And Get Up To $500 Back If Your Team Loses!
Introduction to Super Bowl Prop BettingBy Kurt Boyer
In gambling, a prop bet is the abbreviation for "proposition bet". A type of bet made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence during a game of an event not directly affecting the game's final outcome. The goal is to assess the likelihood of a particular event happening or not. For example in the NFL, which player will make the first touchdown or most passing yards.
Prop bets on week-to-week football games can be hard to find in 2019-20. Bookmakers need time and research to set proposition, or “prop” odds on NFL teams, players, and outcomes, and sportsbooks aren’t always willing to invest the necessary resources. In fact, some sportsbooks have begun using software to allow bettors to create their own prop bets on regular-season games. That’s fun, but removes the possibility of line-movement and of betting against the public.
That’s just one reason why the Super Bowl has become the prop-betting circus of the year in major American sports.
Sportsbooks go crazy setting prop odds on the Greatest Show on Earth. How crazy? Experts have speculated that 100s of different prop bets are offered prior to every Super Bowl on the internet alone. Add in-person gambling at FanDuel Sportsbook and elsewhere, and the numbers are unreal.
That doesn’t mean prop betting the Super Bowl has to be confusing or overwhelming. After all, there’s no rule that says you have to gamble on more than a single stat line or Yes/No proposition.
But what are the different types of Super Bowl prop odds, and how do they all work?
Let’s look at just a few of the most-popular examples.
Prop Betting on Super Bowl Outcomes
The most basic kind of Super Bowl prop odds involve possible outcomes of the game. Bettors can find prop odds listed in “table” form on exact margins-of-victory for the favorite or the underdog. Wagers on an exact-outcome line only win if things work out perfectly, unlike the point spread in which the New York Giants can “cover” with any winning margin above the number given. If you pick the Giants to win a Super Bowl by exactly 14 points, the bet loses unless the Big Blue prevails by 14. The upside is that the payoff odds are almost always generous due to the low probability of winning the bet.
Other kinds of game-outcome prop bets can pay off well before the final snap from scrimmage. Bookmakers offer Super Bowl prop odds on which club will score first, whether there will be a TD or a FG scored in the 1st quarter (or on the opening possession) and whether the initial scoring play will be a run, a pass, a kick, or a touchdown scored by a defense or special teams.
Then there are prop bets that only the most-dedicated handicappers take a shot at winning. Bettors can find proposition odds, for instance, on whether the final score will be “odds” (excuse the pun) or “evens,” so that 24-21 (45 total points) wins for “odd” while 30-14 (44 total points) wins for the “even” prop bet. Speculators try to handicap the odd vs even final-score prop by analyzing kickers, coaches, and potential 4th quarter scenarios to determine the likelihood of teams going for 2-point conversions or gambling on 4th down instead of adding 3 points with a field goal. But much like spinning a roulette wheel, such prop bets almost always come down to luck.
Believe it or not, “odds and evens” is far from the silliest prop betting option out there.
Super Bowl Prop Odds: Gambling on Player Performances
Another classic style of Super Bowl odds are found in player-performance prop markets. Usually couched in “Yes or No” question form, player-performance props ask gamblers to decide whether an athlete will surpass a certain statistical benchmark in his quest to earn a Lombardi Trophy.
For example, a proposition on the New England Patriots might ask, “Will Tom Brady throw at least 4 touchdown passes in the Super Bowl?” Next to the question should be a “Yes” moneyline and a “No” moneyline. Since Tom Terrific is among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history (and since the Patriots like to pass a lot on occasion) the “Yes” market wouldn’t be likely to promise a 5-to-1 payoff (+500) or any such lucrative amount. In fact, when Brady was in his prime 5 or 10 years ago, a theoretical “yes” bet on “4 touchdown passes” might have come with prop odds shorter than (+200).
But say a less-heralded QB like Mitch Trubisky of the Chicago Bears makes it to the big dance. The bookmaker might adjust his statistical benchmark downward to “2” or “3” touchdown passes, and put longer odds on Trubisky’s likelihood to reach the goal.
There are team-stat props on the Super Bowl too. A sportsbook might proposition gamblers to wager on whether the Baltimore Ravens will sack the opposing QB at least 4 times. Successfully handicapping those odds involves more than just weighing the Ravens’ pass rush, of course – if Lamar Jackson scores 5 touchdowns in the 1st half and forces the other quarterback to have to throw passes early and often, the chances of Baltimore notching 4+ sacks go way up.
Careful what you wish for when cheering for your player-performance prop bets to pay off. You might wish that an opposing team either scores quickly or punts quickly to increase the number of snaps an offense has to rack-up stat totals. But if your prop odds are on a running back to gain 100+ yards, and the opposition scores too many points too quickly, coaches could abandon the running game by the 2nd half…leaving your RB without enough touches to even gain 50 yards.
Super Bowl Prop Bets Available Before the NFL Playoffs Conclude
It may be hard to understand why sportsbooks don’t put some of the weirder, wilder prop bets up for action well before 2 teams are booked to play in the Super Bowl. For instance, the odds-maker already knows what the odds of a coin being flipped Heads or Tails is going to be – 50/50. Why would she need to wait until the clubs are known to place odds on a Super Bowl coin flip?
But wait – some teams like to call “Heads,” and some like to call “Tails” when hoping to win the pregame coin toss. So if the bookie wants to word the proposition a little bit differently and ask which side of the coin will be chosen, or which conference will win rights to choose kick, receive, or pick an end zone, then “50/50” odds are no longer logical because the outcome depends in-part on the individual characteristics of NFL teams. She must wait and find out who the 2 conference champions will be, or risk posting a badly-priced betting line.
Some of the Super Bowl’s prop bets are tailor-made for early birds, however. A popular early-January market is the Super Bowl Match-Up, in which gamblers are proposed various combinations of NFC and AFC squads and must choose who will fight in February. FanDuel Sportsbook currently offers a Super Bowl match-up prop betting board on its NFL “futures” section, and it’s no surprise to see that “Baltimore (AFC) vs San Francisco (NFC)” has been getting a ton of wagering action now that the New England Patriots are out of the postseason.
Check this space for a 4-way handicap of the Super Bowl match-up odds once hosts and visitors for the NFC and AFC Conference Games have been determined.
What are the Weirdest Prop Bets on the Super Bowl?
Some gamblers laugh when they see odds on celebrities and “wardrobe malfunctions” at the Super Bowl. But the bookmakers at FanDuel could be cooking up some “colorful” novelty props of their own for Super Bowl 54 in Miami.
“Novelty” prop bets for a Super Bowl can include:
- The color of Gatorade poured on the winning head coach
- Whether the Super Bowl MVP will thank God, his teammates, or his family first
- Odds on the opening coin toss
- Odds on the 1st penalty flag thrown
Once again, there’s more than meets the eye with the above Super Bowl betting lines. What feels like blind-chance betting to some may become a scientific study for others. Suppose you happen to know what flavor of Gatorade the NFC’s representative team likes to drink? In that case, you can place a confident prop bet on that color of health-drink getting poured over the winning coach…but it only works if the NFC wins.
Finally, the mother of all novelty prop bets is by far the simplest – odds on the opening coin-toss. Bettors can choose “heads” or “tails,” usually at matching payoff odds unless there’s a rush of action on heads or tails specifically for some reason.Don’t laugh at folks who bet on the coin toss. While the coin toss is truly impossible to “handicap” with any expectation of success, many dedicated Super Bowl bettors like to wager a small amount on the pregame coin-flip’s outcome for good luck. Others use a small bet on the coin-toss odds like an astrologer might use a horoscope. If they win the coin-toss prop bet, it’s a nice bonus to start 3 or 4 hours of live betting on the big game. If they lose the small wager, it’s a reminder to be cautious and not throw good money after bad in search of an in-play jackpot.
How to Get Started Placing Super Bowl Prop Bets
We’ve only scratched the surface of Super Bowl prop betting – there’s lots more to discuss with Super Bowl LIV in Miami just around the corner. Click around and search this space for much more on the categories, markets, strategies, and pitfalls of prop bets on the NFL’s season-capping gala.
But if you’re ready to peruse some Super Bowl props yourself, “odds” are they’re only a few clicks away. Check out FanDuel Sportsbook and get in on the action with the most reputable name in sports gambling, or if DFS is your fancy, sign-up for FanDuel’s renowned Daily Fantasy Sports games and leagues.
Don’t let the players and ticket-buyers have all the fun – get connected and take part in Super Bowl LIV from the comfort of home.