Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis kicks off Feb. 5 when New England meets the New York Giants with the Patriots looking to avenge losses to the Giants in Super Bowl XVII, and also a 24-20 defeat at Foxboro this season in a game which snapped a 20-game regular season home win streak by New England.
Aside from betting the game itself, a myriad of betting propositions abound in every Super Bowl as amateur gamblers with an opinion come out of the closet more often this time of the year than first-timers at a gay rally.
It’s important to remember that when betting Super Bowl props the oddsmaker holds a huge edge as many of the props carry as much of a 40-cent ‘juice’ edge in his favor. Thus, it’s critically important to make sure you have some sort of built-in advantage working in your favor before taking the plunge.
In addition, the props are designed to create more action for the books.
"The props were designed not only to get us publicity but to spread the money out. We didn't just want one big decision for the day; we want 10 or 20 big decisions. Our chances obviously are better if we have 20 major decisions compared to one," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book.
Furthermore, it’s important to realize that props are set for the public and because they tend to bet on teams and players to succeed (yes bets), most of the money is going to be bet on the 'positive' side of a prop.
According to Kornegay, this is the only NFL game of the year where he doesn't set the line with the professional bettors in mind. The professionals, he adds, do bet on props but the handle taken in from the public masses that flock to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend far outweighs the smart money.
Here are some “tips” on some of the more popular propositions when it comes to prop wagering on this year’s Super Bowl.
1. The Coin Toss
A wildly popular prop that fans love betting on is the Coin Toss. It’s fast and it takes place just prior to kick-off. It has also seen the NFC winning the pre-game coin flip each of the last 14 years in a row!
What does it mean? Nothing. The odds on the NFC winning this year’s coin flip: 50/50.
2. We’ll Take The Ball
In addition, similar props abound on which team will receive the ball first. The Giants are currently -180.
The reason being, as reported by Joe Fortenbaugh of NationalFootballPost.com is “On Sept 7, 2008, New England played the Kansas City Chiefs, won the toss and elected to receive. That was the day Tom Brady was lost for season with a torn ACL. Since that day, the Patriots have played 65 games - playoffs included - and won the coin toss 28 times. On all 28 occasions, New England elected to defer their choice to the second half and started the game by kicking off.”
3. Quarterback Action Tops Player Props
Bets involving the quarterbacks are extremely popular and for all the right reasons as signal callers have won the Super Bowl MVP award 24 times in 45 previous Super Bowl games.
Running backs and wide receivers have carted home the MVP trophy seven times each, with others (read: defensive performers) also totaling seven MVP’s.
New England’s Tom Brady and New York’s Eli Manning lead the charge this year. In head-to-head proposition competition the Hilton favors Brady by 11 yards over Manning. You also have to lay an extra -$1.10 more on Brady than Manning in total TD passes for the contest.
4. When Tackles Are Not Tackles and Penalties Are Not Penalties
When betting on the over/under number of tackles it’s important to know that sacks are not recorded as a tackle.
In addition, propositions involving penalties are good only if the penalty is accepted.
5. Team Scoring Tendencies
Certain edges can be found when it comes to scoring props but rest assured, you are not pulling the wool over the linemakers eyes.
Here is a breakdown of quarter-by-quarter scoring and averages for-and-against in all games played this season for both squads. Note the Giants have played 19 games this campaign; the Patriots 18:
1Q – New York: 80-81 / 4.21-4.26
1Q – New England: 99-86 / 5.50-4.78
2Q – New York: 135-124 / 8.53–5.37
2Q – New England: 179-100 / 9.94-5.56
3Q – New York: 72-79 / 3.79-4.16
3Q – New England: 151-63 / 8.39-3.50
4Q – New York: 188-145 / 9.89-7.63
4Q – New England: 152-122/ 8.44-6.78
Notice that both teams’ defense has been its stingiest in the 3Q this season.
On the flip side, the Giants’ offense has performed at its best in the final stanza, whereas the Pats’ attack tends to rev up in the 2Q of games.
Incidentally, New England’s defense has been en fuego in the 3Q of its last 10 games, allowing just 20 points. The Patriots have also not allowed a point in any of their last three games during the final quarter.
6. Player Scoring Tendencies
The leading candidate to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI is New England TE Rob Gronkowski, high ankle sprain and all. He led the Patriots in touchdowns with 17 this season.
Behind Gronkowski is New York WR Victor Cruz. New England’s other TE, Aaron Hernandez and RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis make up the leading four candidates.
Over the previous 45 Super Bowls, wide receivers lead the brigade, scoring the first touchdown 18 times. Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson found the end zone first for the Packers against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV last year.
Running backs are right on their heels with 16 initial scores. Tight ends have scored first five times, with quarterbacks, kick returners and defensive players two times each.
7. Odd Props
Melding Super Bowl props with other sports is another popular prop.
One personality prop that fans are sure to be attracted to is Eli Manning completions versus LeBron James points. Manning goes up against the NFL’s 31st ranked pass defense while James and the Miami Heat will be hosting a Toronto Raptors defense that is surrendering less than 95 PPG on the season.
Meanwhile in a Beantown prop, Tom Brady’s touchdown tosses are paired against total team goals scored by the Boston Bruins in their game against the Washington Capitals.
One of our favorites, though, is who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first - with the choices being Teammates, Coach, Family, God, Owner or no one.
If you like the Pats in this game you probably like the chances of acknowledging owner Robert Kraft in memory of his recently departed wife Myra. If you like the Giants it’s likely the winner will acknowledge his teammates.
One thing is for sure. It’s a good thing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos will be watching from the sidelines. Otherwise God would have been an odds-on favorite.