2018 Super Bowl Free Betting Picks and Predictions: First Touchdown Scorer Prop
We are now less than one week away from Super Bowl LII, and there have been several interesting storylines that have emerged. For starters, Tom Brady had his stitches removed from his throwing hand and is now nearing "100 percent health" heading into his eighth Super Bowl appearance. Another main talking point heading into the big game is the health of Brady's most valuable weapon, Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski suffered a concussion in the AFC Championship Game, but he was seen at practice this past Saturday running routes and catching passes. Only time will tell if Gronk will suit up, but if he isn't available then the "first touchdown scorer" prop becomes even more wide open.
Speaking of the "first touchdown scorer" prop, this could be the prop bet that not only provides the most value but the one prop that can be handicapped to some extent. To start, we must look back at how the game normally starts - with the dreaded Coin Flip prop bet. The NFC has won a staggering 18 of the last 20 coin flips. So, if that's any indication, the Eagles could have the advantage should they elect to receive instead of defer to the second half - which the Patriots always do. Furthermore, in the seven Super Bowls New England has played in under Belichick and Brady, they have won the coin toss just one time. With history on the side of the Eagles and the Patriots' typical decision to defer to the second half, I think it's best we focus on an Eagles player to find the end zone first.
Super Bowl LI features several enticing options when looking at who the first touchdown scorer will be. Let's take a closer look at the players and odds, and figure out the best way to make some money.
Odds are courtesy of our friends at Bovada
First Touchdown Prop Odds
Rob Gronkowski (+750)
Brandin Cooks (+900)
Danny Amendola (+1000)
Dion Lewis (+1000)
Zach Ertz (+1000)
LeGarrette Blount (+1000)
Alshon Jeffery (+1200)
Jay Ajayi (+1200)
Tom Brady (+2800)
Nick Foles (+3300)
The first touchdown prop bets are awarded to the receivers, tight ends, running backs or any defensive players that return a fumble or interception for six. The only way a quarterback can cash this ticket is if they run the ball into the end zone themselves. Tom Brady has zero rushing touchdowns this year, while Nick Foles also has none.
First touchdown odds are usually quite inflated, and even the "favorite," Rob Gronkowski, is getting 7.5/1 odds. This bet figures to be settled early in the first quarter as both these teams have put up plenty of first-quarter points all season long.
My gut is telling me that an Eagles' running back is the most likely play to get into the end zone first as I'm sure the Eagles will want to establish the run game first before putting Foles in tough passing situations. If the Patriots get the ball with the game tied at 0-0, I'll be looking to Dion Lewis or Amendola to cash my ticket.
Because the Patriots typically defer to the second half when they win the coin toss, I believe the best course of action would be to focus on a few Eagles players.
The Eagles are one of the highest-scoring teams in the first quarter this year, averaging 6.3 points. I do realize that this stat included the 13 games that Carson Wentz started, but Foles has shown me that he can be a more than serviceable backup in the right situation.
If we go by just the stats alone, over the course of the last 51 Super Bowls, 23 times the first touchdown was courtesy a wide receiver, with the running back accounting for 15, defensive/special teams accounting for five, four from the tight end, two from the quarterback and two from the fullback.
As I mentioned above, I think the Eagles will want to establish the run and look to get Ajayi and Blount going early and often. They will want to keep Foles out of third-and-long and obvious passing downs, so if the Eagles are to score early then I expect it to be one of Ajayi or Blount. Going by the odds, you are looking at 10/1 and 12/1, which would be a very solid payout.
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