The Super Bowl Pointspread

Since the publication of my book “The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies out of Millions,” numerous reporters and radio hosts have contacted me asking for a prediction on the Super Bowl. 

I can’t say what the result will be. Nobody can.

I can, however, tell you which side is the valuable one, the side that the so-called “wiseguys” will be betting with both fists. The “sharp” side.

As I write, the pointspread is Indianapolis -7, meaning Chicago gets 7 points added to their official score. The linemakers posted this number not because they believe the Colts will win by exactly a touchdown and an extra point. They made the game 7 because they know the majority of public or “square” bettors will like the favored team and their Hall-of-Fame-bound quarterback, Peyton Manning. The bookies don’t want to face an avalanche of money coming in on the Colts; they need to offer enough points to get someone — anyone — to bet da Bears. Had they hung this game at Indy -3, the entire country (including me) would have bet Indy. But with 7, they have a chance of getting good two-way action.

Since most pundits have already dismissed Chicago’s chances — mostly because their quarterback, Rex Grossman, is allegedly “the worst” player at his position to get to the Super Bowl (never mind that he somehow led his team to 15 victories this season) — the majority of the public still won’t find Chicago attractive, even with the inflated pointspread. But the smart money will.

Anytime you ought to be getting 4 or 4/12 points on an NFL game and, thanks to skewed public perception, you can grab 7, that’s a profitable bet, with a lot of expected value in it. Indeed, Bears bettors will probably be playing with more than a 10% edge.

That doesn’t mean they’ll get the money. In recent years, it’s been the public that’s “right” on the Super Bowl, and the value players have taken a beating. Rex Grossman may fall apart (or he could win the MVP award). Fluctuations happen. Short-term variances sometimes make long-term profitable moves look mighty suspect.

But we’ll take our chances on Chicago.

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