It’s that time of year again, sports fans. Super Bowl props are here and there are more options than ever for Super Bowl LI. In a lot of ways, betting on the props is a much better way to bet the big game. This is one of the tightest spreads and one of the tightest totals of the NFL season. There’s not a whole lot of line value to go around and books are going to shade the side, total, and money line to their specific needs.
They’re going to shade prop bets as well, but there are going to be some really massive discrepancies out there in the market. Having the ability to shop around is extremely key. For my personal contributions in the prop betting market, I’m going to separate this into four articles. This one that you have clicked on will cover the Super Bowl game props. Others will cover the New England Patriots player/team props, the Atlanta Falcons player/team props, and the “other” props, like halftime show, Gatorade, and cross-sport betting odds.
For the purposes of this exercise, we will compare at three sportsbooks – BetDSI, 5Dimes, and BetOnline. There are obviously a lot of other sportsbooks out there, but this represents a good variety and a large enough sample size of books to get the point across that shopping around is the best way to go about the game. All three lines will be given, if available, for those specific prop bets.
By “game props”, I’m talking about stuff like “longest field goal”, “highest scoring half”, “total number of sacks”, and stuff like that. You have to do your research with each and every prop bet. It can be challenging with so many options, but you’ve got plenty of time to prepare.
Without further adieu, let’s look for some Super Bowl LI value on these five game props:
Shortest field goal made:
DSI: 26.5 yards -115/-115
5D: 26.5 yards -115/-105
BOL: 24.5 yards -140/+120
Well, let’s go ahead and get a couple key notes out of the way first. Matt Bryant was 12-for-12 from 20-29 yards and Stephen Gostkowski was 9-for-9 inside of 30 yards, so it’s highly, highly unlikely that either of these guys will miss.
The Falcons finished the regular season 10th in red zone touchdown efficiency at 63.16 percent. The Patriots were ninth at 63.77 percent, so both of these teams were pretty equal on offense. On defense, New England allowed a touchdown on just 50 percent of red zone trips, while Atlanta allowed a touchdown on 72.13 percent of red zone visits for the opposition.
There are a couple schools of thought here. For one, this total is in the upper 50s, so settling for three inside the red zone probably won’t be the best idea. For another, you can make the case that these are the two best quarterbacks in the NFL this season, so they’re going to make smart decisions with the football. Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan are also two of the best play designers in the NFL. Both teams have a lot of red zone weapons and can use running backs as an extension of the passing game.
The play here is over, though, we have to decide if two yards is worth 25 cents. There’s really no quantifiable way of figuring that out as far as I can tell, so it’s a matter of personal preference. If you want to be safe and take the extra two yards, it’s hard to fault you for that. Either way, both distances would require the ball to be inside the 10, which means you may get into a situation where it’s touchdown or bust on a set of downs.
Total number of players with a reception
Over/under 16 (-105/-125) at BetOnline
BetOnline is actually the only sportsbook offering this prop as of Monday. It’s an interesting one to look at in a game like this. Nine players had a catch for the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Eight players had a catch for the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. We can reasonably assume that New England is going to spread the ball around a ton. At the very least, we should see receptions from Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis, and James White. LeGarrette Blount only had eight receptions this season, so it’d be unwise to assume he gets his hands on a pass. That means that we can assure six players from the Patriots.
On the Atlanta side, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel should be very busy. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will be used a lot in the passing game to soften up the middle of this New England defense and to give Matt Ryan some easy throws to get settled. That’s only five for Atlanta that we should see a lot of production from. Austin Hooper is likely as the primary tight end for Atlanta. At most, we’re up to 12.
There are some guys that caught passes in the conference championship games like James Develin, Malcolm Mitchell, Patrick DiMarco, and Levine Toilolo that it’s hard to expect anything from. Anything could happen in the Super Bowl, but both quarterbacks are going to look for their security blankets. In Brady’s last Super Bowl, he had seven different receivers, but he also threw the ball 50 times. Will that happen again this year? It certainly could, but it would be a surprise to see 50 throws.
We’ve got to look at the under here in this one. Sixteen different receivers is a lot, especially in a game of this magnitude.
Longest score of the game (DSI)
Field Goal +120
This is only listed at DSI right now, but 5Dimes has a spot for a line to be put up. BetOnline doesn’t have it listed as of yet. But, what’s interesting about this prop is how we can look around at different angles. For example, BetOnline has a “Will both teams make a field goal of 33 yards or longer?” prop with Yes at -140. The longest touchdown line is set at 46.5 yards at DSI, with the over at -145. The longest touchdown line is 49.5 at 5Dimes with -110 on both sides. The longest touchdown line is 50.5 yards with -115 on the under at BOL. Every book has the longest field goal lined at 46.5 yards.
The longest play in Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots and Seahawks was 45 yards by Seattle. The Patriots didn’t have a pass play longer than 23 yards. The longest play in Super Bowl XLVIII was 37 yards. The longest play last year was 45 yards. Now, to be fair, these are the two best offensive teams we’ve had in the Super Bowl in recent years, but with so much time to game plan for the opposition, teams generally don’t get burned by huge plays. The biggest play in the last four Super Bowls was Jacoby Jones for 56 yards in Super Bowl XLVII.
Now, if we happen to get a kick return or punt return touchdown, this bet is obviously in the toilet, but it seems like there’s enough value on the +120 to take a stab at the field goal. Safeties err on the side of caution when it comes to the big play in games like this. Even though we will probably see a shootout, it certainly seems like it will be more of a methodical approach.
Total number of kick returns
5D: 4 (-140/120)
BOL: 4 (-150/130)
Matt Bosher handles kickoffs for the Atlanta Falcons and he booted a touchback on 65 of his 105 kickoffs this season. Stephen Gostkowski had the second-most kickoffs with 93 and 52 of them found the end zone. Certainly this line incorporates the large amount of points expected in this game, which would increase the number of kickoffs. The New England team total is 30.5 points and the Atlanta team total is 27.5 points.
Let’s go the easiest route to the total. In order to get 58 points, taking away safeties or other oddities, we’d be looking at eight touchdowns with extra points plus a field goal. That’s nine kickoffs, plus the two for the start of the game and start of the second half. Bosher was around 62 percent for touchbacks and Gostkowski was at about 56 percent. Seven touchbacks on 11 kickoffs is a 63 percent rate, which is a little bit above the average for both guys. Of course, we’re assuming a lot of things here. Bosher generally kicks in better weather than Gostkowski, who will be in a better kicking environment at NRG Stadium. Nick Novak, the Houston Texans kicker, only had 23 touchbacks on 74 kickoffs, so he didn’t have a big leg.
Both Bosher and Gostkowski had 40 returns over 16 games. That’s about 2.5 returns per game. The value certainly appears to be on the over in this prop bet. Guys will be looking to make the superstar plays on balls that are a yard or two deep, so you know they’ll be itching to take it out. Clearly 5Dimes has the better number, so if this is one that you want to play, check it out there.
Will Super Bowl LI go to overtime?
In the history of the Super Bowl, overtime has taken place exactly zero times. If you feel like Super Bowl LI will be historic in that regard, 5Dimes is the place for you with the best number. The last AFC Conference Championship Game to go to overtime was back in 1987. The NFC has done it four times since 2008. It’s very hard to get overtime for the Super Bowl because there are so many opportunities for late-game drives. We’re talking about the two best teams in the NFL, so you would expect efficiency.
The value is on no, but it’s hard to play a -1000 with the size of most bankrolls. This was mostly to point out that no game has ever done it and yet people bet on it year after year.
Will there be a safety?
Again, you know how this works. We’ve seen safeties recently, but they are exceptionally rare. With two great offenses like this, the likelihood seems even smaller. Recreational bettors will hope for this again and probably throw money on “First score safety” because it cashed in the Denver/Seattle Super Bowl as the ultimate long shot. If you want to shoot your shot with $5 or $10, more power to you, but just know that this is a losing bet.
Speaking of losing bets, don’t bet the coin toss. You’re paying juice on an exactly 50/50 proposition. Even with 5Dimes showing -101 on both sides, it’s a –EV wager. Don’t do that.
These game props are okay and there can be some good values there, but I definitely prefer the player props, so please check those out for the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.