*This analysis is for entertainment purposes only. Using this information to contravene any law or statute is prohibited.
**Seriously, don’t take this seriously. Prop bets are fun but are a farce. This is a crapshoot and you have to be off your rocker to take this advice.
(NEXSTAR) — Football fan or not, the Super Bowl is a spectacle to behold and celebrate.
It’s a day dedicated to chicken wings and figuring out new ways to put cheese in and on different foods. But might I add a new wrinkle to spice up your party? A prop bet challenge!
Every year, in addition to the point spreads, Vegas releases prop bets related to the big game. How long will it take for the anthem singer to finish? Heads or tails on the coin toss? What color of Gatorade will they dump on the winning coach?
Prop bets are fun because, if nothing else, it gets football novices in on the gambling action. And for football freaks, it’s another way to impress your friends.
Now, here is where I stop and note that some people actually wager money on these things and it’s truly amazing. I can understand poring over hours of game tape to determine which team you think will land on what side of the point spread, but how do you honestly know what color Lady Gaga’s hair is going to be?
To each their own, but by my advice is to follow state rules and regulations and only gamble within your means.
I have one rule for Super Bowl bets: Don’t bet the lame lines. Several of them are even splits on the money line because it’s a legit toss-up, and those are never fun. Betting heads or tails? Both money lines are at -105 — which means you need to risk $105 to win $100. On a toss-up? No thanks.
And the coin flip is literally a toss-up. I mean, they do literally toss the coin in the air, but the Super Bowl coin flip has landed tails 26 out of 50 times.
Without further ado, here are my five favorite prop bets for Super Bowl LI: (All odds courtesy of Bovada)
Length of National Anthem
First prop annnnnnnd I’m breaking my one rule. But I have a reason! Vegas offered the over/under on the length of the anthem performance at two minutes, 15 seconds. Bet the under at -120.
Why? A simple YouTube search shows Luke Bryan singing the anthem at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City. He wasn’t rushing through it by any means, and I have him clocked at 1:59. That’s enough for me to pull the trigger on a toss-up.
What will Luke Bryan wear for his performance?
In his 2012 All-Star Game performance, he was wearing blue jeans.
He’s a country singer.
The game is in Texas.
Give me blue jeans at -200 over “Any other pants or shorts” at +150.
What is the first score of the game?
The odds are as followed: Patriots touchdown +175 (the highest odds, meaning, what Vegas feels is the most likely outcome), Patriots field goal +325, Patriots safety +3300, Falcons touchdown +190, Falcons field goal +375, Falcons safety +3300.
New England and Atlanta were ninth and 10th respectively in the league this season in red zone scoring efficiency; New England at a rounded-up 64 percent and Atlanta at a rounded-down 63 percent – a razor-thin margin. So right away, odds say let’s lean toward touchdown over field goal.
The bet: Falcons at +190. When your decisions come down to relatively close odds, take the higher reward. But more than that, the Falcons have two factors in their corner that make them, in my opinion, a better bet.
One: Patriots coach Bill Belichick almost always differs. A 2016 article from Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.com notes that Belichick has won the toss and taken the ball to start the game twice in the previous eight seasons. He almost always defers to the second half, which means if the Pats win the toss, it’s likely they will start on defense. I wasn’t able to track down full stats for Atlanta, but odds are Dan Quinn will be more likely to put his red-hot offense on the field compared to Belichick.
Two: When teams have a gap between games like we do for the Super Bowl, teams often come out with scripted packages which are meant to establish an early confidence and confirm your opponents’ weaknesses diagnosed on film. Scripted drives have a tendency to be very successful.
Atlanta’s red-hot offense, a stronger likelihood they get the ball, an extra week to game plan for New England’s decent-but-not-great defense? Give me the Falcons to score a touchdown +190.
Who will be named MVP?
Tom Brady and Matt Ryan are the heavy favorites for this award for two reasons.
One: 51 people have been named Super Bowl MVPs, including two co-MVPs in Super Bowl XII. Of those 51, 27 of them are quarterbacks. Of the last 10 MVPs, seven were quarterbacks.
Two: Of the 51 MVPs, only one has come from the losing team – Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V. So your best bet is to take the QB from the team you think will win.
However! If there were to be a losing player named MVP, you have to imagine it is one of these two flame-throwing quarterbacks.
Brady and Ryan were two of the best quarterbacks in the league this season and lead high-powered offenses. The official over/under, as of Jan. 29, is 59.5. If the line stays there, it will be the highest line in Super Bowl history. Everyone is expecting a lot of offense on Sunday. So if Matt Ryan or Tom Brady throws for 500 yards and five scores in a losing effort, that might be enough to steal the award.
This game should be close. Brady’s MVP odds are +160. Ryan’s are +275. I’ll take Ryan.
Color of Gatorade dumped on winning coach?
The prop bet of all prop bets, right? What color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach!?
Let’s break it all down. In the last 17 Super Bowls, the most common colors are orange and clear/water (four times each). Purple, yellow and blue have been used twice each. Coaches avoided the shower three times.
The odds: Clear/water, green, yellow and orange all come in at +300. Red checks in at +500. Blue comes in at +750. Purple is your longshot at +1000.
The bet(s): Either red or blue.
Why? There isn’t a real favorite because you have four luck-of-the-draw selections at +300. So if you wanna be bold, might as well go big and take the higher odds. Also, the two teams in the game are tied to those colors. It makes sense that the Falcons would go with red to show off their team colors. The Patriots also have red in their color scheme. And, let the records show that the Patriots hit Belichick with blue Gatorade after their Super Bowl XLIX win. Athletes are a superstitious bunch. Just a hunch.