“This is why you lift all them weights. This is why you do all that (expletive).”
The great Bill Parcells quote captures the enormousness of what the Super Bowl represents. As bettors, we need to employ a similar work ethic and dedication to be successful Sunday. The things we preach at VSiN (aside from reading Point Spread Weekly, which you’re already doing, so good job!) are of added importance this week.
Having multiple outs and getting the best of the number is of utmost importance at all times, but it is magnified with the hundreds of props available. Not only do multiple outs provide a great shot at getting the best prices, but the large variance in some of these markets often provides chances to set yourself up for some middle opportunities. One book might have the “length of the national anthem” prop at 116 seconds, while another has it at 120, for example.
One general bit of advice on player props is to fire as soon as possible if you like an Over and wait close to game time if you like the Under. The public loves to bet big names, and they love to bet Overs. The Super Bowl sees a ton of recreational money, so these Overs will generally get bumped up as the week goes on. What’s really interesting is how many big names are in Sunday’s game. Even complementary players such as Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette are name-brand players to whom bettors will flock, in addition to the marquee names like Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Mike Evans, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Overs now, Unders later.
Well, we’ve waited long enough. We’ve endured 32 games involving the Jets or the Jaguars. And we won’t watch football again for at least six months, so let’s get to the props.
No score first six minutes (-110): You’re on a big date or you’re in a big game. We all know it can take a few minutes or so to settle into these things. Nobody wants to lose the biggest game of his life in the first few minutes with a careless mistake, so teams generally come out fired up on defense and a bit conservative on offense. The Bucs’ Todd Bowles and the Chiefs’ Steve Spagnuolo are outstanding defensive coordinators who will have had two weeks to prepare. Brady has played in nine Super Bowls. In those nine first quarters, his teams have scored a total of three points. The 2004 Panthers-Patriots Super Bowl was scoreless with three minutes left in the first half before the Pats won 32-29. The Patriots-Seahawks in 2015 was 7-0 approaching the two-minute warning of the first half. It went into halftime 14-14, finishing 28-24 Patriots with Seattle a yard from getting seven more points. I like “no score in the first six minutes,” and I will likely look to jump in on an Over in live wagering after what could be a clunky start. If you like the Under, bet it before the game. If you like the Over, wait for a lower number after a few drives.
Patrick Mahomes Over 40.5 pass attempts (-110): Andy Reid will have spent two weeks watching the Bucs on tape and will realize that running against their fast, physical front will be a waste. The Bucs have an elite rushing defense, and Reid will be playing right into their hands every time he calls a running play. Not only does a run play challenge the Bucs at what they do best, but it takes the ball out of the hands of the best player in the league. Mahomes threw for 462 yards when these teams played in the regular season, and I think Reid will go back to the well and lean on his best player to throw his team to back-to-back titles. The Overs in passing attempts and yards (about 320 at most books) are strong plays to consider, given the game script I expect.
Tyreek Hill Over 93.5 yards (-110): Do you really want to sit there for four hours and have your money invested in Hill not making big plays? Does that sound like a pleasant viewing experience? Hill has averaged 141 yards in two playoff games, and that’s without Mahomes for a large part of one of them. He had 13 catches for 269 yards in their first meeting and is simply too fast to be marginalized by any scheme the Bucs might employ to try to limit his explosiveness. I usually lean toward the Under in these player props, but even I have my limits. Hill can eclipse this total with just a few catches. Expect him to break 100 yet again.
Super Bowl MVP Devin White (+ 10,000)/Jason Pierre-Paul (+ 10,000): A couple of lottery tickets that might be worth a shot. I mentioned last week the value is on Mahomes, especially if you’re picking the Chiefs to win. However, if the Bucs are to win, they’ll likely need some big plays from their defense. A couple of turnovers and maybe even a score on defense could bring a defensive player into the mix for the award. White has a nose for the football and has been involved in two turnovers already this postseason. Pierre-Paul was dominant against the Packers in the NFC title game and will be lining up against a backup left tackle, most likely Mike Remmers. A few sacks helped net Von Miller the award five years ago, and the Broncos returned one of Miller’s forced fumbles for a touchdown in beating the Panthers. In the Bucs’ last game, Brady threw three interceptions. A similar stat line would likely force voters to go elsewhere with the award if the Bucs win. White and Pierre-Paul are 100-1 long shots for a reason, but both may be worth a stab considering the Bucs’ potential path to victory.