB Kyler Murray moved from 20/1 to 12/1 on the SuperBook’s oddsboard.

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