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Lessons of Super Bowl Props & Picks for LIII


How to bet Props

· Props can be a great way to bet the Super Bowl for 3 reasons.

1. If you don’t really like a Side or Total, you can’t just PASS and find another game. It’s the last game!

2. If you have a feel for even one team, you can find winners/trends in the props,

3. It can even be silly props, but great for entertainment value.

· Different “types” (by my categorization)

1. Toss ups/Random events, mostly “50-50”. These include everything from coin toss, to who kicks off, will a score be odd or even, etc. I have no interest in these.

2. What happens first? First to score. First to get first down. First to punt. First coaches challenge, penalty, etc. I guess one can argue there’s a little to this, but it’s still just a coin flip to me. NO interest.

3. Team Props – these can be OK, but still toss ups. Will a team score in every quarter? Will they score or punt first? Or it can be an “either team” prop. Will they score in first 6 minutes? Last 2 minutes of half? Will someone score 3X in a row? Number of people to throw a pass, catch a pass, or have a rush, or score.

4. Player Props – (these are the best), over/under for all the different stats. Yards, completions, receptions, TDs, carries, also FGs. If you have a feel for the teams tendencies or what will likely succeed (or not) these are the best to get a handle on.

5. Long shot plays – who wins MVP? (Longshot if not QB), who scores first TD or last TD. If you have a hunch, this can be nice if you want to take a flyer on a longshot player.

Do’s and Don’ts

· My main rule on betting props is to find Props that you can win REGARDLESS of which team wins the game! If you think a team will win, BET them. If you think a team will go over (or Under) their TOTAL, bet their TOTAL! If you bet a few props where you need 1 team to do well (or score/not score), then just bet that team. Example if you have a bunch of “yardage” overs for Patriots, and you need the Pats to move the ball a lot to hit the overs, just bet the Pats over THEIR total! If you bet UNDER on a whole bunch of Patriot players, just bet the team UNDER! I want ones where I can win if the team wins or loses. What does that team do when gets lead? If get behind? Example, don’t go OVER on passing yards if the team tends to run the ball when ahead. If they need to be AHEAD to go over, bet them to win!

Means and Medians

· This is where you can find real value. Understand the difference between “means” and “medians”. When you see a RB averages 70.5 yards per game, odds are his total will be right about 70.5 (unless recent trends vary greatly!). That’s his “mean”. But what about Median? Maybe he went UNDER that number 11 times but the 5 he went over he had such big days it pulled his average up! In that case, the median might be only 59 and thus the UNDER would be a good play. Did a guy catch 3 balls most games, but caught 12 once so his “average” is higher than his normal day? This works best with guys that maybe aren’t the “top touches guys”. Example that TE that often catches one pass per game, but had a couple 6 catch days so his “average” is misleading. Not suggesting calculating every median, but I do look at each game total, not just the season average to get a good feel

Trends that matter

· I believe that teams that got to the SB are playing well and have a tendency to “do what got them there”. Few teams pull surprises and most really focus on their best plays. Example, during season, so many teams “try to establish the run” but end up throwing later in games. In the SB, teams tend to skip the stuff they haven’t had success with – and get straight to the most comfortable and successful plays. Teams will stick to the ground during season, but might not waste time in playoffs. NYG vs Ravens comes to mind. NYG just pounded Dayne and Barber all year, but knowing that Ravens could stuff the power ground game, Dayne got ZERO carries in SB! Of course they got crushed, but point is they KNEW it wouldn’t work and didn’t waste time on it. Weren’t going to waste time failing where they thought they’d fail. George Rogers was starting RB all year, but in both playoff games, Rookie Timmy Smith took the ball in 2nd half. In the SB, Gibbs made a game time change nobody expected and started Smith. Why give Rogers a few carries before going to your ‘hot hand’? Not in SB! And Yes, Smith still has the single game rush record. Brandon Stokely was a “1 catch per game” backup WR for the Ravens. In both playoff games he caught a bunch of key passes and became a trusted option. Over 1.5 in SB was a very easy hit as they continued to do what had “worked lately”!

Jackie Harris Rule and warnings!

· Known simply as the Jackie Harris rule. Look for a line you like. If you see a line that is just “wrong”, don’t play it! If a guy has an over/under of 70 yards, and you think he’ll put up 100, take it. But don’t take it if you think it SHOULD BE at 40! The lesson was never clearer than the 2000 SB Ten vs Rams. Titans veteran TE Jackie Harris caught 32 passes that season (for a mean of 2.0). His median was actually a smidge lower, because he had a couple of 4 catch games to go along with a lot of 1’s and 2’s. His Over/Under for receptions in SB34 was 4. Really? I studied his season. He missed no time with injury. His High game was FOUR. We went under 4 like 13 of 16 games. Can he catch 4? Maybe. But it takes FIVE to beat me and he hadn’t caught 5 all year! Easy, right? I touted that in my inner circle. We pounded it. Titans FIRST play from scrimmage, McNair rolled right and did a throwback screen Left, behind line of scrimmage to Harris. We all looked around the room and said, “we’re screwed”. Just one play. But of course it continued. He caught 4 in the first half and 7 in the game. Bottom line is I guarantee somebody knew he was an integral part of game plan. That’s why a total that should have been 2.5 was FOUR! I don’t think his own family would have bet OVER 4. Lines that don’t seem to add up are forever known as the Jackie Harris rule.

· Finally, be alert to what I call “marketing Props”. About 25 years ago, I knew a guy that helped set lines for one of the first island/Internet shops. He would INTENTIONALLY offer very attractive odds just to get new accounts! It’s worth it. Shops compete for new business. Example: if Gurley is 4-1 to win MVP in all shops, and you put it up at 8-1, you can attract NEW accounts. New bettors shop around more during Super Bowl week than rest of year. If you put something up at 8-1 that other shops may have at 4-1, you can get people to open new accounts. Two reasons he would do that. 1) He’d pick something that he believed would NOT hit, but also, 2) if it DOES hit and players get 8-1 instead of only 4-1, SO WHAT? So you attract new customers and hardly anyone wins 1 big play and cashes out. They’ll just play until they lose it anyway, so it’s the best marketing tool you have!

My Prop picks this year

Zeurlein 1st KO = TB


Very Steep price, but he’

Over 5.5 conv 3rd

avg 5.1 in season….but 20 for 33 in playoffs.

Brady -1.5 Comp vs Goff

playoff avg: 32 to 20. Brady throws W/L.

Rams would like to throw less!

Goff more p yds in 2ndH

Just a feel that McVay won’t throw too much early

CJ u 4.5 on first rec

Since NO catches is a winner here, 2 ways to win

Anderson u 44.5

If he gets a lot of carries, it’s 50-50. If Gurley is back…winner

# KO Returns 6

They will be happy to take TBs in SB

Paul George points (-1.5) vs the shortest FG

Just for fun. Hoping for someone to take a chip shot of 27

or less, or maybe George gets 35+

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