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Super Bowl LII – Prop Bet Preview and Novelty Wagers

Philadelphia Eagles(15-3) @ New England Patriots(15-3)

  • Where: U.S. Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, MN
  • When: February 4, 2018 6:30 pm EST
  • Spread: Philadelphia (+4.5) vs New England (-4.5)
  • Moneyline: Philadelphia (+155) at New England (-175)
  • Over / Under: Over 48 (-110) vs Under 48 (-110)

The early months of an election year have been called the “silly season” of politics, when primary challengers start tossing mud at one another – even if their stories come with a certain lack of veracity.

But the casino industry can call that and raise it. How? In late January and early February, sports books offer so many random and ridiculous proposition bets on the Super Bowl that only a truly-captivated gambler would take time to examine them all.

How about a wager on the coin flip? Or on whether the flip-winning team chooses to receive or defer (gee, how exciting to watch a team captain answer a question from the referee). The color of Gatorade poured on the winning coach is another head-scratcher. Players will simply grab the first bucket they see that is conveniently hidden from the coach. Such a bet is like playing slots, except you have to wait 3-4 hours for the fateful spin.

But there are plenty of meaningful, well-crafted props. Our friends at Bet Online are offering markets upon markets of propositions, including passing-stats O/U plays on Tom Brady and Nick Foles, money line odds on margin-of-victory, and a variety of special-teams bets. Successful prop-betting is an art form – action won’t tend to drive the odds as much in either direction because the betting pool is diluted among hundreds or even thousands of different gambles.

Therefore, it’s important to know the character of each team. Oddly enough (excuse the pun) a wager on one player’s stats can come down to macro-analysis of franchise tendencies in big games…and team-stat props can come down to how a couple of star performers fare in their match-ups.

We’d need 50,000 words for a comprehensive preview. But let’s trim the fat and take a look at where some of the more-obvious value lies in Super Bowl LII prop betting.

Pregame and NBC broadcast props

A number of Super Bowl props test the bettor’s pop culture and television knowledge instead of her sports savvy.

For a start (literally), bookies are offering props on pregame ceremony outfits, such as the color of Leslie Odom Jr’s tie.

One very dubious market involves whether Pink will expose her “cleavage” during her rendition of the national anthem. We’re rejecting that bet out of hand, not just for the immaturity factor but because it’s not objective. If Pink wears a tight outfit with a very small slit down the middle, who’s to say what she’s revealing?

Other pregame bets are more interesting. There are 6/1 odds against Tom Brady being shown on American TV during the anthem, which could actually pay off if multiple players kneel and cause a distraction. NBC could potentially choose to focus the camera on the kneelers and skip Brady. But it’s not likely.

There are (+140) odds on Pink’s anthem lasting under 2 minutes, which is a more solid wager – the rock and roll superstar may choose to sing a slightly faster, jazzy version of the old patriotic tune.

Three no Trump

MSB will never publish an opinion on President Trump, good or bad – we would immediately lose half of our readership. But the odds on a mid-game mention of Trump from the broadcast booth are too good to overlook.

Bet Online offers a (+350) money line on Al Michaels or Cris Collinsworth mentioning the POTUS in the 2nd quarter.

We feel strongly that there are better than 1/3 chances of that happening, since the 1st quarter will be taken up with obligatory analysis and team-roster exposition. If things slow down in the 2nd frame, you can easily imagine Collinsworth filling space by bringing up The Donald’s running feud with members of the NFL community.

Quarter, half and final outcome props

Bookies appear to be over-estimating each team’s scoring prospects in the early-going. Not that there isn’t a chance of a wild shoot-out breaking out at some point, thanks to over-aggressiveness by either defense.

Add in the fact that Tom Brady and red-hot Nick Foles are each throwing to an above-average WR corps, and you’ve got potential fireworks in the 4th quarter.

But the odds of zero touchdowns being scored in the 1st quarter are set at (+220). That’s potentially value, since the 1st frame could be cautious and well-defended in the Red Zone. Philadelphia has a stout front-7 and ball-hawking defensive backfield that will cause Brady to throw the ball away when in trouble early-on. The Pats ‘D is likely to play well near its own goal line thanks simply to Belichick’s black-magic of strategy and preparation. The offenses will break through eventually, but a 3-3 score after 15:00 isn’t too unlikely.

An even better play is a wager at (+140) on each team having a lead at some point in the 1st half. Are home-team bettors influencing the odds by trying to will their teams to a blow-out with the superstition of cold cash?

The payoff could be as simple as Foles leading a field goal drive to start the game, followed by Brady leading a TD drive in response. Anyone who thinks an early lead-change doesn’t have at least a 50/50 chance of happening hasn’t been watching the NFL very carefully.

Finally (excuse the pun) there are (+1000) odds that the Eagles will win by 13 to 18 points. The math adds up straightforwardly enough – the Iggles have a 40% to 50% chance to prevail, and would be just as likely to squeak by with a small margin if they do win. But New England’s running game stuttered and staggered against Jacksonville, and it’s conceivable that Brady will find himself not only behind, but running a one-dimensional offense in the last quarter. If the Pats are down by 6 and have 4th down and 30 on their own 20 yard line with 1:00 left, the hyper-competitive QB will unleash a risky pass or die trying.

Supposing the Eagles manage to out-play the favorites, the Philly defense may be able to grab a turnover in the late-going and escape with a 2-touchdown victory, thanks in part to the maniacal never-quit mojo of their opponent. Late desperation makes a 2-score outcome more likely.

The same is true for Foles and the Birds, of course, if they’re up against the ropes with time running out. But the odds on the Pats winning by 13 to 18 are only (+500).

Click here to wager on the Patriots and Eagles trading leads in the 1st half of Super Bowl LII and get a sign-up gift from Bet Online.

Cross-sport props

For added entertainment-value, there is a full spread of cross-sport props for this Super Bowl.

For instance, will LeBron James score more points than Nick Foles has pass attempts?

We don’t recommend a Foles vs James wager as it is too unpredictable and will depend on external factors.

The QB won’t be calling most of the plays, and James could take the night off and follow the Super Bowl in an NBA dressing room for all we know. After all, he runs the Cleveland Cavaliers more than the Cavs’ coaches do.

Our best-available bet recommendation in this category is New England RB Dion Lewis vs. the Illinois Fighting Illini men’s basketball team. Lewis is given a “yardage spread” of (+14.5) in a pick’em market vs the Illinois offense against Ohio State on 2/4. Ohio State is ranked #17 in men’s basketball and has a chance to hold Illinois to 60 points or less. That would mean that Lewis must simply have a 50-yard game to win the wager.

Even if the Illini pull off a fast-paced upset and score 80, the talented RB would still have a chance to grind out 66 or more yards rushing. There’s no way the basketball team will overwhelm his chances, especially with a 14.5 yards head-start. That gives the Lewis-bettor a leg-up before kickoff.

Speaking of kickoff, who’s ready for Sunday evening in Minneapolis already?

Follow our prop-betting picks or feel free to make some of your own, but remember to avoid the pure-chance fluff and focus on bets that can be won with solid decision-making. Don’t play silly. Play smart, and let your luxurious Super Bowl experience pay for itself.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.


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