Betting the Super Bowl: Finding the Right Prop Plays
Welcome to Model Talk with Dan Angell, where he peels back the curtain to provide insightful analysis into how he builds his models, sifts through the data, and finds his readers the ultimate edge.
BETTING THE SUPER BOWL: FINDING THE RIGHT PROP PLAYS – The Super Bowl is the biggest sports betting day of the year, bar none. Maybe March Madness comes close over the course of the tournament, but the Super Bowl is in a class by itself for single-day betting.
And when it comes to the Super Bowl, there’s a lot that you can bet, from the spread and totals to the individual player props to the color of the Gatorade bath for the winning coach. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and spread your bets out too thin with all of the information available, so you need to have a strategy. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prep for Super Sunday.
Bet Strategic Props That Make Sense
Strategic props are the lifeblood of your Super Bowl betting strategy. Everything is a possibility, and that means you need to know how the Chiefs and 49ers like to play so that you can build a strategy that makes sense.
Above all, you want to make sure your prop plays fit with how you expect the game to flow. If you have the under, it doesn’t make any sense to bet on Patrick Mahomes to throw for 350 yards. If Mahomes does hit that number, the under’s probably not cashing. So it’s important to know the teams and plot your plays according to what you think is most likely to happen.
Let’s return to our Mahomes example. If the game goes according to the stats, he’s probably going to throw close to 40 times. He’s thrown at least 39 passes in three of the Chiefs’ past five playoff games, and San Francisco’s pass defense is much weaker than its run defense. The Chiefs will likely get aggressive and try to attack the 49ers’ weakest points.
On the 49ers’ side, running the ball might be the best way they can keep it out of Mahomes’ hands. So taking Christian McCaffery to see plenty of touches and gain a fair amount of yards might be worth a play.
Bet Fun Props That You Can Study
It might seem like there’s nothing that you can do to influence the odds for fun prop plays. After all, something like the coin toss is a true 50-50 shot, because there’s no way you can study a coin for past performance. But not all fun props are like that, and you might be surprised to know that there are a few you can use to your advantage.
A great example exists with the national anthem. Reba McEntire has sung the song before at major events, and you can watch her past performances for a clue. Another comes at the end of the game, when you can guess the color of Gatorade the winning team pours on the coach.
Even though red teams have won three of the past four Super Bowls, red has never won as the Gatorade color of choice. That could have something to do with concerns about red dye, making it a longshot choice. With two red teams in the Super Bowl, orange has emerged as a popular pick. It’s the most common winner since this bet first got tracked in 2001.
These plays are strictly for fun, but it’s always more fun to win money whenever you can find an edge. With a little bit of study, you’ll give yourself the best possible odds.
Stick to Plays You Know
You don’t want to get crazy. Unless you’re making a fun prop bet, you should stick to bets you understand. The Super Bowl will have props you never see in the regular season. You can bet on almost any player to score a touchdown, or on how many yards they’ll get.
But if you aren’t familiar with a certain player, that’s a fool’s errand. Trying to predict a player off no data is very risky. Lesser-known players often have low totals, but those plays can become traps. Backing a running back to get to 18 yards seems tempting, but if he only gets four carries, it gets much harder. Sticking to players you know makes it easier to predict how they’ll be used.
Don’t Fall In Love With Longshots
If you’re like most people, you want to bet on the safety. Most people want to bet the safety. And why not? It’s a play that could make you a winner in a matter of seconds. In Super Bowl 48, it did that on the first play.
Instantly, everyone holding the safety at +800 won big. But that’s not likely to repeat itself. A safety only happens about once in every 14 games in the NFL, and getting a play that happens that infrequently at +800 isn’t great odds.
It’s fine to have one or two longshot plays to come in, just in case you get lucky. What you don’t want to do is talk yourself into throwing money on a bunch of +1000 plays. The more longshots you take, the harder it becomes to win.