SB52 Props Betting Report
February 1, 2018
By Marcus DiNitto
If you’re playing ‘yes’ and ‘over’ on a lot of props for Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Eagles, chances are you’re a casual bettor. If you’re betting ‘no’ and ‘under’, you’re probably a more seasoned gambler.
That’s according to the observations of two of the most prominent bookmakers in Las Vegas.
“If you’re betting ‘no’, you’re 99 percent a sharpie; and if you’re betting ‘yes’, you’re 99 percent a recreational player,” said Nick Bogdanovich, head of trading at William Hill U.S.
Added Chris Andrews, sports book director at the South Point, “Usually, (sharps) bet the ‘no’ or the ‘under’. Then the public comes in, and they usually bet ‘yes’ or ‘over’. So we just try to get it balanced between the two and see how it all works out.”
There’s not necessarily inherent value on the ‘no’ and ‘under’ on these props. Books’ anticipation of the flood of public money doesn’t mean they’re pricing ‘yes’ and ‘over’ artificially high.
“We have to respect the wiseguys, too,” Andrew said, “so our objective is to put out the best price we can and see where the action takes us.”
Here’s how sharp action has moved the odds on a few Super Bowl props at the South Point:
-- Total punts: opened 10.5 (over -120), bet down to 9 (under -150)
-- Total TDs by both teams: opened 6 (under -140), bet down to 6 (under -170)
-- Total TDs by the Eagles: opened 3.5 (under -160), bet down to 3.5 (under -320)
Bogdanovich offered a few examples of where sharps are weighing in at William Hill’s chain of books (you can see a list below of the 10 most popular props at William Hill in terms of number of dollars wagered and number of bets)
-- Will there be a special teams or defensive TD: ‘no’ opened -160, bet up -210
-- Will there be a successful fourth-down conversion: Opened yes -300/no +250, with ‘no’ action pushing line to -220/+190
-- Tom Brady rushing attempts: opened 2.5 (-110), bet down to 2.5 (under -170)
Of the sharps’ overall prop-betting tendencies, Andrews said, “Right now, we probably need a high-scoring game, but that’s because the wiseguys have been in and bet the ‘unders’ and ‘nos’ on all these things. But that has a pretty good chance of changing by game time, when the public comes in, the tourists come in.”
The safety prop
There have been nine safeties in the 51 Super Bowls so far, the most recent of which came in the 2014 game, when the Seahawks took a 2-0 lead on the Broncos on the first play from scrimmage. That play vaulted the popularity of the “will there be a safety” prop. In fact, just days after the Seattle’s 43-8 victory, the South Point hung a line on the safety prop for the following year’s Super Bowl.
As of Wednesday at William Hill, the safety prop was the most popular prop bet in terms of ticket count, and the second most popular in terms of dollars wagered.
To our point above, the sharps are laying big prices on the ‘no.’
“We’re taking a lot of ‘no’ bets, and when you lay 7-, 8-to-1, it adds up fast,” Bogdanovich said. “That’s pretty much the case every year. That’s not a shocker.; That prop draws such good action, it’s ridiculous.”
The public’s love for Brady
At the South Point, the prop on Brady’s total completions have been bet up from an opener of 23.5 to 26.5 – by the public, of course.
Beyond the completions prop, casual bettors have been hammering ‘over’ on all things Brady, including gross passing yards (opened 285.5) and number of attempts (opened 39.5), as well as in head-to-head props against Eagles QB Nick Foles.
“All the money’s on Brady” in matchups against Foles, Andrews said, “We’ve got a pretty good handicap on it (Brady opened -25.5 in passing yards and -0.5 in touchdown passes), but they’re still betting it.”
Half a week before kickoff, thanks to some deep-pocketed gamblers, books are in the rare position of needing the favorite to win the Super Bowl outright. One of those gamblers is an unidentified bettor who has placed multiple six- and seven-figure wagers around town on the Eagles money-line, funded by a huge bankroll built by winning every bet he made during the World Series.
“We need Foles to have a pretty good game. I don’t know if we want him to have a good enough game where the Eagles win, certainly not at this point,” said Andrews, whose shop wrote a half-million bet from the mystery bettor.
Is the coin flip really that bad a bet?
Coin flip props are ones wiseguys don’t touch, but they’re sure popular among the public. At William Hill U.S,. “heads” is the 13th most popular bet in terms of ticket count; neither “heads” nor tails, however, ranks among the top 20 in dollars wagered.
Are bettors crazy to bet on something as purely random as a coin flip? Perhaps not that crazy, suggested legendary oddsmaker Roxy Roxborough, especially at -102 vig, odds offered at the South Point and Westgate SuperBook.
“Coin toss prop holding steady at LVSuperBook at -102 each side. Thinks it is a stupid bet? Maybe, but most players never ever get a bet at less than 1% hold,” Roxborough said in tweet this week.
While bookmakers scoff at bets on the coin flip – “I still can’t believe anyone would bet a coin flip,” Andrews laughed. “Last year, we wrote an insane amount of money to that prop, and I just laugh every time I see that,” added Bogdanovich – Roxy has a point.
Sorry, casual bettors, but whether or not you care to admit it, you probably have about a coin-flip chance at most bets you make laying -110. From that perspective, laying -102 on an actual coin flip isn’t that bad a proposition.
Of course, most bettors have a certain degree of faith in their own opinions, and you can’t really have an opinion on whether a coin is going to land heads or tails.
"You like to at least believe that (your opinion gives you an edge)," Andrews said. “Here (with coin-flip props), there’s no believing anything. It’s totally random.”
While the betting handle on Super Bowl props has been close to equaling the amount bet on the actual game, neither Andrews nor Bogdanovich anticipates that will be the case this year. The inordinate number of large bets on this year’s game, particularly on the Eagles, is making it nearly impossible for props to catch up.
“Last year, it was pretty close to 50 percent, but I don’t think it will get that high this year just because we’ve had some really big action on them game itself,” Andrews said.
Bogdanovich painted a similar picture.
“We took two seven-figure bets (one on the Eagles money-line, one of Philly +4.5) and there’s another one coming,” Bogdanovich said. “I don’t think it will get to 50/50 just because of the aberrational large bets. Other than that, I would have said it probably would have crept over the 50/50 mark in favor of the props.”
Overall, handle is extremely healthy, and many around Vegas envision the record Super Bowl handle of $138.48, set last year, getting broken.
“I think, for us, we’ll set a record handle and I think we’ll write more prop business, but it won’t be 50 percent,” Andrews said.
Most Popular Props - per William Hill
Here are the top 10 most popular prop bets at William Hill, in terms of dollars wagered and ticket count, as of Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Top 10 Super Bowl 52 prop bets by dollars
1) POINT SPREAD PROPOSITION: EAGLES +21.5
2) WILL THERE BE A SAFETY IN GAME? NO
3) POINT SPREAD PROPOSTION: PATRIOTS +7.5
4) WILL TOM BRADY HAVE A RUSHING TOUCHDOWN? NO
5) WILL BOTH TEAMS HAVE A 100+ YARD RUSHER? NO
6) BLOCKED FIELD GOAL/BLOCKED PUNT RETURNED FOR TD? NO
7) POINT SPREAD PROPOSTION: PATRIOTS +3.5
8) POINT SPREAD PROPOSITION: EAGLES +10.5
9) TO WIN PRO FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP 52 MVP: TOM BRADY
10) WILL PATRIOTS SCORE EVERY QUARTER? NO
Top 10 Super Bowl 52 prop bets by ticket count
1) WILL THERE BE A SAFETY IN GAME? NO
2) WILL THERE BE A SUCCESSFUL TWO-POINT CONVERSION? NO
3) FIRST SCORE OF GAME WILL BE? FIELD GOAL/SAFETY
4) POINT SPREAD PROPOSITION: EAGLES -3.5
5) WILL THERE BE A SPECIAL TEAMS OR DEFENSIVE TD? NO
6) TOTAL INTERCEPTIONS IN GAME: OVER 1.5
7) TOTAL PLAYERS TO ATTEMPT PASS: OVER 2.5 PLAYERS
8) WILL THE OPENING KICKOFF BE A TOUCHBACK? YES
9) WILL THERE BE OVERTIME? YES
10) FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY FROM SCRIMMAGE WILL BE: RUN PLAY
Marcus DiNitto is a writer in Charlotte, N.C., who covers sports betting and all kinds of other stuff. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusDiNitto
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