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Betting the Props

Editor’s note: Stephen Nover is 85-51-4 (62.5 percent) on his regular season and playoff selections, including 7-3 during the post-season. He has one of his strongest plays of the entire season riding on the Super Bowl. It’s a guaranteed pick you don’t want to be without. Click to Win!

LAS VEGAS – Forget about the actual football players. It’s easy for bettors to get caught up in all the glitz and menu options offered in the Super Bowl.

Here’s a list of 10 things to watch out for and take advantage when sifting through hundreds of proposition wagers.

No. 10: A sleeping bookmaker. If you’re in a sportsbook or online during the coin flip pay attention to which team gets the ball first. Kickoff isn’t going to happen immediately following the coin flip. There’s a small window of time to try to place a wager on the receiving team to punt or score first if the house doesn’t immediately take down this prop.

No. 9: Shop, shop, shop. There’s no excuse not to have the best number with so much time to wager and so many places offering different prices. Some books purposely skew a number because of various factors such as one-sided play and future book action.

No. 8:
Be on the alert to middle. The most common number on this year’s game is Pittsburgh minus seven. You can find 6 ½ if you like the Steelers. Some places will allow you to buy an extra half-point. So if you believe seven is the right number, consider buying an extra half-point on Arizona to get 7 ½ and hope the game does indeed fall Pittsburgh by seven. The opening number on the ‘over/under’ for sacks between the two teams was either 4 ½ or five. The most common number now on that prop is 5 ½. That’s another opportunity to middle or side, where you would win on anything more than five and push on five.

No. 7: Don’t get caught up in high publicity but stupid props such as how long the national anthem will be, unless you really have inside knowledge. A couple of years ago one sharp gambler won on the game, but ended up losing money because he bet big that the king on a Burger King commercial would score a touchdown. Well, the king sacked a quarterback and danced around the field, but he didn’t cross the goal line. No touchdown.

No. 6: Back your opinion on the game with prop action. If you believe the Steelers will bury the Cardinals, play Pittsburgh ‘over’ props such as Ben Roethlisberger having a high passing total and Willie Parker having a big game. Likewise if you like the Cardinals, play on Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

No. 5: Taking value. Bookmakers usually take far more money line wagers on the underdog than favorite when it comes to the Super Bowl. So bookies adjust to the point where you’re getting less than fair odds on the ‘dog playing the money line, but getting a better than usual price on the favorite.

No. 4: Don’t be afraid to lay a minus price on player props. This is another area where the house often will skew the line knowing the public likes to root for good things. So many of the individual player’s ‘over’ totals will be a little higher giving better value to the ‘under.’

No. 3: Avoid sucker bets. If it looks too good to be true it most likely is. Bookmakers say every year they win money on the yes/no proposition of three straight scores by the same team occurring. Nearly all the action on this prop comes on the no because not everyone understands it. The yes cashes if at any point of the game one team gets points three consecutive times before the other team scores. It happens far more frequently than you think.

No. 2: Lay the no overtime price if you can afford it. Bookmakers have filled their coffers through the years getting all the money from long shot bettors hoping to make a score by taking big odds that there will be overtime. There never has been an overtime game in the 42-year history of the Super Bowl.

No. 1: Pick your spots. Bookmakers are a sitting duck with hundreds of bets sitting out for nearly two weeks. Some of this year’s props involve Hines Ward. He injured his knee in the Steelers’ AFC championship win and probably isn’t going to be 100 percent. Monitor his health. Study the breakdowns and tendencies. Will the tight ends be involved? What about the No. 3 and No. 4 wideouts? Which running back gets the goal line touches? Pittsburgh, for instance, had the best defense against No. 3 wide receivers. That doesn’t speak well for Steve Breaston, Arizona’s third wide receiver. Gary Russell has emerged as the Steelers’ top short-yardage back. He’s 18-1 to score the last touchdown.

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