Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Super Bowl 50 Prop Bet Gambling Extravaganza

The Sportsbook at the MGM Grand. The happiest place on Earth.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin)

Super Bowl Sunday is the greatest Sunday of the year for many reasons (closely edging Father's Day, which closely edges Mother's Day, which closely edges Arbor Day), but the greatest reason it's the greatest Sunday of the year is because it is the gambling capital of the year. No day sees more money placed on the line than Super Bowl Sunday.

We're here to break down all the great prop bets for the weekend - some you should bet on, some you shouldn't bet on, some you consider betting on, and some you should throw yourself in front of a god damn truck if you consider betting on. And just so we're clear, I've listed maybe 0.5% of the total prop bets in this post. There are literally hundreds of them. I tried to parse through the entire list but my ears started bleeding and I took that as a sign to stop. If you have further questions, reach out to me on Twitter and I'll tell you how much of a degenerate gambler you are.

Let's start with the old standby:

Player To Score First Touchdown

This is consistently my favorite prop bet every year. I usually win it by spreading smart money across two or three choices. This year, I'm going to give you just my best value bet, and my smart-money pick, but not before we go through all the choices.

No Touchdown (150-1)

Kill yourself

Andre Caldwell (70-1)
Cameron Artis-Payne (70-1)
Cody Latimer (70-1)
Fozzy Whitaker (70-1)
Juwan Thompson (70-1)
Kevin Norwood (70-1)
Peyton Manning (70-1)
Scott Simonson (70-1)

If you can name what team half of these guys play on, I'll be impressed. If you bet on them to score the first touchdown, I'll elbow you in the larynx.

Bennie Fowler (50-1)
Ed Dickson (50-1)
Vernon Davis (50-1)
Virgil Green (50-1)
Jordan Norwood (40-1)

This is the territory where I'll give you credit if you bet on them and win, but I'll make fun of you mercilessly if you bet on them and lose.

Jerricho Cotchery (22-1)
Mike Tolbert (22-1)
Broncos Defense/Special Teams (20-1)
Philly Brown (20-1)

All of these are mildly intriguing but ultimately dismissable.

Owen Daniels (18-1)
Devin Funchess (17-1)

Depending on which team you like in the game, these are the nice value bets. If you think Carolina is going to win, bet Funchess to score first. If you like Denver, bet Daniels.

Ronnie Hillman (13-1)
C.J. Anderson (11-1)

Either bet both of these or neither of them. If you pick only one, the other one will score first. It's inevitable.

Panthers Defense/Special Teams (11-1)
Emmanuel Sanders (10-1)
Ted Ginn (9-1)
Demaryius Thomas (9-1)
Jonathan Stewart (17-2/+850)
Cam Newton (+800)
Greg Olsen (+800)

Here's my bet for the game - take whatever money you want to allocate, split it in half, and bet both Carolina Defense/Special Teams and Ted Ginn. It's normally smart to spread out your money anyway, but doing it this way actually creates a scenario in which both bets could win. You could technically also do this with Jordan Norwood and Denver's Defense/Special Teams and improve your odds substantially, but there's a roughly zero percent chance that a Jordan Norwood punt return is the game's opening touchdown.

Here are some other fun prop bets that I would consider putting money of in gambling were legal and/or I had disposable income with which to wager:

Players to Score 3+ Touchdowns

Cam Newton (60-1)
Jonathan Stewart (75-1)
Demaryius Thomas (90-1)
C.J. Anderson (150-1)

These are the only four guys that I could see scoring three touchdowns in the game. Plenty of others are listed, but don't worry about them. If you're predicting a high-scoring game, one of these bets might be worth it.

Margin of Victory Props

Broncos (1-3): 8-1
Broncos (4-6): 12-1
Broncos (7-10): 10-1
Broncos (11-13): 25-1
Broncos (14-17): 20-1
Broncos (18-21): 30-1
Broncos (22+): 15-1

Panthers (1-3): 11-2
Panthers (4-6): 10-1
Panthers (7-10): 8-1
Panthers (11-13): 10-1
Panthers (14-17): 8-1
Panthers (18-21): 12-1
Panthers (22+): 6-1

Incredibly, the second-best odds on the board are a Panthers out-and-out blowout. Value-wise, your best bets are Broncos 1-3 (if they're going to win, it's going to be close), Panthers 14-17 (giving you a nice range if the Panthers score a late TD to make it a two-score game), and Panthers 22+ (a total ass-whoopin' seems way more likely than what preceded the last half-dozen Super Bowls).

Shortest Touchdown of The Game

Over 1.5 yards (-110)
Under 1.5 yards (-120)

If you look at the odds, you can see that this is a sucker bet (if both options are negative, that's Vegas just taking advantage of idiots and collecting the vig). That being said, bet the under. These are both teams that will grind their way in the red zone. A one-yard touchdown seems almost inevitable.

Longest Touchdown of The Game

Over 42.5 yards (-115)
Under 42.5 yards (-115)

Again, Vegas just collects the vig. Either way, bet the under. Denver can't throw deep, so there's no way they're coming up with a long touchdown, and Carolina's offense is built on grinding out long drives. Sure, they can make big plays, and if you like Carolina's Special Teams to score a touchdown, then the over might be a good bet. But history shows that Special Teams touchdowns are rare in Super Bowls, and Carolina isn't likely to create a bunch of big plays against this Denver defense.

First Touchdown of The Game

Passing Touchdown (-150)
Any Other Touchdown (+120)

For two teams that love to run the ball in the red zone, as well as two opportunistic defenses, betting against a passing touchdown seems like the smart play. It will make every Cam Newton dropback in the red zone that much more exciting, too. You'll be screaming at him to tuck and run even if Greg Olsen is standing by his lonesome in the end zone.

Will There Be Overtime

Yes (+500)
No (-850)

This is a classic "if you bet on this, you probably have a gambling problem" prop bet. But bet No. There has never been an overtime in a Super Bowl, and it seems wildly unlikely that this game will be close in the 4th quarter anyway.

Will There Be A Successful Two Point Conversion

Yes (+270)
No (-350)

If you like a Carolina blowout, then you'd probably like the Yes here. If Denver needs to make up a bunch of points (say, down 24 in the second half), they'll probably start going for two. If you expect either team to go for two, then +270 are VERY generous odds.

Adjusted Lines

If you're expecting a specific score, but think the windows on the Margin of Victory props are too narrow, try these out:

Panthers -7.5 (+125)
Broncos +7.5 (-155)

Panthers -10.5 (+177)
Broncos +10.5 (-220)

Panthers -14.5 (+250)
Broncos +14.5 (-330)

Panthers -17.5 (+400)
Broncos +17.5 (-550)

Panthers -21.5 (+475)
Broncos +21.5 (-750)

Broncos -3.5 (+280)
Panthers +3.5 (-360)

Broncos -7.5 (+450)
Panthers +7.5 (-650)

Broncos -10.5 (+650)
Panthers +10.5 (-1100)

Super Bowl MVP

Let's close out with the only one that really matters. The money line for the game is Carolina -220/Denver +185, so keep that in mind, as well as the fact that there's never been a Super Bowl MVP from the losing team.

Cam Newton (-160)
Peyton Manning (+340)
Jonathan Stewart (20-1)
Luke Kuechly (20-1)
Von Miller (20-1)
C.J. Anderson (25-1)
Ted Ginn (25-1)
Greg Olsen (30-1)
Emmanuel Sanders (30-1)
Corey Brown (45-1)
Demaryius Thomas (45-1)
Aqib Talib (50-1)

There are other lines listed, but they start to get stupid. If you like Carolina, Cam Newton's MVP line is better than Carolina's money line, and it's very hard to imagine a scenario in which he doesn't win the MVP if the Panthers win (unless Kuechly scores a defensive touchdown and makes 20 tackles, or Jonathan Stewart scores three rushing touchdowns, or something like that). There's a similar story for Peyton Manning - if Denver wins and Peyton plays moderately well, he's going to win the MVP. Demaryius Thomas at 45-1 is mildly interesting, but you'd be betting on (a) Denver winning, (b) Thomas having a monster game, and (c) Peyton *NOT* having a monster game. It seems far-fetched. Ted Ginn becomes a possibility if he returns a punt for a touchdown, but I'd stay away from that also.

The only bets I'd recommend making are the quarterbacks, or Kuechly or Miller if you're feeling frisky.

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