Updated January 31, 2019 - 6:04 pm
The trendy pick to win the Super Bowl before the season started, the Los Angeles Rams are the unanimous pick among sharp bettors to beat the Patriots on Sunday in Atlanta.
The wiseguys especially love L.A. getting 3 points flat, which means bettors can wager $110 to win $100 on the favorite or underdog.
“I have the line pick’em, so plus 3 is just a gift to sharp bettors, in my opinion,” said professional sports bettor Cris Zeniuk (@lasvegascris).
The Westgate sportsbook made the Rams 1-point favorites in the opening Super Bowl line before it quickly flipped to the Patriots as 2½-point favorites following the conference championship games.
When South Point was the first Las Vegas book to move the line to 3, sharp bettors placed six figures worth of wagers on the Rams in a span of only 17 minutes before the line was moved back to 2½.
“You just don’t get 3 flat in a dead pick game,” said Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons, who pounced on L.A. “It’s because the public all of a sudden loves the Patriots. It’s just so odd because the public bet against the Patriots ridiculously hard in the Chiefs game and Chargers game.
“These two teams are even. If anything, you can argue the Rams were better than the Patriots all year.”
Rams led Super Bowl futures
Bolstered by the offseason additions of four All-Pros in defensive end Ndamukong Suh, cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters and wideout Brandin Cooks, L.A. led the way in preseason Super Bowl futures tickets at the Westgate, William Hill and South Point sportsbooks.
The Rams opened the season as the 9-1 second choice to win Super Bowl LIII behind New England, which was the 6-1 favorite.
L.A.’s stock tumbled a bit among the betting public after it escaped with a 26-23 overtime win over the Saints in the NFC title game in which it was helped by a blatant blown call.
Patriots stock high
The Patriots didn’t look Super during the regular season, when they went 3-5 on the road with losses at Detroit and Miami. But they flipped a switch in the playoffs as their stock has soared.
“The Rams, if you look at their entire body of work, have been better than the Patriots this season,” professional sports bettor Rufus Peabody said. “But the Patriots are getting a lot of credit from the market from playing so well against Kansas City. They won that game in overtime but they definitely outplayed the Chiefs.
“The Rams kind of struggled down the stretch, and the Saints should’ve won (the NFC title).”
Peabody made L.A. a 1-point favorite in one computer model and had the game at pick’em in another model.
“I like the Rams, especially at plus 3,” said Peabody (@RufusPeabody). “At plus 3 flat, I’m all over the Rams.”
Sportsline.com analyst Micah Roberts, who won the Review-Journal’s NFL Challenge this season with a 52-32-1 ATS record (61.9 percent), also likes the Rams.
“The wrong team’s favored,” said Roberts, a former Las Vegas sportsbook director. “The Patriots are not the better team, as far as the ratings go. The Rams are the top-rated team in the NFL.
“I like the Rams to win outright. Play the money line sooner than later. I do think the tide’s going to turn on the weekend. I think the Rams money is going to pour in.”
Underdogs and under
Seven of the past 11 Super Bowl underdogs have won outright, with the Seahawks-Patriots game closing at pick’em.
For Pats backers, Zeniuk (@lasvegascris) said the money line might be the best option. New England is minus 140 on the money line, which is picking the winner without points, and L.A. is plus 120.
“Always look at the money line in Super Bowls,” he said. “The public likes to bet plus-money ’dogs, so the favorite on the money line has more value than it should.”
The consensus total is 56½ after being as high as 59. The sharps are on the under.
“I lean toward the under,” Peabody said. “I played some alternate totals and so many of my props will be correlated with the under. If it gets up to 58, I’ll definitely play the under. I make it right around 54.”
One final bit of wisdom from a wiseguy is to not bet your entire bankroll on the Super Bowl.
“This one game doesn’t matter,” Zeniuk said. “We bet the same amount on every game. We don’t sit there and press on one stupid game.”