Is the Super Bowl a good investment?

The 54th Super Bowl is just around the corner. The San Francisco 49ers will meet the Kansas City Chiefs on the 2nd of February 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  

In this article, the ScoreMetrics labs takes a deep dive into the betting data from past Super Bowls and makes conclusions on whether there are patterns to be found that sports investors are able to use to their advantage. It is important to note that these are just theories that may turn into long term pattern finds and, possibly future systems down the road but as of right now, they are just ideas we are playing around with in the lab. To learn how to build your own systems, we always recommend John Todora’s new book, “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”, which is on sale for a limited time now.

For this article, we’ll also take a look at the current lines for Super Bowl LIV and peak into how both teams fared this season. 

Super Bowl LIV preview

The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl after a whopping 50-year absence. The winners of the 1970 Super Bowl are looking to repeat the feat under coach Andy Reid, who guided them to a 12-4 record. Kansas City were one of the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season.

The 49ers, meanwhile, are 5-time Lombardi Trophy winners and are back in the grand stage for the first time since 2013. Nobody believed they’d be here when the season started. Improving to 13-3 from a 4-12 record from the previous season, ESPN lists them as the second most unlikely team ever to make it to the Super Bowl.

Oddsshark and BetMGM favor the Chiefs with a -1.5 line while the DraftKings Sportsbook has the line at -1. Oddsshark have the Over/Under at 54.5 while BetMGM and DraftKings have set it to 53.5. Caesars have the moneyline at -120 for the Chiefs and +100 for the 49ers. 

We should be looking at a high-scoring game between two evenly matched teams if we are to believe the bookmakers!

The Chiefs were 71.4% ATS this season when listed as favorites. The number goes down to 52.9% when we look at their last 10 seasons. The 49ers covered the spread in 64.7% of their games this season. The 10-year data has them at 51.5% ATS. 

Past trends

The Super Bowl probably brings back vivid memories to any football fan. But for sports investors like us, the emotions and memories do not matter when we’re making decisions. We’re trying to uncover an edge for our investments to get a solid ROI.

So, let’s take a look at the available betting data from the 53 Super Bowls that have been played since 1967. 

In those 53 games, the spread has been covered by the underdog in 43% of the games and by the favorite in 51% of the encounters. We’ve had a push situation in three games throughout Super Bowl history, meaning that neither team covered the spread. That amounts to the missing 6%. 

The Over/Under statistics from the period show that Super Bowl games have gone over 51% of the time and under on 47% of the occasions. There is no O/U data available from the first ever Super Bowl in 1967, hence the missing 2%.

20 Super Bowls have been played during the 2000’s. During those games, the underdogs are 60% ATS while favorites have covered the spread 30% of the time. The two push situations in 2015 and 2000 fill the missing 10%. The Over/Under statistic for these games is exactly 50/50. 

In the last 10 Super Bowls, we’re looking at a 60%/30%/10% ATS for underdogs, favorites and pushes respectively. The games have gone over 60% of the time and under on 40% of the occasions.

Conclusions

Now, whether or not you want to make conclusions based on those numbers and feel like this past trend data is of relevance is up to you. But it’s good to remember that we’re talking about a once-a-year game where the teams facing each other change every time. 

The ScoreMetrics labs looks to spot statistically relevant long-term patterns and not just current trends with a good ROI to support investment decisions. 

Should we believe that the underdogs being 60% ATS in the last 20 years is an aberration in the market that gives us an edge? Maybe. But it’s probably more likely to be a statistical quirk in a small sample size. The ScoreMetrics labs will probably look elsewhere for solid investment opportunities that meet our rigorous standards.

We’ll sure as hell tune in though and hope for an exciting game! 

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