Forget About the Commercials, It’s All About the Prop Bets


The Super Bowl was good fun Sunday.  I enjoyed it.  The game was average for a while.  I took a nap during Madonna.  Then we were treated to an exciting second half of football filled with drama, excitement, lead changes and the Giants winning another Super Bowl.

The problem with that rousing lead is that the Super Bowl experience is rarely about the game.  It is usually about the food that you eat (I ate pizza and chicken wings from one of Buffalo’s best pizzerias), the commercials that make you giggle, the company that you keep, and the prop bets that you make.

I bet I had you all nodding until prop bets.  Sometimes what is second nature to me needs a little explanation to others.  It all comes down to the coolest and most exciting ways to bet on the Super Bowl.  Most of us have played football squares.  At this point, we all understand points spreads and over/under bets.  But, what are props?

Prop bet is short for, “proposition bet,” and the concept is gloriously explained on the wiki page dedicated to the concept, in case you really want to dive in deep.  The thesis?  What was the outcome of all of those cool prop bets we talked about during the Super Bowl hype?

When it comes to prop bets there are two main strategies:

Bet a bunch of props for a small amount of money and try to balance the winning with the losing in an attempt to end up ahead.

Make one pick with crazy odds and hope for the impossible to happen.  If and when it does, you can take a vacation to Las Vegas and spend the week slowly giving back your bank roll on the craps table, playing black jack, and trying to be noticed in the “it” club by purchasing expensive bottles of alcohol and reserving the best booth in the joint.

One last thing to keep in mind: Each bet is based on $100.  So if the odds are +1050 that means for every $100 you bet you win $1050.  If the odds are -125 that means you need to bet $125 to win $100.  Odds listed as 10/1 or 25/1 simply mean for every dollar you bet you get that amount times the first number if you are successful.  Bets like these are where the big money is won.  Let’s start with strategy number one. Here is what a cool bunch of tickets might look like and the results:

Winning result is BOLD.

Bet #1: How long will it take Kelly Pickler Clarkson to sing the Star Spangled Banner?

Over 1:34 (+150)

Less than 1:34 (-110)

Bad News: This one didn’t pay anything but the rake. Kelly was clocked in at exactly 1:34 seconds making this bet a push.

Bet #2: Who will win the coin toss?

Patriots (-105)

Giants (-105)

Bet #3: What player will score the first touchdown of the game?

Victor Cruz 15/2

Rob Gronkowski 6/1

Hakeem Nicks 8/1

Wes Welker 8/1

No TD In the Game 150/1

Bet #4: Who will have more catches?

Wes Welker (-150)

Victor Cruz (+120)

Bet #5: Giants total points (+.5) vs. Knicks 1st Quarter Points vs. Nets

Over (-115)

Under (+125)

(Knicks scored 20 first half points and the Giants total was 21(+.5)

Here is a look at some of the bets that might have qualified for strategy #2 and we will start with the best bet of the day.

Bet #1: First scoring play of the game will be a Giants safety (50-1)

Result: CHA-CHING. For every dollar you placed on this glorious outcome you won fifty more. One guy took the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for 50K with this usual suckers bet.

Bet #2: Ahmad Bradshaw will be the MVP of the Super Bowl (20-1)

Result: This bet was a loser. I get the logic though. Bradshaw is a starting running back with a chance to rush for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns and steal the award from his quarterback. It didn’t happen. Manning was named the MVP and that paid a lousy 9/4.

Bet #3: Hakeem Nicks will catch exactly ten passes in the games (+475)

Result: This was a shocking result. First, ten catches in the Super Bowl is a lot. Second, all of the hype and focus on the Giants receivers seems to center around Victor Cruz and his salsa dancing. Regardless of the reasons not to, if you had the nerve to lay $100 dollars on Nicks you are spending your day with an extra $4,750 dollars in your pocket.

In the end, over $90 million was bet legally on the Super Bowl. A late surge towards the Patriots allowed our friends in Vegas to make a profit for the 18th time in the last 20 years. Betting on the Super Bowl can be fun, but for most of us it still stands to be a losing…proposition.

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