Thursday, January 30, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Prop Bets

Spin the wheel and pick your favorite Super Bowl prop bets.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin)

Yesterday, we kicked off our Super Bowl Gambling preview with odds and picks for the player to score the first touchdown. I have more uncertainty surrounding those picks than I ever have before, and I fully expect to lose every penny I (would have) put down (if gambling were legal). The rest of the props, I feel a lot better about. On [insert semi-shady offshore gambling website here].com, there are pages and pages of different prop bets, way too many to list here. In all, there are over 450 different elements of the game you can bet on, up to and including whether or not Broncos' third-string Tight End Virgil Green will receive a pass. So instead of running through all of them (which would take days to write, hours to read, and may even exceed the character limit for a single post), let's only focus on the ones that are worth betting on.

(A quick refresher on gambling lines for the uninitiated - a line of +150 means betting $100 would net a $150 profit. A line of -150 means you need to bet $150 to net a $100 profit, so a $100 bet would net $66.67 in profit, etc. etc.)

Because gambling should be fun, we're going to start with the "fun" bets before we get into the ones that require, you know, actual football knowledge.

Gatorade Dump:
No Gatorade/Liquid Dump (Even)
Water/Clear (+200)
Yellow (+350)
Orange (+450)
Red (+750)
Blue (+750)
Lime Green (+1000)
Hot Cocoa (+5000)
Chicken Broth (+5000)

I'm not making those last two up. Those are real bets you can make. If you do, you're a moron, but you can make them.

For the life of me, I don't know why the "No Dump" and "Water" bets have the most likely odds. I've never seen either one of those things happen. I know if I were in an NFL locker room, my Gatorade vote would be for good old Red Fruit Punch or Blue Glacier Freeze, and both of those have pretty favorable odds. Spread some money out on both of those. Bet Red (+750) and Blue (+750).

Temperature At Kickoff:
25 Degrees or Lower (+800)
26 Degrees (+2200)
27 Degrees (+2000)
28 Degrees (+1500)
29 Degrees (+1300)
30 Degrees (+1200)
31 Degrees (+1000)
32 Degrees (+700)
33 Degrees (+500)
34 Degrees (+450)
35 Degrees (+450)
36 Degrees (+650)
37 Degrees (+800)
38 Degrees (+1500)
39 Degrees (+2000)
40 Degrees or Higher (+400)

Don't bet on this. If you do, you have a gambling problem.

Number of Times Peyton Manning Says "Omaha"
Over 28.5 (-115)
Under 28.5 (-125)

If you bet the under, you hate America. And fun. Bet Over 28.5 (-115).

First Score of The Game:
Touchdown (-145)
Any Other Score (+115)

Personally, I think both offenses are going to be able to move the ball fairly easily. It may not lead to a high-scoring shootout, but the offenses will be able to stay on the field and sustain long drives. Long drives usually end in touchdowns. Bet Touchdown (-145).

Longest Touchdown of The Game:
Over 43.5 yards (-110)
Under 43.5 yards (-120)

Long drives mean fewer big plays. Bet Under 43.5 yards (-120).

First Touchdown of The Game:
Passing Touchdown (-175)
Any Other Touchdown (+140)

They really laid the odds heavy towards passing touchdowns, and with good reason - Peyton Manning threw more passing touchdowns this year than anyone ever, and the Seahawks have a pretty good pass offense themselves. But the Seahawks bread their butter on the ground, and the Broncos have a much better running game than they get credit for, and they use it in the red zone. Bet Any Other Touchdown (+140).

Team To Score LAST in the 1st Half:
Seahawks (-105)
Broncos (-125)

Peyton Manning and the Broncos seem to be a wizards at manipulating the clock to make sure that either (a) they get the ball back with enough time to score, (b) they bleed enough of the clock that their opponent has no time left, or (c) both. If there's going to be a score late in the first half, it'll be from Denver. Bet Broncos (-125).

Will There Be A Safety:
Yes (+450)
No (-700)

Will There Be Overtime:
Yes (+600)
No (-900)

Will The Game Be Decided By Exactly Three Points:
Yes (+315)
No (-425)

There has been one safety in Super Bowl history. There has been no overtime in Super Bowl history. Games are decided by three points somewhat more often (six times in Super Bowl history, five in the last 12 years), but it's still rare. Bet No on all of above.

Will Any Quarter Be Scoreless:
Yes (+220)
No (-285)

This is a tough one - I think the offenses will be able to move the ball, which means they're likely to be in position to score. But if they move the ball well but DON'T end up with scores (either via missed field goals, turnovers, or the end of the 1st/3rd quarter), we could see a quarter go by with only three or four possessions. So the bet essentially becomes "Will there be four consecutive drives without points?" and at that point, +220 becomes a nice value bet. Don't break the bank, but Bet Yes (+220).

Broncos Total Points:
Over 25.5 (-110)
Under 25.5 (-120)

There are a number of lines you can choose from for this - for instance, you can get +210 odds if you think they'll score over 31.5. I'm sticking with the "long drives and fewer scores" theory, and combine that with an elite Seattle defense, and I think scoring will be on the low side. Bet Under 25.5 (-120).

Marshawn Lynch Total Rushing Yards:
Over 94.5 (-115)
Under 94.5 (-115)

Even odds either way, which means Vegas doesn't really care what you pick - they're making money either way. Considering the Broncos have bottled up very good rushing attacks in their two games so far this postseason, and Terrence Knighton is playing like Sam Adams against the run, I think Lynch will have tough sledding. Bet Under 94.5 (-115).

Will Golden Tate Score a Touchdown: 
Yes (+180)
No (-225)

Will Doug Baldwin Score a Touchdown: 
Yes (+210)
No (-265)

I think Seattle WILL have a passing touchdown at some point, and these two are the most likely candidates. Bet Yes on both.

Peyton Manning Total Completions:
Over 26.5 (-130)
Under 26.5 (Even)

Peyton Manning Total Attempts: 
Over 41.5 (-110)
Under 41.5 (-110)

I think Seattle is going to sit back in their pet coverage - Cover 3 deep - which will open up space for crossing routes and slants underneath. Denver should have their short passing game going, which means completions and attempts will start to accumulate quickly. Bet Over on both.

Will Peyton Manning Score a Rushing Touchdown:
Yes (+800)
No (-1800)

It's not happening. You aren't making much of a profit (only about $5.20 on a $100 bet), but it's safe. Bet No (-1800)

Knowshon Moreno Rushing Attempts:
Over 14.5 (-115)
Under 14.5 (-115)

I think Denver will commit to the run early if the wind is a factor, and he could rack up carries late in the game if Denver has the lead. Bet Over 14.5 (-115).

Julius Thomas Total Receptions:
Over 4.5 (-140)
Under 4.5 (+110)

My guess is that Thomas will emerge as a go-to receiver if Sherman shuts down Demaryius Thomas and Earl Thomas shades towards Decker (aside: there are too many Thomas's involved when Denver passes the ball). Bet Over 4.5 (-140).

Will The Seahawks Score a Rushing Touchdown:
Yes (-195)
No (+160)

I find it very hard to believe that they won't score on the ground, and I'm rather shocked that the odds aren't steeper. Bet Yes (-195).

Will The Broncos Convert a 4th Down Attempt:
Yes (+130)
No (-165)

Peyton Manning isn't a huge fan of punting. Especially not in the Super Bowl. Bet Yes (+130).

Touchdown Passes - Peyton Manning (-0.5) vs. Russell Wilson (+0.5)
Manning -0.5 (-145)
Wilson +0.5 (+115)

The only way I see Wilson winning is if they end up tied 2-2. I think Manning is guaranteed to get two and I don't see Wilson throwing three touchdown passes. Best Manning -0.5 (-145).

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