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Superbowl Betting Props: TV Ratings – SportsUntapped.com
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Added January 31st, 2010 by David Glisan

Superbowl Betting Props:  TV Ratings
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We’ll start our review of the Superbowl betting props with one that isn’t really tied to the outcome of the game itself.  With sportsbooks looking for more unique props to offer their clients, it was inevitable that lines would be posted on the TV ratings for the Superbowl.  Bodog has a line on the Over/Under for the final Neilsen ratings for the game that looks to be a good betting value.

I strongly suggest betting these props quickly as the lines will likely move after we post this information.  You want to make sure you’re getting the best price.  As so often happens in sports betting the early bird gets the worm..er…the best price.

There’s a tendency for casual players to bet prop bets a certain way.  The recreational player would rather bet that something “will” happen than something “won’t” happen.  The psychological motivation for this is readily apparent–its a lot more entertaining to root for something to occur than something to *not* occur.  Even though this bet won’t be ‘official’ until the ratings numbers are released (typically the day after the game) the same dynamic can be seen here:

Over 42.9 Neilsen Rating:  -135
Under 42.9 Neilsen Rating:  +105

We talked about TV ratings in our post on The Superbowl as a Cultural Phenomenon.   It’s common knowledge even among the squarest square in the general public that the Superbowl gets huge TV ratings and is always one of the top rated programs of the year.  For that reason, the kneejerk tendency may be to play this ‘Over’.  Media reports that last year’s Superbowl had more viewers than any in history could also contribute to ‘Over’ betting.

While Superbowl 43 between the Steelers and Cardinals did have more total viewers than any previous game, it didn’t have a higher Neilsen rating.  There’s a big difference here–the Neilsen rating we’re talking about measures the percentage of all television sets in use tuned in to the Superbowl.   Clever readers can already see where this is going:  there’s more TV sets in use than at any point in history, and there’s a greater variety of programming options available for viewers.  During the 1970’s your options for Superbowl night were to watch the game, watch Barnaby Jones reruns, or turn off the TV.  That’s obviously no longer the case, and as cable and satellite TV have grown in influence the average TV rating has declined.  During the 1980’s most Superbowls did at least a 45 Neilsen rating.   That number hasn’t been touched since 1996 which featured a very attractive Dallas vs. Pittsburgh matchup.

You can check out the full Superbowl Neilsen rating data here:

Superbowl Neilsen Rating History

The 42.9 number in the prop bet has been reached only twice in the past 10 years.  So without any huge TV markets like New York or Chicago to drive viewership, we’ll play this one Under.  This line will definitely move so go bet it at Bodog now!


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