Let’s get weird.
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest gambling events in America. You don’t even have to know football to get in on the action. As a (self-proclaimed) prop bet aficionado, I’m here to walk you through some of the different angles you can take on the big game. With huge amounts of money coming in on the game, these lines are as sharp as any so it may be difficult to find a true edge, but gambling at its core is entertainment, so I’ll write up some of the more fun betting markets offered. It’s been so long since the last time I posted that I don’t even remember my regular-season record, but what I do know is that I haven’t lost a single playoff bet that I’ve made so far (0 wins, 0 losses).
Before we get into the picks, here are a few things to think about if you’re new to gambling:
- Shop around for the best odds. If you’re in a state where there are multiple sportsbooks, be sure to check each of them and get the best price for each bet. They may be slightly different and you can save yourself some cash.
- Overs are higher than they appear. It’s very easy to look at a total and think it’s an easy over, but I’m here to tell you it’s probably not. Overs may hit, but unders are generally more profitable.
- Don’t listen to random strangers on the internet. Everyone has an uncle or a cousin who works at the stadium and recorded the national anthem rehearsal or knows the color of the Gatorade. Again, don’t listen to random strangers on the internet. Except for me.
Coin Toss Outcome
First and foremost, don’t bet the coin toss at a Sportsbook. Even if you win, you’re getting 95 cents on the dollar for a true 50/50 chance which is a negative expected value. If you really want to bet the coin toss, find a friend who wants to bet the opposite side and save yourself some money. That being said, take heads. Matthew Slater took heads before overtime against the Falcons, and so am I.
The Pick: Heads (-105, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Over/Under 2.5 Players to Attempt a Pass
This is one of my favorite Super Bowl bets every year because it’s so out of the ordinary. Unless something goes incredibly wrong, both starting quarterbacks will throw a pass. From there, there are a couple of ways we can get an extra passer. An injury to either quarterback would almost certainly do it, but both of these QBs are absolute warriors and will likely only leave the game if they absolutely can’t continue. The other, and much more fun way to win this bet is by another skill player throwing a pass. I’ve bet the over on past two years and it’s lost both years. Last year I don’t recall any designed double passes, but the year prior Deebo Samuel began to throw a pass before tucking the ball and running with it. Even though it’s not the most likely play, both of these teams have an extra week to prepare and have nothing to save their trick plays for. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and both of these teams will likely have some trickery in the playbook. Look for someone great after the catch like Ja’Marr Chase or Cooper Kupp to look downfield after catching a ball behind the line of scrimmage.
The Pick: OVER 2.5 Passers (+155, Fanduel Sportsbook)
First TD Scorer Jersey Number Over/Under 23.5
Here’s another bet that you really only see for the Super Bowl. No need to break down Xs and Os here, the only thing you need to look at is the jerseys. Visual gambling is a tried and true strategy, just ask the woman who works in accounts payable that wins the office bracket pool every year, picking purely based on team colors and logos. Let’s go position by position and break down the possibilities. First, quarterback – both quarterbacks are fairly mobile and could find their way into the endzone on a scramble. Both quarterbacks also have numbers in the single digits. They likely aren’t the first touchdown scorer from a pure probability standpoint, but they both would hit the under. Next, running back. Joe Mixon (#28) is likely the goal-line back for Cincinnati. The Rams are a bit trickier with both Cam Akers (#23) and Sony Michel (#25) potentially seeing goal-line touches. If I had to guess who’s getting the look I’d go with Akers, but the Rams throw the ball as much as anyone in the red zone, so I think the receivers are a little more important to consider. Cooper Kupp (#10) is the obvious choice to find the end zone, with Odell Beckham Jr. (#3) also in the mix. On the other side, Ja’Marr Chase (#1) is the biggest red-zone threat. The tight ends for both teams are over the 23.5 mark and could find the end zone, but in the big game you go to your best players, so I like the under here. First touchdown bets always come with a ton of variation, but this bet is too fun to pass up.
The Pick: First Touchdown Jersey Number UNDER 23.5 (-140, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Winning Margin Over Under 8.5
I’ve said it time and time again, Vegas is way smarter than me. There HAS to be something I’m not quite seeing with this bet. The Rams are four-point favorites and the lines don’t get any sharper than the Super Bowl. Look, the final score could very easily end up being a ten-point game, but it’s the Super Bowl so I’m betting on it being a close game. It’s the perfect bet if you don’t want your friends and family to know that you’re betting. Here’s how that interaction might go:
Mom: “Who do you want to win?”
You: “I just hope it’s a good game.”
The playoffs this season, outside of Wildcard Weekend, have been outstanding. I’m betting on that to continue here and going with the under 8.5. Even if the game does seem wrapped up, you can always hope for the backdoor cover to keep the game interesting for yourself.
The Pick: Winning Margin UNDER 8.5 Points (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
First Touchdown Scorer
Again, betting the first touchdown scorer is difficult because there’s so much variation. It’s hard to really get an edge on the first touchdown, and there’s little to no logic with this pick, but I’m here to bring some laughs and lose some money. Odell Beckham Jr. is expecting his first child sometime this week. Odell has been great throughout the playoffs, but imagine him with dad-strength. He’s also a showman, so I firmly expect a “rock the baby” celebration, when he scores. He’s nine to one to score the first touchdown. I’ll take those odds with the new father.
The Pick: Odell Beckham Jr. First Touchdown (+900, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Super Bowl MVP
If you’re betting on the Super Bowl MVP, a quarterback is your best bet. If you like the Rams to win the game, I don’t hate taking Matthew Stafford to win MVP at even money. If you like the Bengals moneyline, take Joe Burrow at +225, if the Bengals win it’s likely on the back of Burrow so you can juice your odds a little bit with the MVP prop bet. That being said, I’m not picking either Burrow or Stafford for MVP. Cooper Kupp is the straw that stirs the Rams’ drink, he’s the engine that makes the offense go. Stafford has been phenomenal down the stretch, but Kupp has been otherworldly. Just look at the Cooper Kupp player props:
- Receiving Yards: O/U 106.5
- Receptions: O/U 8.5
- Anytime touchdown: -190
As I always say, Vegas is really good at what they do. If Cooper Kupp catches nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, he could very easily win MVP, especially in a low-scoring game. I’m not betting the game under because I want to enjoy the game, but I do lean that way when handicapping the total. I think Cooper Kupp to win MVP is an incredible value at six to one odds, especially if you like the Rams to win the game.
The Pick: Cooper Kupp MVP (+600, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)