Bet Now or Bet Later: When Is the Best Time to Place Your Super Bowl Wagers?

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General view of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP.

What’s the secret to great comedy? Let’s see… I seem to recaTIMING~!ll something about – oh drat. What a giveaway.

There is a right time for everything, though – including your NFL picks. You have between now and just before kick-off on Sunday, February 12 to place your Super Bowl LVII bets, or at least the ones that have to be submitted before the game starts. That includes your standard straight bets: spreads, moneylines, and totals.

So when’s the right time to hit the NFL odds with both barrels? As with most things in life, it depends. Let’s go over the different Super Bowl betting options on the table, and see which ones belong in the “Urgent” tray rather than the “Do Later” tray.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, February 12, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at State Farm Stadium

Fading the Public

One of the first things they taught us in Old-School Handicapping 101 is the concept of the betting public. As we mentioned in yesterday’s award-punting article about the best spread, moneyline and total for Super Bowl LVII, casual bettors tend to bet on the favorites and the Over; those are the outcomes they want to see, so that’s where the money goes.

This being the Super Bowl, there will be more casuals in the betting market for this game than any other game on the calendar – not just in the NFL, but pretty much every sport there is. And all that “dead money” they dump on the market without really thinking about it affects the NFL lines, handing the betting value to the underdogs and the Under.

Casual fans also tend to place their bets during the weekend of an NFL game. That concentrated action means the books are likely to move their lines in response, giving us the best price for hammering the underdogs and the Under closer to kick-off.

Following the Sharps

Doing the opposite of so-called “square bettors” (it’s a pejorative term we try to avoid here at the ranch) is one route to the pay window. The other is doing the same thing “sharp” bettors are doing. They’re the ones who jump on the football lines as soon as they hit the board, provided those lines are soft enough to exploit.

The idea here is that the lines will get more accurate, aka “tighter,” as more bettors enter the market and vote with their money. The sportsbooks put a lot of thought and effort into their opening odds, but they’re ultimately making an educated guess; if they post a soft line and too much money comes in one side, they can always adjust the odds and balance things out to some extent.

If you happen to be betting on the favorite or the Over for a matchup, early is usually the best time to get your money down – you’re trying to beat both the sharps and the public and get a bargain price while it’s still available.

Most pro bettors will get there before you, using technology and stuff, but if you’re a “semi-pro” or a “serious hobbyist,” don’t worry too much if you’re not first in line.

When Should You Wait

Things get a bit trickier during this early window when it comes to underdogs and Unders. Now you have to weigh the benefits of acting now to get a plausibly soft line and wait until closer to kick-off for the betting public to do their thing.

Maybe that’s one of those false binary choices. We’ve got projections and all that now to help us identify potential profit margins; if you see something worth betting on early, bet it, and if the margin increases later in the week, you can always bet it again for bigger money.

The public doesn’t always do the thing we expect, so don’t pass up a good deal when you see one.

What About This Year’s Game?

As for this particular Super Bowl, the Eagles are only 1.5-point favorites over Kansas City at US betting sites, and both teams have plenty of fans, so that sharp-square dynamic doesn’t apply as much here as it would have in a game with a plucky underdog and an over-rated favorite.

That 50.5-point total is another animal. There’s been some back-and-forth with this number since it opened at 50, and the analytics say both this line and Philly -1.5 are pretty tight, but we’re more confident the public will eventually get us a suitable price on the Under than we are with either side of the spread.

Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.