Tips for Betting Super Bowl Props
For my money, the best part of the Super Bowl is the prop betting, and it's not even close. The game itself is too slow and often doesn't live up to the hype. The halftime show hasn't been good for a long time. I live in Canada, so we don't get to see most of the good commercials. In fact, a lot about the game makes me kind of grumpy. But evaluating the prop bets before the game, and tracking their progress during the game, is more than enough to overcome all of the problems and make the game a highlight. To do well betting props, though, you need to have a plan. Here's what mine looks like - think of it as my tips for betting Super Bowl props.
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1. Map out the game first: A lot of people start betting Super Bowl props by looking at the props that are being offered, but that's the wrong approach. Before you ever consider the props available, you need to think about how you expect the game to turn out. Do you expect the game to be offensive or defensive? Is it going to be an air war, or will it be won in the trenches? Is it going to be a shootout, or will points be hard to come by? Which team is likely to control the tempo? Will weather be a factor? Does a team have a special teams edge? Does one team have a coaching advantage? I could go on all day, but you get the point - you can go through whatever process you want, but you need to figure out what you think the game is going to look like - who is going to win, and how they are going to do it.
2. Go shopping: Now you are ready to shop for props more effectively because you know what you are looking for. You can quickly weed out the promising props from the many that aren't attractive by figuring out if they fit your vision of how the game is going to turn out. If you expect it to be a tight defensive battle, for example, then you aren't likely interested in passing props that involve big performances. Or if you expect it to be a pass-happy affair, then the running back props might not be as attractive. At this point you aren't locking in on the props you are going to bet, just limiting the field of possibilities down so you can assess them more effectively. It's like when you go clothes shopping. Before you head to the store, you decide what you are looking for. That's step one of this process. Then, once you get to the store you sort through the racks and find some things to try on. That's this step. Heading to the dressing room to see how things fit you is the next step. And then you check your bank account to see if you can afford what you see - which is step four.
3. First, check your math: Once you have narrowed down the field of possible prop bets, you have to see if they actually make sense. You need to figure out what the bet is asking, what risk is involved, and whether the potential return is worth the risk. Some props are tougher than others to figure out, but the process is the same. The easiest way to understand this is by looking at the dumbest prop ever offered - the coin flip . The chances of the coin coming up heads is the same as tails - 50 percent. So, if the potential payoff was even money then the return would be fair, but it wouldn't be worth betting too much because in the long term you are just going to break even. If the payoff was +105 then you would be happy to make that bet because over the long term you would make money. But if, as is usually the case, you have to pay -105 or -110 to make the bet then there is no reason to make the bet at all - over the long term you would be sure to lose money. You can't make all prop bets as clear as this one mathematically, but the better you can break things down, the better you can avoid ill-advised bets.
4. Then, check yourself: There are an incredible number of prop bets offered for the Super Bowl, and the number grows every year. Betting these props can be a lot of fun. If you don't go in with a plan and stick to it, then you can find yourself making far too many bets and limiting your chances of coming out ahead. Instead of betting a pile of different prop bets, focus on finding the best ones with the highest chance of a strong return. A few high-value bets will eclipse a larger number of moderate or low value bets any day.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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