Rule One: proposition bets are the most profitable opportunity for sportsbooks. The Super Bowl is by far their greatest opportunity
There can be many accurate analogies to best describe proposition wagering, or prop betting, but think of it this way: nachos and cheese. Most all of us love them, but if you eat too many of them, we’re destined to get ill quickly. And no other party Sunday serves more nachos and cheese via proposition wagering than Super Bowl Sunday. Therefore, no other Sunday do more people get sick to their stomach. Get it??
I hate to be the killjoy, as I do enjoy nachos and cheese AND prop betting. But please, in moderation, and with much selective thought. And with over 500+ props on the board from the list of preferred sportsbooks, prepare to be served a menu comparative to no other during the year.
The Proposition Betting Rulebook
Proposition wagers unlike traditional spread wagering, line betting, teasers, totals, etc. is highly unconventional. It’s almost a child-like interpretation of “I’ll bet-ya” that bookmakers create (known as a proposition), to entice bettors at very unfavorable odds. Compared to the basic “dime-line”, whereas a bettor must win upon their selection, understanding they will pay the vigorish or commission of 10% for each losing wager.
Prop bets often offer much higher spreads plus lure bettors at very unfavorable odds to balance action. Rule One is quite simple: proposition wagers are the most profitable opportunity for sportsbooks. The Super Bowl is their ultimate New Years Eve party to jack up the prices, knowing mostly everyone is willing to pay.
That’s not to say we can’t enjoy A FEW, well researched, sensible prop wagers to balance the traditional diet of spread and total option of wagers on the big day. Akin to a sample of those tempting nachos and cheese appetizers to accompany the halftime party tray.
DOJ Ruining the Party
One bet is a lock for your Super Bowl prop party this year. The Depart of Justice (DOJ) and the NFL would like to ruin it. In testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Sept. 27, NFL Executive Vice President Jocelyn Moore asked Congress to let professional sports leagues and gambling regulators ban prop bets that involve the performance of individual athletes over the course of a game. That doesn’t even begin to also name the dozens of creative prop wagers conjured up for this Sunday by premiere sportsbooks like BetOnline, Bovada, 5Dimes and Diamond Sports.
If the NFL had its way, bets on things like passing touchdowns for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady or rushing yards for Rams running back Todd Gurley would be restricted — or even completely outlawed as too risky and vulnerable to manipulation or cheating. Quizzed on the issue this week in Atlanta, an NFL spokesman declared the league has not backed down on their position.
Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, the American division of the British bookmaker that runs several sportsbooks in the US, said the league’s request is a solution in search of a problem.
“We’ve been doing this for many years, and this issue is way overblown, "With the exception of the Super Bowl, player props are a tiny portion of the business — a fingernail on the world’s biggest man."
"Prop betting on the Super Bowl is quite popular and keeps people engaged throughout the game, even if it’s a blowout," Asher said. "We’ve never seen evidence of a player prop being manipulated."
That’s part of the good news. The most crucial aspect helping bettors is that sportsbooks severely limit the amount of money that can be bet on player props, therefore lessening the likelihood that anyone would make close to a significant profit by conspiring with a player or referee to manipulate the outcome of such a bet.
Overall, the books also do a good job protecting themselves as it’s very, very difficult to balance action on these highly unpredictable, casual wagers. Don’t believe fairytales of someone making a five-million-dollar wager on the opening coin-flip. Which by the way, offers the best vig of all Super Bowl props at many preferred sportsbooks at an attractive -105.
New Items on the Super Bowl Prop Menu
Ok, now that I’ve completed my sermon it’s time to select my favorite NEW props for this Super Bowl Sunday, courtesy of Bovada.lv. Anyone, can research and project Tom Brady’s passing attempts, but why not focus maybe $50 or so on these challenges:
Will CBS Broadcast mention the Point Spread or Total during the Broadcast?
-- Yes +215
-- No -330
You must love NO here as CBS President Sean McManus has threatened to fire Tony Romo and Jim Nantz before the next play for breathing a word about the spread, totals or any mention about this subject. $50 on NO insures a guaranteed 10 bucks.
How many times will the broadcast mention Sean McVays Age?
-- Over 1.5 -250
-- Under 1.5 +170
The odds are telling you the verdict here. Count on Romo & Nantz at least three to four times bringing up the age difference between McVay and Belichick. I think -250 is a generous price. Bet now before the line moves and McVay gets older.
Will a fan run onto the field during the game?
-- Yes +500
-- No -900
The days of "streaking" are long over. There’s more security at the Super Bowl than the White House. You can decide whether that’s a good thing. No fan gets remotely close to the field. Again, a $100 investment at -900 pays for your halftime party tray.
Will either kicker hit the upright OR crossbar on a missed field goal or extra point attempt?
-- Yes +350
-- No -600
Here’s an opportunity. Take a chance on YES at +350 as it seems like the trend this season for NFL kickers, especially in the playoffs. I searched and apparently there is no prop for a kicker to miss by hitting BOTH the upright and crossbar. Otherwise known as the Cody Parkey proposition wager.
Will the Super Bowl winning team visit the White House?
-- Yes -330
-- No +215
Hmmm…this prop is quite interesting. If you like the favorite Patriots, it is a lock as their owner Robert Kraft is best buddies with the President. Brady is also a close friend.
The Rams majority owner Stan Kroenke is a conservative Republican, tied to the Walmart family and quite likely to accept the invitation warmly. It is unclear whether the Rams team would potentially cooperate, and this might be either a win or perhaps a refund. This bet might receive a more unfair ruling than the Saints "no-call" interference penalty.
Overall, please save the last football dance this season for traditional sports betting principles. And if you must venture outside the lines, wager "prop-erly".
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.