Ravens, Lions Sharps Lose as Super Bowl Betting Lines Swings Toward KC

Grant Mitchell
By:
Grant Mitchell
01/29/2024
Industry
American Football - Player Kicks the Ball

Highlights

  • The Chiefs upset the Ravens and spoiled several big-money bets
  • The Lions’ success against the spread continued even in a loss
  • Super Bowl bets are overwhelmingly in support of the Chiefs

It only took a couple of minutes after Super Bowl betting odds went live before sportsbooks were forced to adjust their lines due to the influence of the public and heavy support for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs, last year’s Super Bowl champions, upset the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day much to the chagrin of many “sharp” bettors, leaving them with massive losses. Meanwhile, the Niners used a 17-point second-half comeback against the Detroit Lions to secure their spot in the NFL’s championship event.

The Chiefs-49ers showdown in Super Bowl LVIII will be a rematch of four years ago when the Chiefs emerged victorious, 31-20. Although they opened as underdogs, they might be favored by kick-off at this rate.

The master becomes the student  

So-called sharps were all over the Ravens heading into the AFC Championship Game. Borgata Sportsbook in New Jersey reported a $175,000 wager on the Ravens’ moneyline at -200 odds, while BetMGM accepted a three-leg parlay that included the Ravens at -2.5.

DraftKings Sportsbook also reported just before kick-off that 51% of bets and 63% of the handle were on the Ravens, meaning that they too processed big-money bets on Baltimore.

While the Ravens entered the matchup flying high as the first seed in the AFC, they could do nothing more than stumble out after the Chiefs eased past them 17-10. Lamar Jackson and company were forced to abandon their game plan early and had to air the ball out, which led to a back-breaking interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

The NFC Championship Game also proved to be a betting frenzy. The Lions, the best team in the league against the spread entering the matchup (13-6), were backed by 70% of DraftKings bettors but only received 53% of the money as once again, gamblers with deep pockets supported the lesser-backed favorites.

One customer at South Point sportsbook wagered $110,000 on the 49ers’ spread at -110 odds. Another at the same location risked $50,000 on the Niners’ moneyline at -350 odds.

The 49ers, who moved from seven to 7.5-point favorites before kick-off, found themselves down 24-7 at halftime. A fortuitous sequence of events combined with poor execution on fourth down by the Lions allowed the Niners to come all the way back and seize a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter, though Detroit ended up covering thanks to a touchdown in the final minute.

The results set the stage for a Super Bowl showdown between the Chiefs and 49ers, widely considered the best team in each conference over the past half-decade. But with the way the lines are moving, there’s only one winner in the mind of the public.

Super Bowl odds movement 

The 49ers opened as 2.5 or three-point favorites at most legal sports betting sites—within 10 minutes of the Niners cementing their victory over the Lions, all of the threes had disappeared.

An hour or so later, most legal sportsbooks were down to Niners -2 or Niners -1.5. As of Monday afternoon, those lines are down to -1 at every major sportsbook except for FanDuel (49ers -1.5).

FanDuel’s website claims that 71% of bets and 78% of spread money is on the Chiefs, an unprecedented amount of unilateral support for the biggest game of the year in NFL betting. Although there’s still plenty of time until kick-off, books are racking up a ton of liability if the Chiefs do win.

Despite that, online sportsbooks might be rooting for the Chiefs to win because of the futures market.

“The 49ers are BetMGM’s biggest remaining liability to win the Super Bowl,” said Tristan Davis, senior trading manager at BetMGM. “Even though early action is on the Chiefs as underdogs the sportsbook is cheering for a Kansas City victory.”

Nevada sportsbooks have only lost on the Super Bowl twice since 1991, in 1995 when the 49ers beat the San Diego Chargers and in 2008 when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, according to Ben Fawkes, a sports betting industry expert. 

A couple of notable betting trends going into the big game are that Patrick Mahomes is 10-1-1 against the spread and 9-3 straight-up as an underdog. The Chiefs were also underdogs each of the last two weeks and won and covered in both.

Meanwhile, the Niners were favored in every game they played this season but went 9-10 ATS and are yet to cover in the playoffs.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.