NFL

Breaking Down the Exotic Super Bowl Prop Bets

The Las Vegas Hilton Super Bowl Prop Bets are out, and you can wager on just about anything, including how long each players first reception or rush attempt will be, whether the quarterbacks will throw interceptions, and of course, who will win the coin toss.

Steve Cofield of the ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas lists some of the more interesting of the myriad of exotic bets, and I thought I would walk through and break down five of them (full prop betting sheets available through link).

1. Who will have more? Blake Griffin rebounds OR Steelers + Packers 2nd quarter points

Everybody loves Blake Griffin. He will be featured in his 1,000th post on the Big Lead next Monday. He’s averaging 12.8 rebounds for the year, and even more in recent weeks. The Over/Under for the Super Bowl is hovering around 44, so 1/4 of that is 11. Seems like Griffin is a no-brainer.

Not so fast. More points are scored in the second quarter than in the first (because drives are already underway when the quarter begins, teams use timeouts more, and teams use strategies to score before the end of the half). In the last 20 Super Bowls, the teams have combined for 13.1 points (median=14) in the second quarter compared to 8.7 combined points in the first.

My pick: Steelers and Packers points in the 2nd quarter, and then hope that Griffin doesn’t grab 20 boards

 

2. Who will have more? InterMilan + Roma goals (-0.5) OR Steelers + Packers total interceptions (+0.5)

Tie goes to the interceptions in this case. Inter Milan and Roma are averaging 2.9 and 2.6 combined goals in their games, respectively. If we limit it to games against others at the top half of the Serie A table (those teams with at least as many wins as losses), then these two are combining to average 2.4 total goals. Roma beat Inter 1-0 in the first match.

In the last 20 Super Bowls, the teams have combined to average 2.7 interceptions, with a median of 3. Even if you think that Rodgers and Roethlisberger are a little less likely to throw interceptions than your average quarterback in the Super Bowl, the fact that tie goes to the interception is attractive. I’ll root for Inter and Roma to play it close in a game where both are on the edge of European qualification.

My pick: Total Interceptions (please channel your inner Rivers-Manning-Cassel)

 

3. Who will have more? LeBron James points + assists + rebounds (+1.5) OR Steelers + Packers points (-1.5)

As mentioned earlier, the over/under is right around 44 total points. I think that is a fair estimate to work from.

LeBron is averaging 40.6 combined points+rebounds+assists for the whole season, so it looks like some value going against him. However, his numbers have been steadily increasing, he is averaging 46.4 in January, and has only one game under 40 in 2011. In a Sunday game in the spotlight against Blake Griffin’s team, I look for LeBron to showcase his talents.

My pick: LeBron points, assists, and rebounds, and avoid a shootout

 

4. Who will have more? Big Ten basketball teams’ total points (-40.5) OR Packers net yards (+40.5)

We probably can’t use the season averages for the Big Ten teams playing on Sunday, because those include games against easier competition. The six teams (Ohio State-Minnesota, Michigan St-Wisconsin, Michigan-Penn State) playing on Sunday have averaged
just under 132 combined points in conference games in 2011. Multiply that by 3 and you get 395.

Green Bay, meanwhile, averaged about 358 yards a game in the regular season, and that has gone up slightly in the postseason. However, the Steelers defense averaged 277 yards per game surrendered, and didn’t give up 300 yards in either playoff game. In order for the Packers to exceed this number, they need to get very close to their season average, against one of the best defenses in the league.

My pick: Big Ten basketball total points (please score, Big Ten teams!)

5. Who will have more? Jared Sullinger points (-3.5) OR Brandon Jackson receiving yards (+3.5)Sullinger is averaging 18 points this year, and I expect him to put up a solid effort against Minnesota.

This one, though, comes down to how much you believe Jackson will be involved in the game plan in the passing game, as he likely needs to approach 20 to get you the check mark. Jackson averaged 21.4 receiving yards a game in the regular season, and even in the post-season when James Starks took a larger chunk of snaps, he had 50 receiving yards in 3 games. The Steelers, meanwhile, gave up 34.3 yards per game to backs. The Patriots had a combined 58 receiving yards from Woodhead and Green-Ellis. I expect the Packers to utilize Jackson as a receiver when he is in the game on third down passing situations.

My pick: Brandon Jackson receiving yards

[photo via Getty]

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