Once a year I step out from behind the Point Spread Weekly design curtain and put on my writing hat for an adventure in analyzing Super Bowl props. You might think: “Why should I take advice from a graphic design guy? What could he possibly know about sports betting?” Let me provide some legitimacy.
Thirteen years ago, I cut my teeth in the sports betting domain beside editor Steve Makinen, whom I often refer to as the godfather of sports betting trends. Day after day I apply what I learned from reading his work and watching his processes to developing my own trends, situations and power ratings. It took 10 years before I decided to take what I had learned and put together my own piece, but I’m happy I finally did.
When I wrote my first prop story before Super Bowl LIII, I included 10 props that stood out as having exceptional ratings, which I will define later. Combined, these props went 7-3 (70%, + 4.4 units). Last year I found 11 props that tipped the scales. These hit for a record of 10-1 (90.9%, + 7 units). A combined 17-4 (80.9%, + 11.4 units) record in the first two volumes of this piece was never expected, but here we are.
After analyzing the last 19 Super Bowls and combing through nearly 150 props, I decided this year to raise from 400 to 500 the minimum exceptional rating for a trend to be included in my list. After doing so, 20 props rated 500 or more. How does my rating work? Let me break it down:
Step 1. Using an odds converter, I determine the implied odds of a prop based on the percentage of time the outcome has been correct or incorrect.
Step 2. I then determine the difference in the odds listed for the prop in the sportsbook and the implied odds calculated in Step 1.
The team that scores last in the game has won 17 times in the last 19 Super Bowls, or 89.5% of the time. Using the odds converter, this translates to implied odds of -850. This means I would expect to walk into a sportsbook and lay 8.5 units to win one unit that the last team to score would win the Super Bowl. When I reach the sportsbook, I see that I actually need to lay only 1.9 units, or moneyline odds of -190, to win one unit, and I’ve saved 6.6 units from what I expected to have to wager. This allows me to determine my rating, by taking my -850 implied odds and subtracting the sportsbook’s moneyline odds of -190, giving me an exceptional rating of 660.
As you review these 20 props, keep a couple of things in mind:
— For each prop, I’ve labeled which sportsbook the odds came from. The vast majority of these props are available at several books, but I chose the odds that provided the best value.
— These odds might have changed by the time you read this. As is the case for any game, event or prop, be sure to shop around to get the best price.
— Some books might write props a bit differently from what I’ve captured, but they are actually the same in the end. For example, one book might write: “What will be the first offensive play of the second half? Pass -110 or Run -110.” Another book might write: “Will the first play of the second half be a pass? Yes -110 or No -110.”
Finally, every team has its own tendencies. These should not be ignored when considering the history of the props I’ve listed. I encourage you to consider other factors, including what the result of these props would have been had they been available for regular-season games for Kansas City and Tampa Bay. A number of regular-season offensive juggernauts from previous seasons have sputtered in the Super Bowl, just as brick-wall defenses have dissolved on the game’s biggest stage. This year might be no different. Prepare as if to expect the unexpected, keep an open mind and don’t let anything surprise you.
PROPS WITH EXCEPTIONAL RATINGS