Super Bowl Picks 2013: Dissecting Most Difficult Player Prop Bets

Justin OnslowContributor IIFebruary 1, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball wile middle linebacker Mark Herzlich #58 of the New York Giants tries to tackle him at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

If you think gambling is easy, you probably haven’t indulged in player prop betting.

The Super Bowl presents an opportunity for sports fans to have a little fun placing wagers on any prop bet imaginable from the national anthem to halftime entertainment, postgame interviews and everything in between.

Predicting the color Gatorade with which the winning coach will be doused is entertaining, but it’s not exactly the most difficult wager. The most difficult bets are player prop bets.

Anything can happen on any play. That’s the beauty of football, and it’s also the reason gambling continues to thrive. There are no guarantees.

We’ll take a look at some of the player props offered from and break down which wagers are the most difficult to predict.


Player to Record First Reception

All bets are locked in by the coin flip, making the prospects of this wager especially dicey. If you were to bet on a Baltimore player to record the first reception of the game and San Francisco received the ball first, there’s a good chance you lose on the first drive.

To make things even more difficult, 14 players are listed as options for this bet, leaving the “field” option (paying out at 15/1) a virtual impossibility. If you’re not getting at least 15/1 on your money, this bet isn’t worth your time.

The favorites to record the first reception of the game are Michael Crabtree (6/1), Ray Rice (13/2), Anquan Boldin (7/1) and Torrey Smith (17/2). Given all the possible outcomes and the unfavorable odds, it’s better off staying away from this one.

Our pick: If I were forced to pick one player to win this wager, I'd put my money on Rice at 13/2. He's one of the most versatile and reliable receiving threats out of the backfield in the NFL, and he's been a valuable relief valve for Joe Flacco all year. If Baltimore gets the ball first and ends up in a third-and-long situation, a checkdown to Rice may be the most likely option.


Outcome of Quarterback’s First Pass

This wager is like flipping a coin and hoping it comes up heads, tails or standing on its side.

The three options for each quarterback’s first pass are incomplete, complete and interception. The odds are different for each quarterback, but they aren’t friendly for either player.

The most lucrative wager is that Kaepernick throws an interception on his first pass (15/1), but the chances of him doing so don’t justify the risk. At 8/5, your best bet is for Kaepernick to throw an incompletion on his first pass.

Bet on this prop at your own risk. 

Our pick: I'd stay away from this wager, but that wouldn't be much fun. Kaepernick and Flacco have been very consistent in the postseason, and while Kaepernick didn't put up huge numbers against Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game, he did complete 76.2 percent of his passes. By whatever faulty logic that represents, there's a much better chance he completes his first pass of this game, and that's the bet I would place, regardless of the poor payout.


Joe Flacco Passing Touchdowns

Grab four pieces of paper and write a number (one through four) on each one and then put them in a hat. Now pick one out. If you’re betting on how many touchdowns Joe Flacco will throw in the game, that’s your best chance of winning.

It’s nearly impossible to predict how many touchdowns a quarterback is going to throw in the biggest game of his life, especially against two of the best defenses in the NFL. Both Kaepernick and Flacco have been terrific this postseason, but that doesn’t mean anything when predicting how they will perform on Sunday.

When the outcome is difficult to predict, it’s often best to play the payout odds. Flacco probably won’t throw four or more touchdowns (7/1), but at 4/1, the payout for three touchdown passes from Flacco is pretty good. Even at 5/2, it isn’t a bad choice to wager on two touchdown throws from Baltimore’s quarterback.

Super Bowl XLVII will prove to be a fairly even matchup, meaning predicting player production is nearly impossible. You can take a risk on predicting Flacco’s performance, but the odds aren’t in your favor.

Our pick: Flacco has thrown three touchdowns in each of his last two playoff games, and he did the same three other times this season. As well as he's playing, there's a reasonable chance he can duplicate that success against the 49ers. Getting four-to-one on my money, I'd take Flacco to throw three touchdowns in this game.