Super Bowl Line: Breaking Down the Smartest Prop Bets for Ravens vs. 49ers

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

Jan 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) addresses the press during media day in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The interpersonal storylines and players may change every season, but there is always one thing that constant form of intrigue in the lead up to Super Bowl Sunday: prop bets.

No matter which teams ultimately make it to Super Sunday, hundreds of prop bets, ranging from standard to completely inane, adorn sportsbooks both in Las Vegas and online. As one would expect, Super Bowl XLVII comes with possibly more prop bets than ever.

From the length of the hug shared between Jim and John Harbaugh after the game to whether Beyonce's hair will be crimped/curly or straight, everything in Sunday's battle between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will have a wager attached. 

Nevertheless, lest we forget the point of betting on something is to make money. Those inane bets may be fun to discuss among friends, but only a select few are worthwhile ventures actually worth a monetary investment. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at the smartest bets you can make in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII.



Joe Flacco Total Interceptions: 0.5 (Over, -160, Under, +130)

The Pick: Over

Oft-maligned during the Ravens' regular season swoon due to mediocre (at best) performances, Flacco has made himself a very rich man during the postseason. The free-agent-to-be has thrown for 853 yards and eight touchdowns, but more importantly he's yet to throw an interception in 93 postseason attempts.

That has undoubtedly been critical to the team's journey to Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens won the turnover battle against the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, and come into Sunday's game with a plus-five ratio.

According to recent trends, one could consider betting the under and hoping that Flacco's recent ascent keeps going one more game. Well, we have a career-long sample size of Flacco's work that points to the other conclusion.

Even at his best, Flacco isn't what you would call an accurate passer. He's completed just 54.8 percent of his passes this postseason, continuing a two-year trend of Flacco having a rate under 60 percent. 

Certainly part of that comes from his penchant for downfield throws. Only Andrew Luck threw more passes 20 yards or more down the field in the regular season. But Flacco still has the NFL's fourth-worst accuracy rate among quarterbacks who started over 50 percent of his team's offensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus

Eventually, one of those errant passes is likely to fall in the hands of an opposing player. It hasn't happened yet this postseason, but Flacco will face off against a talented secondary that will be looking for big plays on Sunday.

Look for him to throw at least one pick, making those who bet the over get a little richer in the process. 



Steve Young's Longest Rush in Super Bowl XXXV (21 YDS) vs. Colin Kaepernick's in Super Bowl XLVII (Young, -130, Kaepernick, even)

The pick: Kaepernick

Much of ultimate result in this wager depends what type of system Jim Harbaugh chooses to employ against Baltimore. When the 49ers coach had essentially made everyone forget about the read-option sets with Kaepernick under center, he re-deployed his young signal-caller to the tune of an NFL record 181 yards and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers.

The next week? Kaepernick's running prowess was nearly absent, as he had only two carries for 21 yards and instead was satisfied to stay in the pocket. Obviously that worked, with Kaepernick completing 16-of-21 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.

What's been so great about Kaepernick's run through the postseason has been his ability to adapt and thrive in either scheme. Nonetheless, the over seems like the easy call here, simply because we know San Francisco will pull every possible set out of its playbook and Baltimore doesn't match up well against the read-option plays.

The Ravens' run defense has been much improved during the postseason, but it didn't suddenly return to 2000 levels overnight. Baltimore is a combination of slow on the edges and aggressive, which bodes extremely well for read-option sets and Kaepernick making it to the edges.

As long as he can beat the last line of defense in the front seven (likely Ray Lewis), Kaepernick should be able to rip off at least one 20-plus-yard gain. With even odds making this a relatively tasty prop as it is, taking Kaepernick seems like a no-brainer here.



Will Alicia Keys add at least 1 new word of the official U.S. National Anthem? (Yes, +250, No, -400)

Will Alicia Keys forget or omit at least 1 word of the official U.S. National Anthem? (Yes, +250, No, -400)

The Pick: No (on both)

Though it's ultimately fun to snicker at the thought of a messed up national anthem looming over the Harbowl, Alicia Keys isn't the type of performer prone to huge mistakes. She's been a performer almost since birth, enrolling in arts school as an adolescent before signing her first record deal at age 16.

Keys is a professionally trained musician. She's not a canned pop queen who needs hours worth of autotune to re-pitch her voice, nor is she some scared youngster making an appearance on the national stage for the first time. 

Keys' performance will also be rehearsed so many times, both officially and in her head, before the game that it will become second nature. In fact, Keys said as much while promoting a new movie at the Sundance Movie Festival on Jan. 21, according to MSN:

I'm really excited about it, I can't even lie. I have to rehearse it totally, as if it's a brand-new song, because it is actually a brand new song in the style that I'll deliver it. I'm actually rehearsing it like a maniac.


That new style may make some people think about taking the +250 odds on the "new word" prop, but it would be a fool's errand. See if you can find a sportsbook that will parlay prop bets and lay a hefty sum down on "no" for both and count your free money.