Last Updated Feb 06, 2023, 8:52 AM
Super Bowl Prop Bets Light Up Odds Board
US Sports Betting Industry Expert
Super Bowl prop bets are practically a ritual of the largest single-day sports betting event in America. And arguably no one has done more to make that so than The SuperBook.
Each season, on the Thursday night following NFL conference championship games, The SuperBook unleashes its massive menu of Super Bowl props. At exactly 7 p.m. PT, the props drop, flooding the giant odds board inside The SuperBook at Westgate.
The SuperBook's Jay Kornegay and Casey Degnon, and professional bettor Rufus Peabody shared their thought's on this year's big reveal and subsequent action.
Super Bowl 57 Prop Bets
Every year, once the Super Bowl matchup is set, much of the chatter centers on the point spread, and rightly so. There's no shortage of people betting on the point spread, or the moneyline or the total, for that matter. By the time kickoff arrives on Feb. 12, there'll also be plenty of parlays and such on the Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles clash.
But prop bets are now the dominant force in Super Bowl betting. Sportsbooks often take significantly more action, in tickets and money, on Super Bowl props than on wagers tied to the side/moneyline/total combined.
"The props are more popular than ever. We expect 70% of all Super Bowl handle to be on the props," said Kornegay, who oversees operations of The SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate. "The Super Bowl is dominated by recreational play, and those people will probably have their biggest bet on the game itself. But then they'll make seven or eight proposition wagers. It's true entertainment for the recreational bettor.
"A lot of recreational players have had successful Super Bowl Sundays with these. They remember those days, they share their success story with friends, and it spreads like wildfire. If you come to watch the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, and you make five or six prop bets, you're gonna have a great time."
Still, Kornegay marvels at the growth of Super Bowl prop bets.
"Seventy percent? It's crazy," said Kornegay, who was among the prop bet pioneers in his early bookmaking days at the old Imperial Palace. "Going back to those early days, there were only 20-30 props, and that probably represented 5% of handle. To now see it at 70% is mind-blowing."
Movers and Shakers
By the time The SuperBook opened its windows for action on Super Bowl 57 props, there were a few dozen customers – mostly sharp bettors – already in line, eager to find value and/or any potential holes in the opening numbers. Bettors were allowed to place two wagers at a time, with a max bet of $2,000 on an underdog and to win $2,000 on a favorite.
Max bets were pretty much the order of the night. Degnon said the Over/Under on Patrick Mahomes rushing yards took some hits in a hurry.
"We opened 10.5, and we're up to 16.5," Degnon said late Thursday night, after the betting flurry subsided. "When Mahomes is healthy, he's like low-to-mid 20s usually. We still felt like we wanted to open lower and see the action on the Over, rather than open too high and let people bet the Under."
The SuperBook definitely saw that action on the Over.
"They liked the Over at 10.5 and 13.5," Degnon said, noting The SuperBook made quick and sizable moves on the Mahomes prop and many other offerings.
Another market that drew sharp play out of the gate: Over/Under on the jersey number of the first touchdown scorer.
"Over 11.5 was +130 when we opened, and now we're at Over 11.5 even money," Degnon said. "We took two to three hits on that, as they were betting Over 11.5."
But Degnon noted there are plenty of low jersey numbers that could very well be in the first touchdown mix. That includes Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (1) and wideouts DeVonta Smith (6) and A.J. Brown (11); and Chiefs running backs Jerick McKinnon (1) and Isiah Pacheco (10), along with wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11).
In the Anytime Touchdown market, The SuperBook opened Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce at even money, then sped to -135. And there was this unique offering: Will the Eagles convert a fourth down in their own territory?
"Yes opened Yes +330, and now we're down to +300," Degnon said. "The Eagles go for it a lot, so I wouldn't be surprised. On fourth-and-inches, they just get behind Hurts and push him. It's hard to stop that."
Peabody, a regular at The SuperBook's Super Bowl props opening night, always finds a few plays to his liking. And he's prepared, having done plenty of math and having run models and simulations on countless prop markets. He admits most of what he plays doesn't appeal to the masses – which is why he tends to make money doing this, while most of us don't.
"I bet a lot of really boring ones that just come from running the numbers and the simulations," he said.
Still, he pointed to a couple prop bets that he felt were noteworthy.
"The first one I liked was one of the first ones I saw: Both teams Under 5.5 total sacks at -125," Peabody said. "Both of these defenses have double-digit sack rates – the percentage of dropbacks on which they sack a QB. This is basically priced as if that will continue. Defensive sack rate is not super predictive going forward. There's a lot of regression to the mean. I project these teams to have under 8% both ways."
On the Yes/No of Jalen Hurts scoring a TD, priced at -110 pick 'em, Peabody jumped on No.
"It's the opposite of sexy," he said, alluding to the fact that public bettors will be all over the Yes by kickoff. "There's a chance I get a better price on Super Bowl Sunday. Normally, I would wait, but that's a great price on that prop. I hope I end up regretting betting it now. That means I'll be getting an amazing bet on game day on the same prop."