How to bet the Super Bowl, with expert Michael Konik


Feb 1, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; General view of a Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers helmet with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a press conference at the New Orleans Convention Center. Super Bowl XLVII will be played between the San Francisco 49ers on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reprising our early season segment entitled “Roll with Dyce” on how to be featured NFL games of the we are doing a feature to guide you through Super Bowl Sunday. As of right now the odds makers have the San Francisco 49ers favored to win their sixth Super Bowl by beating the Baltimore Ravens with a spread of 4 points.

In a Super Bowl like this there is a lot to distract you from making the smart bet. There is the Harbaugh vs Harbaugh angle, the Ray Lewis’s last ride emotional circus you may get caught up in, Flacco is a free agent after the season and the myth of players in contract years, etc.

And in order to give you the best advice we even got some advice from a top expert, Michael Konik. He has worked for Fox Sports as a commentator in poker broadcasts and worked for 5 years as the gambling columnist for Cigar Aficionado, and became known as the “Dean of the World’s Gambling Writers.”  He has written numerous books on gambling including ”The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions” in 2007 and “The Man With the $100,000 Breasts” in 1999, one of Wall Street Journal‘s five best gambling books of all time.

We asked the expert, Mr. Konik, 5 questions to try and give you an edge over your friends at your Super Bowl party.

First, if we’re going to bet the Super Bowl, is it any different than a regular season NFL game?

“For the professional syndicates, yes, because there’s virtually no limit to the amounts they can get down,” Konik said. “For the average sports bettor, no, because people who aren’t making a living doing this should be betting the minimum at all times.”

We’ve already established that there are a lot of distractions and story lines that could cause a fan to bet irrationally. What factors should someone consider when picking a team?

“Their uniform color, the general quality of their cheerleaders, and the consensus of the expert analysts on ESPN,” Konik jokingly said. “You can also look for a team that’s improperly valued on the moneyline.”

This reminds me of losing NCAA March Madness Brackets to girls who picked teams based on colors and mascots and still wound up beating me despite hours of analyzing stats. I’m not a huge college basketball fan but it’s still so frustrating.

We’ve seen the various prop bets making the rounds, is there any strategy here or these just ridiculous yet maybe fun bets?

“Both. Most of them are the gambling equivalent of a drinking game,” Konik said. “But every year there’s a few props that are closely correlated, which makes parlays profitable.”

So in order to pick a winner we need to get down to the game and this will cause fans to spend hours mining through stats, ESPN analyst opinions and other non-sense like an Octopus picking which team to win, or Madden video game simulations.

What is it that we need to look at when picking a winner in the Super Bowl?

“Player health and current form,” Konik said. “How they’re playing right now, not in Week 10.”

Right now, if you were leaning towards one team, which team would it be: the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers?

“Most of the year SF has been at the top of the cherished Power Ratings,” Konik said. “Nonetheless, when this game opened as an inflated 5, Baltimore was the play. The usual underdog value has been flattened out already. Now, SF -3 seems about right to me. I like the 49rs, with Mr. Alex Smith — yes, him — leading a 4th quarter game-winning drive.”

There you go folks, from the expert Michael Konik himself. Hope that helps you pick a winner.