As the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers gear up for what may very be the single most important NFL game of their careers, the world’s bookmakers are hard at work setting the lines and coming up with all sorts of bets for the 2016 Super Bowl. This is always a fun week what with all the pundits offering their opinions, gamblers bragging about their “locks” and celebrities touting million-dollar betting slips.
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What’s also fun is seeing all the crazy prop bets that always come about this time of year. Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just an important day for the players; it is also the biggest betting day of the year for many bookmakers. In addition to the hundreds of markets they offer on which team will win and what the score will be at every stage of the game, they also come up with some truly amazing prop bets.
I won’t dig too deep into how good or bad these props are. A good portion of these are simple 50/50 wagers with no real strategy behind them. Picking the winner of the coin flip is about as “pure gambling” as it gets. However, bets on things like which team will achieve the longest field goal do get the gears to turning.
After checking with all the major NFL betting sites, I can tell you that William Hill have the most props out of all super bowl betting sites with at least 200 super bowl prop bets – I honestly lost count. A lot of them are just really specific wagers such as whether or not Carolina scores in the third and the margin of victory. Here’s an overview of some of the most random and entertaining Super Bowl props:
Will the coin toss result in heads or tail?
This is the most classic of all Super Bowl props. If you pick a random sportsbook client and ask him to name an example of a football prop bet, I’d be willing to bet he names the Super Bowl coin toss. All you have to do is pick heads or tails and you’ll be paid almost double your money. Other variations on this bet include picking which team wins the coin toss and whether or not the team that wins the coin toss will also win the game.
William Hill is currently offering 20/21 odds on either outcome. That’s a pretty good deal. It means a £100 wager would return £95 in winnings. The rest goes to the bookmaker as commission or “the vigorish.” Most bookmakers offer 10/11 odds on fifty-fifty wagers so 20/21 represents a nice discount.
Bet on the coin toss at: www.williamhill.com
Will the first score be a safety?
Ah yes, this one brings back memories of the 2014 Super Bowl. The first play of that game resulted in a safety against Peyton Manning. It was an embarrassing and ominous foreshadowing of the rest of the game.
It happened to work out that one bookmaker was paying 40/1 on a Seahawks safety as the first score of the game and people actually got it right. This year, we have something even better from William Hill. They are currently paying 66/1 for the first score being a safety. At those odds, a £100 bet would return £6700.
Get 66/1 on the first score being a safety at: www.williamhill.com
What will be the result of the first offensive play of the game?
In this wager, you’re being asked to predict how the first offensive play turns out. Does it result in a rushing first down? How about just a rush attempt? You can go for the “safe” plays like those or go for something with high odds such as the first play resulting in a touchdown. This feels like one of those wagers where you might be able to find an edge if you study each team’s history enough, but plays in the Super Bowl are tough predict between all their planning and counter-planning.
How will the first score of the game happen?
In this prop bet, your goal is to predict how the first points of the game will be put on the board. Will the Panthers pass for a touchdown or will the Broncos opt for a short field goal? The more unlikely the method of scoring, the more you get paid if you make the right pick.
Will there be a kickoff return for a touchdown?
They don’t happen often, but when they do, kickoff returns can completely change the momentum of a game. If you just have a gut feeling that someone out there is itching to run the ball all the way back for a touchdown, this is the wager for you.
Paddy Power has a nice little market on the opening kick of the game resulting in a touchdown. If you think it’s possible, you can take the “yes” position and get paid 40/1.
Wes Burns has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a writer, researcher, and analyst in the legal online betting industry and is co-founder of OnlineBettingSites.com. Wes approaches his work from the viewpoint of players.