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Super Bowl Props

At what point did the Super Bowl turn from a football game into an entertainment event? It may have been at Super Bowl XX, where the Chicago Bears faced the New England Patriots at the end of the 1985 campaign. The Bears went 15-1 during the regular season, and they were a big hit with the public – especially William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the 350-pound rookie defensive lineman who delighted audiences that year by scoring three touchdowns as a fullback.

 

But would he score against the Patriots? That’s what fans wanted to bet on, so the first Super Bowl props went on the board at Caesars Palace, with Perry priced at 20/1 to find the end zone at Super Bowl XX – which he did. Since then, the Super Bowl has become the most-watched event on American television, and Super Bowl props betting has gone through the roof. These bets now make up over half the handle for the Big Game, and you can bet on just about anything, with hundreds of props to choose from on the Super Bowl LIII odds board. Here’s our top 10:

 

1. How Long Will the National Anthem Take?

 

Every year before kick-off, someone famous gets to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. And every year, people bet on whether that someone will go over or under the posted time to finish. It usually takes somewhere around 2:00 from beginning to end – and the official end is when they’re done singing the word “brave.”

 

This is a very important rule. At Super Bowl XLV, Christina Aguilera sang “oh” after “brave” and caused a stir; that extra syllable would have cashed in the over on the posted total of 1:54, but it didn’t count, so the official time was 1:53.7. Then Lady Gaga sang “brave” twice at Super Bowl 50, and milked it as only Lady Gaga can. No dice – under 2:20 was the official result.

 

2. What Color Gatorade Will Be Dumped on the Winning Coach?

 

Actually, it doesn’t have to be Gatorade – whatever beverage they have in the cooler will do. This tradition began in 1986 with the New York Giants, who doused head coach Bill Parcells with Gatorade after each of their 17 wins, including at Super Bowl XLI versus the Denver Broncos. Now it’s usually reserved for the Big Game.

 

Orange and lemon-lime were the original Gatorade flavors, and they’re still the most popular, so orange and lime/green/yellow are usually at the top of the Super Bowl odds list. More recent colors like blue, purple and red are on the board; if you’d prefer something more natural, clear/water is also included. Let’s hope they never switch to coffee.

 

3. Opening Coin Flip: Heads or Tails?

 

How did a simple coin flip become the focus of Super Bowl betting? Maybe because you don’t have to know anything about football to place your bet. Also, Heads and Tails are usually priced at –105 each (instead of the standard –110 vigorish for the odds to win Super Bowl glory against the spread), so you’re only paying five cents in juice to make this prop bet. You can also bet on whether the team that calls Heads or Tails will be correct, and whether the team that wins the toss will go on to win the Super Bowl.

 

4. Who Will Score the First Touchdown?

 

Are you ready for some football? This is where the pros start earning their money; you can’t make a long-term profit betting on the coin toss, but the 2019 Super Bowl props board will give you plenty of chances to bet on the Big Game itself. Identifying which player will score the first touchdown will be one of those opportunities.

 

Just to be clear, we’re not talking about the quarterback with this prop – unless he runs it in himself. It’s the player who catches the ball if it’s a passing TD (of course, that could also be the quarterback if they run the “Philly Special” like the Eagles did at Super Bowl LII). It could also be a defensive or special teams player scoring a return TD.

 

5. How Many Points Will Each Team Score?

 

This isn’t the same as the standard total, where you bet on the combined score for both teams; this is how many points an individual team will score during the big game. In theory, this can be a little easier to figure out than the total, since you’re comparing Team A’s offense against Team B’s defense (with due consideration for special teams). But the other side of the football does matter. If Team B isn’t particularly good at scoring, that means Team A’s offense will be on the field longer, giving them more opportunities to put points on the board.

 

You might be interested to know that team scoring is up in general across the NFL. Aside from Super Bowl 50, when the Broncos (+5) beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10, we haven’t seen a serious defensive struggle at the Big Game over the past decade. But casual bettors tend to put a lot of money on the over with these props, so factor that in when you’re placing your Super Bowl prop bets.

 

6. What Will the First Turnover of the Game Be?

 

There are three possible outcomes here: Fumble, Interception, or No Turnover. Turnovers are special events in any football game, and rather difficult to predict. But in recent years, there’s been about a 60/40 split between interceptions and lost fumbles during the regular season. No Turnover has been the right call at the Super Bowl about a third of the time; don’t be surprised if you can get a good price on this particular option, since it’s the most boring outcome of the three.

 

7. How Long Will the Longest Touchdown Be?

 

This is another Super Bowl prop that casual bettors might over-estimate. But whatever happens at the Big Game, it’ll be hard to beat the record set by Baltimore Ravens WR Jacoby Jones at Super Bowl XLVII. Also a return specialist, Jones took the second-half kick-off 108 yards all the way to the house, helping the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 as 4.5-point underdogs.

 

8. What Will the Margin of Victory Be?

 

The Margin of Victory prop is one of the most popular football-specific bets on the Super Bowl odds board. You’ll usually have your pick between one team or the other winning by 1-6 points, 7-12 points, 13-18 points, and so on, up to 43 points or more. The most common result at the Big Game is 1-6 points, which has happened just under one-third of the time; only once has the winning margin been more than 36 points, at Super Bowl XXIV when San Francisco eviscerated the Broncos (+12) 55-10.

 

9. What Will Happen During the Halftime Show?

 

This is where things get weird again. The Super Bowl Halftime Show used to be a relatively tame affair, featuring marching bands, jazz tributes, and Up with People. Everything changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson was the sole performer at Super Bowl XXVII. Now the Halftime Show is essentially a mini-concert starring whichever pop/rock star (and it’s usually pop these days) is willing to pay the NFL for the opportunity to perform. Allegedly.

You can always count on something strange happening during the Halftime Show – although the NFL has dialed it down in recent years, after the Nipplegate scandal at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Will there be another wardrobe malfunction this year? That’s been a common Halftime prop since the Nipplegate incident, depending on the performer. You can also bet on which song will be sung first, and what fashion choices the performer will make.

 

10. What Other Weird Stuff Will Happen?

 

As the NFL continues to push football into the larger entertainment space, you can expect to find tons more of these unusual Super Bowl props on the NFL odds board. At Super Bowl LII between the Eagles and the Patriots, you could bet on what color shirt Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would wear – Blue was the right pick at –150. You could even bet on whether Patriots QB Tom Brady would have his jersey stolen again (at +1000 odds) like it was after Super Bowl XLIX and LI. Alas, with New England losing 41-33 to the Eagles (+4) last year, nobody seemed interested.

 

Whatever reason you’ll be tuning in to the Big Game for, whether it’s the football, or the entertainment, there’s a Super Bowl prop bet waiting for you at Bovada Sportsbook. To add a little more excitement to the game, print off a checklist of the props you select and follow along during the game to see what happens. May the best props win.

 

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