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Early Super Bowl 53 line movement favors Patriots

The Rams opened as favorites, but bettors quickly pounced and the line has swung the other way.

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Kansas City Chiefs
You know the public is betting heavily on this guy
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The matchup is set for Super Bowl 53, and the public has an early favorite. The point spread opened with the Los Angeles Rams installed as a one point favorite. It did not take long however, for money on the New England Patriots to swing the line the other way. As of Monday morning, the Patriots are as high as a 2.5 point favorite at some sportsbooks.

Oddsmakers set the point spread in hopes of getting an even mix of money on both sides of the number. A sportsbook can win more money if one side is heavier and that side ends up losing, but if they get at or near a 50/50 split of money between the two sides of a number, they’re guaranteed to profit due to the house’s cut of the take.

In this case, several sportsbooks underestimated the kind of early public support the Patriots would get. A good example is sportsbook operator William Hill. They installed the Rams as favorites at -1, only to move the line shortly after when 94 percent of the first post-AFC title game money was on the Patriots. Some sportsbooks waited and installed the Patriots as favorites, but for many, striking while the iron left them potentially giving the public a big opportunity out of the gate.

You could see this coming in the first half of the AFC title game. The first lookahead line immediately after the Rams beat the Saints installed LA as a field goal favorite over New England and a 2.5-point favorite over Kansas City. As the Patriots rolled to an early 14-0 lead, the line dropped down to 1.5 points. It settled at one point by the time the Patriots won in overtime, but it was obvious the public would jump all over the Patriots as underdogs — and they did.

The line is likely not firmly settled. The sharp bettors (professionals) might have jumped on the Patriots at +1, but at this point many will wait and see where this number goes over the next week. We don’t have a full accounting of conference championship injuries, which could require further adjustment in the coming days. Additionally, the line is still ranging between 1.5 and 2.5 points across the market, so there could still be some movement if you want to wait for a better point to jump on either side.