It’s that time of year again: Super Bowl Sunday. Or, as it’s known here in Las Vegas because the NFL doesn’t allow the casinos to use the term “Super Bowl” – it’s time for the Pro Football Championship Game. One of the most fun aspects of this weekend is placing wagers on all of the wacky and wild prop bets available to the gaming public. If you bet online, or with an offshore sportsbook (or with your Italian Uncle Tony) you’ll find an obscene amount of betting options. Again, here in Las Vegas, many of the more entertaining prop bets, like the length of the National Anthem, are actually prohibited by the Nevada Gaming Commission. So, with the state and local government taking what fun out of it that they could, I’ll bring you my favorite prop bets for the Super Bowl. I’m actually betting all of these myself, so I have some skin in the game. These are not some random picks; if they hit, I’m hitting too.
First Quarter Point Total: 10.5
I’m taking the under on this one. The Patriots don’t score in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. Never have. Never will. Google it. It’s become their “thing.” I suspect the Rams will start slow themselves as a young team that will be caught up in all the hoopla surrounding the lead-up to the game. Even if the Rams manage a touchdown at some point and the Pats kick a field goal, the hook will save me.
First Half Point Total: 28
See above. I expect the first to be low scoring and non-eventful, possibly 0-0 or 0-3. I don’t see them combining for 28 or 25 in the second quarter. Even if it hits the projected 10 points early, I don’t see another 18 coming in the second. This bet piggybacks off my first quarter bet.
Fourth Quarter Point Total: 14.5
I don’t think we’ll see scoring early, but with a game total of 57.5, the points should be coming late, and I expect fireworks to close the game out to get close to the projected total.
New England is a 2.5 point favorite (as of this writing). With seven being what’s known as a “key number” and 8% of all games end with a winning margin of seven, getting the favorite at +170 feels like a risk worth taking.
See my key number explanation above. A small dog with a lively offense and a Wade Phillips defense at +220 seemed like a decent value. Obviously, I can’t hit both, but at plus money on each, I’ll live with it.
First Team to Call a Timeout
The Rams and Patriots were the same odds here at -115. I went with the Rams. Jared Goff and Sean McVay both are not very experienced, and I can see the Patriots throwing some looks at them early on defense that would cause them to burn an early timeout.
In Which Half Will More Points Be Scored
There is a theme here for me. I think this game starts slow and closes with some back and forth action. Another factor: it is the 1st half vs. the 2nd half + overtime. The possibility of overtime with a small point spread is intriguing. I’m laying -125, but I feel very confident with this one given the narrative I’ve built up in my head.
Will James White Score a Touchdown
I went with “yes” at even money (no was -130). White has come up big in a few of these Super Bowls, and although Sony Michel had a helluva run in the playoffs thus far, TB12 will look to his old, reliable running back, especially in the endzone.
Will Phillip Dorsett Score a Touchdown
At +325, I went with yes. Dorsett is a big play guy, and I think when the Patriots will need it, they’re going to look his way as Chris Hogan’s role has diminished. The number was simply too good for me to pass up and he’s scored in 3 straight games.
Will Brandin Cooks Score a Touchdown
This was a last minute throw in for me, and I have little confidence in it at only +110. Revenge game for Cooks narrative comes into play. Cooks got knocked out of the Super Bowl early last year narrative. McVay raved about him in the preseason narrative. Blah, blah, blah. This is my least favorite bet of the weekend.
Tom Brady Pass Attempts: 38.5
I went with the under at -110. Brady has averaged 45 attempts in his two playoff games, but during the regular season, he only went over 39 attempts four times. I suspect we see a lot of Burkhead/White/Michel, but this will be a nail biter. In the last ten years, during the playoffs, Brady has averaged 42 attempts a game.
Phillip Dorsett Total Receptions: 2.5
Dorsett has seen 13 targets in the last three games. I’m hoping he sees four or five targets and hauls in 3 of them at +135.
Phillip Dorsett Total Receiving Yards: 28.5
Can you tell I like Dorsett in this game? If he gets those 4 or 5 targets, the 29 should come easily. He’s averaged 34 yards in his last three contests. At -105, it was nearly even money, and it feels like a coin flip. Plus, the 28.5 is so low, and he’s a big play type of receiver, one 29 yard reception and it hits.
James White Total Receptions: 6.5
White has averaged 5.3 receptions in playoff games over the past four seasons and had 23 targets in two playoff games this year. At -115 for both over and under, it seems more likely that the over hits and he gets to 7 easily if he gets another 11 targets.
Sony Michel Total Rushing Yards: 79.5
I went with the over. In his two playoff games, Michel has tallied 53 carries for 242 yards. With those averages, he’ll only need 17 carries to get to 80 yards. The Pats have leaned on him heavily during this playoff run, and I suspect they’ll continue to do so. At only -120, this seems like an excellent value too.
James Develin Total Rushing & Receiving Yards: 3.5
I’m a sucker for these bets. I took the over. It was a small bet and gives me something to root for all game no matter what is happening otherwise. Develin has 14 total yards this postseason in 2 games. Secondary to winning money, the goal here is to have fun, right? Now I’m looking for a fullback all game and seeing how they use him… good times.
Brandin Cooks Total Receiving Yards: 73.5
Cooks has averaged 86 yards in his two playoff games this season. Similar to Phillip Dorsett above, as a big play threat, if Cooks secures a single 37 yarder, we’re halfway home. I got it at -120, which I don’t love, but I suspect he’ll see the targets to make it a solid bet.
Todd Gurley Total Rushing Yards: 61.5
C.J. Anderson Total Rushing Yards: 42.5
These are tied together for me. I took the under on Gurley at -115 and the over on Anderson at -115. It comes down to this: I think Gurley is injured, and the Rams are keeping it a secret, and we’re going to see more C.J. Anderson in the game than most expect.
Will The Game Be Decided By Exactly 3 Points
Will The Game Be Decided By Exactly 7 Points
As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking at key numbers here. 16% of NFL games finish with a margin of 3 and another 8% finish with a margin of 7. So I have a 24% change of the game ending on one of these margins of victory. Factoring the small spread, I think this is extremely likely. Yes, for the game being decided by 3 points is +350, and yes, for a 7 point margin of victory is +650. Those are great returns given the likelihood of the outcomes. And if the 7-point margin of victory hits for either team, I’m also doubling up with my earlier bets on both teams at -6.5.
Will There be Overtime
With a small favorite and under 3 points, why not? The game is projected to be close, so why not roll the dice at +650. And with my 3 point margin of victory bet, if it goes to overtime, it could be a double win. The +650 also protects me from a 6 point overtime win killing my -6.5 bets and my 7 point margin of victory bet.
There you have it, that’s what I’ll be playing this weekend. Good luck to you and your bets. Enjoy your Super Bowl party and start getting ready for the 2019 season!