Super Bowl prop betting offers an entertaining gaming alternative to simply betting one of the teams by the point spread or rooting for your numbers to hit in a square pool. Below are ten prop bets along with picks and analysis that I think carry the most value with odds used from Bovada Sportsbook.
Odds to win MVP
Cam Newton -130
Peyton Manning +275
Luke Kuechly +1400
Ted Ginn Jr. +2000
C.J. Anderson +2000
Von Miller +2000
Greg Olsen +2200
Jonathan Stewart +2200
Demaryius Thomas +2200
Emmanuel Sanders +2200Josh Norman +2800
Demarcus Ware +3300
Aqib Talib +3300
Corey Brown +6600
Ronnie Hillman +6600
Owen Daniels +6600
Danny Trevathan +6600
Darian Stewart +6600
Graham Gano/Brandon McManus +6600
Chris Harris Jr. +7500
Derek Wolfe +10000
Devin Funchess +10000
Brandon Marshall +10000
Mike Tolbert +15000
Kurt Coleman +15000
Field (Any other player) +3300
One major factor to consider when betting on Super Bowl MVP is that since voting rules changed in 2001, the general public has a major say in who wins the award, which if you see what happens every year in other sports with non-sensical all-star voting then you know how wrong that can go. The first year they had fan voting was when New England upset St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI and Tom Brady won the award, but if fan voting hadn’t counted, the award would have (and probably should have) gone to Patriots cornerback Ty Law, who had a monumental momentum changing pick-6 in the first quarter that immediately changed the flow and course of the game while also leading the team in tackles with seven and being a major part of the reason on the field why they were able to shut down the Rams and their vaunted passing attack. Three years later when New England beat Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX, Deion Branch was voted the MVP when it probably should have gone to Brady or even Rodney Harrison, who had seven tackles, one sack and two interceptions, including the game ending pick of McNabb with 17 seconds left in the game, which unfortunately for Harrison was well after most of the fans had already voted.
Historically quarterbacks have been the most consistent winners of the award, with the position getting the MVP of the Super Bowl five of the last six years and 27 out of 49 times total, so it’s no surprise that Cam Newton (-130) and Peyton Manning (+275) are the clear top two odds choices on the board. While I will end up putting a chalk bet on Newton as MVP as he is a logical choice since so much of the Carolina offense revolves around him, I would be hesitant to put money down on Manning at the meager +275 odds, mainly because I don’t see much value at such a low price and worry about his declining abilities going up against such a strong defense, so if you’re planning to go with a Denver player I would rather roll the dice on one of Peyton’s better priced teammates like linebacker Von Miller at +2000 (who was undoubtedly the team’s MVP against New England last week), DeMarcus Ware (+3300), defensive end Derek Wolfe (+10000) or one of their receivers Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders at +2200.
Since I believe that Carolina will win the game, I will be spreading my MVP picks around Panther players. Along with the chalk selection of Newton, Jonathan Stewart makes sense at +2200, as he is a large part of the Carolina offense and has the ability to make a splash and garner attention with a big play at any moment, much like he did against Seattle in their divisional round playoff game when he ran 59 yards for a touchdown on the games’ first play. My longest shot will be cornerback Josh Norman at +2800, who is near or at the top of the list for best at his position in the NFL after a dominant 2015 season. He may not have any interceptions since week 4, but that’s mainly because most teams have intentionally shied away from throwing in his direction. Denver may not have that choice, and that could lead to some game changing opportunities for Norman.
Mike’s Picks to win Super Bowl MVP:
Cam Newton -130
Jonathan Stewart +2200
Josh Norman +2800
Who will record the most Rushing Yards in the game?Jonathan Stewart +120
C.J. Anderson +130
Cam Newton +500
Ronnie Hillman +700
Mike Tolbert +5000
If you are of the opinion that Carolina is going to win the game, which the odds makers clearly are with the Panthers currently listed as a 6-point favorite on Bovada, Jonathan Stewart (+120) should be your choice. He has led the team in rushing in thirteen of the fifteen games he has played this season, and while Denver hasn’t faced anything close to Cam Newton (+500) at his position when it comes to rushing ability, they have only let up a total of 207 yards rushing to quarterbacks through eighteen games making Stewart the logical choice. If you are looking to go in the Denver direction, for value purposes I’d go Ronnie Hillman (+700) over C.J. Anderson (+130) as Anderson has little value at near even odds, especially when he has only had one game all season where he had more carries than his teammate Hillman.
Mike’s Pick for most rushing yards in the game:
Jonathan Stewart (+120)
Will Phil Simms annoy millions due to his terribleness as a commentator?
Yes (-1,000,000,000,000,000) No (+infinity)
Vegas was forced to take these odds off the board after 47 trillion dollars was wagered on Yes within seconds of the line posting!
Will the team that scores first win the game?
Yes (-165) vs. No (+135)
The ‘scoring first=win’ trend started strong in early Super Bowl history, with fourteen of the first sixteen NFL title games being won by the team that put the first points on the board, but since than it hasn’t been anything close to a guarantee with only 57% (19 of 33) of the games being won by the games initial scorer. In the past five years though, every team that scored first in the Super Bowl has won, and I believe that tendency will continue in this year’s game with both teams well suited to carry on the trend as Carolina scored first in eleven of their last thirteen wins this year and Denver led their games off with points in eleven of their fourteen wins.
Mike’s Pick for will the team that scores first win the game:
What will the first scoring play of the game be?
Touchdown (-145) vs. Field Goal or Safety (+115)
In games involving two teams that are strong defensively it theoretically makes sense to go with a Field Goal as the first scoring play and with this bet being listed as ‘Field Goal of Safety’, you have the benefit of getting a Safety as an additional choice, which has done surprisingly well of late with two of the last four Super Bowls starting off with a safety as the first score of the game after it had only happened once in the previous 45 years and that was back in 1975 at Super Bowl IX. To further add to the benefit of taking field goal or safety, Denver didn’t score a touchdown in the first quarter in more than half of their games this year (9 of 17), including a 7 of 11 ratio when Peyton Manning starts at quarterback. A field goal has been the first score in two of the past three Carolina games and has also been the first score in six of the eight games the Panthers played this season against teams ranked in the top 15 in the league in the NFL in total defense. I initially wanted to go with touchdown as the first score, but after doing the research I think it’s best to take the odds and go with Field Goal or Safety.
Mike’s Pick for the first scoring play of the game:
Field Goal or Safety (+115)
What will be the exact outcome of the first score of game?
Panthers TD Pass +325Panthers Field Goal +350
Broncos Field Goal +375
Broncos TD Pass +450
Panthers Rushing TD +550
Broncos Rushing TD +850
Panthers Defensive or Special Teams TD +1600
Broncos Defensive or Special Teams TD +2000
Panthers Safety +3300
Denver Safety +3300
This pick is a continuation of the same logic as the above ‘first scoring play of the game’ and the fact I like Carolina to score first
Mike’s Pick for the exact outcome of the first score of the game:
Carolina Field Goal or Safety (+350)
The first score of the game by the Denver Broncos
Touchdown (-145) vs. Field Goal or Safety (+115)
Denver struggled often with scoring touchdowns early in games and is going up against a Carolina squad that ranks higher in total defense than any team they’ve played all year. You may have to give a little bit odds with the -145 price, but continuing with the line of reasoning from the last couple of picks, it’s well worth the investment.
Mike’s Pick for the first score of the game by Denver:
Field Goal or Safety (+115)
Who will score the first touchdown?Cam Newton +700
Greg Olsen +750
Jonathan Stewart +800
C.J. Anderson +900
Demaryius Thomas +900
Emmanuel Sanders +900
Ted Ginn Jr. +1000
Owen Daniels +1400
Ronnie Hillman +1400
Corey Brown +1400
Mike Tolbert +1600
Devin Funchess +2000
Jerricho Cotchery +2000
Andre Caldwell +2500
Jordan Norwood +2500
Ed Dickson +3300
Peyton Manning +5000
No Touchdown Scorer +6000
Field (Any other player) +550
When picking someone to wager on for first touchdown scored I usually look for players that are +1000 or higher just to be to get better value for my pick, but I will be ignoring that strategy and going with Greg Olson at +750 as my top choice. He is clearly Newton’s favorite target, not only in the regular season where had 77 receptions compared to the next highest played with 44, but also in the postseason where his 16 catches are double what the next highest Panther player has. If you have the option to go with multiple players, taking Newton can never hurt considering he has scored the first touchdown in two of their last four games and had twelve rushing touchdowns on the season.
Mike’s Pick to score the first touchdown:
Greg Olson +750
Cam Newton +700
Will there be a score in the first 7m30s of the 1st quarter?
Yes (-160) vs. No (+130)
Someone has scored by the 7:30 mark of the first quarter in fourteen of seventeen Carolina games this year, and oddly enough the only three times it didn’t happen were in games the Panthers played against teams that end the season ranked near the bottom of the NFL in scoring defense – Jacksonville (31st), New York Giants (30th) and Tampa Bay (26th). For Denver, a score has happened by 7:30 in the 1st in nine of their last ten games, and the one game where they missed hitting the mark was by four seconds in week 16 when the first score happened at 7:26 in the first quarter. Despite the defensive prowess of both teams, I believe one of the teams will have points on the scoreboard by the midway point of the first quarter.
Mike’s Pick for will there be a score in the first 7:30 of the 1st quarter:
What will the highest scoring half be?
1st Half (-115) vs. 2nd Half & OT (-115)
Denver has started off slow in many of their games this year, including nine different weeks where they didn’t score a touchdown in the first quarter, seven of which happened during the eleven games that Peyton Manning started, and along the same lines, the second half has been the higher scoring half in five of Manning’s last seven games. In recent Super Bowl history the first half has had the most points scored only three times in the past seventeen years and with Denver involved, that trend differential should continue this year.
Mike’s Pick for highest scoring half:
2nd Half & OT (-115)
Those are my top ten choices for prop bets for Super Bowl 50, though when going through all the betting possibilities for the game I found some other random stats along the way that might be useful if going in other prop directions. Here they are:
The Second Quarter has the lowest odds to be the highest scoring quarter of the game at +160, though last season’s Patriots vs. Seahawks Super Bowl was the first one in seventeen years that the most points were scored in the second quarter. The low odds seemingly make sense as past history only means so much and this season the second quarter was the highest scoring quarter in the game more times for both Carolina and Denver throughout the season.
The most points scored happening in the first quarter has happened only once in the past eighteen years and just six times in Super Bowl history.
In 49 years of Super Bowl coin tosses, tails has come up 25 times compared to 24 for heads. Betting on the coin toss with a bookie is one of the clearest signs of a gambling problem, second only to wagering on preseason football or the Pro Bowl.
A wide receiver has won Super Bowl MVP three times in the fourteen years since they started allowing fans to vote in 2001. Receivers had won MVP only three times in the first 35 Super Bowls.
If they happen to reopen the odds on the atrocity that is Phil Simms wager mentioned near the beginning of this article, I would ignore all other suggestions and pour all your money on that lock of the century.
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