No single sporting event across the globe attracts a higher level of interest in prop bets than the Super Bowl. The pinnacle of the NFL season is also the pinnacle for NFL prop bettors, with bookmakers offering everything from time of the national anthem to first touchdown scorer to the color of Gatorade the winning team will pour on its coach.
A gambling mecca, the Super Bowl provides a prime opportunity to gain an edge on bookmakers. With most books posting hundreds of props — many of which are offered only for the big game — there exists a significant edge for bettors who are willing to put in the work, identify key trends and look to play against inherent pricing biases.
With that in mind, here are five tips bettors can use to guide their handicapping of Super Bowl props.
1. Do your research
Like all betting pursuits, research is absolutely critical. It can be even more so with Super Bowl prop betting, though, as most sportsbooks post over 500 prop bet options. Oddsmakers have neither the time nor resources to price them all correctly, instead relying on betting tendencies and feeling. All oddsmakers know that there will be action on the national anthem, but not all may know that the last 10 pop singers to belt out The Star-Spangled Banner lasted at least one minute and 50 seconds — with three of the last four topping two minutes — while three of the last five country stars have failed to break one minute and 45 seconds. This is just one example of the type of edge a bettor can gain with just a bit of digging into the historical precedent for a given prop.
2. Lean toward ‘No’ and ‘Under’
The public bets “Yes” at a disproportionate ratio when it comes to Super Bowl props. Casual bettors want to root for things to happen. It is the same reason recreational bettors favor the over when betting totals — they want to root for big plays and touchdowns, not punts and field goals. The “Yes” is also typically the plus-money bet for many props, and bettors with smaller bankrolls want to bet less to win more. Bookmakers are well aware of this and accordingly undercut the prices on “Yes” and “Over” — similar to how they shade public teams and overs — therefore creating a surplus of value on “No” and “Under.” This is particularly true heading into gametime as public money begins to flood the market.
3. Know when history tends to repeat
Paying attention to history can prove financially rewarding. A prime example of this is the Super Bowl MVP award. The quarterbacks are nearly always favored, but their prices are never short enough relative to the history of the award. Quarterbacks have won 29 of 53 Super Bowl MVPs — and nine of the last 13. Whichever team you’re backing for the game, it would be prudent to also allocate part of your bankroll toward that team’s quarterback to win the MVP in order to unlock some additional potential value.
4. Correlate long-shot bets to game script
As outlined in the example above, maximizing value is key to winning as a bettor. That is true for Super Bowl props. That means getting down on props with longer odds if they fit your predicted game script. If you believe the 49ers will be able to run all day on the Chiefs, don’t just take Raheem Mostert to go over his rushing yards; also take him at 100+ yards and 150+ yards and bet him to score 2+ and 3+ touchdowns. If you’re expecting one of the defenses to wreak havoc in the backfield, don’t just take the over on team sacks, but find the player who will record them and sprinkle a bit of your bankroll on a safety happening. Correlating your bets to the general expected game flow can lead to substantial returns if that script goes as forecast.
5. Shop around
Line shopping presents myriad opportunities for prop bettors. Due to the uniqueness of some Super Bowl markets there is often significant variation in the lines and prices offered across sportsbooks. This allows for the opportunity to potentially play a middle or, at the very least, get a price or line at the best end of the market.