Super Bowl week is underway and while preparations continue in Atlanta for the championship game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, everywhere else in the country, people are prepping in their own ways. After all, they do say that “victory lies in the preparation.”
In this case, the victory I’m speaking of has nothing to do with hoisting the Lombardi trophy or getting a parade thrown in your honor. No, this victory is about putting some quick cash in your pockets through betting on a Super Bowl favorite of fans everywhere, the prop bets.
In addition to being able to bet on the outcome of the game, fans can place wagers on just about everything taking place that Sunday. Examples are: how long the National Anthem will be, what color Gatorade will get poured on the winning coach, how many times the broadcast will mention Rams’ coach Sean McVay’s age, how often Donald Trump will tweet on the day of the game, will the roof of the stadium be open or shut at the start of the game and there are so many more. There is even a prop for how many plays CBS analyst Tony Romo will correctly predict before the snap. If you have watched any of Romo’s games this year, you’ll know that this is a safe one to go with the over on 6.5.
As fun as these props are, there isn’t much you can do to help better your chances to get them right. Short of going with the trends (orange Gatorade is the choice of NFC-winning teams whereas Bill Belichick has avoided Gatorade showers altogether in three of his wins) or age old adages such as “tails never fails,” except when it does, because it’s actually a 50/50 chance of each outcome and over the past 52 Super Bowls tails is only outpacing heads 27-25. The coin toss and Gatorade and Tony Romo props aside, here are some tips on how to wager some of the more football/in-game oriented bets. All the betting lines and odds quoted are courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook.
Super Bowl MVP Odds
Perhaps the most famous prop bet, outside of Gatorade and the coin toss, is deciding who will take home the MVP trophy at the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII. That said, it’s certainly a bet that you can go into with a little bit of confidence when looking back at historical performances and positions that are favored.
Historically, quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl MVP 29 out of 52 times and seven of the last nine. It makes sense, the QB is the face of the game, he’s the one making most of the impact plays. Short of a defensive player or other offensive skill-player making a game changing or game breaking play, the award normally defaults to the winning team’s QB. No one knows this better than this year’s favorite, Tom Brady (+125), who has won the MVP in four of his five Super Bowl victories.
Brady, 41, continues to awe people in his ability to play his best on the biggest stage, doing so sometimes without much of a supporting cast. This year however, Brady had the weapons and he put up solid numbers as a result. While Rob Gronkowski (+3000) had an off year, he still came up big in the AFC Championship game. Brady has guys he can rely on and in the clutches of a game; he’s still the guy you want under center.
Brady’s top competition is Rams’ QB Jared Goff (+250), who is in just his third season in the league and who will be making his Super Bowl debut. Goff has shown that he was worth his first overall status from the 2016 draft, as he has been a great asset to the Rams in each of his three years in the league. Plus, he’s a quarterback. If his team wins, chances are, he’ll take home the hardware.
Some other names to consider are Todd Gurley (+1000) and Sony Michel (+1200). Gurley and Michel are the top runningbacks for the Rams and Patriots respectively and theirs is a position that has had the second highest number of MVPs with six. Both Michel and Gurley are great rushers, with Gurley being one of the best in the league. If things don’t get out of hand early, and if he’s back to 100 percent, Gurley should find himself getting some carries early and often. If he’s not, CJ Anderson, who has stepped into the lead back role tremendously as of late, is not a bad money play at +1600.
All that said, while betting for the favorite is very much an in-the-box idea, in this case, its money well spent. Sure, you won’t win much on it, but the Patriots are likely to win this game and with it, Brady should lock up his record fifth SB MVP at +125.
OVER/UNDER 4.5: Rob Gronkowski’s Receptions
One of the best tight ends in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski’s role in 2018 was less about his production and more about the way he was able to open up the field for Michel and the other backs, as well as give Brady more time to make his throws. Gronk’s numbers suffered but his role cannot be understated as to just how important he was to New England this season. That being said, it’s the SB and we’re going to go with the over in this one.
While it is true Gronkowski only had three games this season where he topped four receptions, he was targeted a season-high 11 times in the AFC Championship, catching six passes. Gronk was Brady’s go-to weapon in the guts of that game and he delivered making game-saving catches on more than one occasion. You can expect he’ll play a similar role on Sunday, and if the game is close, he should easily hit that over at +100.
OVER/UNDER 49.5: CJ Anderson’s Total Rushing Yards
Last week against the New Orleans Saints, CJ Anderson found himself elevated from the backup role to LA’s #1 option and he didn’t disappoint. Anderson bounced around the league this year and wasn’t actually signed by the Rams until late in the season. He played exceptionally well in that time however, recording 299 yards and two touchdowns in two games. So with Gurley nursing some sort of injury, Anderson continued to find success in the playoffs, first against the Dallas Cowboys (123 yards, two TD) and again last week against a tough Saints team (44 yards). If the Rams end up winning this game, it could very well be on Anderson’s back. Confidently take the over on this one at -105.
OVER/UNDER 7.5: Total Punts in the Game
When you have offenses as prolific as these two have been all season, you can and should expect a lot of scoring. When you have running games and offenses run with short chunk plays instead of airing the ball out deep, you can and should expect drives that take up a lot of clock. Don’t expect the punters to get too much work in this one as both New England and LA should put significant points on the board. Take the under on 7.5 at -135. It may sound few, but these offenses really have been that good and have been even better in the playoffs.
OVER/UNDER 0.5: Tom Brady’s Interceptions
When all is said and done, Tom Brady will go down as one of, if not the best of all-time. But even the best are prone to make mistakes and as this year’s playoffs have shown, all it takes is a tip, a tap or any sort of deflection of the ball that could lead to a pass landing in a defender’s arms.
Brady threw 11 interceptions in the regular season and has two in the playoffs as well. So, let’s not call this a safe bet, but the way the postseason has played out, it seems a little bit of tippery is on our side when we say, take the over on this at -125. All it takes is one and the Rams have one of the best defensive lines that will pressure Brady all night long.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.