What’s a prop bet? Good question. It’s a form of sports wager in which the result does not directly effect the outcome of the game (you might also hear them referred to as “side bets”).
And the granddaddy of all prop betting, without question, is Super Bowl Sunday. No matter the teams, the score, the circumstances –- if you have prop bets on the line, you’re going to remain interested! So without further ado, let’s run through some of the most intriguing (and ridiculous) prop bets listed on Bovada.
Note: Numbers in parenthesis (i.e. -105 or +200) indicate either the amount of money required to win $100 (i.e -105 means you bet $105 to win $100) or the amount of money won by an $100 bet (i.e. +200 means you win $200 for a $100 bet).
Outcome of Coin Toss: Heads (-105) or Tails (-105)
For the record, an overwhelming majority of my prop bets last year were wrong. I missed the mark on, like, 15 of my 20 bets. However…I did actually end up turning a small profit thanks to two particularly lucky (and relatively larger) wagers: Tom Brady to win Super Bowl MVP ($14 to win $19.40) and, believe it or not, predicting the game would go to overtime ($2 to win $14). But think about how much luck was involved for both Brady to win MVP (I mean, the Patriots were down 28-3 and hardly had any business winning) and, in turn, the game to go to overtime.
So keep in mind that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good when it comes to prop bets. And never forget that tails never fails.
Pick: Tails (-105)
Pink’s Hair Color: Blonde (-200), Pink/Red (+400), Green (+400), Blue (+700), Brown/Black (+900)
Pink’s hair was blonde during the Grammy’s last Sunday. Maybe she’ll change things up? No, probably not — too quick of a turnaround.
Pick: Blonde (-200)
Will Justin Timberlake cover a Prince song at halftime? Yes (-205) or No (+170)
Since I just covered the national anthem, I might as well offer my favorite halftime prop bet for this year’s show. After opening with “Mirrors,” and segueing into “Suit and Tie,” “Sexyback,” and maybe even a *NSYNC throwback, I think it’s likely Timberlake will pay tribute to Minneapolis’ most legendary star (maybe even by opening with “Let’s Go Crazy”).
Pick: Yes (-205)
First Touchdown Scorer (Favorite: Rob Gronkowski +750)
Now onto the game itself. NBC will almost certainly mention before the Patriots’ opening drive how they have somehow not managed to score a single point in any of their seven Super Bowls during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. I bet that will change this year, though, and I like New England to put the first touchdown on the board as well.
The Pats often like to hand the ball to either James White or Dion Lewis inside the five yard-line; and considering how much Brady has relied on his backs in the passing game in each of the past two Super Bowls (White had a staggering 14 receptions in last year’s game, while former Patriot Shane Vareen had 11 receptions in XLIX), I could also see either of these two hauling in the game’s first receiving touchdown.
Pick(s): Dion Lewis (+1,000) and James White (+1,400)
Most Receiving Yards (Favorite: Gronkowski +300)
It’s always difficult to assess which Patriots’ receiver will record the most yards — you never know who will be featured in the game plan. As for the Eagles, I suspect that Doug Pederson will have enough confidence in Nick Foles to air the ball out to their top receiving threat, Alshon Jeffrey, who led the Eagles in yards per reception (16.2) in the regular season. Combined with the potential of Philadelphia playing from behind in this game, I’ll take Jeffrey to rack up the most receiving yards.
Pick: Jeffrey (+500)
Jay Ajayi rushing yards: Over 62.5 (-115) or Under 62.5 (-115)
The Patriots have done a solid job at bottling up opposing running backs in recent weeks. They held Derrick Henry to 28 yards on 12 carries in the Divisional Round, while Leonard Fournette averaged only 3.2 yards per attempt in the AFC title game. I don’t think Ajayi, nor LeGarrette Blount for that matter, has the speed to take advantage of New England’s front-seven.
Pick: Under 62.5 (-115)
Dion Lewis rushing and receiving yards: Over 85.5 (-115) or Under 85.5 (-115)
I’m anticipating a bounce-back performance from Lewis in the Super Bowl, as after totaling over 100 yards from scrimmage in New England’s three previous games, Lewis was kept in check by the Jaguars. But I bet he’ll do most of his damage in the receiving game on Sunday considering that Philadelphia has an exceptional defensive-line.
Pick: Over 85.5 (-115)
Will a special teams or defensive touchdown be scored: Yes (+185) or No (-225)
The Eagles were second in the NFL in defensive touchdowns during the regular season, while the Patriots didn’t have any (although New England did have one special teams TD). But do the math: Philadelphia has averaged a non-offensive touchdown once every three games — and even that has required some luck. Additionally, the Patriots aren’t likely to fumble and Brady isn’t likely to throw an interception. I love the value on no defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Pick: No (-225)
Total Touchdowns — First Half: Over 2.5 (-115) or Under 2.5 (-115)
I still haven’t decided what kind of game I think this will be. On one hand, the Patriots’s offense has the potential to score upwards of three touchdowns while their defense could limit Foles and company to only, say, one TD. However, maybe this game will play out more similarly to New England’s AFC Championship victory over Jacksonville in which five total touchdowns were scored (three for the Pats and two for the ‘Jags) in what was ultimately a nail-biter.
I’m more confident, though, that neither offense will have a huge first half. Both defenses are especially terrific in the red zone, as New England has the 8th ranked scoring defense inside the twenty, while Philadelphia has allowed a touchdown on just 14.3% of its opponents red-zone drives over the past three weeks. Points could be hard to come by early.
Pick: Under 2.5 (-115)
More touchdown passes: Tom Brady (-0.5, -150) or Nick Foles (+0.5, +120)
For the record, Brady will need to throw at least one more touchdown pass than Foles in order for a bet on Brady to win. Still, I’ll confidently put my money on the four-time Super Bowl MVP.
Pick: Brady (-150)
Brady passing yards: Over 285.5 (-125) or Under 285.5 (-105)
In the AFC Championship, Brady threw for 290 yards against the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense. However, Philadelphia’s defense is nearly as good as Jacksonville’s in many respects. After all, it has allowed just 17 points in its two playoff games. Combined with my belief that the Patriots will make adjustments to their running game, which mustered only 46 yards against the Jaguars two weeks ago, I bet Brady’s final total will fall just under 285.5.
Pick: Under 285.5 (-105)
Foles total touchdown passes: Over 1.5 (-130) or Under 1.5 (+100)
Nick Foles may be coming off his biggest game as a pro against Minnesota’s outstanding defense in the NFC Championship, but his larger sample size suggests that was an outlier performance. Plus, the Patriots’ defense has allowed only 18.3 points per game this season. In short, I just can’t picture Foles throwing for more than two touchdowns.
Pick: Under 1.5 (+100)
What color liquid will the winning coach be doused in? (Favorite: Lime/Green/Yellow +225)
Lemon-lime Gatorade, however popular with the masses, is overrated when it comes to post-game celebratory showers. In fact, we haven’t seen lemon-lime since Super Bowl XLIII! So I’m steering clear of the favorite in this category and putting my money on “orange” since it offers better odds and has made four appearances since 2010.
Pick: Orange (+300)
Super Bowl MVP
Well…why don’t we save this prediction for my upcoming game preview.