Last Updated: 2018-01-30
Super Bowl Week is finally here! It feels like forever since we’ve watched a football game that meant something more than the Senior Bowl, in which kids were trying to build up their NFL Draft stock. We’ll crown a champion on Sunday. Up until then, we’ll do a lot of talking about the game and about the vast array of prop bets available.
It is borderline ridiculous how many prop bets are out there. William Hill released a list of over 900 betting options for Super Bowl LII. Most other sportsbooks have a more “manageable” total in the 300s or 400s. It is certainly great to have options and to be able to shop around for the best lines on these things.
We’re going to be taking a long look at prop bets throughout the week on BangTheBook Radio and also in written form at BangTheBook.com. I’ll be starting here with some game prop bets and I’ll also do individual player and team props for both the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. Finally, I’ll add some thoughts on the novelty and cross-sport props.
Before we look at specific bets that I like, I have to drive this point home. It is imperative that you shop around for the best lines and the best prices. Don’t lay -195 when you can lay -175. Don’t play over 44.5 yards when you could have over 42.5 yards. Those differences may seem nominal, but every cent of juice and every yard matters.
We’ll have a cross-section of lines from BetDSI, BetOnline, 5Dimes, and Bovada, so we’ll hit some sportsbooks that are more public and some that are more balanced in terms of sharps and public bettors.
These are not necessarily ordered by confidence or anything. I’m just listing off some Super Bowl LII Game Props that I’m taking a long, hard look at for this week.
Total Touchdowns Scored First Half: Under 2.5 (+105) (BetOnline)
BetOnline, 5Dimes, and Bovada are all offering this prop, with BetOnline at +105 on the under better than 5D at even money and Bovada at -115. The Patriots have not scored a first quarter touchdown in any of their seven Super Bowls under Bill Belichick. In fact, the Patriots have not scored a first quarter point in any of those games. They have only allowed 15 first quarter points and only one touchdown, back in Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Things have really opened up in the second quarter, though, so you’ll have to be wary of that, but you can always play New England to score a second quarter TD at 5Dimes at -200.
We’ve seen some crazy fourth quarters in Super Bowls, but you could also play second quarter higher scoring quarter at +150 to limit your risk. If you really wanted to gamble on a 0-0 first quarter, which has happened in four of the seven Super Bowls under Belichick, you can play No Score in first 14:30 at 5Dimes at +767.
This bet may seem counterintuitive because the first half total is 24, but you will notice that books do have this line juiced to the under. We’re playing the angle that the Patriots do start slowly and conservatively and it makes sense that nerves are a big deal in this bright spotlight.
There are a lot of variations of these types of bets. “Will there be a score in the first X minutes?”, but keep in mind that those bets also include field goals. Touchdowns are what we’re looking at here.
Total Number of Kickoff Returns: Over 4.5 (-140) (BetOnline)
BetOnline and 5Dimes are offering this prop, with BetOnline 15 cents lower on the juice. Stephen Gostkowski had 40 touchbacks on 99 kickoffs in the regular season. Jake Elliott had 42 on 84 kickoffs. It should help that this game is being played in a controlled weather environment, but that didn’t help Gostkowski had six kickoffs at the Superdome earlier this season and only one was a touchback. We don’t have any dome games to compare with Elliott, but he ranked 21st in average kickoff distance.
Gostkowski allowed the highest number of returns by 14 over Kai Forbath and Elliott was fifth on that list. Perhaps the indoor setting and the adrenaline of the Super Bowl will help these kickers add some leg, but we have to assume that they struggle to hit the end zone or that it isn’t deep enough to encourage the returner to take a knee.
Longest Touchdown: Under 45 Yards (-110) (BetOnline)
All four shops are offering this prop. BetDSI is at 42.5 yards with -115 on both sides. Bovada is at 43.5 yards with -115 on both sides. 5Dimes is at 44.5 yards with -105 on over and -115 on under. BetOnline has the best under line at 45 and -110 and an opportunity to push on 45. Note that BOL labels this prop: “Will there be a TD of 45 yards or longer?” while the other books simply list “Longest TD”.
The Eagles and Patriots each allowed 10 plays of 40+ yards in the passing game and three rushes of 40+ yards combined. Over 32 regular season games, the Eagles and Patriots combined to allow just 23 plays of 40+ yards. In the postseason, no teams have allowed a play of 40 or more yards period. Once we winnow down the field, these are the best of the best and they won’t get burned for as many big plays. Crazy things can certainly happen, like a pick six or a horrible blown coverage, but the odds point us towards the under.
Will A Player Be Called for Offensive Pass Interference? No (-300) (BetDSI)
This one is a little bit more intangible in nature, but DSI is the only sportsbook offering this prop. The Patriots did lead the league in OPI calls, but that was with only eight of them. The Eagles only had one OPI infraction. It is an incredibly hard call for a referee to make in the Super Bowl. I would be extremely surprised to see one. Obviously the juice is high, but this implies a 25 percent chance that one gets called. That seems very high to me.
Successful Fourth Down Conversion: Yes (-180) (BetDSI)
This is an interesting one. The Eagles were 17-of-26 on fourth down in the regular season and the Patriots were 8-of-13. Philadelphia had the second-most attempts. Giving the ball back to Tom Brady generally isn’t wise, so I think we see Doug Pederson force the issue a little. Keep in mind that this says “SUCCESSFUL” fourth down conversion. It doesn’t say, will one be attempted? So, we have to get a conversion here.
But, here’s the fun part about this prop. BetOnline has +200 on No Conversion/No Attempt. 5Dimes has +185. This is called Arbitrage. You can bet $180 to win $100 on Yes at DSI and $100 to win $200 on No at BetOnline. You’re basically freerolling for $20 if there’s no fourth down conversion. It may not seem like much, and it isn’t if you’re a $50 or $100 bettor, but those that can move some bigger money down have a free gamble at winning $200 if they can bet $1800 to win $1000 and $1000 to win $2000. Sometimes these opportunities present themselves and that is the value of shopping around. It also helps to play things like this at two different books if you are trying to reach a rollover amount in order to withdraw. It’s a freeroll bet where you either break even or turn a modest profit.
In any event, I do think we have a successful one and the line suggests the same with two of our books above -200 on Yes.
No Safety & No Overtime (-650) (5Dimes)
Laying juice is never fun. We want chaos. We want our ugly square numbers to have a shot. I hate to burst your bubble, but we probably won’t get a safety. We had a run of three straight Super Bowls with a safety, but those were clearly outliers. After all, there were 15 safeties in 512 NFL regular season games.
Last year’s Super Bowl was the first to go to overtime. It took 51 Super Bowls for more than 60 minutes to be necessary in order to decide a winner. You can bet these individually, with No Safety anywhere from -1250 to -1450 and No Overtime in a similar range. It is highly unlikely to happen. -650 implies an 86.67 percent likelihood that we have no safety and no overtime. I’d certainly put the probability higher than that. If you can stomach laying this kind of juice, it’s a good bet.
Total Number of Sacks: Under 4.5 (+110) (Bovada)
Bovada has the best juice for those looking to go under. BetDSI is 4.5 and -115 both ways. BetOnline is 4.5 and -110 both ways. 5Dimes is 4.5 with -115 on the over and -105 on the under. I’m just not seeing a whole lot of sacks here. The speed edge rushers got after Tom Brady in the Jacksonville game, as Dante Fowler had two sacks and Jacksonville had a lot of pressures. The Eagles only had one sack on Minnesota, but three on Atlanta. The Patriots offense is more like Minnesota’s with the quick throws and the high-percentage tosses to the backs. New England simply doesn’t have a lot of team speed on defense and lacks that true pass rusher.
This is a prop that has gone over in six of the last eight Super Bowls, but the line has traditionally been more like 3.5 instead of 4.5. In two of those Super Bowls, the total number of sacks was 4 and went over. That means that, at this current line, it is 4-4 over the last eight years.
Does that mean anything with two different teams? Not really, but it is a sign that the books have adjusted this line due to recent results, especially with 22 sacks over the last two Super Bowls. To me, that creates value on the under with two offenses designed to get the ball out quick.
You can click to view our Eagles Team/Player Props, Patriots Team/Player Props, and Novelty Props articles.
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