Prop bets, also known as propositional bets, exotics, or just “fun bets," are any kind of bet on a game that isn't a conventional spread, moneyline or Over/Under bet. Typically the most popular props are props involving key offensive players (over/under total passing yards for Joe Burrow), but there are literally hundreds to choose from.
Props are available year-round for almost all major sports, but they absolutely explode for the Super Bowl. In recent years, the handle for prop bets (the amount of money accepted by the books) has nearly overtaken the handle for conventional Super Bowl betting.
Before we dig into some Super Bowl prop betting tips, it's important to note two big ground rules.
First, in Nevada, you cannot parlay props with other props. This means you can't tie multiple props into the same bet and try to increase your payout. Other legal jurisdictions do allow this now, but it increased your risk significantly.
Second, all the "wacky" props that people like to bet on, including the length of the national anthem, the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, the first commercial and which songs will be sung during the halftime show are not available in Nevada. The state's Gaming Control Board does not allow it. So if you're looking for those bets, you will have to go to another legal state.
Here are five tips for Super Bowl prop betting …
1. Don't bet too many props
The sheer volume of Super Bowl prop bets available to bet on can be overwhelming. There are literally hundreds to choose from, from novelty props to cross-sport props. If you can think of one, chances are there is a sportsbook out there offering it. On the one hand this is a gift because you have so many chances to make money. But it can also be a curse and lead you to betting way too many props. Don't feel like you have to bet every single one. Pick out a few that you feel you have a strong edge on. You would hate to spend two weeks handicapping the game and cash your spread or over/under play but then go 5-10 with your prop bets and forfeit your hard-earning winnings on the conventional game line.
2. Shop for the best line
If you are looking to buy a new car are you going to head down the street to your nearest car dealership and take whatever price they're offering? Of course not. You are going to do your homework, compare prices at several different dealerships and buy the car at the place that offers the best price. Bettors should approach prop betting the same way. Once you identify a prop you feel has value, shop around and make sure you get the best line. If you like Cam Akers Under rushing yards, look for the prop at a handful of books. One might have the Over/Under at 87.5, the next at 85.5 or another at 82.5. Having multiple outs can be the difference between a win, a loss and a push.
3. Lean on No's and Unders
Pros and Joes both love betting prop bets but they typically approach them from different mindsets. Average Joes gravitate toward Yes's, plus-money and overs. They want to get rich quick and are mesmerized by the big payouts because they want to turn their $10 into $100. They want to bet overs because they are psychologically biased toward wanting to see a high scoring, fun, action-packed game. It's no fun to root for an under. However, the sportsbooks know this and will shade numbers toward public sides, which creates added value to go the other way. If pros saw value on an under, they likely hit them immediately when the props opened. If you're late to the party, all the "under" value is gone because most numbers have been bet down. Two wiseguy favorites every single year are betting the "no" when it comes to "will there be a safety?" and "will the game go to overtime?" Also, sharps aren't afraid to bet favorite numbers for props. They aren't scared off by the minus number as long as they see value.
4. Don't bet the coin flip
One of the most popular prop bets is the coin flip. On the surface, it seems like a fun bet to take a shot on. After all, it's either heads or tails. You have a 50/50 chance and if you win, you get paid out immediately before the game even starts. However, it's not exactly a 50/50 shot because sportsbooks juice both sides to -103 or -105 or -110. This is why books love the coin flip prop. No matter what the outcome, they rake in the juice and are guaranteed a profit. Unless you see a book offering even money on a coin flip, you should lay off. The juice isn't worth the squeeze. Also, don't bet one-sided props. If the books are only allowing one option, there is likely a reason behind it. Don't fall into the trap.
5. Follow prop line movement
Unfortunately there is no prop live odds page that keeps an up-to-date record of every prop line. However, you can still look for sharp line movement the old fashion way– with a notebook or an excel sheet. Write down the current prices on the props you are interested in. Then check in on them every 12 or 24 hours. See which way they've moved. By monitoring the movement, you can get a good idea on which ones are receiving heavy betting. If you see Joe Burrow rushing yards start to dip from 17.5 to 14.5, it's safe to assume the Under is getting hit hard. You could then shop for the best line and look for a book still hanging a 17.5 before it moves. You could also buy low or sell high based on a huge market move. For example, if Burrows’ rushing prop falls drastically from 17.5 to 7.5, you could buy low on the over 7.5 for value sake alone.