Prop bets often worth
more than game

Jan 20, 2004 6:39 AM

It’s well known that handicapping the Super Bowl doesn’t amount to just picking a side and total anymore.

Along with the various quarter and half betting options, there is now a seemingly endless supply of proposition bets available, with sports books trying to out-do one another by offering the most options, though sometimes outlandish.

While there has been some sense in the past that these prop bets were regarded as pure sucker plays for the tourists (note the popularity of the coin toss bet), the reality is that finding some good wagers is by no means out of the question. Indeed, some very serious sports handicappers think that the Super Bowl prop bets in particular can offer fantastic value.

As there are so many bets offered, it’s possible for one thing to come across some correlated parlays. Stanford Wong in his excellent book "Sharp Sports Betting" mentions he was able to place a wager one year parlaying "which team would kick the longest field goal" with "which team will kick the most field goals."

There is clearly some connection between the two ”” the side getting the longest field goal could be the only team that actually makes a field goal over the course of the game.

With the availability of player specific bets, there may be things like parlaying a player to go over a certain rushing yard total with the team going over a rushing yard number.

This prop may have some degree of dependency and thus a potential edge for a bettor.

Keeping an eye out and shopping around from book to book can produce some excellent profits! For one thing, if various books offer significantly different odds on the same prop (not as uncommon as you might think) there can be guaranteed winnings.

Of course with the variety of sources tracking the odds offered both in Nevada, offshore and around the world, these kinds of situations are harder to come by.

More likely you can find slightly different props but with advantageous odds or "middle" opportunities.

For instance if one place is booking wagers on whether a running back will score x touchdowns (by any means) and another book offers a bet on whether the same RB will score x rushing TDs, there may be room to maneuver.

As for some of the more common props, here’s a review of the last 10 Super Bowls and how the favorite and underdog have fared.

When it comes to the individual players, the two most common positions to bet on are not surprisingly the performance of the quarterback and the leading runningback.

All in all, if prop bets are your thing then the days leading up to the Super Bowl are your time to get busy!

Don’t go wild, just remember to evaluate the prop bets carefully and preferably compare the odds/numbers offered from shop to shop.

You may find that even some of the more incidental moments of the big game turn out to be rewarding ones.

As a final note, this will be my last column for this football season, but the web site will be active in the offseason with new research. NBA fans should also pay a visit to for innovative statistical coverage of pro basketball.

We’ll be back better than ever with GamingToday for the start of the 2003-04 NFL season.