Early in Andy Reid’s run as an NFL head coach, a couple of decades before he became a two-time Super Bowl winner, his run-pass balance in favor of the latter was considered insanity by many.
But it has gradually become the way nearly every NFL coach approaches the game. The sport is constantly evolving.
And the same is true of sports betting — what one day is unthinkable may someday become standard.
For example, take microbetting, the hyper-granular form of in-game wagering that allows customers to bet from play to play and moment to moment at odds that are perpetually resetting and updating.
To those who generally use a basic approach to betting, it may be overwhelming. But Simplebet — which provides the microbetting technology for regulated sportsbook operators DraftKings, Caesars, bet365, Betr, and Intralot — shared its data and trends from Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII, and one macro trend stands out: Microbetting is gathering steam.
Simplebet reported a 47% increase in microbetting handle compared to the previous Super Bowl, and as Head of Trading Ryan Keur clarified for US Bets, this is a like-to-like comparison. Only DraftKings was partnered with Simplebet as of the 2022 Super Bowl, so that 47% increase refers purely to DraftKings’ handle in states where the product was available both years.
The total increase in handle, given the expansion of betting states and new mobile sportsbooks working with Simplebet, is magnitudes higher than that 47%.
“We grew tremendously from year to year — and this is with the viewer experience still being fairly suboptimal due to latency in the game feeds some people are watching,” Keur said. “But the growth is undeniable. In last year’s Super Bowl, we accounted for about 26 percent of all in-play betting. For this year, I don’t have the official number yet for where we were in all in-play across our partners, but based on what we’re seeing, it’s probably going to be in the 30-32 percent range.”
Microbetting peaks and trends during the game
In total, Simplebet reported $13 million in microbetting handle for the Super Bowl across all of its partner sportsbooks, coming from more than 1 million individual bets.
$3.5 million was bet on exact drive results in the first half at sportsbooks using @SimplebetHQ odds. The Chiefs’ fourth drive attracted $900,000 in bets. SimpleBet partners: DraftKings, Caesars, Bet365 and Betr.
This year feels like a turning point for Super Bowl betting.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) February 13, 2023
In this game, as in most NFL games, the microbetting volume picked up toward the end of the first half and particularly toward the end of the game. Keur said Simplebet’s hypothesis is that the number of available non-micro in-game markets dwindles late in the game, leaving microbets among the few remaining options for someone looking for another wager to make.
“Late in the game, most sites are really only offering the moneyline, total, or spread, and even that is fairly sporadic in terms of their offering it, due to the high volatility. Almost all player props tend to be taken down.
“At the same time, we have prices for every single next play and then, over the course of a drive, offering a new price on will this drive end in a touchdown, a punt, a turnover, and so on. And when it gets to, say, a first and goal at the 4-yard line, there’s a price on each receiver on the field to score.”
On the opening drive of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts started with a price of +1300 to score a touchdown (which he did). As a team, the Eagles were +205 to put up a TD on that drive.
On the ensuing drive, about half the bets on a specific touchdown scorer correctly went on Travis Kelce at +850. Those bets on Hurts and Kelce — and other players who didn’t score on those particular drives — are indicative of a major trend Simplebet observed this season.
“The most notable growth was on bets on the individual player touchdown on a drive,” Keur said. “We really saw that market explode over the course of the regular season and then explode even more in the Super Bowl.
“I think people are conditioned to think about playoff games and certainly the Super Bowl in a different way, and on the Super Bowl, there’s an unreal amount of pre-match prop betting. People spend the two weeks leading up to the game looking up and down an entire prop catalog. But once the game starts, all those prop bets tend to go away. That’s when we observe that these touchdown-scorer markets really take off.”
‘Positive offensive outcomes’ lead the way
With a potential shootout developing after both teams put up 7 points on their opening possessions, the Eagles TD price for the next drive was only +155.
“Once the rhythm of the game starts to get established, and you’ve factored in as much as you can with machine-based learning the implications of what momentum looks like, you start to see a shift in those odds,” Keur explained. “Most of the action from bettors is coming on those positive offensive outcomes, so you start to see those pre-drive touchdown markets that had been rolling out at +200 drift toward +160 and even +140.”
Among the notable plays and prices over the next three quarters of action:
With the Eagles at the Kansas City 45 for the opening play of the second quarter, on which Hurts would hit A.J. Brown for a score, the next-play touchdown price was +2500.
For the Eagles drive that ended in a Chiefs defensive touchdown off a Hurts fumble, the result of the drive being a turnover paid +750 entering that play (after starting the drive as a +550 option).
Simplebet partners’ liability on the first play of the second half to be a touchdown neared $1 million, with some bettors apparently feeling it on the heels of the Brown TD to start the second quarter and Tee Higgins’ TD to start the second half of Super Bowl LVI.
Before Kadarius Toney scored the touchdown that gave the Chiefs their first lead early in the fourth quarter, a bettor placed a $1,000 bet on Toney to score and won $13,000.
With the Eagles trailing 35-27 with a little over nine minutes to play, Hurts was +950 to score his third touchdown of the game — which he did, along with a 2-point conversion to complete the “octopus.”
For the game-winning 27-yard field goal, microbetting pricing had a missed kick at +1200.
And a final note: Microbetting wagers on that last Chiefs drive that all but drained the clock totaled approximately $1.2 million, with more than twice as much bet on K.C. scoring a touchdown as was wagered on a field goal.
Photo: Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images