The Super Bowl is always well received in Las Vegas. Fans, gamblers and industry insiders take to the desert city in one of the biggest days it has to offer.
While many will be betting on the over/under and spread, there are others who are going to take their gambling to a whole new level with various prop bets. From the length of the national anthem to who scores the first points and how, the betting scene surrounding football has gotten a bit out of hand. This doesn't make it any less interesting.
Bleacher Report's own Josh Zerkle gives us his opinion on some of his most intriguing prop bets for Super Bowl XLVII below. I will address these bets and more in the remainder of the article.
Coin Toss: Heads/Tails (-105)
If you are betting on the coin toss at -105, I have an 800 number for you to call. In reality, this could turn out one of three ways. First, it lands on heads. Second, it lands on tails. Third, it gets stuck in the turf in between the two. The fact is, you have a 50 percent chance of getting this prop bet right with little payoff from Vegas.
If you are actually going to bet on props in this game, there are much better options out there.
National Anthem (2:10)
Alicia Keys has indicated that she plans on doing her own variation of the national anthem (via Miami Herald). While I am usually against switching up a song that is so embedded within American culture, I trust this amazing artist to do what she does best.
Does this mean that Vegas odds are wrong? I would definitely go with the over on this one. Keys has an amazing voice and will probably utilize longer pauses in between verses to let her high notes linger. My bet is that the national anthem lasts over 2:20, so place your bets accordingly.
Receiving Yards for Vernon Davis (50.5)
Davis was somewhat of a lost player in San Francisco's offense toward the end of the regular season. In fact, the talented tight end caught just six passes in the final six regular-season games (via Pro Football Reference). On the surface, Vegas seems to have it right here.
But that's just on the surface.
Davis tallied 106 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game and is averaging 110 yards and over one touchdown in his four career playoff games (via Pro Football Reference).
In addition, San Francisco should be able to attack a Baltimore Ravens pass defense between the hashes. As I indicated in Tuesday's article, neither of the Ravens' starting inside linebackers will be able to match up with Davis one-on-one. Baltimore also cannot feel too good about the idea of matching Ed Reed up against the athletic tight end.
I would take the over here and run with it. Stone-cold lock.
Baltimore Ravens Score First (-130)
San Francisco has allowed both of its opponents to score first in the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick's interception in the first quarter against Green Bay helped put the Packers up 7-0 in the divisional round. Meanwhile, busted coverage against Atlanta enabled Julio Jones to pull off a quick touchdown strike in the championship round.
On the other hand, Baltimore has scored first in only one of its three playoff games.
I guess it could be stated that whoever gets the ball first in this one will be the first team to put points on the board. Both coaching staffs tend to defer to the second half if they win the opening coin toss. Therefore, if Baltimore wins the toss, San Francisco will get the first opportunity, and vice versa.
Joe Flacco possesses one of the best deep balls in the entire NFL and is going up against a 49ers secondary that has struggled in that aspect of the game over the last two months. Flacco could easily strike quickly if Baltimore gets the ball first.
As it relates to San Francisco, its offense has quick-strike ability as well. Depending on how Baltimore schemes to stop the read-option, we could see a long touchdown run by Colin Kaepernick rather early in the game. If the Ravens stack the box against the run, either Vernon Davis or Randy Moss could beat them deep early. I would take even odds on this one, which means avoid it altogether.
Rushing Yards for Ray Rice (69.5)
Vegas has clearly lost it, right? After all, the over/under here is less than 70 rushing yards for one of the best running backs in the entire National Football League. In addition, Rice will be going up against a San Francisco rush defense that has actually struggled at times this season. It yielded over 140 rushing yards four different times during the regular year.
For comparison's sake, San Francisco did not yield more than 124 rushing yards in any game during the 2011 season.
I do, however, understand why Vegas has this number so low. Including the postseason, Rice has failed to hit the 50-yard plateau seven different times this year.
While I don't think Rice will run wild against one of the best defensive fronts in the entire league, it is hard to believe that he won't be able to hit at least 70 rushing yards in this one. Take the over and thank me later.
Jack Harbaugh TV Appearances (1.5)
Zerkle is 100 percent correct in the video embedded above; the elder Harbaugh will go over these odds in the first quarter. Heck, I would be surprised if he didn't get more than two face shots prior to the opening kickoff.
Having one son coach in the Super Bowl has to be an amazing experience. Having two sons go up against one another in the biggest game the sport has to offer is just plain crazy. I can only imagine what Jack and his wife Jackie are going through right now.
CBS, which is broadcasting the game, has to understand the dynamics here. It is going to want to catch Jack during the most important moments in the game. Who is he rooting for? What are his expressions when San Francisco or Baltimore scores?
Don't fool yourself; this intrigues you as well. As it is, take the over here and run with it.
Total Passing Yards for Joe Flacco (250.5)
You can pretty much do the math from there.
The one thing to monitor is whether the 49ers will be able to shut Ray Rice down early. If Baltimore is forced to go to a one-dimensional passing attack, it means that Flacco will completely destroy the over/under here and will go on to lose the game.
Baltimore needs a balanced attack in order to defeat San Francisco on Sunday evening. If Baltimore wins, Flacco will most likely throw for fewer than 250 yards. If San Francisco comes out on top, he will surpass that mark. After all, the 49ers are 6-0-1 this season when opposing quarterbacks go for over 250 (via Pro Football Reference).
Super Bowl XLVII MVP
Colin Kaepernick: 8-5
Joe Flacco: 11-4
It may surprise some of you that quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl MVP just over half the time over the course of the last 30 years (via NFL.com).
While it is great to look at history when drawing a conclusion, it's more important to look at how each team got here. Flacco and Kaepernick are two of the primary reasons these two squads are going to face off against one another in New Orleans.
Flacco outplayed both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in order to give Baltimore this shot. Meanwhile, Kaepernick's amazing overall performance against Green Bay in the divisional round is one of the major reasons his team advanced.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, I would wager that one of these quarterbacks will walk away with some mighty fine hardware. I guess it all depends on who you have coming out on top when all is said and done.
Total Rushing Yards for Colin Kaepernick (50.5)
Including the postseason, Kaepernick has gained a minimum of 50 rushing yards five different times this season (via Pro Football Reference). While the supremely athletic quarterback only put up 21 yards on two rushes against Atlanta in the NFC title game, there is a specific reason for this.
Atlanta utilized a spy on the outside in order to keep Kaepernick from beating its defense around the corner. As a result, Gore and LaMichael James tallied three easy rushing touchdowns while running inside. If Baltimore decides to play the same scheme against San Francisco in the Super Bowl, Kaepernick will not gain the 50.5 yards.
That being said, I am pretty sure defensive coordinator Dean Pees will attempt a combination of spying on Kaepernick and playing straight-up defense. If the young quarterback is able to catch Baltimore's defense in a traditional set, he will be able to beat it on the outside.
I would take the over on this one and not think twice about it. Heck, Kaepernick can go for 50 yards on just one play. We saw that much against Green Bay in the divisional round.
San Francisco 49ers: 24.5
Baltimore Ravens: 21.5
It won't come as much of a surprise to my readers that I am going to go with the 49ers in this one. After all, I predicted them to win the Super Bowl in August. It doesn't make much sense to go away from that prediction at this late point in the season.
My original prediction for the Super Bowl was 31-13. I am now going to retract that statement after watching more tape on these clubs.
It seems that Baltimore does have an advantage that I had not previously taken into account. Flacco possesses one of the best deep balls in the entire league. His ability to go over the top to Anquan Boldin or Torrey Smith should cause some issues for San Francisco's secondary, which is the weak link of its defense.
If Flacco has the time to find his receivers down the field, San Francisco will be in for a long evening. If not, his timing will be thrown off and mistakes will be made.
The primary reason I am choosing San Francisco in this game is because its offense is so darn hard to scheme against.
As I pointed out before, defenses are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do they plan to protect against Kaepernick running the ball in the read-option? If so, are they discounting what Gore and James can do running the ball between the hashes? It takes just one wrong guess by Baltimore's defense for San Francisco to make a big play. That will be the difference in this one.
I am still going with San Francisco, but will change the prediction to 31-23. Both teams will score the same amount of times, but the 49ers, with a more dynamic offensive attack, will have more trips to the end zone.
Hey, at least this scribe can admit that he jumped the gun on one thing.
All odds provided by Bovada
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