Tips and Expert Advice for Betting on Super Bowl Prop Bets
by Trevor Whenham - 1/20/2015
Betting on the Super Bowl is the highlight of the year for most NFL bettors. What makes it most attractive for most people is the crazy number of prop bets that are available to choose from. Prop bets easily offer some of the best value available on Super Bowl Sunday. For every very attractive bet, though, there are many that aren't worth your money. In fact, many of them are just a good way to throw your money away. The trick, of course, is to be able to tell the difference and to bet only on the ones that make sense. Luckily, we have some tips for betting Super Bowl props. In fact, this year we have a simple five-step process for having a winning day with the props:
Imagine how the game is going to turn out: The first step is to break down the game and to figure out what you expect to happen. What team is more likely to win? Is it likely to be a close game or a blowout like last year? Will it be a defensive battle or an offensive shootout? Will it be a day for the running game or the passers? Will the evil Russell Wilson of the first 57 minutes of the NFC Championship Game show up or the brilliant one of the last three possessions? When you have a strong sense of what you expect then you are ready for the next step.
Find the props that best mesh with your vision: Once you have a vision of how the game is going to turn out, you can shop around to look for the best props that fit with that vision. For example, let's say that you think that Patriots are going to win and that they are going to do it because they are going to be able to pass effectively. You could look for props that involve New England winning, Patriot receivers having a strong day, Brady having a strong day, Seattle's secondary struggling, and so on. If you really expect the game to be pass-heavy for New England then you might look at time of possession props as well. New England had a much better first half than the Seahawks last week - largely because the Patriots were passing very well and the Seahawks couldn't defend the pass. You might want to look at first-time props as well.
Be sure you aren't contradicting yourself: There is no quicker way to ruin your day to have your celebration over a winning prop bet be derailed right away by the realization that you lost another prop at the same time - and that it was all but impossible to win both. It's one thing to try to diversify your prop bets by taking a number of different approaches - though I'm not a big fan of that, either. It's another thing altogether if you are betting on two different approaches that can't exist together. Going back to our example where you like the Patriots to pass their way to a title, for example, it wouldn't make much sense at all for you to bet that Brady will have a big day while at the same time betting that Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman will not have a big one.
Check the math: Every time you make a prop bet you need to make sure that the math makes sense - that there is a decent chance that you can come out ahead in the long term. The easiest example to understand this is with the popular coin toss prop. There are only two outcomes you can bet - heads or tails. Over the long term you know that each one would win half of the time. You have to pay -110 (or more depending on the sportsbook) to bet on either side. That's just not a smart bet. There is absolutely no skill or insight involved in picking a side, so over the long term you are guaranteed to lose money. You might as well just buy lottery tickets instead of making bets like that - you aren't any more likely to win in the long term, but at least you have a shot at a better payoff. If the prop bets you make have positive expectations - or at least close to a neutral one - then you have your best chance of success.
Choose the best: Once you have evaluated all of the props available you might wind up with a bunch that are at least somewhat attractive. At this point, the last step is to narrow down that list. How much are you looking to bet? What is your goal for the day? Once you know the answers to those two questions you can evaluate which prop bets are the most attractive, and which ones offer the best use of your betting capital.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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