This weekend’s big game is about more than just the final score. The Super Bowl prop bets give even novice sports fans a chance to get in on the betting action, which makes the game more exciting.
According to the American Gaming Association, an estimated $6 billion was wagered on the Super Bowl last year. So it’s no wonder that oddsmakers try to entice gamblers with as many prop bets as possible. William Hill, for example, has put out 1,218 prop bets for Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas had a 33-page list of prop bets last Thursday, and a line of about 100 gamblers waiting to make an early bet.
Popular Super Bowl Prop Bets*
|First Team to 10 points||Chiefs -140||Buccaneers +120|
|First Turnover||Interception -160||Fumble +140|
|Will there be overtime?||No -1200||Yes +700|
|Will there be a safety?||No -1000||Yes +650|
|Team to punt first||Chiefs +115||Buccaneers -135|
*Odds courtesy of William Hill
Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for William Hill U.S., said preparing all the wagers for a Super Bowl is a frenetic process.
“It’s a big jump compared to the normal routine,” Pullen said. “It’s not an incremental build-up, it’s like, bam! But I enjoy it, it’s a great matchup and it figures to be a good game. There’s a lot of legwork that goes into doing it, but this is the biggest sporting event in our country, so it is what it is. There’s a lot of attention thrown at it, and rightfully so.”
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Birth of the Super Bowl Prop Bet
Art Manteris is credited with inventing the prop bet. The onetime head oddsmaker at Caesars Las Vegas in the 1980s is now with Station Casinos. For the 1986 Super Bowl, Manteris came up with a unique side wager between the heavily favored Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots.
Manteris listed defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry at 75/1 to score a touchdown. The wager was so popular, it was driven down to 5/1. When Perry plunged into the end zone, bettors rejoiced, and a new wrinkle to Super Bowl betting was born.
Manteris is now in the Sports Betting Hall of Fame.
Player Performance Props*
|Total player rushing attempts||Over 7.5 -125||Under 7.5 -115|
|Ronald Jones first rush||Over 3.5 yds +110||Under 3.5 yds -130|
|Player with longest rush||Leonard Fournette +225||Ronald Jones +400|
|First to catch a pass||Travis Kelce -210||Chris Godwin +155|
|Player to have a sack||Frank Clark -130||Chris Jones +105|
*Odds Courtesy of PointsBet USA
Creativity Key to Super Bowl Prop Bets
In Nevada, there’s only one limit to a prop bet—the wager must be associated with the play on the field. Some sportsbook operators outside of Nevada are stretching the rules a bit. When New Jersey legalized sports betting two years ago, sportsbooks were allowed to offer bets on what color of Gatorade would be poured on the winning coach. West Virginia and Indiana have followed suit with these types of bets.
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Coin Toss Prop Bets*
|Decision of coin toss winner||Accept kick off +400||Defer -550|
|Outcome of coin toss||Heads -110||Tails -110|
|What will player call on the toss?||Heads -105||Tails -105|
|Which team wins coin toss?||Chiefs -105||Bucs -105|
|Correct call of coin toss?||Yes -105||No -105|
*Odds courtesy of BetMGM
But Nevada oddsmakers have more than enough prop bets to keep them busy. Jeffrey Benson, Circa Sportsbook operations manager, said he and Chris Bennett, sportsbook manager, are in charge of finalizing all of the facility’s prop bets.
“Now that this is our second year in business, we had a good idea of the 100 or so two-sided props we wanted to offer after gauging the handle and interest from last year,” Benson said. “The QBs are very popular, in addition to our ‘Circa Squares,’ which we conceptualized last year. It’s a different take on regular squares, as we price all the combinations (fixed odds), and gamblers can choose their squares as opposed to them being drawn randomly.”
The Circa Squares are a new wrinkle in Super Bowl betting. The concept allows bettors to pick their own squares, with the prices reflecting their odds of occurring. The favorite for the final score is at 20/1, while the long shot is at 235/1.
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Cross Props Gaining Popularity
Here’s another feature gaining in popularity among Super Bowl bettors: cross prop bets. As the name suggests, cross prop bets take a feature of the game, then merge it with another sport.
Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the Westgate SuperBook, has taken the cross prop bet and turned it into one of the more popular Super Bowl wagers; in fact, the SuperBook offers several pages of these types of bets, including an NBA player’s total points versus Kansas City total points. Yet another cross prop bet pits PGA Tour players’ four-round score in the event in Scottsdale, Arizona, versus top receiving yards for a Tampa Bay or Kansas City wide receiver.
So don’t sign your bet slips until you check out these props. And for even more insights into Super Bowl MVP odds, click here.
Watch Super Bowl LV
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
When: February 7, 2021
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV and Live Stream: CBS, CBS All Access