Expert Super Bowl Picks: Matchup Props Odds for Seattle vs. New England
by Trevor Whenham - 1/27/2015
When it comes to Super Bowl prop betting, I love matchup props. Trying to figure out how two different players in the game match up requires you to not only think of those two players but also how you expect the game to turn out and what impact that would have on the performance of the players. When the matchup props are cross-sport then you have to first figure out what the prop is really asking and then how that lines up with your perception of the game. Either way, these can be both fun and oftentimes profitable.
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Here's a look at six of the more interesting matchup props in this year's Super Bowl ( all odds are from Bovada):
Most rushing yards - LeGarrette Blount (+29.5) or Marshawn Lynch?: It's hard to figure out what can be learned from either of the last games these two played. Blount exploded for 148 yards against the Colts, but the game was out of hand so early that the Patriots were more reliant on the run than they typically like to be in order to burn off clock. Lynch had 157 yards against the Packers, but Wilson was so lousy that the run became the only thing that kept them alive. So, both guys are coming off season-best outings. But can they do it again against opponents in better form? And how much will either team rely on their running game? I could see Blount winding up somewhere around 60 yards. I am not convinced that Lynch will be 29.5 yards better than that against a decent run defense - especially because the Patriots will likely try to stuff the run early to put the pressure on Wilson's arm. I like Blount here.
Most receiving yards - Rob Gronkowski (-4.5) or Julian Edelman?: On the strength of the regular season, Gronkowski would be the pick here. Edelman has been very solid in the playoffs, though - 172 receiving yards compared to 136 for Gronkowski. We know that both guys are going to be a big factor in this one. On one hand, Gronkowski should be hungry for a big day after being a non-factor in his previous Super Bowl appearance. The public loves Gronk, though, so it makes sense that this number could be shaded to take advantage of that public bias. Edelman is my pick.
Most receiving yards - Shane Vereen or Luke Wilson?: Vereen had 391 regular-season receiving yards and Wilson had 362, so they are well matched. Wilson has come along lately, though, with his two biggest games coming in his last four outings. He had a good outing against Carolina and had a huge catch on the two-point conversion against Green Bay to build more confidence. Vereen, meanwhile has just two catches for eight yards in the playoffs. Wilson is at even money, and as a special bonus he's Canadian. Always trust, and bet on, the Canadians.
More tackles and assists - Patrick Chung or Earl Thomas?: Chung averaged just short of 5.5 tackles and assists per game in the regular season and had seven against the Ravens. Most significantly, he's healthy. Thomas averaged six per game in the regular season and eight per game in the postseason. Thomas would get the nod under normal circumstances. I just don't trust that a separated shoulder suffered two weeks ago is going to hold up well enough in this game for him to play at a high level the whole game. Chung is intriguing here.
Higher on Feb. 1st - Russell Wilson TD passes or Sidney Crosby points?: Crosby and the Penguins play Nashville on Sunday afternoon. He is having a pretty spectacular offensive year, and he has an incredible 13 multi-point games in 43 outings this year. I expect that you'd have to be confident that Crosby will get more than one point to bet him here because it seems reasonable to believe that there is a good chance Wilson can throw a TD against a pretty average passing defense. Crosby had three points the one time he has played the Predators this year, but Nashville has allowed the fewest goals against in the league. Add it all up and Wilson seems like the bet - I would, however, suggest passing on this one.
Higher - Tiger Woods' first day Masters score or Edelman receiving yards?: The first day of the Masters isn't until April 9 this year, so you would have to have a big edge to justify tying your money up that long. You also have to accept given Tiger's general health woes the last couple of years that he might not even play - and that would wash the bet out and give you your money back. With all that in mind, we know that Woods is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 or so, so Edelman needs to get about 75 yards to be in a reasonably comfortable position. Edelman is heavily favored at -150. He went over this likely total 10 times in 18 games, including his last four, so he is certainly capable. The breakdown if this one is moot, though - the individual receiving yard total for Edelman is only 67.5 yards, and the over is just -125, so unless you are totally obsessed with Tiger or are extremely confident that Edelman will have a bad day, there is just no reason to bet this prop.
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