How to Bet Super Bowl Props Expert Advice and Tips
by Robert Ferringo - 1/29/2016
The Super Bowl is the ultimate sports spectacle, a living, breathing testament to American Exceptionalism. It is an opportunity to exercise our rights as Citizens of This Great Land to party hard, gamble openly, and enjoy sanctioned, state-financed violence just like the Good Lord intended. Super Bowl Sunday is a glorious, self-proclaimed national holiday and represents the apex of sports, entertainment and corporate whoring in our society.
It is, objectively speaking, The Best.
Carolina will take on Denver at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7 in Super Bowl XL (50). The game will take place at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco. Carolina has been installed as a favorite between 4.5 and 5.5, depending on the sportsbook, and the total is rock solid at 45.5 across the board.
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One of the most unique aspects of The Big Game is the dizzying array of proposition wagers, or "prop bets" available to gamblers on Super Sunday. Sportsbooks will offer literally hundreds of numbers on the board, ready for action, as the Super Bowl approaches. Everything from betting the length of the "National Anthem" to the amount of cleavage shown by a halftime act have been on the board in recent years, and I'm certain that oddsmakers will come up with new, unique ways to bilk Joe Public out of his money for this year.
Betting Super Bowl props can be a fun and potentially profitable way to wager on and enjoy the Super Bowl - if you know what you're doing. Well, if you were looking for how to bet Super Bowl props expert advice and tips then you came to the right place. Here are some prop betting tips for this year's game:
1. Know Your History
Do you know how many Super Bowls have featured a quarterback throwing for more than 300 yards? How many running backs have run for over 85 yards in the last 20 Super Bowls? How many Super Bowls have featured a defensive or special teams touchdown? What is the average number of field goals in the last 15 Super Bowls?
You should know the answers to those questions before you make any prop wagers in the Super Bowl. I don't expect you to invest hours and hours digging through old Super Bowl boxscores to find statistical averages; to be honest, the books have already done that and it is the basis for their numbers and odds. But if you see a number that you like be sure to take a look back and see how your wager fits into some Super Bowl norms.
This doesn't just include looking back into old Super Bowl boxscores, though. If you are going to make a prop wager on Demaryius Thomas or Ted Ginn you need to go back over the last couple of years and look at their game-by-game stats to compare with their Super Bowl prop odds. If you are going to bet on how many tackles Luke Kuechly has, you should at least check back to see what his number distributions are from this season and season's past. A little homework can go a long way.
2. Handicap The Game
Before you can start making prop bets, you have to handicap the game. You should have a clear vision of who you think is going to win or how you think the game will be played out and follow that. If you think it is going to be a defensive struggle then you will want to lean on some 'under' bets for individual player props. If you think Carolina is going to win in a blowout then you may want to shade their wagers 'over'. Think about how you believe the game will play out and then try to find value in wagers that correlate your bets in line with those beliefs.
3. Play Value, Not Rationality
The sportsbooks try to mitigate their exposure to prop bet losses by putting low limits on these wagers. (It is $500 at a lot of online books.) However, there are still chances for big scores on some high-yield wagers.
For example, the 'over' on Denver touchdowns at 3.0 is paying out 3-to-1. A wager on total field goals 'under' 2.0 is at 3.3-to-1. Playing on the first score of the game to be either a Carolina field goal (3.3-to-1) or a Denver field goal (3.8-to-1) both pay out in that same range. A wager on the score being tied at halftime and won in regulation pays out 18-to-1 on Carolina and 24-to-1 on Denver. A $500 wager on any of those pretty reasonable props could result in a healthy score on The Big Game.
The point is, if you're going to get down on some prop wagers, don't play it "safe". Crazy things happen in the Super Bowl all the time, like the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI, the unexpected offensive outburst in Super Bowl XLVII, or the first score as a safety in Super Bowl XLVIII. Don't be afraid to put some money on a wager or two that has a high payout rather than bleeding out on a bunch of -150 or -200 props.
4. Pick A "Guy"
One of the things I like to do is pick one obscure player that I think is going to have a big game and bet a variety of his totals. Last year my "guy" was Marshawn Lynch, and I easily hit his props for total carries and yards. In Super Bowl XLVII my "guy" was David Akers. In XLVI it was Ahmad Bradshaw. By focusing in on one player that you think will have a big game you can shrink the field a bit and really focus in on finding a soft number or two to pounce on.
Just make sure that the "guy" you pick generally isn't one of the superstars on a given team because the books shade their numbers. The books know that Greg Oslen is Cam Newton's favorite receiver, so value will be scarce on his receiving props, for instance.
5. Don't Go Nuts
Look, everyone is excited about Super Bowl Sunday. And with so many options it is easy to get carried away and lay out 10, 15 or 20 small bets on differing props. But that's also a good way to lose plenty of money that could've better been served by making two or three more well-placed, well-researched wagers. Don't get carried away. Pick out maybe a dozen numbers that you like or are interested in. Then take some time over the next two weeks and pare that number down to just your favorite wagers and attack them wholeheartedly.
6. Don't Bet The Coin Toss
If you bet the coin toss you are an idiot. Not only are you at a statistical disadvantage, but also you are a degenerate and you give the rest of us a bad name. Pull yourself together.
Besides, if you want to bet the coin toss, I can almost guarantee there will be some other degenerate at your Super Bowl party that is willing to bet on the toss straight up, without the juice that the books would charge.
Other than that - enjoy the game!
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